preprintposted on 23.10.2020, 18:02 by Urban Laboratory
Every fall semester, the Carnegie Mellon University School of Architecture conducts an Urban Lab for students in their fifth year of architectural education, a dynamic learning experience that focuses on interaction with community members as the foundation for urban design.
Neighborhoods around Pittsburgh are chosen as areas of study, and the students set out to create an urban design intervention by analyzing and mapping their sites, interacting with real community members, and designing a catalytic intervention based off of their gained knowledge. For the Fall of the 2005, the chosen neighborhood of focus was Pittsburgh’s Northside, the once vibrant area of the city that suffered significantly from failed urban renewal efforts in the 1960’s, and the terribly invasive construction of Interstate 279 in the 1980’s.
Students embarked on a semester long journey, documented in these pages, to discover and learn about the history and heritage of the Northside, document, map the strengths and weakness of each of its’ distinctive communities, develop frameworks for studying those communities, then generate strategies to form the basis of a final catalytic intervention to illustrate how a small scale urban design and architectural design can influence the 40 year future of a whole community. Along the way students learned how to interact with community members, develop visions for the future, and come to understand and respect the Northside and its’ citizens for all the wonderful assets they contributes to Pittsburgh.