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Archive for June, 2010

Picturing and weighing roadside redevelopment

Friday, June 11th, 2010

What would a commercial highway strip look like if it were redeveloped into a denser, mixed-use street? What would planners think? What would residents think?

Recently, Placeways helped the City of Golden, Colorado answer some of these questions as part of the Golden Vision 2030 project. City planners wanted to gain experience with value-based decision making in a public setting use some realistic, but still hypothetical, scenarios. One of the scenarios was redeveloping several blocks of a road. Planners wanted to show what it would look like to transform the highway into a more urban form, with buildings closer to the street, closer together, and taller. They were also interested how much new retail, office, and residential space various designs would create.

Using CommunityViz® Scenario 360™ and Scenario 3D™, Placeways created interactive 3D models of current conditions and potential future conditions. The future options included versions of the street with changeable building heights and the option for stepped back “layer cake” designs. During the public meeting, participants were given a tour of the various options and asked about how they related to community values.

Screenshots from interactive Scenario 3D scenes showing three alternative designs for a commercial street

“Seeing those buildings get taller and taller really made me realize some things about what I value,” said one participant. Meanwhile, City planners were interested to learn from CommunityViz-driven capacity calculations that the stepped-back designs, which many participants preferred, could provide almost as much office and residential capacity as similar-seeming flat-front designs.