In the wake of the June 2008 flood in Cedar Rapids, Sasaki worked with the city on a two-phased flood recovery plan and a subsequent master plan for the riverfront that would not only aid in recovery, but make Cedar Rapids stronger and more vibrant than it was before the flood. Following this work, Sasaki worked with Cedar Rapids and stakeholders on creation of the Cedar Rapids Medical District, later rebranded the MedQuarter. Sasaki facilitated meetings with the city between St. Luke's Hospital, Mercy Medical Center, and Physician's Clinic of Iowa (PCI) to establish a memorandum of understanding focused on creating a shared vision for the district. The Vision Plan for the Cedar Rapids MedQuarter provides a long-term framework for growth, focusing on the transformation of 10th Street into a vibrant urban streetscape at the heart of the district. The plan strives to cultivate a healing environment—promoting healthy lifestyles within the Cedar Rapids community while also improving the ecological health of the city itself.
The framework identifies a new location for PCI, as well as locations for new development strengthening the 10th Street spine, such as the new Community Cancer Center. Additional uses include a new hotel, workforce housing, and medical office buildings. The vision unifies the quarter's identity through an iconic, pedestrian- focused environment with signature materials and planting strategies. A new signage system enables clear wayfinding and defines the district's brand.
The distinctive pedestrian realm and designated bike lanes of 10th street tie into the city and regional trail systems, improving connectivity and encouraging physical activity and alternative commuting. The quarter's varied landscape spaces support the quality of everyday life for employees and residents, as well as the quality of experience for patients and visitors to the district. Proposed landscape spaces along the streetscape range from intimate, human- scaled contemplative spaces to larger social spaces. The streetscape improves the city's ecological health with an integrated stormwater management system that captures runoff from the sidewalk and street, slowing and infiltrating the water through beds of salt-tolerant native plantings.