Design, Equity and Community Healing at ASLA 2017

October 23, 2017

Elliot Rhodeside, FASLA and Ron Sessoms were both speakers for an inspiring session at the ASLA Annual Meeting & EXPO (#ASLA2017), entitled “Healing, Reclamation, & Reweaving: Equitable Development in Design.”  The session served as an opportunity to reflect on the process of designing for equitable development while countering the legacy of urban renewal and exclusion embedded into the urban landscape, drawing on the experience of Charlottesville, VA, Greenville, NC and Washington, DC.  Elliot spoke about Rhodeside & Harwell’s efforts to create a thoughtful and respectful design for West Main Street in Charlottesville while addressing community skepticism and the effects of 1960s urban renewal on the area. Ron described the process of designing a new public space in downtown Greenville while helping the community heal the lingering wounds from an urban renewal project 50 years earlier. Ron and Elliot were joined on the panel by Hallie Boyce of OLIN and Vaughn Perry of the 11th Street Bridge Park, who spoke about the ongoing effort to design a new elevated park atop the piers of the former 11th Street Bridge to reconnect and foster equitable development on both sides of the Anacostia River. Beth Meyer of the University of Virginia served as moderator while providing historical and design context for the discussion.

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Photo Credit (Bottom Image): OLIN / 11th Street Bridge Park