CUDC Students Win APA-Ohio Award

apa_award_studentsLeft to right: Arthur Schmitt, Nti Awakessien, Gabriel Fey, Antonia Marinucci, Thom Nester (not pictured: Tommy Chesnes).

Recent graduates from the CUDC won the Excellence in Student Planning Award from the American Planning Association of Ohio (APA-Ohio), September 27, 2013, for their project Pop Up Rockwell.

Pop Up Rockwell was a temporary transformation of downtown Cleveland’s Rockwell Avenue, designed to test “complete & green street” improvements under real-world conditions. Offered as a graduate urban design studio, students were charged with the task of researching, designing, constructing, installing, and assessing a comprehensive set of physical improvements within four blocks of the corridor.

Led by CUDC Associate Director David Jurca and CUDC Urban Designer Jeff Kruth, the studio included graduate students Nti Awakessien, Tommy Chesnes, Thomas Nester, Gabriel Fey, Arthur Schmidt, and Antonia Marinucci. Over the course of the five-week spring 2012 studio, students engaged with a diverse group of local stakeholders to determine desired enhancements and collect user feedback during the experiment. The students employed the valuable insights gathered on-site to generate field-tested recommendations for permanent street improvements.



Pop Up Rockwell opened the opportunity to have discussions at several levels about public and private space, pedestrian and bicyclist rights, public transportation, ADA accessibility, federal security concerns, and other important issues regarding Cleveland’s premier civic space.

Components of the Pop Up Rockwell project included:

  1. Design and installation of Greater Cleveland’s first cycle track
  2. New pedestrian crosswalks and traffic-calming measures
  3. Experimental stormwater Biofiltration and WiFi enabled (BiFi) public benches
  4. Enhanced Transit Waiting Environment (TWE)
  5. Public Art interventions designed to create a unique identity for the street and sense of place
  6. Data collection from the temporary intervention and future implementation recommendations

It was found that entities who may not otherwise typically engage with one another were able to find common ground through the project, which significantly improved the level of discourse, understanding, and collaboration within and amongst these entities and institutions. Since the project was understood by all to be temporary, many involved parties were more open to accepting new ideas and cross long-standing boundaries.


rockwell-final-presentation-photoRecent CUDC graduates (from left to right) Antonia Marinucci, Nti Awakessien, Gabriel Fey, Arthur Schmitt, and Tommy Chesnes make their final presentation for the Pop Up Rockwell studio in April 2012.

This year was the first time a student project at the CUDC’s graduate program was recognized by APA-Ohio. Every year, students and professionals compete to win awards at an annual conference in several different areas. The trend of Pop Up Rockwell, called tactical urbanism, became popular across the design field in 2012, though the CUDC has been exploring it since 2007 through its Pop Up City initiative.

Pop Up Rockwell from KSU CUDC on Vimeo.

The Pop Up Rockwell project was funded through grants from The George Gund Foundation and Cuyahoga Arts & Culture.

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