Over 60 alumni, friends, CRP students, and faculty enjoyed the Cornell reception at the San Francisco APA Conference on April 15. This was one of our largest get togethers in years, saw folks from across the US and abroad representing more than 40 years of CRP classes interacting and having a great time together.
Cornell CRP PhD James Macmillen has just won the 2019 Guilford Prize, a competition sponsored by the Cornell Department of English. “The Phoenix Keepers: An Anthropology of Futurity in Detroit City Hall” was based on Macmillen’s PhD work at Cornell.
Although administered though the English department, the Guilford Prize may be awarded to a doctoral student in any discipline “whose thesis is judged to display the highest excellence in English prose.” Not only is it nice to be fêted with praise for good work, the prize comes with $1500 award, as well.
After Cornell, Macmillen headed (mid)west to work as an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning.
This spring semester, Associate Professor of the Practice George Frantz (M.R.P. ’91) took students in CRP 4160 – Rome Neighborhood Studies all over Italy to learn about its history as well as current initiatives that are shaping its built environment. In class field trips, students visited community gardens in Rome’s Fossa Bravetta and Naples’ Afragola neighborhoods, toured an under-development former industrial site in Turin, and met with the activists who run Eco dalle Città, a food-recycling program in the same city.
Students undertook this firsthand learning as part of Cornell in Rome, a semester-long program that gives planning, art, and architecture students at the undergraduate and graduate levels the opportunity to live and learn in Italy’s capital.
Check out the gallery above to see more highlights from the semester.
CRP Associate Professor of Practice George Frantz has received the Kaplan Family Distinguished Faculty Fellowship in Service-Learning. The $5,000 award will be used to support Frantz’ community-engaged teaching and research. This year, he was one of two Cornell faculty to receive the grant.
Last fall, Prof. Frantz led students in his environmental impact review class on a field trip to western Pennsylvania to examine fracking’s impact on the landscape. This spring, he is teaching at AAP’s Rome program.
More information about the award can be found here.
CRP alumna Min Bu (M.R.P. ’14) and a team of Shanghai planners has won two awards for a proposed redesign of Caoyang Community, the city’s first development devoted to housing for workers
Inspired by Boston’s Freedom Trail, The Shanghai Urban Construction Design and Research Institute designed a stroll that will let visitors get to know the area’s history. Established in 1951, the lead designer for the Caoyang Community was architect Wang Dingzeng, who drew on the ideas of planner Clarence Perry who pioneered the idea of the neighborhood unit.
The proposal picked up the Jane Jacobs Award for Community and Regional Planning and the Special Award for Excellence in Advancing Social Equity. Both were awarded by the APA’s International Division.
Read more about the project here.
News via Shine.
A Cornell team took home the gold in the student design competition at the American Planning Association’s (APA) 2019 National Conference in San Francisco. Students Kevin Kim (M.L.A./M.R.P.), Lera Covington (M.P.S./M.R.P.), Jeanette Petti (M.L.A./M.R.P.), and Dylan Stevenson (Ph.D. C.R.P.) wowed the jury with Fruit Pad, an affordable housing marketing and educational campaign that takes a “fresh look” at Fruitvale, a neighborhood in Oakland, CA. The East Bay city has sky-high housing prices amidst rapid gentrification thanks to a Bay Area–wide housing crunch fueled by an influx of residents and tech money.
Take a look at the introduction to Fruit Pad below, and check out the rest of the project here.
Oakland has an affordable housing crisis. It’s the third most expensive metro area in the country for renters, and it’s gotten increasingly difficult for Oakland residents to obtain affordable housing.
Though this problem persists, the City of Oakland has been diligent in its efforts to address the housing crisis. It’s implemented a variety of affordable housing programs and policies throughout the years and, with the release of the Mayor’s Housing Action Plan: A Roadmap to Equity and the City’s Housing Element
Plan, it’s working on implementing even more.
With strong housing policies already in place and more in the works, we didn’t want to rehash these strategies or propose what the City has already proposed, so we decided to take a different approach. We think that Oakland has all the necessary policies in place to successfully address its affordable housing crisis, so we’re going to use what the City already has – but package them a little bit differently.
That’s why we’re recommending Fruit Pad – a fresh and revamped educational and marketing program for Oakland’s affordable housing policies, specifically tailored to the Fruitvale neighborhood. Fruit Pad uses a variety of strategies – from turning the neighborhood into a living lab with affordable housing “experiments” to empowering local leaders to open their homes to residents looking for advice – all in an effort to make the City’s existing affordable housing policies and resources more transparent and more approachable.
