Knitting together Communities -Designing the Heart of Six Corners and Old Hill
Knitting Together Communities – Designing the Heart of Six Corners and Old Hill provides a framework to knit together assets and opportunities for creating a strong identity and sense of coherence for a transformative urban district in Springfield, MA. The Senior Urban Design Studio 2019 created six proposals that were searching for design opportunities that enhance the aesthetic quality of the neighborhood and increase services for the wellbeing of the residents. The two neighborhoods are characterized by strong neighborhood leadership through committed residents, community centers and active religious organizations, and a lively culture of urban agriculture (GTC) that keeps growing and fosters a positive spirit in the community. The studio analyzed the assets of the district, engaged with residents through site visits, personal interviews with community leaders and groups, and a neighborhood engagement workshop.
Design Objectives The design program was developed through the engagement with stakeholders, area observations and classical analysis of the area:
• More entrances, accessibility and programming for active and passive recreation for the centrally located Ruth Elizabeth Park
• Gerrish Park near roundabout needs to be more usable for markets and events
• Historic Mill River and Watershops Pond should be connected to the larger green network; Harriet Tubman Park needs to be connected to the water’s edge.
• Public art on exterior walls through education at schools and local artists
• Synergies between Springfield College neighborhood to create new student housing and provide amenities that integrate this population for mutual benefits
• Complete streets through extensive street tree plantings, widening of sidewalks and bicycle lanes
• Stormwater management strategies: bioswales along streets, green roofs, infiltration areas in new parks, porous pavement.
• Multiple housing opportunities: vacant small lots for infill, mix housing with retail and commercial on upper floors of new buildings, adaptive reuse of historic buildings as live-work spaces
• Neighborhood amenities like a grocery store and pharmacy
• Spaces for a cultural and commercial hub including all-year activities outside