The University of Kentucky College of Design’s (UK/CoD) project, “Kentucky River Cities: Paducah, Henderson,” will be included as a “CounterSite” in the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR), April thru August 2012. UK/CoD’s project, "Kentucky River Cities: Paducah, Henderson," focuses on the redevelopment of Kentucky cities located on the Ohio River. Shipping and manufacturing were the economic engines for this region’s economic prominence from the late eighteenth to early twentieth centuries. However, due to global economic transformations and restructuring, this region entered a period of decline that has only worsened with the recent economic downturn. This has led to record unemployment, smaller tax bases for county and city government, and increased youth flight.
To address the problems of economic decline and job loss in this region the UK/CoD developed partnerships with local municipalities. Given the complexity and comprehensive nature of the problems facing small cities and counties coupled with their limited resources, partnerships were also formed with private, citizen-led development groups and other nontraditional developers. Though all of the "River Cities" projects are ostensibly economic development projects, they are also directly concerned with energy. Kentucky is among the largest coal producing states in the United States, giving many of Kentucky's river cities significant competitive advantage. Today, however, this is changing due to the demands of developing cleaner sources of energy. The College of Design’s project includes studio work from Louisville and Paducah, but will primarily focus on HMPL#1, a 65,000 sq. ft. retired coal fire power plant, located in downtown Henderson, KY. A comprehensive catalog of all the “River City” projects will be published for the April 2012 exhibition.
5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam
Under the title “Making City” the IABR will address the opportunities presented by worldwide urbanization. In just a few decades cities will contain 80% of the world’s population, 90% of global economic wealth and cover less than 3% of the earth’s surface. This urbanization is forcing us to rethink the way we govern, plan and design our cities.
The IABR is responding to this urban growth by creating alliances with urban planners, scientists, businesses, developers, curators and local administrators. These collaborators will explore “city making” through projects in three cities: Rotterdam, São Paulo and Istanbul. Their work will culminate in presentations, exhibitions, lectures and debates in the 2012 Biennale. In addition to these events, innovative projects from around the world will be presented in the IABR’s “CounterSite” exhibition.