Matching Physical Diversity to Human Diversity
A community is life – it is made of people, places and attitudes. It is living, growing, and changing in tune with the current society, culture, ethnicity, goals and traditions.
A healthy community:
• makes strong neighborhoods,
• cultivates societal connections,
• promotes caring and sharing,
• establishes a sense of place and ownership,
• values history and tradition,
• sets new traditions
• preserves the valuable,
• nurtures appropriate development,
• and is inclusive.
Though these points are all true and worthy, community is not guaranteed. It is something we all have to work – work hard and work together - to accomplish. Community is something that we learn through our parents as we grow, from our elders, through our schools, from our city leaders, and from each other. Community is something that we must actively engage in and support in order to make a neighborhood our neighborhood. And everyone is better for having a place where they feel they belong, can contribute, and can make a difference. Our built environment plays an important role in making the path to a healthy community as flexible, practical and viable as possible.
EUA’s solution was inspired both by the history of the local community and the history of the existing school on the site. The school, originally named Peckham Middle School for a local entomologist/librarian who was also the school superintendent, has great presence in the neighborhood. It anchors the area both physically and psychologically. The school is a place of safe gathering, of learning and teaching, of inclusion, of support – all aspects that are important in our community.
EUA’s solution rehabs the school to include resources such as a community center, an exercise club, retail, pharmacy, café, and housing on the top floor. New buildings added to the site incorporate retail on the Fond du Lac side street level and townhouses on the Concordia side street level to respond to the commercial versus residential sides of the site. Upper floors have balconies to encourage ‘eyes on the street’ and rooftop gardens for safe secure urban green spaces. Lower level parking provides for an elevated plaza on top of the parking for gathering, music events, green space, and water features. The slope of the street and sidewalk benefits the elevated plaza by meeting it at a public access point and engaging pedestrian traffic.
Rain gardens, rooftop gardens, alternative energy sources for building energy, alternative-fuel shuttle service and environmentally sensitive materials round out the EUA team’s solution for living as a community.