The award winning Wichita Downtown Development Project was created in the landscape architecture Site Planning and Design Studio during the Spring 2013 semester, led by Blake Belanger, associate professor, and Jon Hunt, assistant professor. The studio collaborated with the Wichita Downtown Development Corporation, a non-profit advocate for strengthening Downtown Wichita. Jason Gregory, MLA ‘04, who serves as the Executive Vice President of the WDDC, worked closely with the studio.
“The corporation used part of a grant from the Knight Foundation to fund the collaboration, used primarily to cover student travel expenses for a four-day field trip and follow-up trips to Wichita, as well as document publishing costs,” Belanger said. “The intent of the studio was to advance Project Downtown, The Master Plan for Wichita, completed about two years ago by Boston planning consultant Goody Clancy.”
The master plan completed by Goody Clancy identified a number of “catalyst sites” which were city-owned properties ideal for urban infill, that would help to initiate redevelopment in downtown. The class took the conceptual ideas for the catalyst sites and developed them into detailed and sophisticated design proposals.
“Early in the semester, the students benefitted from spending multiple consecutive days in Wichita to learn about the city first-hand. During the initial field trip and several follow-up meetings, the students met with local planning and design professionals who provided feedback on the students’ work,” Belanger said.
The semester concluded with formal presentations to a group of city planners and design consultants, followed by a reception and exhibit open to the public. The students’ work was the focus of a number of articles local news (linked below) and the studio was featured in a commercial campaign for a local bank that focused on creativity. Their successful interaction with local stakeholders has generated interest in future K-State APDesign engagement in Wichita. The project received a Kansas American Planning Association New Horizon Award at the 2013 KS APA Annual Meeting.
The final report can be found at:
More information about the project can be found at the following sites:
Wichita Eagle Article, Published Jan. 29, 2013
Landscape architecture students to help with Wichita’s downtown development
Wichita Eagle Article, Published April 26, 2013
Model of downtown Wichita, with revitalization ideas, to be unveiled May 8
Wichita Business Journal Article, Published May 3, 2013
Coming up: Designs for downtown Wichita
Wichita Business Journal Article, Published June 20, 2013
Architecture students’ vision for downtown inspirational
Wichita Business Journal Article, Published June 24, 2013
Developers to present proposals for west-bank site in downtown Wichita
1. MLA 4th year students Nick Mercado and Dale Bradley discuss their proposals to Jason Gregory, Executive Vice President, Wichita Downtown Development Corporation. Their proposals project a future where people can live downtown in unique identifiable districts, in a city with new regional destinations, a range of urban living opportunities, iconic landmarks, compelling civic space, and new economic opportunities. Photo by Jon Hunt
2. MLA 4th year, Katie Leise, being interviewed by local news affiliate about her teams project “100Wichita”. Photo by Jon Hunt
3. MLA 4th year students Glen Jarrett and Ross DeVault presenting ‘1st and Waco” to the Wichita Design Professionals while sharing how their design will create a new urban center for Wichita. Photo by Jon Hunt