Snow Days = Work Days at KCDC

Despite the many snow days that everyone in the KC area has been experiencing, here at the KCDC (as Vladimir would say), ‘The project must continue’. We are now about a month and a half into the semester and as we move into week 7 we are gearing up for some exciting events!

Recently we have had a number of community engagement opportunities. We had our first experience inviting Community Leaders from the Prospect Avenue area to the KCDC to check out our project . The gallery style event allowed us to really get a sense of what those that live and work along Prospect Avenue see for the future of this prominent corridor. Many of them were a wealth of knowledge about what was needed, what had worked in the past, and the challenges that we may face as we look towards the future. We collected as much information and critique as we could from the community members and now begin to close the door on the conceptual stage of the design process.

public review

We also had our first major design review last week and presented the conceptual stage of the project. We welcomed six design professionals to provide feedback on the project thus far. All four nodal groups (our two most southern groups— Prospect Hospital and Prospect South— have joined forces for a comprehensive approach to their zones) presented their overall concepts as well as preliminary design strategies for their respective nodes. You can see some of the presentation action below.

Professional reviews

Looking forward:
As we continue working through the snow days and sub zero temps, we have even more exciting things coming up. Tonight the KCDC has partnered with K-State and the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art to co-host a lecture with Fuensanta Nieto at 6:00pm. We also are very excited for our first off site community meeting that is happening tomorrow night (March 6th) at the East Patrol Police Station located at 2640 Prospect Ave. We are hoping to meet even more community members from the Prospect Ave area and work with them as we head into the design development stage of the project.

Meet our new team members!

We’re excited to introduce three new fourth-year students from K-State joining us on our Prospect Nodal Study! Meet Tayvia Navy, Jason Ingram, and Caitlin Seal:

tayvia.jpg

TAYVIA NAVY

Tayvia comes to the KCDC with a goal to pursue a career path in commercial architecture. She is excited by how engaged the KCDC is with the community of architects, planners, and designers in Kansas City and hopes to become more connected with the community. When she isn’t in studio, you can find her on a basketball court. She is currently joining the Prospect South team. Welcome, Tayvia!

jason.jpg

JASON INGRAM

Jason joins our team excited by the change of pace from a traditional learning environment and intrigued by the unique learning experience of the KCDC . He looks forward to working on a wide range of architecture types in both the residential and commercial sectors. When he’s not putting his energy into designing, you can find him playing soccer. He has become part of the group taking a closer look at Brush Creek. Happy to have you, Jason!

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CAITLIN SEAL

Caitlin joined the KCDC team with a desire to explore design in the urban environment and a love for Kansas City. Her passion is for small-scale residential and commercial architecture. When she isn’t focusing on her studio designs, she relaxes by sketching and drawing people. Caitlin has joined the team that is looking at Prospect Ave between 25th and 39th Streets. Welcome to the KCDC, Caitlin!

We are looking forward to getting to know our new studio mates throughout the semester as we work with them on this exciting project!

Prospect Avenue Nodal Study: Selecting Urban Nodes

After returning from holiday break, the studio split into groups and began defining urban nodes to be investigated. By looking at the key issues and existing conditions of each area, we are excited to share the selected nodes that we’ll be investigating for the remainder of the semester.

The first is an area that we’ve termed Prospect North which runs from Independence Ave to 12th Street and Truman Rd. You can see in the diagram below that we are focusing on four strategies in this area with a goal to use what's already available in addition to increasing density in a way that will define Prospect Avenue’s distinct character as a strong urban element.

Prospect North

The second node is the Prospect Corridor from 31st Street, Linwood Blvd. to 39th Street. In this section, there are three major points of East-West connections that we have the opportunity to activate. Check out the image below for details— our goal in this area is make this corridor more consistent, both visually and physically, in order to strengthen existing character in the area. This section would become a major bridge between the more industrial area of Prospect North and Brush Creek.

Prospect corridor

Next, we have Brush Creek. This area runs from 45th Street to 51st Street and is focused on the north/south gateways (especially addressing the huge barrier of Highway 71) and the waterfront. This area has a ton of potential with the opportunity to create a functional green space, redesigning the bridge, and taking care of all those flooding problems due to stormwater run off. In the images below you can see how these we hope to address these issues by reclaiming urban spaces, addressing the space around the bridge, and creating strong gateways.

