Centralstation Studio

River Grand Charrettes

November 15, 2006

This wiki shows the concepts developed for the River Grand area by 2 Creativity Classes. The "RIVERGRAND" development zone is a large section of the city close to downtown that has been used for municipal, service, and industrial functions in recent years. The city of GR and various developers have begun to make plans for how this part of town might be developed. It is rare for such a large area to be considered for redesign. In the past these opportunities have come after wars, fires, or hurricanes. This project makes an inquiry into the questions:

Who makes the city?
Is it just Government Planners and Commercial Developers?
How might citizens be involved in Imagining the city?
What processes might be used to imagine a city that maximizes it's forms for the public good?
How might cities be really different (better) than our existing ideas about cities?
The designs will be developed in Charrettes initiated at the Civic Studio at the CentralStation on Wednesday, November 15th. Groups of 3 students are assigned individual block areas. Prior to the Charrette each participant should read the problem statement and supporting documents.

Problem Statement
The problem is: After investigating your block, create/document concepts for how it might be developed for the public good.

You might use the Principles of Smart Growth
In particular consider existing and past communities such as the neighboring Roosevelt Park Neighborhood.
Your development can use public funds (government) or private funds (individuals and corporations).
Here are the City of Grand Rapids Documents for 201 Market. This is a part of this area owned by the City. Lots of detail here.
Essentially ask "How might this space be changed physically to help support and generate public life?"
Be informed by facts, but don't be constrained by them. Be highly imaginative. Your ideas don't have to be logical or possible.
Links to Jane Addams, Democracy and the Common Good

Consider how to infrom the use and design of space with Addams' notion of a democratic social ethic. In other words, how can we create an environment that promotes democracy? Consider the following democratic ideals as you think about the recreation of space:

- Responsibility
- Diversity
- Participation
- Equality
- Action
- Self-determination
Also think about what democracy LOOKS LIKE - as we discussed in clas (i.e. class interaction, contact and relationships between groups, cooperative living, economic opportunity, right to contribute to society)

Also, think about Addams' experience with the immigrant neighborhoods of Chicago. The Civic Studio is adjacent to the Roosevelt Park neighborhood, home to many new immigrants, primarily from Latin America. What would Addams say or propose to advance democracy and civic participation in this neighborhood? Think about the effect of spatial and geographical segregation on democracy.
Lastly, be CREATIVE in how you think about these themes. Make connections and explore the possibilities!
Studio Guidelines:

Be sure to address ideas for your area, but you can also extend into ideas for adjoining areas.
At minimum present your ideas in writing. You can also attach images or images of drawings.
Use the studio wiki (if someone can figure it out). Otherwise use paper.
Bring digital cameras and portable computers that have wireless. (wireless network at the studio is "Rapidwireless1", password is "$rapidguest6837").
Studio Process:

Walk with your group to the site.
Imagine, discuss, and give form to ideas for the space.
Document the ideas in text and image and put them up on the wiki or on paper.
Products from these sessions may be included in the Civic studios continued work on this issue.

Other projects from Centralstation Studio

Project Archive includes an index of projects and exhibitions on this site.