07-03-15

The CUDC says Goodbye to our Post Graduate Fellow, Matt Provolt

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Our Post Graduate Fellow, Matt Provolt, will be leaving the CUDC after his year of service. The CUDC created the one-year position for graduates of KSU’s Master of Architecture, Master of Urban Design, or dual MArch/MUD program. Matt shared with us some of his thoughts about his time here at the CUDC and what he was able to accomplish. We wish him well in his next adventure!

What did this year-long Fellowship mean to you?
Initially, when I accepted the post-graduate fellow position, I was excited to return to the CUDC because I was remembering the time I had here in the past. I was a CUDC intern during my time in graduate school, and that experience opened my mind to so many different ways of looking at the city; gave me the opportunity to forge lasting friendships with my fellow students and staff; and connected me with people who have significantly influenced and shaped my life and professional trajectory in the time since. Coming back here for this fellowship, then, meant working with my former colleagues again and getting involved with more of the interesting projects I so enjoyed during my internship. Over the course of the year, though, this position has turned into something much more than that. It has been an amazing learning experience which has helped me mature as a person and as an urban designer. I have been able to have my hand in many thrilling and meaningful projects, and this has given me the foundation I need to take a strong step forward in my career. I am very grateful to have had this wonderful opportunity.

What were some of the highlights of the Fellowship?
One of the most enjoyable things for me was my involvement with the Elyria TLCI, a project which I saw from start to finish. It gave me the opportunity to explore and get to know an entirely new place; one with a fascinating history, beautiful building stock, and a distinct set of exciting challenges. I also got to work closely with the city’s Mayor, so that was an exciting experience as well. Additionally, I got to pick up the reins from a former fellow on a project that sought to improve the grounds of a men’s homeless shelter and create for them a recreation + garden space. That project was my first experience in being able to design and physically build (with the help of my colleagues) an outdoor garden space that then was used by the men staying at the shelter. That one was pretty rewarding, and it’s still continuing on and growing to this day! And of course, toward the end of my year, I got to utilize my interest in pedestrian-friendly street design. I did this in conjunction with a climate change mitigation project, wherein I created a set of user-friendly illustrations that show how various types of streets should be designed to mitigate the negative effects that extreme climate days have on people; namely pedestrians. For that I drew from personal research and my own daily experiences within the pedestrian environment in Cleveland.

What will you miss most about working at the CUDC?
It’s truly difficult to decide whether it is the people or the projects I will miss most, so I suppose it’s a combination of both. The project work here has been really exhilarating, and the wide range of its scope and the impact it has on our region is truly remarkable. It is why I loved my internship and is what has inspired me most during this fellowship year. What additionally makes the project work so enjoyable, however, is my colleagues with whom I am able to share ideas, ask questions, and just goof around on a regular basis. They have definitely added another level of fun into the mix, and I’ve had countless great conversations with everyone here. I’m certainly going to miss this group of people.

What’s next for you upon the conclusion of the Fellowship?
This fellowship has greatly strengthened my desire to build a career in which I can design at a large scale and affect meaningful change in our cities. To continue pursuing that goal, I have recently accepted a position as an urban designer + planner at a local community development corporation. This new position will allow me to continue growing as a designer, to further develop my skills in planning and community engagement, and to affect some of the meaningful change which motivates me to be a better urban designer. I’m very excited for this new challenge!

 

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