10-18-16

Akron Innerbelt Charrette | Recap

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On October 14-16, the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative took 18 of our grad students to Akron for an intense three-day design workshop, or “charrette”. The students came from our Masters of Architecture, Masters of Urban Design, and Masters of Landscape Architecture programs, plus Cleveland State University’s Masters of Urban Planning & Development program. We were also joined by six students & faculty from Lawrence Tech University in Detroit, plus CUDC alumni.

The three-day charrette examined Akron’s Innerbelt Removal site, the northern section of Highway 59 directly adjacent to Akron’s Downtown. Students, staff, and faculty formed four interdisciplinary teams to each produce a vision for the redevelopment of the site once it closes to vehicular traffic in the next year. They were charged with examining the current Innerbelt site and its linkages to the Downtown, surrounding neighborhoods, and larger region, in order to determine program, density, infrastructure, and character of new development & green space. How can a piece of highway previously perceived as a barrier be transformed into a meaningful connector, a piece of cohesive urban fabric, and a place in its own right?

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To tackle this complex and rich design problem, students first took tours of the site area with City of Akron Planning Director, Jason Segedy; presented preliminary research to a room of local stakeholders, who gave their own advice and feedback; and then got to work producing site analysis and redevelopment concepts. After 48 hours, they presented four schemes on Sunday, Oct 16th to community stakeholders.

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Final schemes addressed such specific topics as:

  • connectivity between the Downtown and the near-west side neighborhoods;
  • four-season recreation opportunities;
  • linking to the existing network of trails like the Towpath;
  • topographic shifts, grading, and landforming;
  • short-term, flexible programming of the roadway surface;
  • retrofitting adjacent Downtown buildings to face new Innerbelt development; and
  • affordable and diverse housing options for all ages and populations.

PowerPoint Presentation

PowerPoint Presentation

The 2016 CUDC Community Design Charrette was graciously supported by the City of Akron; the Knight Foundation; Summit MetroParks; NAIOP Northern Ohio Chapter; and the Mastriana Endowment/4M Company LCC.

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The charrette was recently featured in the Akron Beacon Journal. Read: “Reimagining Akron: Could 30 acres transform downtown into a place where millennials want to live?”

 

 

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