Professor Iwan J. Azis is very interested in how President Donald Trump’s trade policy impacts the American Midwest. Since the lead-up to the 2016 election, Trump has bombarded Americans (and people all over the world, really) with his “America first” initiative, an isolationist approach to global trade that uses massive incentives to entice overseas manufacturers to set up shop in the United States. One of the most visible outcomes of America first is a planned plant for Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn in Mount Pleasant, Wisconsin. Subsidized by billions in tax incentives, the facility was supposed to make LCD screens from start to finish, but right now, the screens have to be shipped to a factory in Mexico to be finished off. A recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek called Wisconsin’s agreement with Foxconn “disastrous.”
To learn more about America first on-the-ground, Azis, who is a CRP Visiting Lecturer and an AEM Adjunct Professor, visited Mount Pleasant over February break (Full disclosure: I’m in Intro to Methods of Planning Analysis, the class Prof. Azis teaches in CRP, and he seemed very enthusiastic about this trip). After returning to Ithaca, Prof. Azis gave an interview on U.S. trade policy to Development + Cooperation (D+C), a German publication that focuses on global development.
In that conversation, Azis gives readers his take on the U.S.’ tariff war with China, Trump’s issues with the World Trade Organization, and more. A link to the interview in English and in German can be found here and here.
This week students in Cornell CRP’s Design Connect workshop presented their scheme for a Binghamton park to the city’s Parks Committee to favorable reviews. The group, led by Carolyn Gimbal (H.P.P ’19), proposed a looping trail to connect different programs in Ross Park, which is home to Binghamton’s zoo and children’s science museum.
The proposal is a key part of Design Connect, a class open to graduate and undergraduate students from AAP, as well as the university at large. The course pairs student design teams with local clients to improve public spaces the clients steward or manage.
“It can be a really affordable way for cities and nonprofits to develop plans for things like parks,” Gimbal told WBNG, which first reported the story.
For Ross Park, students conducted a site analysis and outreached park users to determine what would make the park more user-friendly. Park-goers told the group that the park’s roadways were confusing to navigate, and that park paths posed dangers to pedestrians.
To address these concerns, the team thought it would be a good idea to revamp trails through the park’s woodlands, and connect the main entrance with the zoo’s carousel. They also presented plans to add public art and new plantings, enhance traffic control via bollards near the main entrance, and slice a view of downtown through the trees.
The Parks Committee will forward the project to the whole city council once funds are secured, perhaps this spring.
Funding for the project could come from state grants and historic preservation funds. Gimbal stated that the total estimated cost of the improvements comes out to about $677,000.
The APA Alaska chapter has honored Ben Coleman (M.R.P. ’17) with its emerging planner award.
Coleman wears many hats in role as a transit planner in the Mat-Su Borough, which is the fastest-growing region in the state. Among his many projects, he’s worked on MSB’s $43 million road bond, prepared an economic development proposal for West Meadow Lakes and Houston, Alaska, and crafted a GIS map of the borough’s Long-Range Transportation Plan. He is also the representative for his region in APA Alaska.
The first colloquium lecture of 2019 is scheduled for this Friday, February 8. Willow Lung-Amam, assistant professor in the urban studies and planning program at the University of Maryland, College Park, will speak on Asian-American experiences in the suburbs, a topic she explored in her most recent book. Lung-Amam’s talk starts at 12:20 p.m. in the Milstein auditorium.
More information on Lung-Amam’s work and her talk can be found on the AAP website.
Nothing kills a great idea quite like a mediocre poster. Even though this versatile visual medium is one of the most effective ways to communicate complex ideas, many academic posters are crowded with tiny text, fuzzy photos, and hard-to-read graphics. Not good.
While other fields have to clear their own paths to Nice Poster World, the Department of City and Regional Planning (CRP) is expediting the process for Cornell planners. The department is offering cash prizes for the best posters–$500 for the overall best submission, $250 to the runner-ups. That’s at least 250 $1 beers or the cost of 1/4 of one credit at Cornell!
The image above has more information about the competition, including entry guidelines. The deadline to submit is 10 a.m. on March 18.
The posters will be displayed at the Open House for accepted students on March 22, and poster-makers will be on hand to discuss the fruits of their immense creative genius.
