Eight of the top college students from across the state – representing a surprising range of disciplines - joined us in the Des Moines office to tackle the design challenge of Riverpoint West. (Note: The students came to rename this site "The Landing.") This 220 acre site tucks between MLK Parkway and Gray's Lake and has been burdened by brownfield, substation, and several abandoned industrial buildings. The site is largely vacated.
The residency demonstrated the value to all of us of multi-discipline approaches to achieve visionary, likely sustainable results. The residency gathered students from architecture, LA, interior design, economics, business, planning, writing and ecology. Each of the students was paired with a mentor-practitioner. Students were exposed to information about the site including some past planning efforts. They participated in table-top discussions with more than 30 community leaders/content experts on everything from commercial development to social equity. And they had a rare opportunity to engage in dialogue with Frances Moore Lappe, founder of the Small Planet Institute and best selling author including her latest EcoMindedness and her first – Diet for a Small Planet.
On the final morning of the residency, students presented rich content on the site, including compelling "day-in-the-life" narratives from the points-of-view of three residents of "The Landing."
At every point the students were exceptionally engaged and engaging. Please check out some of the early results of the residency below.
2011 RDG Design Residency Challenge Video:
"The Landing" - Student Presentation Intro Video:
Student PowerPoint Presentation:
A Day in the Life of Three Citizens of The Landing - written by R. Clifton Spargo: