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placemaking with ecology, economy, and culture along the Cuyahoga River
Urban Design Studio III
(Right) Map of the six sections of the Cuyahoga River Water Trail, provided by Friends of the Crooked River.
The ten-week studio will explore urban design strategies to improve the Cuyahoga River corridor as an eco-tourism destination and regional spine for new sustainable development. Throughout the course, students will work at multiple scales (macro, meso, and micro) to understand the complex economic, ecological, and cultural forces that will impact and guide their design proposals. Students will ultimately develop design projects that engage this confluence of issues at two very different sites along the Cuyahoga River. Several initiatives are currently underway to increase public access to the river through new park spaces, bike trails, and improved fish habitat. Although there is a growing interest in the river, its full potential as a catalyst for new development and source of regional identity has not been realized. Capitalizing on the current opportunity to connect multiple efforts, this studio is intended to create visions of this compelling river-integrated future. Started in 2011, a group of organizations and agencies led by The Friends of the Crooked River, have been working to develop a continuous navigable path on the river stretching in a “V” shape from Lake Erie, down south to Kent and back up to Burton (see map above). Known as The Cuyahoga River Water Trail, this 100-mile long network of interlinking river segments is envisioned as an integral part of the existing cycling and hiking trail system in Northeast Ohio. The two sites chosen for the studio are located along the Cuyahoga River Water Trail and present multiple challenges for connecting people to the river.
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2,640 ft. / half mile
CUYAHOGA VALLEY SECTION
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2,640 ft. / half mile
BURNING RIVER SECTION
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TWO SITES, ONE RIVER
Along the 13 mile Burning River section of the Cuyahoga River Water Trail, industry and commerce dominate the urban landscape. While industries continue to operate and offer a unique local character, opportunities exist to weave more diverse uses along the river’s edge. The Scranton Peninsula site in the Flats is mostly used for industrial bulk-storage, but also includes a recently completed segment of the tow-path trail. The Scranton Peninsula Habitat Restoration Project involves a new bike path, fishing pier, and 3,000 ft. of reclaimed river’s edge for native plantings, birds and fish habitat. This carving out of the steel-walled shipping channel section of the river not only benefits wildlife, but also creates a desireable amenity to drive the anticipated mixed-use development planned for the peninsula. Located within the Cuyahoga Valley section of the Water Trail, the Brecksville Dam creates significant problems for healthy ecological function and poses a serious threat for paddlers. Several paddlers have been killed by the dam’s dangerous currents. Spurred by the demands of environmentalists and water recreation groups, a process is underway to study the impacts of dam removal. In addition, the Cuyahoga Valley National Park has recently selected this spot as one of only three favorable locations for a new watercraft put-in. Currently, there are no designated areas for kayaks or canoes to launch within the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The anticipated dam removal and new paddler launch point, as well as the site’s proximity to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Rail Road Station and downtown Brecksville make this a prime
The studio will address these, and other, critical questions surrounding the particular project: • • • • How can communities along the Cuyahoga River improve connectivity and access to the river for its residents and from the river for visitors? How can new development along the river improve surrounding ecological function, not only aim for “low impact”? How can urban design strategies maximize year-round use of public spaces and increase livablity for vulnerable populations in particular? How can design integrate the seemingly competing needs of industrial transportation and recreational activities?
In addition, the studio will focus on these broader learning objectives: Understand successful case study analysis techniques and research methodology, particularly within interdisciplinary context. Strengthening knowledge of core urban design principals: human scale design, adaptive reuse, multi-modal accomodation, sensitivity to surrounding context, analytical approach to multivalent urban systems, and recognition of the social and economic impacts of design decisions. Understand the architect’s responsibility to work in the public interest, to respect historic and natural resources, and to improve the quality of life for local and global neighbors. Understand the techniques and skills architects use to work collaboratively in the building design and construction process and on environmental, social, and aesthetic issues in their communities.
