Boulevards and Backyards

LA 335: The River City and Wet Weather Management – Fall 2015

Students: Carlos Andrade, Rene Gonzalez, Yuxi Wan


Fulfilling the potential of empty and under-utilized lots

This project takes advantage of under-used and vacant spaces in the South Side Neighborhood. The proposal employs three separate systems that, when combined, enrich the neighborhood through civic engagement, economic growth, and wet weather management.

Green boulevards are created on the two largest roads in the neighborhood, Lincoln Street and Western Avenue. Vegetated swales act as barriers between pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. Greening the roads also narrows them, reducing the speed of traffic. Rainwater and street runoff are collected and filtered through these same swales. In an event of an overflow, underground infrastructure directs water to green backyard alleys. The green alleys are used in the neighborhood as essential service corridors; however, they are appropriated to store water during heavy rains.

Vacant lots are converted into temporary nurseries that are leased by the city. They respond to on-site ecological issues by remediating soil; acknowledge civic desires by creating an identity for the neighborhood; and address economic needs by providing opportunity for new revenue sources. At the same time, the nurseries create jobs which address the area’s dramatic unemployment rates.