Interdisciplinary student design and planning group places in national competition

December 24, 2008

Cornell University students in the newly formed Design and Planning Student Group placed second in the 2008 Ed Bacon Foundation student competition, Rebuild/Revive. The interdisciplinary team consisted of undergraduate and graduate students from the departments of City and Regional Planning (CRP) and Landscape Architecture (LA).

This year’s competition focused on the Ludlow neighborhood in North Philadelphia. Contestants were asked to develop plans to revive the impoverished community — a once-thriving industrial center that has been the focus of several unsuccessful urban renewal efforts since World War II. The Cornell team’s project, "Bringing Philadelphia Back to Ludlow", looks to attract the population of the surrounding areas in three phases: making Ludlow feel safe; providing amenities; and promoting development.

Sixty-six teams submitted proposals. Evaluation criteria for submissions included vision, innovation, creativity, and the ability to devise an effective solution for the design problem.

There was consensus that the Cornell project was “solid because of the collaboration between the two disciplines,” says Chethan Sarabu ‘09. Sarabu credits master of landscape architecture student Chris Hardy ’10 as the team organizer and the driving force behind their success. 

Other students on the team include Peter Sigrist (Ph.D. ‘15), Juan Castellanos (U.R.S. ‘10), Xiaowei Zhang (M.R.P. ‘10), Daniel Kelleher (M.R.P. ‘10), Dimitri Siavelis (U.R.S. ‘10), Javier Alvarado (U.R.S. ‘11), Tomoki Takebayashi ‘09, Rita Kwong (M.R.P. ‘10), Will Dibernardo ‘11, and Maureen Bolton ‘09. The team received a prize of $1,500.

The larger design and planning group also includes students from interior design and real estate. Architect and engineering students can also join.

Faculty advisor Professor Ann Forsyth works with the group to set priorities and identify salient activities including entering competitions. Other focuses of the group include working on curriculum issues and urban design outreach. Professor Deni Ruggeri from landscape architecture is also actively involved in guiding the group.

The Ed Bacon Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the vision and legacy of Philadelphia's former city planning director and Cornell alumnus, Edmund N. Bacon (B.Arch. ’32). The organization strives to create a dialogue about the importance of urban planning in Philadelphia and across throughout the U.S.

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