Feb 5, 2007    #012
Contact: Nick Barron

Award-winning landscape architect focuses on Kansas City

The University of Missouri – Kansas City's (UMKC) Center for Creative Studies and the Department of Architecture, Urban Planning & Design (AUPD) will bridge the gap between two historic Kansas City neighborhoods in a design charrette with renowned landscape architect Walter Hood March 9 - 10.

For two days, AUPD students will work under Hood’s guidance to bring together the 18th & Vine Jazz District and Crossroads Arts District. Using the image of 18th Street as a bridge, this project will seek to re-connect the Jazz District with the eastern edge of the Crossroads.

Media interviews with Hood are available upon request. 360˚ Architecture will host the charrette at their offices in the Crossroads.

The students will operate from the premise that the creative process can provide new insights into urban problems and new strategies for strengthening urban neighborhoods. A secondary goal is to study the role of creativity in shaping contemporary society, how creative decisions are made, the impact of those decisions, and how individuals work within an intensive design team structure.

Despite the close proximity of these two areas and their importance to culture and the arts in Kansas City, both districts remain isolated by physical barriers and historical settlement patterns, including racial segregation and disinvestment. As Kansas City undergoes a major urban revitalization, it remains unclear if the city’s marginalized communities will benefit from the current urban reinvestment.

Hood will lead the students through a visioning process based on improvisation, that is both rhythmic and fluid, and which allows for spontaneous change. Both fourth and third year students in UMKC’s Urban Planning & Design Program will participate. Partial funding for the charrette is made possible through a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts.

Hood is well-respected as an innovator in landscape architecture and community design. He is the founder of Hood Design and is an associate professor of landscape architecture at the University of California – Berkeley. He has taught at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University and in summer sessions in urban design in Urbino, Italy.

Hood is a recipient of the Rome Prize in landscape architecture who has worked on projects including nonprofit subsidized housing, private residences and prominent open spaces in San Francisco and Oakland, Calif. His award-winning research project, “Urban Diaries,” was selected for exhibition at the California Art Museum.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students.  UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a three-part mission: visual and performing arts, health sciences, and urban affairs.

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This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice).


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