UMDC Studio

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The University of Memphis Design Collaborative is in the form of an advanced studio course. Graduate and undergraduate students from the Department of Architecture and graduate students in City and Regional Planning participate in the studio class. The interdisciplinary approach to the course allows for deeper thinking and greater problem solving.

Spring 2018 Semester

The sixth semester of UMDC studio continued the work of Fall 2018 with its partnership in Memphis 3.0 while working on the University District. This semester, the students took a greater role in the process by not only being the sole community engagement partner, but also facilitating each workshop. Students spent most of the semester conducting individual interviews of residents and stakeholders to achieve a deeper understanding of the needs of the community.

The "Planning Matters" guest speakers series hosted the writers of the 'Neighborhood Playbook' Kevin Wright and Joe Nickol. To help audience members comprehend the tools, Jake Hadesh from "People's Liberty" came to discuss the economic engine needed to revitalize struggling neighborhoods. The series concluded with Kristen Jeffers from the popular blog 'The Black Urbanist' to discuss her personal take on how urban planning affected her life.

Fall 2017 Semester

The UMDC Studios fifth semester in Fall 2017 centered around Memphis 3.0, specifically the North District. The students gathered community input and created a community character manual through community meetings hosted by the City of Memphis and Opticos Design Group. Three workshops were held for each district, the first engaging the community in a mapping event where students acted as facilitators, note takers, and organizers. With the data from the first meeting, the students provided information on the bus routes which would serve as the second workshop. In the third workshop, all data collected from the students and residents were combined to produce a map showing the anchors and areas of influence for each neighborhood.

Alongside Opticos, the students helped to gather contact information on key stakeholders or citizen groups and invited them to each meeting as well as conducted their own information gathering through various census and historical data. Whilst participating in Memphis 3.0, the Studio also aided MemFix in their Cleveland & Madison Project and launching the "Planning Matters" guest speaker series in partnership with ULI Memphis by hosting Jeff Tumlin and Emily Talen.

Spring 2017 Semester

The UMDC Studio initiated and concluded its fourth semester in Spring 2017 focused on the Edge Triangle design-build project, which included community input, design solutions and a community build of the improvements for the triangular public green space located at Madison Avenue and Orleans in the Memphis Medical District to implement Phase 2 of the Edge Triangle, public green space enhancement, along with behavioral research for user groups. The work was through April and included mobility planning throughout the Medical District.

Through the UMDC's partnership with the University Neighborhood Development Corporation (UNDC), the Spring 2017 UMDC Studio performed an analysis of economic performance measurements of the newly adopted University Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District. The purpose of this study was to establish pre-investment baseline data and document impacts of the redevelopment focus in the UNDC TIF district.

Beginning the 2016 Fall Semester the UMDC studio committed to a new partnership with the Memphis Medical District Collaborative (MMDC) and the Memphis College of Art (MCA). Through this partnership a new facet of our interdisciplinary approach was developed working with the MCA Creatives: utilizing a more art-centric based approach to design.  With this, the UMDC Studio consisted of a Design + Build framework working in the Edge neighborhood in the Medical District to design and subsequently develop a vacant parcel of land into a vibrant, useable greenspace.  Our approach formed out of the Tactical Urbanism process directly mixing with the Place-making model.  The studio culminated with the Phase 1 implementation of the Edge Triangle Greenspace at the corner of Madison & Orleans with future phases to be developed later on through continued partnership.

In the 2016 Spring Semester the studio focused on Envisioning a Healthier Crosstown revolving around the Crosstown neighborhood in Midtown, Memphis.  This work was linked to the MemphisWalks research being conducted in the Crosstown area.  Revolving around the critical community challenge of building healthy community linking creating healthy places with environmental design and health, then, to also walkability. Elements of greenspace, public interaction, and enhancing transportation and transit elements became primary aspects of conversation.

The first studio of the UMDC took place during the 2015 Fall Semester. The theme of this studio was centered around mobility planning, acquiring the title of Moving in Memphis. With this studio students studied issues in how transit and transportation issues affect quality of life, first looking at how cities from around the world have addressed such issues, then applying techniques and methods to 5 neighborhoods throughout Memphis. Each neighborhood presented specific issues and unique characteristics which needed to be tackled. The studio culminated with Workforce to Work (W2W)Transportation Summit held in December. At W2W issues plaguing Memphis and the mobility of citizens were featured via a provocation address by a national expert, a panel discussion involving civic and community leaders dealing with transportation, and workshops featuring local specialists in planning.