Modern Urbanism for rural College Campuses

wci-chop-2.jpgAccording to the NY Times rural college campuses across America need an upgrade to attract new students and to attract us older folks to come back to college. Apparently the bucolic setting out in nature no longer has the appeal it once did. This younger crowd needs stuff to do. They need modern urbanism. They need coffee shops, cafes, and stores, and apartments, and stuff. The woods and pasture-lands are no longer a draw.

Tranquility appears to be out of style, but heck I already knew that. I guess you could say this new streetscape scene is not you Grandfathers tranquility.

So some Universities are going to change and create this modern urbanism, and along with this change there will be new opportunities for Designers to react to this demand of the changing landscape.

This will be a new campus scene for rural Universities, a different set of buildings/living spaces/work spaces, causing a different demand . . . more walking/seating clusters and gathering spots in smaller spaces. Including the more cafe like seating along the streetscapes (my guess). People will want to get together outdoors, but not in the great outdoors-if you get my drift.

From the NY Times article:

Ralph J. Hexter, president of Hampshire College. “It’s often said of a college education, ‘It’s a shame it’s wasted on the young.’ ”The distinctive marks of many of these campuses are shops, restaurants, offices and housing that, together, create a destination. The idea is to produce street life and to promote social interaction.

“Produce street life” to me . . . that connotes a special type of landscape for the participants to interact in. New opportunities. I’ve mentioned this before . . . the move away from the woods, being way out in nature. Another thought from the article:

Like the developments in Storrs, the Hendrix project will be built in a style known as New Urbanism. Buildings will be close to the street and roads kept narrow to encourage pedestrian traffic and de-emphasize cars.

All of this signals to me, that future landscape design will be in smaller more intense. That designers will have less chance to make mistakes because the work will have less room for mistakes. Is this good or bad? I don’t know. I’m not even sure if it makes a difference if it’s good or bad . . . because it is inevitable, change is inevitable . . . design must adapt to these changes.

By Rick Anderson

The Whispering Crane Institute was originally formed to act as the umbrella organization for the Philosophy of Design Symposium, and other seminars and workshops given by Rick Anderson and Richard L. Dube’. In the year 2000 WCI became a sole proprietorship owned by Rick Anderson. Today the WCI provides design and consultation services for Landscape Contractors, acts as a Green Industry think tank, and provides training for others in the form of workshops, seminars, and individual consulting. The WCI also provides written material, opinions, case-studies and how-to articles for industry trade magazines.

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