We’re excited to announce the winner of the WAN Future Project Urban Design Award 2015 is University of Arkansas Community Design Center for their impressive Slow Street: A New Town Center for Mayflower project - Congratulations!
The winner was selected from six shortlisted projects that expressed a diverse range of scale and intervention. This year’s esteemed panel were: Oliver Kampshoff, Principal of HASSELL Studio, Bryan Avery MBE, Principal at Avery Associates Architects and Jason Balls, Director of EPR Architects.
Based in Arkansas, United States, Mayflower’s recovery from the April 2014 Tornado is focused on development of a new walkable town center, incorporating an isolated city park and floodplain. The site is hemmed in by limited access transportation corridors - the Union Pacific Railroad and express highways- all unamenable to residents’ desire for pedestrian-oriented urbanism. Since the thin 4,500-foot long triangular site does not support a traditional block fabric, the design is structured around a novel shared street system that has been designated ‘Slow Street.’ The judges were not only impressed with the project, but also the high standard of presentation put forward, with Bryan saying “There’s such a sensitively to the drawings.”
Slow Street’s shared space reclaims non-traffic social functions found in great streets while accommodating vehicular traffic. It essentially stretches the civic landscapes and pedestrian spaces common to a town square along its 4,500-foot length as the town’s signature armature. Mixed-use neighborhoods accommodate all income groups, avoiding demographic sorting, through diverse housing types that provide a mix of lifestyle options previously unavailable. Slow Street accommodates a range of housing density (6-25 units/acre) in a town where the average density is three units/acre. The housing mix for the 350 units supports aging in place and the return of middle and low-income families to town centers. The street becomes the town’s park system. Jason commented: “It’s very strong thematic - it’s been done very well”, with Bryan going on to say: “There’s a humanity here that’s a joy to see.”
The plan was adopted unanimously by Mayflower’s city council, following a year of work between the tornado recovery planning team and the community. Mayflower is currently working on parcel aggregation to implement Phase 1 around the city park. Oliver concluded: “This project has long-term vision – It’s a bold move, compared with what’s there.”
We’d like to take the opportunity to thank not only the jury, but all who entered their projects into this years’ WAN Future Projects Urban Design Award.