Planned Neighborhood: Assignment 4 Local Neighborhoods and Food Environments


Weinland Park, a neighborhood directly north of downtown Columbus and east of the Ohio State University campus area, stretches from 5th Avenue to 11th Avenue, south to north, and from High Street to 5th Street, east to west, and has 35,771 residents. The neighborhood is characterized by poverty, the median household income coming to around $23,394, half that of the median income of the city of Columbus. The population of Weinland park is predominantly Black, with 36.1% of the population being single-mothers. Simply put, the neighborhood has room for improvement.

The neighborhood is cut by two 3-lane, one-way streets, Summit and Fourth Streets. There are no bike lanes, the sidewalks show signs of low maintenance, there are a few spread out light posts, and crosswalks are few and far between. There are two Central Ohio Transit Authority (COTA) routes that pass through the area, but the stops are spread out, and do not connect the neighborhood with amenities of the surrounding areas. Unless you own a car, transportation in, out, and through the neighborhood is limited to pedestrian and bike traffic.

There is one accessible grocery store in the area, a Kroger on High Street and King Avenue. The Kroger gives the residents of Weinland park access to fresh fruits, meats, and produce, as well as conventional grocery store needs. Kroger is accessible by car or by non-motorized transport, albeit a far walk. Besides the grocery store, Weinland park doesn’t have very many locations to access healthy foods. There are gas stations and carry-outs sprinkled throughout the area, but the selection of food stuffs that they offer is lacking in nutritional value. This would make the area relatively food insecure, because of the limited availability of locations to purchase food and the size of the population. The Kroger on King Ave is great for residents who live within a four block radius, but without convenient public transportation routes or a vehicle, it becomes difficult to trek ten blocks there and back in the middle of December. Weinland Park, therefore, could be categorized as a “food swamp,” where there is food available to residents, but because of location and the socioeconomic  standings of the residents, the available food is limited in nutritional value.

kroger pic

There are efforts, though, to change this neighborhood for the better. Zoom in to 1379-1381 North 4th Street, or, as it is known by members of the community, Fourth Street Farms. Started by Jai Woody Drake and his life partner, the couple purchased an empty lot from a neighborhood cooperative and began, slowly, to improve the food system of Weinland Park. Fourth Street Farms grows locally obtained and organically feed fruits, vegetables, and herbs on a volunteer-basis, and makes its food available to the community. The farm prides itself on being open to anyone on the street. “There are no fences,” states farm founder Drake. The farm gives fresh produce to the immediate community, improving the food system of Weinland Park. Fourth Street Farm runs on the motto “food eaten is not wasted,” and has become a community defining location within the neighborhood.

IMG_20150920_192655[1]            IMG_20150920_192718[1]            IMG_20150920_192710[1]

There are more and more gardens and community farms popping up around the area, including one on Euclid Avenue and one on 6th Avenue. In the future, these farms can form a coalition and set up bi-monthly farmers’ market in a central place in the community, like the park or in a “block party” setting. These farms, though revolutionary and incredibly important to the community, are ineffective in that they shut down four months out of the year. Therefore, other proposed ideas include building another grocery store in the area, one that is especially compatible with WIC and EBT programs to provide for the needs of the community, to increase bus stops to and from available grocery stores, and starting a “Produce Food Truck” which takes a loop through the neighborhood selling fresh fruits and vegetables, obtained either from community farms and/or the Kroger, to residents.


Current Set-up of Weinland Park


Proposals for the Weinland Park area


Produce Food Truck

Explore Nation Activity 4: Analyzing Local Neighborhood Food Environments

Weinland Park’s food environment is deceiving; although it looks like there are several places to access food, the neighborhood is actually a food swamp and, an area where unhealthy and fast foods are more readily available than healthy grocery foods. While there is a Kroger grocery store located in the south west section of the neighborhood (near the Short North district), the northeast section only has Sam’s East Village Market and a couple other small convenience stores where unhealthy foods are readily available, creating a food insecure neighborhood. In order to get anything healthy, residents must travel to Kroger or the 4th Street Farms community garden.

Weinland Park’s current status as a livable neighborhood and community must be taken into account when looking at overall food accessibility. Sidewalks are narrow and overgrown with plants, a lack of crosswalks makes it difficult to cross the highway-like N 4th and Summit Streets where vehicles drive at very high speeds, and street lamps only illuminate one side of the road at night. These factors make it challenging to walk to the grocery store, causing food to be less accessible to neighborhood residents. The time and distance to walk to Kroger also makes it difficult. For example, if a resident lived near the intersection of E 11th and N Grant, the walk to Kroger would be almost a mile, or around 17 minutes of walking for an able-bodied adult. We also must consider other elements such as brutal winters, carrying a load of groceries back home, and taking along children, which could be considered dangerous with the amount of traffic. Kroger is also a bit more expensive than other grocery stores, while Weinland Park is statistically a lower income neighborhood with low health and high crime.

