Renewed optimism in civic engagement and appreciation for the unique character of place…that’s what AAF’s Center for Design & the City  got when we engaged four public-private project teams from Atlanta, Detroit, Greenwood (MS), and Morristown (NJ) in a highly engaging and impactful Sustainable Cities Design Academy  charrette in Washington, DC. The project teams collaborated with a team of 12 multi-disciplinary designers from a range of backgrounds (architects, environmental designers, landscape architects, planners, real estate developers, industrial economic development specialists, and urban designers) to investigate the following challenges in their on-going projects:
- Atlanta: the revitalization of the Fulton Industrial Boulevard, the largest industrial corridor east of the Mississippi River;
- Detroit: the planning, environmental remediation, and redevelopment of the Bloody Run Creek greenway;
- Greenwood: the connecting of complimentary and complex comprehensive planning initiatives involving housing, recreation, economic development, and rehabilitation of historic buildings and structures; and
- Morristown: district-scale planning for new infill and rehabilitation of historic buildings and landscapes around the New Jersey Transit station.
The project teams and designers exchanged ideas around best practices in urban design, placemaking, phased financing, and authentic community engagement practices. Perhaps most importantly, the participants established a wider network of support, learning, and leadership to draw from when faced with opportunities to design better places. As resource team member Bill Cesanek reflected, ” It was wonderful to leave the routine behind and engage creatively, energetically, and thoughtfully with a wide range of expertise in sustainable planning and design and create improved options for our cities,” and Vivian Baker from the Morristown team seconded the sentiment and added, “SCDA was one of the best experiences in my professional life.”
See the slideshow below for images from this two-and-a-half-day event. Special thanks to United Technologies Corporation , our presenting sponsor, and to our friends and partners in the DC region for supporting this 11th engagement. Stay tuned for the 2014 Sustainable Cities Design Academy Call for Applications this fall.