Planned Neighborhood – Blog 6

The charge of a planner is not only to design spaces with people in mind, but is equally concerned with designing spaces that people keep in their minds. Though there are correlational trends to draw in traffic, there is no set formula for providing a space with an attractive atmosphere. A space can be designed with every activator in record: water, shade, movable seating, etc. That same space can provide opportunities for recreation, entertainment, and commerce, or could just as well be planned expertly to mix these uses with residential zones. However, these spatial assets would be worthless if the area does not interest potential residents. An empty space is a wasted space.

The City of Dublin Planning Commission currently plans to undergo a dramatic re-designing of their “Bridge Street District.” In doing so, their aim is not only to attract the “best and the brightest” to the new district, but to retain residents. As such, they must resolve the issue in their design methods; they must prevent the new development from becoming an empty space. The site at hand is a 3.75 acre Greenfield located off of Dale Drive, zoned in the BSD Scioto River Neighborhood District. The site is bordered by residential and office zones.

When asked what should be placed in this site, the team answered with another question: What makes a district desirable? The team developed a hypothesis that it is a place’s distinctness, an intangible character present in streetscape and structure façades that creates an atmosphere which clearly defines the place in both space and time. What makes a place desirable is the fact that it is unlike anywhere else. It can be similar to another area, but the character of the district feels different than anywhere else in the metro area. As such, our team decided that a local history museum could be placed in that area. The museum would feature small installations regarding the history of Dublin, and Columbus, and feature works by local artists and community members. The bulk of the area would be devoted to an event center which could house travelling exhibitions and be available for reserved events, such as concerts, speaker series, weddings, workshops, or government meetings. Our team believes that the addition of a cultural space with a community center could tie together the homey, family-friendly characteristics already present in Dublin, as well as prompting community events geared towards a younger crowd. This land use is conveniently located to both an office sector as well as a residential district, allowing several members of the new district access to the space without creating a nuisance.