A Loeb Alumni Council Grant brought alums and Vermonters together in an intensive two-day charette, Upstream–Downtown: Making room for the river and building resiliency in Vermont’s downtowns and villages, to explore how the state’s river-based urban centers can thrive in a changing climate. Tropical Storm Irene amply demonstrated how impaired natural systems can wreak havoc on the built environment. The project focused on how to design historic urban centers to withstand flooding, but also placed flood resiliency and urban design issues within the context of larger river systems, making it clear that planning upstream is as crucial as designing downstream.
Doug Meffert (LF 2008), Armando Carbonell (LF 1993), Bettina Wanschura (Loeb Affiliate 2011), Herbert Dreiseitl (LF 2011) and Julie Campoli (LF 2010) met with planners, advocates, policy makers and river and land use experts for a site tour of the Winooski River corridor, evening symposium and ½ day design workshop. They promoted the concept of "making room for the river” and showcased examples of urban designs in other parts of the world which accommodate natural river functions while supporting vibrant urban waterfronts.
State officials left the meetings uplifted by the message and the examples of successful planning and impressed by the effectiveness of the design exercises, which they plan to incorporate into their planning processes. The organizers will be posting an online video of the workshop presentations soon.
Read the Final Project Report.