Saturday, September 24, 2011

ARCH-ARQ: DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE New Cincinnati neighborhood addresses old planning woes.

A neighborhood is born in Cincinnati. After a decade of debate, financing, design, and construction, phase one of The Banks—arguably one of the country’s most ambitious urban design projects—is nearly complete. When finished, the 18-acre mixed-use development will add nearly three million square feet of building to long vacant land between Cincinnati’s Central Business District and the Ohio River.
While The Banks’ site has long been vacant, this is no blank slate. The project occupies a rectangle of land that has served as Cincinnati’s laboratory for urban design since the city’s inception. To clear the way for 1961’s I-71 / Fort Washington Way, a dense riverfront district was demolished and the resulting void filled with modernist mega-structures (including the Reds’ Riverfront Stadium of 1970) that left the city landlocked for decades. Other sites were entertained before the construction of two new stadiums in the 1990s, but in 1998 the public voted in favor of again siting the buildings on the river. Recognizing the flaws of this strategy but also its potential, the city appointed a commission to study the construction of a finer-grained urbanism between the ..........

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