Our story is one of common interests, divergent backgrounds, and shared aspirations. It began in 2001, at the outset of Metro Nashville Planning Department’s Urban Design Studio.  We helped establish the Design Studio, and played key roles in fundamentally changing Nashville's approach to planning and urban design.  

More than ten years later, we have worked on dozens of projects for municipalities, private developers, and other planning and design professionals in 20 states across the U.S. The single thread throughout all of our projects is that the greatest outcomes are achieved when we find common ground. 


Lee W. Jones, PLA, AICP

Lee Jones brings over 15 years of professional experience in planning, urban design, and landscape architecture to Common Ground.  Prior to receiving a bachelor’s degree in Landscape Architecture at Mississippi State University, Lee earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Southern Mississippi, providing him with a versatile set of skills to think critically about public policies and their consequences.  These skills have enabled him to write effective form-based codes for municipalities and developers, as well as assist clients through cumbersome and lengthy processes and ordinances.  With a background in Landscape Architecture, one of Lee’s key strengths is his ability to inventory and analyze physical site characteristics that may influence long range planning, whether properties consist of hundreds of acres or hundreds of square feet.  Prior to joining Keith in late 2006, Lee spent five years with the Metro Nashville Planning Department serving as director of the department’s Urban Design Studio in his final year.  While with the Planning Department, Lee drafted amendments to Metro’s Zoning Code, and solved urban design problems through leading public-participatory charrettes and writing form-based codes.

Keith Covington, AIA, AICP

Keith Covington brings over twenty years of professional experience in planning, urban design, and architecture to Common Ground.  Keith earned his Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and his Masters of Architecture in Urban Design at the University of Miami in Coral Gables.  As a graduate of these programs, Keith has a unique understanding of traditional patterns of urban design from the regional scale down to the scale of the building.  While he is a registered architect, Keith’s primary focus over the past 15 years has been urban planning and design at all scales from the region to the block.  Prior to starting his private practice in 2006, Keith was the director of the Metro Nashville Planning Department’s Design Studio where he helped reinvent Nashville’s approach to planning, public engagement, and coding.



American Planning Association

Congress for the New Urbanism

American Institute of Architects

Nashville Urban Design Forum



2016 Outstanding Planning Award
Tennessee Chapter of the American Planning Association, Downtown Chattanooga Form-based Code, Chattanooga, TN

2014 Design Award
Delaware Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, The Flats Redevelopment, Wilmington, DE

2012 Achievement in Urban Development or Design
Downtown Russellville Master Plan, Russellville, AR

2010 Driehaus Award
Form Based Codes Institute, Heart of Peoria Form Districts, Peoria, IL

2009 Community Development Award
North Carolina Chapter of the American Planning Association, Washington Drive District Plan, High Point, NC

2008 Best Plan of the Year Award
Alabama Chapter of the American Planning Association, Northport Riverfront and Downtown Plan, Northport, AL

2007 Outstanding Planning Award
Tennessee Chapter of the American Planning Association, Bedford Avenue Urban Design Overlay, Nashville, TN