|- The Urban Lab 197 kb
|by Hutzell, Kelly & Rico-Gutierrez, Luis | firstname.lastname@example.org
|Carnegie Mellon University’s Urban Lab, a required studio within the B.Arch. program, has sought to expand the education, community visioning, and research efforts of the university to catalyze revitalization of Pittsburgh urban neighborhoods.
|For over 15 years Carnegie Mellon University’s Urban Lab, a required fifth-year urban design
studio within the Bachelor of Architecture program, has sought to expand the education,
community visioning, and research efforts of the university to catalyze revitalization of
Pittsburgh urban neighborhoods. The fall 2006 Urban Lab consisted of four studios and two
diverse projects. While all studios shared the same pedagogy, the projects involved different
stakeholders, communities, sites and programs.
The studio schedule is structured in three phases, with each phase culminating in community-
oriented weeks involving presentations and feedback sessions: analysis, urban design
frameworks and place-making/visionary projects. Community meetings offered the students the
opportunity to engage with community stakeholders and residents of the neighborhoods.
Leadership skills and social responsibility were developed as meetings were advertised, planned
and facilitated by the students. The semester is presented as a model of curriculum based
outreach, where both the students and the community follow the stages outlined. Ultimately the
goal is to start a process where ultimately city officials and professionals take the work of the
student and further develop it until it is ready for implementation.
Two studios collaborated with North Side communities and the Pittsburgh Children’s Museum in
correlation with their current National Endowment for the Arts grant. The grant sponsored an
international ideas competition, which sought to create linkages among the varied cultural
destinations of the neighborhood. At the launch of the competition, the Urban Lab students
participated alongside the selected international design teams by providing site analysis and
research as well as investigating urban design strategies that included linkages through family
oriented housing, cultural, and institutional projects. Their work is currently on exhibition at the
The other two studios collaborated with the Pittsburgh Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA),
the Urban Land Institute (ULI) and community groups in conjunction with a ULI grant focused on
two blighted urban corridors: Brighton Road in the North Side, and Herron Avenue in the Hill
District. While not program specific, these studios were site specific, focusing on the issue of
vacant land and yielding such programs as urban farms and public art corridors. The student
work is highlighted in a publication, and has been presented at the ULI Vacant Lots symposium,
as examples of strategies for the reuse of vacant lots.
|Urban design, community design, curriculum based outreach
Case Study presented on the ISOCARP Congress 2007: Urban Trialogues
Click to open the full paper as pdf document
Click to send an email to the author(s) of this paper