The contribution aims to encourage pedestrian mobility, engage the local population of Corktown, North Corktown, and the West Side Industrial Area, and intensify the local economy within the Impact Area through a new urban armature that aims to reduce the impact of automobile use and promotes social interaction.
This is a project which uses very basic Urban Design principles at the hyper local level, which, when twinned with current technological innovations, creates safe, aesthetically pleasing, and useful systems for movement which could be repeated in any neighborhood, but would be piloted at The Michigan Central Station Impact Area.
The impact area is first broken down into smaller, 1/2 mile grids (called districts). The residents and business owners in each district would determine the facilities in their district (and the greater impact area) which they believe should be the nodes that connect the new armature. The nodes would be connected using existing streetways/sidewalks, but these would be enhanced, repaved, and all of the necessary street furniture and adjustments (such as lighting, benches, landscaping, waste and recycling bins) would be made along the armature connecting the nodes at regular intervals. This creates a layer of urban street furniture/"parkitecture" along an urban ribbon (the armature) which collects these elements into one system and connects them throughout the impact area. These street elements act as "ingredients" and the recipe is repeated in each 1/2 mile district. The process for identifying districts, then nodes, etc, is easily replicable throughout the city. Along the armature would be 3 "Huddlepoints" per each district. These Huddlepoints would provide urban amenities such as waterbottle refill stations, wifi points, mapping, Little Free Libraries, and bike rental points.
However, the contribution appreciates that while increasing bus use (through enhancing bus stops) and facilitating pedestrian mobility is useful, services can still be unreachable or unavailable. Therefore, the flip side of increasing user mobility, increasing provider mobility, is also part of the contribution: within each 1/2 mile district, mobile service providers would have a designated spot along the armature (Mobility Van Station) . Each day of the week a different service (or services) would occupy the parking spots for the district. For instance, Monday might be the mobile dentist and hair salon for district 3, while in district 5 it might be the fruit/vegetable van and the dietitian. This aspect of the idea would seek out and encourage local service providers to offer their products or services at this hyper local level. It provides opportunity for employment and for business transactions. The use of technology to enhance the physical nature of the project would consist of an app that allows local residents to find out which mobile provider is in their district that day (or how far they would have to travel within the impact area to reach the one that they need). The app would also allow for residents and users to identify lighting that is out, or waste bins that need emptying. It would also allow local residents to advertise their skill set to their district or beyond.