Author: nc535

Design Connect Request for Applications

Design Connect is looking for project applications from partner organizations for Fall 2020! We have extended the application deadline to April 14th.

Are you a town official, non-profit organizer, or engaged community member? Are you looking for assistance with planning and design work in your community? Are you interested in working with students? If so, Design Connect may be the perfect partner for you!

Not sure if your project fits? Email with any questions.

The application for Fall 2020  projects is now OPEN. Applications are due April  14th. If you are considering a proposal for Fall 2020, please feel free to review the Request For Proposal and application below.

Design-Connect-RFP-Fall 2020


Once applications are received, they will be reviewed by the Design Connect Board. For Fall 2020 proposals, applicants will be notified by the middle of April regarding next steps. Top applicants will be asked to join us for an interview and coordinate a site visit. Final project selections will be made by early May.

Candor Community Park Master Plan Video

Check out the video the Candor team made last semester to showcase their designs for the community park:


Design Connect Info Sessions Spring 2019

Come learn about the Design Connect projects for this semester at one of our info sessions this week. Info sessions will take place on Wednesday, January 23rd, and Thursday, January 24th  at 5pm in Sibley 101.

Hope to see you there!

Final Review

Please join us for Design Connect’s Final Review on Friday, December 7, from 5-7pm, in Milstein Auditorium.

Our teams will be sharing the five projects that they have been working on this semester, which are:

  1. Candor Community Park Design
  2. Penn Yan Trailhead Design
  3. Binghamton Zoo Entrance Preservation
  4. Clyde Heritage Park and Trail Design
  5. Newark Downtown Re-envisioning Plan

Hope to see you there!

Ernie Davis Park Redesign Project to be Implemented in Elmira in Spring 2019

A 2017 Design Connect Project in the City of Elmira will begin to be implemented this spring! This project demonstrates another successful partnership between Cornell students and NY municipalities, in this case to collaboratively create a new vision for an underutilized park.

In the spring of 2017, a Design Connect team worked with the city of Elmira to create a conceptual site plan for the redesign of Ernie Davis Park.  Ernie Davis was an Elmira resident and the first African American to win the prestigious Heisman Trophy for outstanding college football performance in 1961.  The park bearing his name is located in the former Slabtown neighborhood, which traces its origins to the 1840s when African Americans fleeing slavery settled there.  The name Slabtown is said to derive from residents’ use of 1-foot-wide wooden boards to construct their houses.[1]  The neighborhood was demolished in the 1950s to build the Jones Court Apartment building, which is currently being redeveloped.  The City of Elmira reached out to Design Connect seeking assistance with a redesign of the park as a way to spur investment in the area.

After getting feedback from community members, the Design Connect team created a plan for the park that will encourage multi-generational use, while acknowledging its history.  A walking trail, playground, pavilion, and a memorial statue are some of the features of the redesign.

The City of Elmira decided to split the project up into two phases, and will begin Phase I this spring.  This will “give us the opportunity to leverage more funding (local & entitlement grants) to make a greater impact on the park’s final outcome”, Linda Sowers of Elmira’s Department of Community Development commented.  The first phase of this project involves general site improvements, while Phase II will include playground construction.

[1] Janowski, Diane. “Elmira History: The Stories behind Neighborhood Names.” Elmira Star-Gazette, 15 Oct. 2014,


Update from Clyde Heritage Trail Design Team

The Design Connect team working with the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wayne County on a heritage trail and trail center design had a meeting with community members from the village of Clyde last month on Sunday, October 14th.  The proposed trail will loop through Blockhouse park, and connect to Heritage Park in downtown Clyde, where a visitor center with trail information, historical information, and visitor/recreational guides will be located.  The project also includes a re-design of the Blockhouse park to accommodate new uses for the area.

The Design Connect team came to the meeting with preliminary designs, seeking feedback from the project partners and community members. The team had a successful dialogue about community needs, and the possible changes that can be made to the designs to fulfill those needs (i.e. handicap accessibility, trail routing, and design of the trail center to fit in with historical storefronts).   The area girl scout troop  provided great insight into other things they’d like to see in Blockhouse park: a playground and a dog park.  They had some creative ideas for playground structures!  Now the team is working to incorporate those changes into final designs for the trail, trail center, and signs.

Design Connect Mid-Semester Review

Join us on Wednesday, October 24th from 6-8pm in Sibley 101 for Design Connect’s mid-semester review.  This is a great opportunity to learn about each project, see each team’s work so far, and give feedback. Enjoy some free dinner while supporting each Design Connect team as they share their progress on this semester’s projects. This year, the format will be a little different to allow more student feedback and conversation with the project teams, so please invite your friends!

Hope to see you there!