Urban Design Studio Wins Award for Best Practice/Outstanding Student Project

people seated around a three-sided conference table in a conference room
Students met with Lakewood city officials to discuss their projects. photo / Mitch Glass
Drawing from a book depicting people walking and biking on a city street with telephone poles and wires overhead
A rendering from the final report Lakewood Urban Design Workshop Fall 2018. rendering / provided
Men seated and standing near a large LCD display in a conference room.
The final report was presented and distributed to the Lakewood planning department. photo / Mitch Glass
Students met with Lakewood city officials to discuss their projects. photo / Mitch Glass A rendering from the final report Lakewood Urban Design Workshop Fall 2018. rendering / provided The final report was presented and distributed to the Lakewood planning department. photo / Mitch Glass
News
October 22, 2019

Working in collaborative teams, students from the departments of city and regional planning, architecture, and landscape architecture traveled to Lakewood, Ohio, in fall 2018 and developed 10- to 15-year visions for four key corridors in the city. The final report resulting from their projects earned a Best Practice/Outstanding Student Project award from the American Planning Association (APA) Upstate New York Chapter, announced on October 3 at the organization's annual conference in Rochester.

The students were part of the fall 2018 CRP Land Use, Environmental Planning, and Urban Design Workshop taught by Visiting Critic Mitch Glass. According to Glass, the students "designed innovative and resilient strategies for economic development, public space, and streetscape interventions as a way of responding to both regional and local needs."

Lakewood is just west of Cleveland, Ohio, along the shore of Lake Erie. A focus of the project was an area between the two cities along West 117th Street in Lakewood. The work incorporated workforce housing models, multimodal transportation improvements, and public space improvements to provide a higher quality of living and economic development opportunities for local Lakewood residents in the city's Fourth Ward, as well as residents of western Cleveland seeking affordable housing.

"From analysis and site visits to client interaction, conceptualization, final drawings, narratives, and the final report, the students participated in the professional process of urban design while recognizing particular roles, responsibilities, and insights from each discipline," Glass said. "The final report was presented and distributed to the Lakewood planning department to catalyze future discussions around the revitalization of these corridors outside of the highly invested downtown area."

"I joined the class specifically for the hands-on urban design experience," said regional planning graduate student Eden Marek (M.R.P. '20).

Marek took the class during her first semester in the master's program and said it provided an opportunity to explore her interest in small public spaces within the larger-scale issues of affordable housing and transportation. Her team of four — including Anna Makido (M.S. RS '19), Victor Tran (B.S. URS '18), and Shawn Sun (M.Arch. '19) — was a mix of graduate and undergraduate students in architecture, planning, regional science, and urban and regional studies.

"It was all new to me," Marek said. "I learned so much about the nuts and bolts of the iterative design process. The APA Upstate New York Chapter award was a great way to end my first year of graduate school."

It was also the first urban design project for Yu Wu (M.R.P./M.L.A. '20). Wu and his partner Yang Yang (M.S. AAD '19) focused on strategies for a brownfield parcel. They proposed a bioremediation strategy to stabilize contaminants in the soil and prevent them from entering the biocycle. Wu said he learned about building regulations and design concerns by working with an architecture student.

"Exposure to a real-life urban design project was very inspiring," he said. "We were fortunate to have the City of Lakewood as our client. Their open-minded approach made it easy for us to propose an innovative solution to the brownfield issue."

In addition to work completed by the student teams, Glass acknowledged Graduate Teaching Research Specialist Rhea Lopes (M.R.P. '19) as instrumental in organizing the winning report. The other students participating in the class were:

  • Ching-Lun (Don) Chen (M.S. AAD '19)
  • Austen Davis (M.R.P. '20)
  • Mengyuan Hua (M.R.P. '19)
  • Kevin Kim (M.R.P./M.L.A. '20)
  • Noah Schumer (M.R.P. '19)
  • Leigh Scudder (M.R.P. '19)
  • Jacob Soley (B.S. URS '19)
  • Xinglu Zhu (continuing education student)

By Patti Witten