Group Project Ithaca's Greater Southside Neighborhood Study

  • Thaddeus Bell, M.R.P/M.P.S 2016
    Bridgit Hohlfeld, M.R.P. 2016
    Elizabeth Kancillia, M.R.P. 2016
    Jessica Masters, M.R.P. 2016
    Eileen Munsch, M.R.P. 2016
    Kaitlyn Olbrich, M.R.P. 2016
    Zhiyin Pan, M.R.P. 2016
    Katherine Scafuri, 2016
    Dong Soo Michael Seo, M.R.P. 2017
    Zoe Siegel, M.R.P. 2016
    Xiaozhong Sun, M.R.P. 2016
    Katherine Woellner, M.R.P. 2016
  • Class

    CRP 5530 Concepts and Methods of Land Use Planning; CRP 5072 Land Use, Environmental Planning, and Urban Design Workshop
  • Instructor

    Jennifer Minner

Students in Assistant Professor Jennifer Minner's combined Concepts and Methods of Land Use Planning class and Land Use Workshop worked throughout the spring semester of 2016 to assist the City of Ithaca's Department of Planning, Building, Zoning, & Economic Development. Students designed a participatory planning process for Phase II of the city's comprehensive plan. Students became acquainted with the Greater Southside neighborhoods of Ithaca, intensively studying the area and applying land use planning concepts and methods to make recommendations for a new neighborhood plan. The Greater Southside includes four neighborhood areas: Historic Southside, Henry St. John's, Spencer Road, and South of Creek, also known as Titus Flats.

The students analyzed a previous neighborhood plan called the Southside Flowering Plan according to four different plan evaluation tools and compared the previous neighborhood plan to the goals and objectives of the city's recently adopted comprehensive plan. Students used data gathered from site visits and secondary data sources to analyze neighborhood trends and current conditions. They created visual representations of housing, demographics, land uses, economics, natural and cultural resources, and transportation conditions. The class then summarized neighborhood characteristics including land uses, housing and building types, and residential density, identifying zoning changes that would be necessary to maintain these neighborhood characteristics while implementing the citywide comprehensive plan.

In addition to the analysis and summary, the students conducted an infill analysis on vacant or underutilized parcels using an open source tool called Envision Tomorrow. *Student teams conducted interviews with local residents, community leaders, and other stakeholders. In addition, students researched creative outreach strategies to create a holistic strategy that includes community participation at various points of the planning process, utilizes both traditional and technologically based tools, and identifies known obstacles to — or other considerations for — conducting public outreach. Ph.D. candidate Amanda Micklow advised and assisted students along the way, as a teaching assistant. At the end of the semester, students presented their research and recommendations to city staff, members of the common council, and a neighborhood stakeholder.

The project has recently won the New York Upstate Chapter APA Student Project Award for 2016-2017. 

*Note: The plan evaluation tools were the Urban Land Use Planning Plan Evaluation Protocol (Berke, Godschalk, Kaiser and Rodriguez), Sustaining Places for Best Practices for Comprehensive Plans Matrix (Godschalk and Rouse), the protocol from an article called Effect of Mandated Planning on Plan Quality Matrix (Bunnell and Jepson), and the LEED-ND+ Checklist.

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