Friday, February 24, 2012

Pettaway Pocket Neighborhood Wins Grand Award

LITTLE ROCK, AR / February 24, 2012 – The Downtown Little Rock Community Development Corporation is pleased to announce that the UACDC’s proposal for the Pettaway Pocket Neighborhood is a Grand Award Winner in the 2012 residential architect design award program. With more than 800 submissions for RADA 2012 nationally, 40 projects including three grand award winners were selected for awards among a wide range of housing categories. The Pettaway Pocket Neighborhood won in the “On the Boards” category and was a Fall 2011 collaboration between UACDC staff and fifth year architecture students. Winning projects will appear in the May/June 2012 issue of residential architect magazine and will be exhibited at the American Institute of Architects Convention in Washington DC in June. RADA is the most comprehensive housing design awards program in the US.
An emerging model for urban neighborhood revitalization, the pocket neighborhood is an identifiable cluster of houses organized around shared outdoor commons and infrastructure─ideal for building a high-quality neighborhood within an affordable housing setting. The proposal provides niche urban market housing at construction costs of $100,000/unit, excluding site work. The pocket neighborhood capitalizes on smaller home footprints with shared amenities related to a community lawn, shared street, playground, and natural stormwater management infrastructure. A Low Impact Development (LID) stormwater treatment landscape eliminates use of underground pipes and catch basins, creating a 50 percent savings in infrastructure costs while solving for chronic flooding problems.
The Pettaway neighborhood is one among several distinct turnofthecentury urban neighborhoods comprising the Downtown Neighborhoods surrounding the Little Rock central business district. The Downtown Neighborhoods are unique historic areas in Little Rock and represent some of the most important phases in Little Rock’s history, from the boom era of the postCivil War years to the tumultuous school integration period of the late 1950s. Since the massive white flight from Little Rock to the suburbs in the 1960s, these neighborhoods have suffered from disinvestment and erosion in the diversity of their populations. With the return to downtown of younger populations mostly consisting of
creative class types in the arts, professional design, nonprofits, and higher education, these neighborhoods are ripe for reinvestment. A classic streetcar neighborhood with mixed uses, the Pettaway neighborhood is near the Clinton Presidential Library, the Clinton School of Public Service, Heifer International, the Arkansas Arts Center, Central Business District firms, the Capitol, the Federal Building and Federal Courthouses, the University of Arkansas Law School, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences Center and St. Vincent Infirmary.
Planning for the Pettaway Pocket Neighborhood was commissioned by the Downtown Little Rock Community Development Center (Scott Grummer, exec. director) and in partial fulfillment of a planning grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and a grant from the City of Little Rock.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Studio Main Grand Opening

An evolving landscape on South Main Street is now the home to studioMain, whose Grand Opening last night was a hit with the locals who came out to see what it is all about. This organizations core principles include: EDUCATE community, ADVOCATE better design, COLLABORATE allied fields and CHALLENGE convention. Started by a group of emerging young professionals in the field of Architecture several years back, this new non-profit stands to be exactly what South Main and Little Rock as a whole needs to continue the momentum seen in the last few years of revitalization happening in our downtown city. Collaborations over the last few years between the Downtown Little Rock CDC with the UofA Fay Jones School of Architecture and the UofA Community Design Center have created an environment ripe for growth in the design fields, which in turn should usher in new opportunities for economic growth. Their hopes - to challenge conventional decision-making and create opportunities for intelligent design in the built environment. It stands to reason that all parties wishing to see a vibrant downtown, one that grows in the direction that creates opportunity while fostering a commitment to the vision of the majority of residents who reside here, will see this as an opportunity to collaborate and come together to further progress positive growth.
And what was show cased at the Grand Opening: work done by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center and their students on the Pettaway Pocket Neighborhood Project, developed through a collaborative effort between the UACDC, the Downtown Little Rock CDC, residents of Pettaway and the City of Little Rock. Leveraging a CDBG grant from the city awarded to the DLRCDC several years ago for a development plan on some of its land , the UACDC applied and was awarded a NEA grant to create this plan. Steve Luoni with the UACDC was on hand to present the work along with Jeff Huber. The Pocket Neighborhood design was a hit, with everyone asking what it would take to make it happen. Fingers pointing at the DLRCDC, the true success of realizing this project will come from continued commitments from the broader community to support the efforts of the Pettaway Neighborhood.
Many thanks goes to Steve Luoni, Jeff Huber, staff and students at the UACDC for the excellent work they did on this project. Additional Thanks goes to the residents in Pettaway who volunteered to be on the steering committee to assist, board of directors for the DLRCDC who participated in the development of this plan, and to the city of Little Rock for their support through CDBG to make this happen.
But most of All, thanks to the volunteers of Young professionals and seasoned professionals who helped make studioMain happen. Here's to continued success in everyone's efforts downtown. Go by and see the Pocket Neighborhood Designs at studioMain, 1423-C S. Main, Little Rock, three doors down from Boulevard Bread, next to the Green Corner Store and across the street from Root Cafe (which by the way has a great burger and warm, inviting feel-check it out)! Walk Around.....