In an analogous fashion, restorationists must use ecology, and often geology, soil science, and more to achieve results of social value. Often, their results are also of great beauty as well. Perhaps, ‘‘ecological architecture’’ might be a more apt characterization of the work of
ecological restoration, because the term acknowledges the central roles played by both values and science.
- Mark Davis and Lawrence Slobodkin (2004)
Lincoln neighborhood is well positioned to become a “signature” neighborhood for the city of Columbus. Despite the Columbus “brand” of world class modern architecture that was developed starting with First Christian Church in 1942, there is no "signature" neighborhood in Columbus. The architectural vision has been contained within individual buildings. Architecture in the last twenty years has been progressively taking a broader approach that includes activism, inclusion, and diversity. While star architects have continued to build large scale, high budget buildings, the avant-garde has focused on our most pressing and complex problems. Community-based initiatives that build opportunities for those in crises, marginalized or with limited resources have become increasingly part of design thinking. Sustainability and ecology are key areas of focus in developing the neighborhoods and community centers of the future.
Neighborhoods should reflect the creativity, ambition and forward-thinking character that the architectural icons of Columbus embody. Neighborhoods represent the people of Columbus whereas the buildings are more easily identified with individuals, groups and institutions. Columbus is a relatively small community and the scale of architecture and design innovation in 2015 also is suited for smaller scale, community-based initiatives rather than civic building projects. It is time to transition to building creative, innovative neighborhoods
We have been building an interdisciplinary team of collaborators from Columbus. We are also coordinating the Spring semester of Design and the Environment AMID C-481 and AMID C-581 to engage Indiana University students in the SEED initiative.
The vicious iterative cycle in which insecure and unrooted individuals make insecure and unrooted cities, which make even more insecure and unrooted individuals, was generations in the making and will be generations in the undoing. Shifts that disrupt the unhealthy cycle are essential. This is the great challenge of our time.
- from Design Ecology Democracy
A “seed” project
A community-based design initiative will develop through a series of steps. Neighborhood enhancement is a process that requires many stakeholders to participate through various incentives, policies and actions. A seed project is one that helps people engage in what is possible and mobilizes them for greater action. It draws interest from key parties, supports communication and helps people chart new courses. They are targeted to shift perceptions and therefore the outcomes are typically not direct or easily measured in the short-term. One of the essential aspects of how Mr. Miller promoted real and deep change in Columbus was his patience and commitment to the long term. Getting the right people involved and putting them in a position to succeed is what enabled the architecture of Columbus to become a model of innovation.
Existing community conditions such as a high percentage of rental units are not directly addressed by a “seed” project. However, they are essential considerations in the process as part of a comprehensive approach to community enhancement. Vibrant neighborhoods and depressed ones are never created solely by one factor, nor will one factor lead to their transformation.