Booklet Idea 2.0

So more after today’s meeting:

This is the idea for the spread for “current conditions”. We definitely need to find a better word for it. Two major diagrams:

  1. Walking Circles + Ammenities + BID + Neighborhood 07 (CBD) -> Challenge as epicenter
  2. City of Ithaca + nodes of more distant but significant attractions (education, employment, health, public space)

These are sketches of the first 3 spreads and also the general structure of the introduction to “RE-URBANIZE Ithaca!”

  1. LONG TERM VISION: walkable, transit, sustainable, equitable, diverse, vibrant all-season, eco-density
  2. “current conditions”: What can Downtown Offer (+ve), General Growth Trends (+ve) and “Almost There…” (-ve +ve -> talking about issues of housing, low density and cyclical activity)

The Growth Trend and “Almost There…” page.

And lastly…


Research on International D/B Projects

On Thursday (2/25), the new CUSD research and planning team presented different categories of university/non-university based sustainable or social Design Build projects in front of a few senior members and faculties. Here’s the international projects research:

Hope it’ll be a good resource! And watch for more updates on the new Cornell University Sustainable Design (previously Cornell University Solar Decathlon)

RE-URBANIZE ithaca!: booklet Idea 1.0

Folded and Stapled at the spine: 8.5 x 11 sheets

No. of sheets: 10

No. of pages: ~ 40 (no worries! Lots of pics/diagrams that eats up space)

This is the first attempt to identify the specifics of the booklet. Sections would include:

Why Downtown?

–       map of CBD, BID and interesting parts (Commons, amenities, etc.)

–       The other page on the spread would be a short description to entice Downtown living along with statistics and mappings of walking distances, amenities, parking

Vision for Downtown

–       Short write-up on the vision for Downtown

–       Image of Challenge Industries Building and its potentials

–       Diverse, walking and transit-oriented community

–       SECOND SPREAD: criterias for evaluating the site / downtown with icons and explanations


–       first spread would be images of Challenge and our motivation and summary of ideas

–       The next few pages will be dedicated to the 3 schemes

–       For each scheme, we need to figure out the layout and what information to be placed

–       Important info: (needs to be refined and added on)

  1. Diagrams and images of building
  2. Plan on site (footprint): have to show adjacent lots Insurance and Inn
  3. Short description of each idea
  4. Matrix of evaluation (will be a table that includes the criterias along with icons as numbering system)
  5. Financial Strategies – include capital stack diagram (rough estimate)
  6. Architectural/Design Strategies
  7. Sustainable Systems Strategies
  8. Diagram for percentage of commercial, residential, public
  9. Diagram for residential units: affordable, medium, high


–       Compilation of grants or programs that are available for housing

–       Compilation of diagrams for sustainable systems (include local providers)

ICONS: rounded square with figures

–       Employment

–       Investment worthy (profit)

–       Sustainability: can be broken down into more

–       Livability: for residents and users of the Commons downtown area

–       Revitalization factor

–       Diversity

–       Density

–       Walkability

–       Water consumption

–       Electricity use

–       New construction materials

–       Material recycling factor

–       Embodied energy

–       Vibrancy

D+E|E+D Project 1 revival?

Let’s hope that we can revive this project after this semester…

re-imagine Challenge: an independent study

The independent study is approved! so the real work begins…

Course: LA 4970 – 603

Grade: Letter

Faculty Advisor: Prof. Peter Trowbridge, Department of Landscape Architecture

Semester: Spring 2010

Participants: Barry Beagen, Jonathan Leape, Erin Johnson, Lauren Schunk, Carly Dean, Lexi Quint, Catherine Hanna, Carol Chiu and Lucas Chwe


Ithaca is one of the fastest growing cities in Upstate New York, but it has failed to provide sufficient density near the city center to sustain vibrancy in the Commons and allow workers in the lower income brackets to live in the city.  The incongruously affluent academic population distorts the real estate market, and forces many lower income workers to either spent up to 40% of their income on rent or commute from neighboring counties.  The commuting population is vulnerable to gas price increases, does not benefit from many of Ithaca’s services, particularly the school system, and causes congestion in the city center.  Furthermore, new satellite suburban developments, the big box development along route 13 and Ithaca Mall distract Ithacans and visitors from the city center, leaving it only occasionally lively.

The old Challenge Industries building is located at a strategic location. It is at the gateway to the Commons and is at an anchor point between Seneca and East State Street. We are going to envision the possibility for a densification and revitalization of the Commons by injecting a more equitable mixed-income and mixed-use development.


There will be compulsory weekly meetings on Tuesdays 7.30pm to 9.30pm that will be conducted as collaborative studio sessions. Participating students will be working on the project collaboratively during this session. Meetings outside this session will still be conducted in a more flexible manner according to necessity.

Another weekly meeting with the faculty advisor, Prof. Peter Trowbridge, for one hour will be scheduled. This meeting will include reviews, updates and evaluation of progress.

There is a minimum of 3 hours of commitment per week.


The project will be compiled in a comprehensive report, which will be given to the public. The report will include:

Schematic Designs

We will produce schematic designs that will respond to the site appropriately given the programs that we uncover from our research. This includes:

  • At least 3 different schemes will be produced
  • Appropriate communicative materials such as drawings and renderings will be produced
  • Final posters and presentation for final review

Site Analysis Report

The site analysis report will be important in generating the form of the building. At the same time, this will be useful for city officials if they plan future developments. This includes:

  • Current conditions, potentials and issues of the site
  • Recommendations on how to respond to the site
  • Diagrams and maps that will aid in the explanation

Affordable Housing Report

The affordable housing report will cover the current conditions and feasibilities for affordable housing in downtown Ithaca. This includes:

  • Conducting recorded interviews with city officials and various interested parties such as developers and homeowner’s associations
  • Intercept surveys of local citizens
  • Building up upon the various reports that has been produced from Cornell University and also the City of Ithaca


Through this exercise, we hope to raise awareness on the issue of affordable housing in downtown Ithaca. We also hope to contribute to the city by providing ideas for future possibilities. We believe that the old Challenge Industries Building site has a great potential to revitalize Ithaca’s downtown and provide a new direction in a more sustainable and equitable urban development. We are also hoping to inject our ideas and research into the currently developing Downtown Masterplan.

D+E|E+D re-imagining the Challenge continues…

After relaying the messages from the review to team, the proposal was revised. We are still trying to identify and narrow down the project. As a group we decided not to work within the framework of DesignConnect and continue to be an autonomous organization. The competition idea and the exhibition is becoming too ambitious. In order to keep ourselves in line, we decided to do an independent study with Prof. Trowbridge.

Winter break is ahead and we begin to assign tasks for everyone.

D+E|E+D Thanksgiving!

what more can we say…

the turkey