The goal of the University District is to make sure that the neighborhood improves through urban design and future land use. The University District is also a way that the community can be involved in the development of their area. The main goal of the University District plan is to guide the board on deciding if proposed changes are appropriate for the area. The University District Planning area is approximately 2.9 square miles. While the University District is a framework for plan proposals it cannot solve issues such as health care and public safety as these fall outside of the built and natural environment. The University District zone is currently subdivided into 12 sections such as OSU, Glen Echo, Old north Columbus, etc. This area has developed over the last 200 years in relation to the proximity and growth of the Ohio State University. Within these 12 neighborhoods there are 4 that are historic districts. These four has varied, stricter standards when it comes to renovating the properties within these districts. One current plan that the University District has implemented is A Plan for High Street: Creating a 21st Century Main Street (2002). This plans goal is to help improve the public realm and revitalize 19 High Street locations with focus on Gateway. This plan has improved the gateway area and allowed it to become a hotspot for daytime and evening attractions.
The land use goals presented by the University District Plan are reasonable and retain the value of urban space. The FAR of 1:1 is smart to have in the university district because the area can become over populated with the return of college students after the summer and maximum housing is necessary to hold Ohio States students. While the adjustments to FAR are smart the changes will require a Code Change which is something that can take a substantial amount of time. The minimization of parking is a good thing for those living within the University District and walking distance, but I worry that with such little parking people will be discouraged from visiting the area from farther away locations. The 5th goal about striving to be a sustainable community and utilizing green building practice is a great idea and will keep this area current and a clean place people want to be.
The recent development on the southeast corner of High St and Lane Ave is consistent with the land use goals of the new plan. A High-density apartments just went up with commercial space on the first level. This follows the projected use of the area and follows the height requirements too. The new plan encourages parking garages to be built and this building also has a parking garage built underneath the residential spaces on the first two stories.
The plan addresses the minimization of green space around campus. With the implementation of FAR the green space is accounted for on properties and is strongly encouraged for new developed sites. There are also areas of land that have remained unused for some time and this land plan will help to define those spaces, so development may start on them and the land will not be vacant longer.
One suggestion our group has is more focuses outlines of sidewalks within the Neighborhood Mixed Use area. This land use category does not touch on sidewalk requirements for the buildings and while there are codes that state it including it within the land proposal will help to make this topic less obscure. To properly encourage walking and biking adequate sidewalks and bike lanes are necessary to make pedestrians comfortable.
Our paragraphs are a few post below- photos were unable to be uploaded with paragraphs
The south wall of Dunkin Donuts is a plain beige concrete brick siding that is UGLY. In front of the wall is a four-person wide side walk that allows for the heavy foot traffic of college students and professors that come in from the east side. This wall is around 10 feet and could have a demanding presence if it was not beige and I’ll say it again UGLY. There is no true problem with the space except for that it is a missed opportunity for the community to come together. Through the addition of art this wall could become a photo hot spot for the community and E Woodruff could become safer because of the increased presence of people to this area. A second problem space we noticed was close to the Dunkin wall. It is the area directly in front of the coffee shop. Well in front and below. The inlaid courtyard in front of ChaTime is the second problem area our group found. The massive stone steps while appropriate on a Renaissance Villa are out of place in this small area. Not only are the steps taking up absurd amounts of space, but the space is even more cut down by ChaTime having a fake façade two feet out from the actual edge of their building. The area of the courtyard that is left over is inhabitable because while it is inlaid, outside of having walls, there is no resemblance of a roof or protection against the elements. Through a redesign of the stairs to a more modern design and implementation of some sort of roof element the space could become a hot spot and an off-campus getaway.
To change the wall space, we could follow the outline given by the concrete blocks and invite the community in to take a block and color in it. In the horizontal lines of filler between the blocks some light feature could be introduced to bring the space alive at night and also increase safety as people walk home from high street at night. Another way to revitalize the space would be to invite a local artist to create a mural for the wall, again will some sort of lighting feature.
The inlaid courtyard could be fixed through a plethora of artists instillations. One artist could be brought in to add overhead lighting, to avoid this being simple outdoor lights the artist could take influence from the shops around and design the lights as donuts, coffee cups, Chinese food, etc. Or any other idea they could come up with to light the space at night and tie the area together. Another artist could be invited to design a modern set of stairs that allow access to the area while not being as bulky as the existing steps. The newly opened area could be revitalized with tables and umbrellas to allow protection against sunlight and rain. The umprellas could be a simple navy on the outside but once opened would have different artists work painted on the inside. This allows artists to come in and individualize the space while not overpowering the small area with too much. The building itself could also be painted a new color (not beige) to bring new life to the space.
This project while covering a small area is one that would take some time to fully complete. To ease the business owners’ minds about this issue of a loss of business off of the main street there would be signs posted around the construction of the inlaid entrance stating where the side entrance is for the underground complex. The signs would then continue on the path much like road detour signs work. This would diminish the loss of customers because the signs along with the construction would intrigue people and then the business would be on their mind and they would go to check it out. The mural on the side wall would go up first and be finished in a couple days because it is simply a change of façade. This new mural would catch the public’s interest and be a way to excite people for the upcoming newly revamped store fronts/courtyard. To finance this project, we will go to the businesses whose store main entrances are in the courtyard. Through strong presentations with data about the increases in business seen for these shops post construction we will gain profits to start and pay for these projects. Another group we may be able to approach for money to implement this plan is the City of Columbus. The courtyard is not currently handicap accessible and through the use of the city policies that state all public places need to be accessible to those with disabilities we could gain funding to redo the stairs to allow for all people to access the shops and areas.