Thursday, August 28, 2008 • 12:00 AM Comments ()

DESIGN NORTHAMPTON WEEK SEEKS COMMUNITY INPUT

posted by Daryl G. LaFleur

From Sunday September 7 through Saturday September 13 citizens of the City of Northampton will play host to a unique public process crafted to help shape the future of their city. Each year students from Notre Dame University's Urban Design Studio, under the direction of Professor Philip Bess, head to a selected city in the United States and, as part of their curriculum, develop a long-range illustrated urban design document for that City. Last year Cooperstown, New York, hosted the Notre Dame studio. This year, Bess made his offer to the City of Northampton.

DESIGN NORTHAMPTON WEEK will start with an introductory presentation by Professor Bess at the Northampton Senior Center from 7 PM to 9 PM. After that, the studio will be open for business in the ground floor gallery space of APE at 126 Main Street throughout the week.

“Professor Bess is a nationally prominent urban design expert, known for his effective work with communities,” said Joel Russell, Chair of the Northampton Design Forum, which invited the Notre Dame design studio to Northampton. “He is best-known for spearheading the successful effort to save Fenway Park, by working with the community and design professionals when the iconic Boston ballpark was threatened with demolition. His students have done superb work wherever they have been invited.” Russell added that the Mayor of Cooperstown raved about the work they did in her community last year.

Those attending will participate in formal and informal discussions of work in progress, view drawings by students, and provide comments and suggestions that will be reflected in the next day's work. Key to the success of the week of activities will be the involvement of all segments of the community, especially individuals and organizations who do not usually participate in City planning processes. This work is intended to help the City implement the Sustainable Northampton Plan, by using visual images to illustrate the concept of sustainability.

For a complete schedule and additional information on NORTHAMPTON DESIGN WEEK activities, see http://northamptondesignforum.blogspot.com.

The Northampton Design Forum was formed in June to advance the City of Northampton's sustainability goals by promoting high-quality urban design and architecture through open and inclusive public processes. The Forum will sponsor DESIGN NORTHAMPTON WEEK under the umbrella of Available Potential Enterprises, Ltd (APE), a long-time standard-bearer of the local arts scene. The Forum kicked off fundraising efforts to raise the approximately $16,000 needed to bring the students to town, and began planning a week of activities to help the students engage the community.

To date the group has raised about half of the total funds needed and has received support from numerous businesses and residents who will provide meals and places for the students to stay while they are in town. Tax-deductible contribution checks to support Design Northampton Week should be made out to A.P.E. Ltd, our sponsoring organization. Please write "Notre Dame Design" on the memo line of the check. Checks should be sent to:

A.P.E. Ltd

126 Main Street

Northampton, MA 01060

To receive updates on the project, please include your email address with your check.

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