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Categories : events
The public input sessions in our planning for the Urban Alternatives House (UAH) are now in place. We will present some preliminary design alternatives for the classroom space on November 6 at a meeting in the Park Place Room of the Northbank Center between 11:30am and 2:30pm. Invitations have been sent out to a group of faculty, students, staff and stakeholders who we think will have important feedback for us. If we missed you from our list and would like to be there please let me know.
A session to review alternatives for the residential space in the UAH is scheduled for November 18 between 5:30pm and 7:30pm. This meeting will also be held in the Park Place Room of the Northbank Center on the UM-Flint campus. Again let me know if you are interested in attending.
Our final session is the most comprehensive of the set. This is the design charrette which will be held on December 4 at the Mott Foundation Building. This meeting will have several components and we have allocated time between 11:00am and 4:00pm to be sure we gather as much input as we can. Here we will review all the renovation design alternatives for the house and site which will include possible alternative energy options, water management, the landscape plan and our compliance with historic district standards. Once again please let me know if you are interested in attending.
THA Architects is working intensively with our technical partners to develop the options we will consider at the meetings. They started by generating as-built drawings of the structure which cover the site layout, the facade, the first floor (projected classroom space) and the second and third floors (projected residential space). Check out the floor plans to get an idea of what we are working with.
We look forward to seeing you at the meetings and getting your input on the design options. Contact me at: email@example.com for further information.
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Categories : bigger picture
An academic objective of working on the Urban Alternatives House is to provide both an impetus for teaching about sustainability in society and the creation of a space at UM-Flint that embodies the sustainability idea. Sustainability is seeing a rising profile on college campuses. For example the Sustainable Endowments Institute issued the 2010 College Sustainability Report Card last week which ranks 322 schools. Michigan gets a B+ grade; Michigan State along with Western and Grand Valley get B’s and Wayne State a C+. Mark Orlowski, Executive Director of the Institute is quoted in the New York Times “Colleges are now taking pride in greener campuses and sustainability – savvy investments – increasingly important concerns for parents and students in choosing a school”. So in addition to the value of sustainability for the academic enterprise and cost savings in campus operations, this kind of work is important in recruiting college students. An edgier take on ranking schools for reducing their carbon footprint is the “America’s Greenest Campus” competition which was sponsored by the Department of Energy. There are a couple of prizes and the video endorsement of a major figure in hip hop.
Across the country possibility of jobs and new business opportunities in sustainability are leading to an expansion of programs in sustainability studies. They cover a broad spectrum of undergraduate, masters and continuing education courses. A useful review is contained in the article “Sustainability Field Booms on Campus” by Kate Galbraith published in the New York Times last August.
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Categories : project update
The Urban Alternatives House (UAH) is located at 519 Garland Street in Flint, MI. This location is on the eastern edge of the Carriage Town Neighborhood and close to the newly renovated Berridge Place, Hoffman’s Deli and The Durant which is also undergoing a major renovation. The UM-Flint Northbank Center is next to the Durant just north of the Flint River and across the bridge on the south side is the main campus and new University Riverfront Housing (see image below).
1. Urban Alternatives House
2. Hoffman’s Deli
3. Berridge Place
4. The Durant
5. Northbank Center
6. UM-Flint Riverfront Housing
7. UM-Flint Main Campus
This is a great location for the UAH. It is easy walking distance from campus for students, it is part of the Carriage Town neighborhood and so linked the community and is in one of the Genesee County Land Banks strategic reinvestment areas. Carriage Town was featured in a recent New York Times article. Check it out at the link! And don’t miss the slide show – Erin Caudell and Michael Freeman are on our planning team, Michael Freeman’ house is our immediate neighbor to the west and Nick Hoffman’s business is our immediate neighbor to the south.