WEEK 1 Monday Wednesday Friday WEEK 2 Monday Wednesday Friday WEEK 3 Monday Wednesday Friday WEEK 4 Monday Wednesday Friday WEEK 5 Monday Wednesday Friday WEEK 6 Monday Wednesday Friday WEEK 7 Monday Wednesday Friday WEEK 8 Monday Wednesday Friday WEEK 9 Monday Wednesday Friday WEEK 10 Monday Wednesday Friday Jan 13 Jan 15 Jan 17 Jan 20 Jan 22 Jan 24 Jan 27 Jan 29 Jan 31 Feb 03 Feb 05 Feb 07 Feb 10 Feb 12 Feb 14 Feb 17 Feb 19 Feb 21 Feb 24 Feb 26 Feb 28 Mar 03 Mar 05 Mar 07 Mar 10 Mar 12 Mar 14 Mar 17 Mar 19 Mar 21 Studio introduction + case studies + readings assigned Site visits 12:00pm Film: The Return of the Cuyahoga | Workshop | Guest speakers
S I T E A N A LY S I S S C H E M AT I C D E S I G N REASSESS DESIGN REFINEMENT PRODUCTION
MLK Day: No Class Desk crits | Class talk about readings Case Studies Due (projected slides) Begin program development Desk crits Site Analysis Pin-Up Desk crits Desk crits Desk crits Programming and Schematic Design Pin-Up Desk crits Desk crits Workshop: Presentation is Storytelling | Team Pinup Desk crits Midterm Review Desk crits Desk crits Desk crits Design Development Pin-Up Desk crits Desk crits Desk crits Final Production Renderings Pin-Up Desk crits Desk crits Internal Final Review Public Final Presentations (10 min. for each team)
Mondays and Fridays from 1:10 - 5:15pm and Wednesdays from 3:00 - 6:00pm. Attendance is required during entire designated studio hours. Students will work individually on case study research, then work in teams of two for the remainder of the studio. For team-work, each team member will receive the same grade. Half of the teams will be assigned the Scranton Peninsula site and the other half will focus on the Brecksville Dam site.
Grades will be based on the following criteria: + Attendance. (Only one unexcused absence will be permitted. Subsequent unexcused absences will affect final grade.) + Continuous progress. Design is an iterative process: initial design, critique, note problems, refine design, and repeat. Students are expected to anticipate failed designs and work hard to create new solutions. Fail early and fail often to succeed sooner.
+ Presentation quality. During interim reviews and final reviews, students are expected to communicate their projects effectively through appropriate media and engage in thoughtful dialogue with jurors. You will be graded on visual and verbal communication. For the 4 cr/hr section (wks 1-10): Case Study Research 10% Midterm 40% Final 50% For the 6 cr/hr section (wks 11-15): Coursework done during wk 1-10 Coursework done during wk 11-15 60% 40%
The co-instructors for this studio are David Jurca and Kristen Zeiber, but the entire CUDC core staff will be involved in teaching throughout the semester. Our offices and your studios are only a few steps apart, so please feel welcome to see any staff member for questions, concerns or to borrow a useful book. David Jurca : firstname.lastname@example.org | (216) 337-4303 cell | (216) 357-3438 office Kristen Zeiber : email@example.com
Several readings and resources will be posted to the Kent Dropbox created for this studio course. Please use the SP 14 Cuyahoga River Studio dropbox to save site photos, collected documents, 2 assignments 3 readings 4 case studies 5 existing conditions analysis 6 photographs 7 reference materials 8 midterm projects
The dropbox can be accessed through this link: https://dropbox.kent.edu/login.cfm?id=2914 password: cuyahoga14 Required Readings: Belanger, Pierre. “Landscape As Infrastructure.” Landscape Journal, 2009. Corner, James. “Eidetic Operations and New Landscapes.” Recovering Landscapes. Exploring Dam Removal: A Decision-Making Guide. http://www.americanrivers.org/assets/pdfs/dam-removal-docs/Exploring_Dam_ Removal-A_Decision-Making_Guide6fdc.pdf.” Cronon, William. “The Trouble With Wilderness.” http://www.williamcronon.net/writing/Trouble_with_Wilderness_Main.html Riverscapes. Introduction p. 18-39 Additional References: Various writings. water|craft UI Vol. 3 Grossman, Elizabeth. Watershed: The Undamming of America Lowhead Dam Removal Fact Sheet. Ohio EPA. http://www.epa.ohio.gov/portals/47/media/olentangy_2010/lowhead_dam_removal.pdf Jones, Victor. “New Orleans - Ecological Urbanism.” Shaping the City. Cuyahoga River Water Trail handout.
Students are advised to properly credit any quotation or incorporation into their presentation of any work from other sources. Any form of cheating and plagiarism shall not be tolerated and KSU Policy on Cheating & Plagiarism (3342-3-07) shall apply. University policy 3342-3-01.3 requires that students with disabilities be provided reasonable accommodations to ensure their equal access to course content. If you have a documented disability and require accommodations, please contact the instructor at the ough Student Accessibility beginning of the semester to make arrangements for necessary classroom adjustments. Services (contact 330-672-3391 or visit www.kent.edu/sas for more information on registration procedures).
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