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Independence Avenue Urban Vision Study

Kansas City Design Center

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Project Description

During the 2012-13 academic year, the Kansas City Design Center, in collaboration with Northeast Alliance Together (NEAT) and the KCMO Planning Department, completed an urban vision study of Independence Avenue and the Historic Northeast neighborhood of Kansas City, MO. This project was driven by the realization that absent of the demand for high-density development, the state of progressive vacancy and fragmentation of urban fabric will continue. Rather than ‘dreaming up’ a complete city, the design focus was shifted toward confronting the unyielding reality of the place and devising strategies to convert the problematic conditions into positive attributes creating the possibilities for urban transformation that is true to its own circumstances. All design interventions were conceived as tactical, associated with the critical locations as the means of propelling the reordering of the urban context. They were predicated on the assumption that urban transformation could not be carried solely through architectural means but the tactics for the activation of the vacant and underutilized urban space short of building. This included rethinking the urban space as an infrastructural reserve, a productive agricultural territory, and a hybrid of a public domain where utility and communal life cyclically exchange.
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