Erie, PA: 2019 Community Design Charrette


In October of 2019 the CUDC staff and 6 graduate students in Architecture, Urban Design, & Landscape Architecture traveled to Erie, PA for a 3-day urban design charrette. Hosted by the Jefferson Educational Society, the aim of the Charrette was to examine the existing conditions of Erie’s Bayfront area, currently cut off from the Downtown & adjacent neighborhoods by a series of infrastructural, topographic, and programmatic barriers. The design team was charged with envisioning new possibilities for connecting along & across these barriers, in order to more seamlessly integrate the Bayfront into the larger city & region.




The students had frequent touchpoints with the Erie community throughout the charrette weekend, with daily presentations and informal check-ins to ensure their work was aligning with stakeholder needs. The final work, presented in draft form the final day of the Charrette, compiled ideas ranging from small-scale wayfinding & materials to large-scale pedestrian networks, with space for public comment and final tweaks by the CUDC staff after the charrette weekend.





The design team ultimately proposed not a single “iconic connection,” but instead a series of pathways & crossings that could take on an iconic character and experiential quality in their own right. Larger-scale connections to new park spaces, Presque Isle, and elsewhere were examined, as well as ideas for landscaping, wayfinding, programming, four-season activation, public art, and maritime heritage.





The final report, presented to the public at the Jefferson Educational Society by Project Manager Kristen Zeiber on January 30th, 2020, can be found on the Jefferson Educational Society website:

Final Charrette Report


Very special thanks to the Jefferson Educational Society for hosting a wonderful weekend, and to the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, the Erie Community Foundation, the Mastriana Endowment, and NAIOP for supporting the 2019 Community Design Charrette. Thanks also to Michael Fuhrman and John Vanco for their stalwart support & enthusiasm across the Charrette weekend and beyond!

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