Despite the challenges residents face when trying to access a grocery store, the neighborhood has decent walkability rankings. WalkScore rated its walkability, transit, and biking with scores of 84, 55, and 67, respectively. While this is a good foundation for Weinland Park, there are some aspects that could improve the scores significantly. From a planning perspective, more street lighting, crosswalks, and perhaps an ordinance that ensures street plants are cut back could all help to make the walk to the grocery store an easier and safer one. Local government can take control by planning more farmers’ markets and petitioning for more public transit throughout the neighborhood to help improve the transit score of the area as well. In terms of private food businesses, encouraging the start up of a local bodega could create a positive  addition to the neighborhood and provide another source of healthy food options.

Street lacks crosswalks, creating dangerous conditions for pedestrians.

Street lacks crosswalks, creating dangerous conditions for pedestrians.

Sam’s East Village Market

Sam’s East Village Market

Overgrown plants make sidewalks more narrow.

Overgrown plants make sidewalks more narrow.

The Diamond Developers: Re-Submission Planning Local Development

The design that we chose for the new residential, commercial and office complex going in the lot bordered by Long Street, Gay Street and High Street captures several of the adjectives that the group feels is Columbus. Columbus is a city that is growing, and slowly getting its population back as it becomes more 

Green- The group felt that above all, the new complex needs to capture the environmentally friendly, green city that Columbus has become. Parks spot the city, giving families and pet owners an escape from the concrete, without leaving city limits. For that reason, there are plant walls with flowers that will last through all Ohio weather, a courtyard in the middle, and gardens on different step-backs. Not only does it play to the many parks throughout the city, but it provides a nice escape for the office workers and the residents. 

Pride– People in the city of Columbus are proud to be from Columbus, and love to see things that represent their city and state. Being Ohio’s state flower, the group plans to incorporate the red flowers in the flower walls and gardens. The Columbus Park of Roses is a huge attraction for everything from a casual walk to a wedding. In addition to the state flower, roses will be featured in the rooftop gardens.  

Renewal- Columbus is getting younger, and additions such as the Short North and the Arena District help attract and keep the younger residents. With younger people and a growing skyline, the city is being renewed and revived. To help symbolize this new age for an older city, the design includes a growing concept- large open windows for the stores and restaurants. It allows outdoor seating while still being indoors, and is a growing concept that is becoming popular. It adds youth to the building and the city. 

History- Columbus is old, and a lot of the original buildings remind the citizens of the older styles that used to cover the city. The brick, the Corinthian column style border along the tops of the buildings, the decorative window frames and the faux  balconies are seen all around the city. The group wanted to preserve that style, making sure the building fits in with those across the street and around the city. The entire complex will be brick, with the railings surrounding the various gardens imitating those that make up the fake balconies. It’s a way to welcome people into the city with a new building that has a comfortable, old-time feel.

Welcoming– Although it is a big city, the people living there would make one think otherwise. Being in the Midwest, Columbus residents are very welcoming to anyone and everyone. People are kind, they are open, they accept all people. This complex is at the entrance to downtown Columbus, so the group felt that while it will be several stories high, the building shouldn’t be overwhelming to those driving in. This prompted the idea to have the corners of the complex square be a few stories shorter, building up while adding step-backs. The residential area will be the farthest back from the street to give a sense of privacy to those living there.

Diversity- Columbus is a historically diverse city, with its now popular Italian and German Villages that bring light to the cultures of other countries. These neighborhoods, among the several other that differ in style, inspired the group to make each building and side of the complex a little different, whether it be the height or building material. Having each building in the complex be the same height is too boring for a city that has so many components going into it. 

The two block lot bound by High Street, Gay Street and Long Street should be taken advantage of, providing ample living and working space. The group designed each building in the complex to be at least eight stories high, with the pool on the roof. This way, more apartments or offices can be put in and the space isn’t wasted.

The group feels that with this design, the essence of Columbus was captured and implemented. It takes the best qualities of the city and emphasizes them, so that whether you’ve lived in the city your whole life or if you’re just visiting, you’ll look at Parkside on High and think, “Columbus.”


side view1

At the ground level the building will be brick to represent the history and authenticity of Columbus. As it rises, the stepbacks will change into a complimentary tan color to match surrounding buildings and break up the different portions of Parkside on High. Each stepback will have a green area for residents or office workers to enjoy. The green expresses Columbus’s environmentally friendly reform and will help break apart the stories in a memorable and symbolic way. On the corner of Long and High the complex’s height will be between 6-8 stories to make it seem more welcoming. Instead of just throwing 14 stories in one’s face at the entrance to downtown, seeing lower stories at first will make the building less overwhelming.


side view

This view, from the perspective of Gay St. shows the opening of this complex. The courtyard that forms a divide in the building allows for people in Columbus to walk and sit and eat and lounge. Columbus is a friendly city and allows people to slow down and talk to one another. The flowers planted here will be carnations, Ohio’s state flower, to show the pride Columbus has for itself and the state. The different levels of the building gives this complex variety and allows for it to stand out and not just be looked over.


top view

This is a top view of Parkside on High. This perspective shows how the courtyard will cut into the building, leaving it as a U shape. Gay St. has more restaurants, cafes, and stores so the opening will allow for people to sit in a gardenesque space and escape city life. The two pools on the roof, rather than on the 3rd floor allow for more stories to be used for office and residential.

IMG_4887 [401675]

The logo that the group came up with for Parkside on High features the Columbus skyline in black, with our building design in white.