Meet our core team of professionals.

VAnessa L. Farr - principal / planner

Vanessa is the Principal of Maine Design Workshop and practicing planner with over fifteen years of municipal planning experience prior to launching MDW in 2015.  Having led town planning departments in both Massachusetts and Maine, Vanessa is familiar with development and permitting processes, and as one client said, is "well-versed in town hall".  With Vanessa's leadership, the Town of Yarmouth adopted one of the states first true Form-Based codes, merging development regulations with architectural and street thoroughfare standards.  In addition to her specialized work in sprawl repair, Vanessa serves on the Board of the New England Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism and previously served on the Planning and Long Range Transportation Planning Committees at Portland Area Commuter Transportation Systems (PACTS).  Vanessa was the recipient of the 2014 Maine Association of Planners Professional Planner of the Year award and, in 2014,  co-founded Build Maine along with colleague, Kara Wilbur.  Vanessa is an accredited member of the Congress for the New Urbanism.  


Kara Wilbur - planner / urban designer

Kara is a planner and urban designer at Principle Inc. and brings to MDW more than 12 years of national and New England-based experience as a private consultant to municipal and private sector clients.   Her work has focused on revitalization of transitioning downtowns, redevelopment of outdated retail corridors, and common sense transportation plans that promote safety and economic value. She has also spearheaded a new generation of Comprehensive Plans as well as innovative form-based codes that open the door for high quality investment.  Kara and Principle Inc. often team with MDW on Maine comprehensive planning processes and coding projects.  Kara understands the importance of bringing national best practices to the forefront of New England planning, and gives her time to initiatives such as co-founding the New England Chapter of the Congress for the New Urbanism in 2004, and in 2014 co-founded Build Maine alongside colleague Vanessa Farr. Kara lives in Portland, Maine. 


sara sremac - planner

Sara recently graduated with a B.S. in Sustainable Urban Environments from the NYU Tandon School of Engineering, a multidisciplinary program fostering proficiency in both technical and social aspects of urban sustainability.  Sara joined MDW in 2016, and her work has included research, writing and graphic production for municipal character-based coding projects and comprehensive planning, and private sector site permitting and development, often in collaboration with Principle Inc.  Sara's academic focus was on the Two Bridges neighborhood of the Lower East Side, housing displacement in Manhattan, and the use of GIS in analyzing the effects of gentrification.  Sara's interest lies in contemporary creative solutions that address the need for healthy living spaces and engaged community.