Brush Creek

Directly south of Brush Creek we have the Prospect Hospital Area which runs from 51st Street to Meyer Blvd. In the image below you’ll see that this area shifts from a residential/small business corridor to the Research Medical Center complex very quickly with causes a big disconnect. This area also has a ton of un-featured views to the downtown area, the Plaza, the Stadiums, Waldo Water Tower, Starlight Theater, East Bottoms and the Cerner Campus. The goal here is to encourage design that orients development to Prospect Ave or 63rd Street and creates a consistent street edge and facade system. Plus, who wouldn’t want to take advantage of those amazing views!

Prospect Hospital

Our last (and southern most) node is Prospect South from Meyer Boulevard to 75th Street. This area runs parallel, right next to Highway 71— this results in a huge infrastructural barrier that causes a disconnect between the east and west sides of Prospect. In the diagrams below you will see that we utilize a permeable green space buffer on the east side of Prospect and a well defined street edge on the west as a result of infill density. This helps restore a well defined character and gets rid of un-needed parking lots and buildings.

Prospect South.jpg

As we continue developing ideas and meeting with our advisory council, watch our for our public meeting dates where we will engage with the communities and leaders that live and work in these areas!

What Have Students Been Up To?

Students have been staying busy as they prepare for the end of the semester. KCDC has welcomed many visitors over the month. It was nice to welcome both new and familiar faces into the studio space. This month KCDC held:

  1. Advisory Meeting

    The Advisory Meeting that was held on November 5th was a very important day for students. A large review of the Prospect Avenue Nodal Study was held for our gracious advisory board. This was the last review before students roll into final review production. The advisory board gave us insights as students began exploring strategic design concepts. Our advisory board includes the following professionals:

    • Jeffery Williams - Director of Planning and Development KCMO

    • Brien M. Starner - Vice President or Regional Community and Economic Development KCMO

    • Beth Edson - Branch Manager, The Kansas City Library

    • Angela Eley - AICP, Planner - 3rd District

    • Kyle Elliott - AICP, Division Manager, Long Range Planning and Preservation

    • Kate Bender - Deputy Performance Officer KCMO

  2. Kansas State and University of Kansas Collaboration

    Also on November 5th, a fun collaboration was held between visiting studios, Kansas State and University of Kansas. The Kansas State studio is led by Professor Gibson and the University of Kansas studio is led by Professor Colistra. KCDC’s advisory group stayed for the collaboration, sharing their insight on Kansas City.

  3. Populous Visit

    Another eventful day students had was on November 16th. It started with a visit by two architects John Shreve and Alex Ogata from the Kansas City firm Populous. Populous is a global architectural design firm specializing in the design of sports facilities, arenas, and convention centers. Shreve and Ogata stopped by to give a brief introduction on the upcoming course that will be offered to KCDC students in the spring. They were also generous enough to leave a basket full of fancy cheeses and d’oeuvres.

  4. Preparing for Finals

    On November 16th, the day before Thanksgiving break, the class held a progress review. Professor Krstic provided direction and advice on how to more forward on the project. Students are now in the schematic phase of the Prospect Avenue Nodal Study and have selected five key elements of the study corridor and will provide design iterations for each.

  5. Goodbye Sarah

    We are saddened to report our project coordinator, Sarah Kraly is leaving KCDC to pursue new career opportunities. Sarah has left a large mark on the program. She has always a provided positive energy in the studio and greeted everyone who walked in the door with a “good morning” no matter what day it was. Students wish her all the best in her future endeavors. Students hung around KCDC after studio on that Friday, enjoying time before she departed.

We're in the Final Stretch!

