05-22-17

Bygone Landscapes of Cleveland and New Orleans: the conduit of the everyday

MH headshotMaggie Hansen, Director, Albert and Tina Small Center for Collaborative Design, Tulane University

This spring our Masters of Landscape Architecture students engaged in a studio with Maggie Hansen of Tulane UniversityMaggie worked with students at the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative on a 5-week vertical studio titled “Bygone Landscapes of Cleveland and New Orleans: the conduit of the everyday”. This was a continuation of the Master of Landscape Architecture Traveling Workshop that took place in New Orleans over spring break.

This collaborative studio kicked off with the KSU students visiting New Orleans. Over 3 days, they visited sites designed to support both hydrological function and community gathering. In addition to site visits, they discussed design and policy approaches to urban hydrology with designers, policymakers, and planners, including Aron Chang of Blue House, Colleen McHugh of the City of New Orleans Office of Resilience, and Austin Allen and Diane Jones of Design Jones. The exchange between Tulane’s Small Center for Collaborative Design and the Kent State Landscape program revealed many shared challenges for Cleveland and New Orleans.

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The studio has been developed in conversation with the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District’s Project Clean Lake Program. In 2011, NEORD entered into a consent decree to address water quality issues in Lake Erie by capturing 98% of CSO – the highest level of capture nationally. This capture is primarily achieved through the construction of 7 deep storage tunnels, ranging from two to five miles long, up to 24 feet in diameter and located up to 300 feet underground – the tunnels hold water in a rain event and release it for treatment. As NEORSD has constructed these tunnels, they’ve acquired a series of parcels where tunnel access and construction staging has occurred. These sites will continue to be used for maintenance of the tunnels and the District recognizes the opportunity for the sites to serve as neighborhood amenities following construction. The studio is looking at the potential of these parcels to engage the layers of hydrology and neighborhood fabric more fully, in hopes to expand the range of possibilities for NEORD as the work continues. The students began the studio with visits to 3 sites in the Dugway watershed, and a tour of ‘restored’ sites with NEORSD, to see the sites under construction and some of the completed ‘parklets’ following construction. From these observations and an analysis of the site layers, the students developed ‘deep section’ models of the sites, as a means of understanding the complex, layered systems impacting each site, and as a starting point for design.

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The studio will deliver a booklet of conceptual ideas to the District following the 5-week studio. We will publish the booklet on our Issuu site when completed.

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