Excerpt from the introduction
The Linden Community Design Studio project offers an example of combined service-learning, participatory community design, and research. Undertaking this type of project is nonlinear and can be challenging at different levels. For students in the city and regional planning program who were part of the research team, the experience was more than an academic exercise. They were given an opportunity to engage in a real project, work with a real client, and provide tangible solutions that included the voices, perspectives, and visions of previously marginalized residents. The alignment of service learning, participatory design and research contribute to a larger community benefit while preparing students to be both citizens and professional practitioners, who are engaged in augmenting the interconnections between people and places.
The Linden Community Design studio is one of the university courses and projects that link communities, students, and faculty can bring in new and needed resources for identifying and solving community challenges. The goal for this planning studio was to thoroughly research and understand the concept of Healthy Community and apply its theories and principals to the Linden area and its context, and then, based on this understanding, envision alternative planning and design scenarios for the site interface and its residents. While large-scale urban design and planning issues were examined, the research team emphasized physical and social aspects of urban design, and culminated in proposals for specific site plans that relate back to overall strategic design and planning ideas including but not limited to three themes: (1) Food Environment, (2) Green Infrastructure, and (3) Mobility.