The idea of Urban Stage is to rethink downtown but also the typical street design and greenery of Lubbock under its location as a natural gateway to the plains with a library of desert cacti and succulent plants. Ave J becomes a didactic example, the downtown Botanic Garden, in order to revive the city through natural gardens, reduced traffic and with lively entertainment in newly appropriated pedestrian areas. Ave J becomes a place where people meet and enjoy themselves, but also a place for learning. It is as much about youth education and inspiring environmental stewardship as well as to develop community goals for a future oriented vibrant downtown and city.
For the last hundred years the people of Lubbock have battled nature to create a lifestyle of individualism and wealth. Sacrificed in the process are the prairie, the aquifer, clean air, flooding in spite of a dry climate, a viable downtown and diversity, with ethnic neighborhoods isolated by freeways.
Lubbock holds the bottom ten statuses in more than one health and safety category including body fat, criminal assault, and as an environment for raising children. Urban Stage envisions an ecologically sustainable downtown Lubbock, which begins to knit the fractured city back together to create a healthy, economically viable downtown.
The proposal transforms an exemplary portion of Ave J, a central axis of downtown, into a conceptual extension of the dry river bed at the base of the canyon. Envisioned are several strategies to transform the “HardScape” into an urban soft “GreenScape” with strategies of water harvesting via permeable paving and xeriscaping, to generate ideas for revived plazas and urban fields creating an environment of conservation and health.
The design reconnects the community to the downtown areas as a center for commerce and living, encouraging bordering properties to be developed with measurable improvements such as in economic viability, health, public safety, lower water use per capital and a lower carbon footprint for Lubbock.
This is a two months (August 25 - October 31st), class collaboration project that was lead by the two digital fabrication professors Christian Pongratz and Dustin White. The class is consisted of a total of 20 students and are broken into a group of threes. Each group took turn to participate in each section of the design. The design is broken into 6 sections: 2D Points, 2D Lines, 2D Fields, 3D Points, 3D Lines, and 3D Fields.
In the development process, digital design and fabrication techniques are used to generate for Avenue J a new streetscape, and various strategies to implement xeriscaping. A portion of Avenue J is conceived as a linear park to establish a new place to live & work, and be entertained in downtown. Climate projections for Lubbock and much of the West are expected to become hotter and dryer. The design cools the space and conserves water.
A best practices analysis provides the following proven choices: slowing traffic by narrowing streets, reducing the amount of hardscapes to lessen the heat island effect, introducing permeable surfaces to provide water harvesting opportunities, using water collecting vegetated infiltration basins, control flooding towards water feature installations and/or plaza zones, urban interface design to encourage development in the form of a linear park.