Projects for Little Rock, Fayetteville recognized

The University of Arkansas Community Design Center received three awards from the Arkansas Chapter of the American Planning Association in its 2013 awards program. These awards were for revitalizing urban spaces in Little Rock and for a unique planning approach for a transit system in Fayetteville.

The Community Design Center is an outreach program of the Fay Jones School of Architecture.

The center’s project Pettaway Neighborhood Revitalization for Little Rock, completed for the Downtown Little Rock Development Corporation, received an award for Achievement in Urban Design. This 60-block revitalization effort to rebuild complete neighborhoods in this historic streetcar neighborhood was funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and by Community Development Block Grant funding from the City of Little Rock.

The Fayetteville 2030: Transit City Scenario Plan received an award for Unique Contribution to Planning. The scenario plan, generated with assistance from the City of Fayetteville, posed the question: What if 80 percent of the city’s future growth was incented to locate around a six-mile streetcar system for Fayetteville’s auto-dominated commercial street, College Avenue? Since half of Fayetteville’s built environment projected to exist by 2030 has not yet been built, Transit City envisions the retrofit of sprawl to high-value urban neighborhoods. The National Endowment for the Arts provided funding for this project through an Access to Artistic Excellence grant.

The Creative Corridor: A Main Street Revitalization for Little Rock, done in collaboration with Marlon Blackwell Architect, received an award for Achievement in Urban Design. The Creative Corridor retrofits a four-block segment of Little Rock’s downtown Main Street through economic development catalyzed by the cultural arts rather than Main Street’s traditional retail base. Project planning was funded by an Our Town grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the City of Little Rock.

“We are very pleased that the state’s professional planning organization has recognized our work in urban regeneration,” said Steve Luoni, director of the Community Design Center. “While many mistakenly think of Arkansas as a rural state lacking the capacity to sustain a vital urban culture, our work is focused on amplifying the intelligent urbanism that is in the DNA of our communities.”

Awards were presented last week at the annual conference of the Arkansas Chapter of the American Planning Association, held at the Fayetteville Town Center.

Founded in 1995, the University of Arkansas Community Design Center advances creative development in Arkansas through education, research, and design solutions that enhance the physical environment. The center has provided design and planning services to more than 45 communities and organizations across Arkansas, helping them to secure nearly $65 million in grant funding to enact suggested improvements. In addition to revitalizing historic downtowns, the center addresses new challenges in affordable housing, urban sprawl, environmental planning, and management of regional growth or decline. The center’s professional staff members are nationally recognized for their expertise in urban and public-interest design, and their work has received more than 89 design awards.

AuthorMatthew Petty