UACDC advances creative development in Arkansas through design, research, and education solutions. Originated in 1995 as an outreach center of the Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design, the center has its own downtown facilities and a full-time design and planning staff who deliver professional services for communities and organizations nationwide. Much like a teaching hospital, some staff also deliver educational services as practicing design professors. UACDC regularly collaborates with allied professionals in multiple disciplines, and the center's nonprofit status allows it to leverage the work of its private sector collaborators.
Under the direction of Stephen Luoni, the center’s director and Steven L. Anderson Chair in Architecture and Urban Studies, UACDC has become a respected national authority in urban design and the shaping of the built environment. Focused on public-interest design, UACDC has developed eight place-making models to address core challenges in our built environment. These models in community development include, among others, transit-oriented development, low impact development, context-sensitive street design, agricultural urbanism, and smart growth urbanism. UACDC has helped to reshape development and planning policy at the state, regional, and municipal levels.