Students design city blocks near Gateway

By Isabella Bravo, Staff Writer

Urban planning and architecture students are applying what they’ve learned by serving urban communities and exchanging knowledge across disciplines.

In an introductory course, architecture and planning students, many of whom have not yet been admitted into the major, were divided into groups of three or four to redesign a city block in The Gateway based on interviews with residents and people who work within the area.

“Our students, they come from suburban settings,” said Keith Bartholomew, a professor of city and metropolitan planning at the U. “We wanted to be in a place that was very urban, because it’s an opportunity to participate in communities with which they are not familiar.”
Bartholomew selected the Gateway district, which runs from 200 North to 600 South and 300 West to Interstate 15, three years ago when he launched a service-learning course that fulfills the introductory requirements for both the departments of architecture and urban planning.

Students said the interview experience was a rare opportunity for planning and architecture students in an introductory course.

“You design from different angles,” said Vincent Fritz, a junior in planning, about how the interviews with community members affected his design process. “The project gave me an appreciation for the whole system, like sidewalks and all the in-between places, the stuff you wouldn’t normally notice.”

The students presented their final projects at the Second Street Gallery on 511 W. 200 South, in the heart of The Gateway.

At the exhibit opening, Bartholomew said, looking out the front windows of the gallery, “Nowhere else in the valley gets this stark with The Gateway mall on the left and the Road Home on the right. It’s this poignant contrast of affluence and poverty, of old and new.”

For her project, Jeana Antle, a junior in architecture, drew up a proposal to redevelop the block directly south of Pioneer Park, a space mainly comprised of large parking lots, distribution centers and the nightclub Area 51.

“Open space can become dead and empty,” Antle said about the block. “We turned it into an outdoor gallery space. Public art is a healing and community-building thing.”
P.J. Nakamwa, a freshman in pre-architecture, said he appreciated the opportunity to work with students from other disciplines.

“We are working in a group: three architecture and one planning,” he said. Architects develop the buildings and urban planners focus on zoning and integrating the buildings into the community, Nakamwa said. “But those lines blurred over the semester. Without this class, I wouldn’t have been exposed to planning this early,” he said.

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Thien Sok

U students from an architecture and urban planning class display their final projects at the 200 South art gallery Friday evening. Their final projects are plans and ideas for new developments throughout the Salt Lake Valley that could improve urban life.