In the fall, MRP students accompanied CRP’s Associate Professor of Practice George Frantz in uncovering the land use impacts from natural gas mining in the rural Pennsylvanian agricultural communities of Bradford County. From farmers leasing out parcels of their farmland for drilling, to the state’s substantial impact fees for any form of misconduct committed by the oil industries, Bradford County’s agricultural areas are experiencing new gains in development.
Frantz has been studying this phenomenon since 2008, this journey allowed MRP students to observe how Pennsylvania’s legislation affects mining. For example, unlike many states with natural gas mining operations that allow for compressor stations to be exposed, Pennsylvania mandated that stations match the area’s building typologies. In rural Bradford, the stations masquerade as barns, pictured above and below. The state’s rules also require the compressors’ noise pollution to be minimal.
Joining the team was Avi Gandhi (MRP ’19), who shared her experience below:
“I had heard Bradford County had about two thousand wells and hundreds of drill units, I expected scarring and devastation in the landscape. What I saw instead was large expanse of family farms, windmills in the distance, species of birds I had not seen before. It was a happy surprise to find that Pennsylvania laws regulating hydraulic fracturing were stringent enough to impose heavy impact fee requirements on energy companies, so that any negative damage caused by fracking had to be paid for by the companies carrying it out. This was evident from the smooth condition of roads leading up to drill sites. We saw impoundment facilities, several well pads, and a compressor station. It was a fun fact that well pads are usually located higher up on hilltops rather than valleys, as the bedrock is closer to the surface. It felt like an expedition where we were on a mission to track down an active site. We didn’t find any, but I learned to look for the right clues.”
Originally planned as a trip to document sites with an active mining rig, this objective went unmet because the team was unable to find any rigs. Nonetheless, this experience allowed for the group to reflect on how the mining practices could be further regulated. As planners, we must acknowledge our responsibility in ensuring that the preservation of the natural landscapes is upheld to the highest standards possible. For if we do not protect the environment that we live in, how can we ensure that our population flourishes?
Grant N. Thompson (MRP ’19)
Although 2019 feels a world away (especially since we’re all bogged down with finals next week), now is the time to nominate lecturers for the upcoming Clarence S. Stein Colloquium. The annual lecture, held on March 22 next year, brings distinguished urbanists to campus to talk about their ideas, their work, and their motivations for making better cities. Last year, MacArthur Genius Fellow Damon Rich, partner at Newark, New jersey–based design firm Hector, spoke to current and prospective students at the March open house.
So who should speak this year?Jane Jacobs is long dead, but there are still plenty of eloquent leaders quietly but profoundly shaping cities in the typically glamour-averse world of planning. Current students may nominate any urbanist, here or abroad, whose work relates to the questions that Stein grappled with in his architecture and planning practice.
If you have names, send them (along with a brief statement) to Ethan Wissler (MRP ’20), this year’s Clarence S. Stein fellow. The department is finalizing its spring lecture series in the coming weeks, so get those emails out as quick as you can!
A team of Cornell MRPs is headed to Maryland next month to compete in the Colvin Case Study Challenge, a real estate competition that asks university teams to document a development in their metro region. Cornell’s winning team—comprised of Sara Trigoboff (MRP ’19), Ethan Wissler (MRP ’20), and Zachary Decker (MRP ’20)—entered the competition as part of Baker Program in Real Estate Director Dustin Jones‘s Real Estate Development Process II, a graduate course open to Baker, Johnson, MRP and M.Arch students.
On December 8, these students will deliver a 30-minute presentation to a jury of real estate professionals at the University of Maryland, College Park for a change to win a grand prize of $10,000. Second, third, and the honorable mention teams will win $2,500.
The Colvin Case Study Challenge is distinctive among real estate competitions because it asks participants to evaluate a project after the ribbon-cutting. The competition description states that “[the] Challenge is designed to hone professional skills and reveal the knowledge base and understanding of markets, project valuation, finance, urban design and sustainability, entitlement processes and operational issues.” The final for Professor Jones’s course mirrored the competition submission, but participation in the competition was optional.
Come learn more about the 2019 ULI Hines Student Competition tomorrow, November 13. Last year, the Cornell team won the $50,000 grand prize. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. in the Milstein Dome, Assistant Professor Suzanne Lanyi Charles will explain how architecture, planning, and real estate students can reclaim the glory next year.
More info here.