The right way to talk about urban restoration in downtown Columbus.

Yesterday I had the privilege of attending a project presentation and discussion hosted by UDG intern Devin Carothers and his classmates Andrew Dodson and Danny Yontz at Mouton.  Their project, Wall St. Alley, Columbus, OH: An Urban Restoration, garnered an honorable mention at The Ohio State University’s Denman Undergraduate Research Forum, and the trio are continuing to explore ways to showcase their ideas to the larger Columbus community.  Without getting into too much detail, the Wall St. project takes on the the challenge of creating human scale environments in places where cars and all their negative accouterments (large parking lots, seas of impervious concrete, disconnectedness, etc) have long dominated the physical space.

I’m hopeful that Devin will find the time to go into his project in more detail in a longer blog post, but I was really struck by how intelligently he and his teammates went about their framing their project. They struck a really mature balance between practicality and ambition that I can imagine playing out very well in a development meeting.  It’s a credit to the Ohio State’s relatively new City and Regional Planning undergraduate program.  Most UDG staff members are alumni of Knowlton’s MCRP program, so we’re always excited to see what the grad and undergrad students are working on.  And honestly, the future looks pretty bright if this is the quality of work that one can expect from students in these programs.  How ideas are presented matter just as much as the ideas themselves; if that’s something we can ensure that the urban planners, designers and advocates of tomorrow understand, then we’re in pretty good shape.

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