Dig Studio’s Urban Greening Competition Delivers Innovative Ideas
Dig Studio hosted an Urban Design Competition to encourage the exploration of what urban greening might look like at the urban street scale, if money, policy, and regulations were not a limiting factor. Open to students enrolled in landscape architecture programs in CO and AZ, entrants explored what opportunities exist for greening our streets, storefronts and rooftops that we are not capitalizing upon? How can our streets be adapted to today’s unique physical distancing environment to accommodate business, entertainment, and socialization within a street greening framework?
The Dig Studio Urban Challenge encourages students to explore contemporary urban challenges, so that we might introduce new ideas on how to make our communities more resilient, healthy, green, and economically viable. See some of the innovative ideas submitted in the competition entries shown here.
- Urban Cooling Cell at Knotty Tie, Santa Fe Drive. Helen Davidoski won the competition with her Urban Cooling Cell concept. Utilizing concepts developed by tribes in Kenya. Stormwater flows into an ‘urban bund’, which collects water and allows it to infiltrate the soil and minimizes flows into the stormwater system.
- A street-level deck is situated above the urban bund, which cools water as it evaporates. Ground cover and a shade tree canopy provide cooling benefits by lowering soil temperatures and providing the cooling benefits of transpiration.
- Helen’s entry showed how the site would respond to succession as the landscape matures. As trees mature, tensile shade structures are eventually removed and landscapes transition to shade tolerant perennials.
- Circulation and furniture layouts are shown changing weekdays and First Friday events to better accommodate physical distancing.
- Blair Caldwell African American Research Library. Cameron and Tyler Londono proposed an urban roof garden and parking lot flex space at the library to serve as a community hub. This idea proposed urban greening interventions in a neighborhood with only 18% tree coverage, and movable planters allow easy transformation of the parking lot to host events
- Crush Cubes: North Larimer in Color. This concept transforms a block of Larimer near Central Market to a one-lane street with a bike lane, expanding the pedestrian zone to provide flexible gathering space. Vegetable planters provide produce for nearby restaurants. Cubes of varying sizes serve as seating, tables, planters, and pay homage to the neighborhood ‘Crush’ festival with custom art. Espalier trellises provide shade and create intimate spaces to gather.
- Life, Liberty and Greenspaces at TAXI Campus. Green space is increased off the right of way at the TAXI campus by expanding a permanent outdoor dining area and green space into a parking lot. Vegetable beds, arbors and pergolas support food production and a green roof is proposed.
- Modular Market – South Pearl. A modular system provides a kit-of-parts to serve as a framework for the delineation of space to support nearby businesses and provide spatial cues for physical distancing. Pocket parks and garden beds can be integrated into the system to provide temporary greening measures.
- Allegro Coffee Roaster Streetscape, Highlands Neighborhood. This concept uses a six-foot hexagon as a key design element throughout to guide social distancing. With the closing of Tennyson Street, business expands on to expanded sidewalks. The street is redesigned with 6’ hexagonal pavers placed over silva cells to accommodate planting beds and trees that also serve as a stormwater function. A 2-way bike lane is introduced in the center of the street and an orchard is installed on the roof of the business.
- The Storm Lane – Down Pours Coffee, S. Pearl St., Denver. The street is redesigned to capture and repurpose stormwater. A Gutter Bed will filter 64,000 gallons of stormwater per year. A seating area serves a secondary purpose for water retention. Outdoor seating and gathering is expanded through a lane closure on Pearl Street, and Sani Swings can be checked out and connected to a custom shade awning.