Finch of Langen has some background in sustainability.....and the description of him mentions outreach to the community and building support. (The only proposal so far I have seen do so). In fact, while all the firms are required to hold public meetings, this proposal emphasizes soliciting public input. (They also mention attempting to recycle products of demolition.)
However, the firm looks so large I would be afraid that they might not pay creative attention to such a relatively small project. The firm talks a lot about their retail experience, and how to bring businesses, but I do not see actual experience in poor communities. (Find info and photos of their work on 58th st. greenway and Spring Garden st. greenway.)- I do like that they discuss connecting to bycyclists who use the park, as well as walking signs to direct foot traffic
to the mall. So far they are also the only one to mention that there used to be a creek running through.profit streetscape collaborations such as the 58th Street
Their landscape architect sounds good, and I like one of the playground pictures, but the rest of the pictures they chose to include are somewhat monotenous. (Looks like humdrum locust and tulips for instance for their St. Josephs streetscape). Should look up more photos on their site.
I am totally uninspired by the NYC subconsultanting architecture firm Create. While their principal apparently focuses on 'placemaking,' the proposal did not present past plans/photos that were appropriate to historic Maplewood. Designing hotels, homogenious (and anonymous looking) all new looking suburban town centers and a Trump taj mahal do not seem like relevent experience for Gtown!
They have also brought in a WBE architect with some background in preservation.
I personally like the artist in this proposal a lot, though she focuses more on nature, and I think a focus on culture, diversity and history is better for Gtown. She lives outside the city.