On October 22nd, KCDC students presented work from the Prospect Ave Nodal Study, from inventory mapping to the urban concept, with emphasis on the findings and how they relate to one another. Students are beginning to see Prospect Avenue as a series of areas that may require different strategies and interventions due to varying factors including infrastructure, service and amenity distribution, visual patterns, and physical barriers. A strong example is the lasting impact of Highway 71, which continues to effect Prospect Avenue by dividing it into separate sections and causing blight in the area where there is only a 1-parcel distance from Prospect. Guest reviewers were impressed with the progress of the sutdio, and suggested more community outreach would be appropriate in the near future. After the presentation, the KCDC staff, K-State students, KU students, and guest reviewers went to Hollis and Miller for a friendly rooftop BBQ.

Since then, the studio has continued to solidify the urban concept for Prospect Ave. Through multiple series of cross-mapping, data analysis, combing through literature, and case study synthesis, students have made great strides to finalize the concept as Thanksgiving Break approaches. Students are creating new maps that explain the concept, as well as study models (both large and small). Students are beginning to assemble the structure for the in-progress project publication (which will be published at the end of the semester) and discussing findings from the Project Programming class, which includes project description, case study synthesis, comparative analysis, and strategies to tackle not-yet-identified nodes.

For the studio’s case study selection and synthesis, 22 projects have been chosen from around the world that students are learning lessons and drawing inspiration from. These projects are divided into four overlapping categories that serve as potential methods to apply to Prospect Ave:

  1. Branding – creating a brand for the entirety of a project area, utilizing characteristic graphics, signage, art, history, landmarks, etc. These projects form cultural identity and give visual representations for a given area.

  2. Connectivity – focuses on movement through a corridor or strengthening a system of connectivity. These projects change the way streets can function through tactical transit-oriented development, and increasing or diversifying public transit solutions. 

  3. Ecological Remediation – reimagines the environment as an asset to infrastructure and people. These projects draw solutions from an ecological standpoint and turns issues such as pollution, flooding, animal welfare, and conservation into amenities for the city.

  4. Patching – revitalized areas through strategic infill, development, and community engagement. These projects were given new life by taking areas strewn with urban gaps (vacant lots or abandoned buildings) and recycling the space into catalysts for change.

Here are the selected case studies and the categories which they fit in:

  • Atlanta Beltline: branding, connectivity, patching

  • Aurora Masterplan: connectivity, ecological remediation

  • Avenida Lecuna: connectivity, patching

  • Avenue of the Arts: branding, connectivity, patching

  • Blue River Valley: branding, ecological remediation, patching

  • Bogota, Colombia: branding, connectivity

  • Chicago Riverwalk: connectivity, ecological remediation, patching

  • Colfax Avenue: branding, connectivity

  • East Baltimore: connetivity

  • Fabrica de Cultura Grotao: branding, ecological remediation, patching

  • Flip-a-Strip: patching

  • Klyde Warren Park: branding, connectivity, patching

  • Kraust Urbanism: branding, ecological remediation

  • Local Code San Francisco: patching

  • Loop City: connectivity, ecological remediation

  • Mexico City Avenue: connectivity

  • Miami Underline:  branding, connectivity

  • Nationwide Children’s Hospital: branding, patching

  • Rosa Parks Neighborhood: branding, patching

  • Superkilen: branding, patching

  • Urban Agripuncture: ecological remediation, patching

  • Yuanijang, China: ecological remediation, patching

These projects were selected based on the nature of the project scope, scale, and goals, and displayed at least one of the above categories. The studio will be continuously adding and removing projects from this list as necessary, based on the stated criteria.

One of the other ways that students are studying Prospect Ave. is through a comparative analysis with other corridors; this is being done to better understand how infrastructure, morphology, demographics, and service distribution compare with other corridors, and might lead to more insight about the corridor and methods toward improvement. Some of the corridors being compared are also in the case studies list. Here is the completed comparative analytic list, with potentially more to be added as necessary:

  • Troost Ave. in KCMO

  • Wornall Rd. in KCMO

  • States Ave in KCK

  • 13th St. in Omaha

  • Rosa Parks Boulevard in Detroit

Some of the conclusions drawn from these comparisons include the following: the detriment that vast amounts of vacant lots and abandoned buildings have on an area, the disconnectivity that large infrastructural projects can bring to certain neighborhoods, and diversity and availability of services strengthens corridors.