Located in Lawrence, Kansas, this project proposes a new streetscape design for East 9th Street connecting downtown Lawrence to the East Lawrence arts district. At the core of this ArtPlace America project approach is an innovative urban planning model that embeds artists into the process of planning the street itself, allowing their practice to proactively shape the way the city and neighborhoods look, feel, and function.
The design itself explores circulation patterns and universal design strategies in conjunction with preservation of existing historical assets. Through a close study of activity nodes and speeds of movement, the integrated artists propose subtle ways that these daily interactions could be highlighted and celebrated. At the foundation of this sits intersection of urban stormwater management strategies and local plant communities, a functional product and reflection of the central Kansas ecologies.
The result of this grassroots, on-the-ground, contextual absorption is a plan that proposes a simple, centralized armature of multi-modal circulation. From this armature hang a variety of neighborhood ‘moments’ and simple ‘handshakes’ with the grit and grain of a century-old community. The East 9th planning process was highly engaging of the community and sometimes polarizing – as all good art can be. From the physical design of the streetscape to the integration of artists in the process, the community engaged on all levels. The result is a plan that is highly responsive to existing conditions, sensitive to community assets, and unique to Lawrence.