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U. of I. planning institute
kicks off with pedestrian safety workshop
Mitchell, Arts Editor
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. —
Organizers of an annual planning institute at the University of Illinois
at Urbana-Champaign are taking it to the streets this year with a three-day,
pre-institute workshop on “Developing Pedestrian Safety Action
Plans and Designing Streets for Pedestrian Safety” Feb. 26-28,
at the Levis Faculty Center, 919 W. Illinois St., Urbana.
“The workshop is responding to a national-level concern about
pedestrian and bicyclist safety when sharing the roadway with cars,”
said Pattsi Petrie, the coordinator of the institute, hosted by the
U. of I.’s department of urban
and regional planning.
In addition to focusing on the effectiveness of various strategies such
as crosswalk illumination and “road diets” (reduced street
widths), the workshop – co-sponsored by the Champaign-Urbana Mass
Transit District – will include opportunities for participants
to visit local sites that will then be used as the basis for creating
design solutions to improve safety.
The workshop kicks off a weeklong series of community-planning events
coinciding with this year’s institute, which is organized around
the theme “Imagining Communities: Plan, Design, Implement.”
New on the schedule is a two-day, pre-institute film festival, Feb.
co-sponsored by the local chapter of the Sierra Club. Selections range
from the short film, “The Appalachians,” which presents
a critical view of mountain-top removal in West Virginia, to the feature-length
“Earth to America,” which takes comic aim at global warming
with a cast that includes Tom Hanks, Steve Martin and Robin Williams.
A complete list of films and screening times and locations – along
with a full schedule of the weeklong series of events planned and registration
information – is available online at http://www.urban.uiuc.edu/CE.
Also taking place in advance of the institute, from 1-5 p.m. on Feb.
28 in the atrium of Temple Buell Hall, 611 Lorado Taft Drive, Champaign,
is a design charrette with U. of I. architecture professor Lynn Dearborn and her students, and institute participants
Dan Pitera, the director of the Detroit Collaborative Design Center
at the University of Detroit’s Mercy School of Architecture; Cheryl
Morgan, the director of the Center for Architecture and Urban Studies
at Auburn University’s School of Architecture; and Andrew Freear,
a co-director of the Rural Studio at Auburn’s School of Architecture.
Petrie said the charrette – an intensive planning session involving
input from various stakeholders – will focus on Champaign’s
East University Avenue area and the contiguous Boneyard Creek area.
The institute will be held March 1-2 at the Alice B. Campbell Alumni
Center, 601 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana.
“In a day and a half, community and ‘citizen planners’
will learn about urban design, land-use planning and economic development
– the top three concerns mentioned by community leaders,”
Petrie said. “The institute is a unique opportunity to network
and exchange ideas with practicing planners, professors and students
Following remarks by Robert Graves, the interim dean of the College
of Fine and Applied Arts, and Rob Olshansky, the interim head of
urban and regional planning, at 8:15 a.m. on March 1 will be a talk
featured talk by Fred Schnook, project manager/planner in community
economic development at consulting and engineering firm Foth & Dyke,
on “Sustainability and the Eco-Municipality Movement.” Petrie
said Schnook, a former mayor of Ashland, Wis., “moved an economically
depressed town to one totally sustainable by capturing ideas from Norway.”
Another highlight of the institute will be the Max Abramovitz Architecture
Lecture, presented by Freear at 6 p.m. on March 1 in the Plym Auditorium,
Temple Buell Hall. Freear will discuss activities of the Rural Studio,
which, since its inception in 1993 has designed and built 68 buildings
using alternative or “green” building materials.
“Freear and his architecture students who live and work with the
residents in Newbern, Ala., design and build structures based on the
residents’ needs,” Petrie said. Their unorthodox building
materials include baled cardboard boxes that function as exterior walls,
used automobile tires converted into roofing material, and car windows
transformed into windows.
“These students are learning to think outside of the box,”
Among the sessions offered during the institute will be one by U. of
I. architecture professor Michael McCulley and his students who are
participating in the Solar Design Decathlon, a national competition
in which teams of architecture students are designing and building energy-efficient,
100 percent solar homes that will be displayed on the National Mall
in Washington, D.C., this fall.
Also planned are two half-day workshops on land use and economic development,
presented by U. of I. faculty members.
Co-sponsors of the planning institute include the university’s
School of Architecture, department of landscape
architecture, Center for Advanced
Study, Environmental Council, Illinois Program for Research in
the Humanities, and Lorado Taft Lectureship on Art; Illinois chapter
of the American Planning Association; and Champaign and Urbana.