Downtown Urbana Redesign- Urbana, Illinois
This urban planning project is located in the heart of Urbana on the two block site of the Champaign
County Courthouse. The site is located at the intersection of two of the busiest roads in the city;
Vine and Main Street. Drawing from Lynchian theory, the high traffic counts makes discourages
pedestrian circulation and creates a barrier that disconnects the downtown with the rest of the city.
As a solution, I redesigned the intersection into a roundabout. Not only do roundabouts decrease
collisions, but they improve traffic by having a seamless flow of circulation. The creation of the
roundabout eliminates the need for turn lanes which I have transformed into tree-lined boulevards These boulevards provide much needed greenspace in the highly built-up downtown, and encourages pedestrian circulation by providing a safe mid-point
when crossing the busy streets. Adjacent to the roundabout I implemented my landscape skills and
designed a small plaza with a fountain in the middle. This plaza is meant to compliment the
architecture of the historic courthouse, and blend in with the existing plaza. My intent behind the plaza near the courthouse is to create an area where the residents of Urbana can define as the center of their downtown which the city currently lacks. The plaza provides the employees of the courthouse and surrounding office buildings a pleasant area to relax and enjoy their lunch break. Behind the plaza, I have infilled an under utilized parking lot with a
3-4 story mixed-used building. I propose space for cafes and coffee shops on the bottom level with
outdoor seating incorporated into the new plaza. I propose the upper floors of the building be reserved for apartments creating much needed residential space in the downtown core.
* This project was for a studio I took within the urban planning department. As the lone landscape architect student, I was able to provide the,class valuable input on the importance of greenspace, and its positive impact within a highly urban area.
Status: School Project
Location: Urbana, Il