URP 581/ 582 / END 593 - Urban Planning Practicum

ECMC campus via an aerial view.

This fall, three graduate studios are collaborating on a plan for the future of Erie County Medical Center’s (ECMC’s) properties, in relation to the Kensington Heights community. This will be the fourth year in a row that Architecture, RED, and URP have collaborated on a complex project. The arrangement creates a dynamic, interdisciplinary learning environment.

ECMC and a Community Advisory Committee will be our clients. In response to their goals, we set out to envision a transformative plan that combines place-making, community economic development, real estate investment, recreation and health-based landscapes, and transportation visions in an urban design master plan.

Right next to the ECMC campus, now owned by the hospital, is a 17-acre site that once contained low-income housing. We will especially focus on future uses of that site, in relation to the nearby hospital, streetscapes, highway ramps, and neighborhood.

Options to be studied include:
• mixed-use development
• food retail
• health-care related service spinoffs
• affordable housing including transitional housing
• street lighting and streetscapes
• highway ramp alterations
• traffic and parking patterns
• greenways and therapeutic gardens
• possible sports and recreation
• state funding opportunities.

Proposals for investment may bring together private developers, ECMC, local development organizations (including faith-based institutions) and public agencies in complex partnerships. Proposals will be subjected to rigorous financial and market analyses.

We will be examining precedents, conducting studies, analyzing alternatives, articulating policies and visions, and then reporting to each other. A group of students, with architects collaborating with other students, will propose Urban Design Master Plans. Our clients from the hospital and advisory group will visit us, tell us about the area and their aspirations, and then respond to our results. Our product will be presented to them in three forms: renderings and models, interim and final reports, and interim and final presentations. Presentations may be made at Hayes Hall or ECMC.