Bluegrass Corridors Legacy Initiative
"Embracing the Past, Living in the Present, Planning for the Future"
Jamie Adams, Colleen Clines, Isaiah Everman, Nick Georgas, Erin Hathaway, Michael Henn, Loius Johnson, Tim Joice, Josh Kerber, Jim Leigh, Julia Lepping, Chris Mantle, Drew Oakley, Anthony Pratt
The Bluegrass landscape is undergoing many changes that have far-reaching implications, not only to area residents but also to the many tourists that visit the region each year. It will be a challenge to protect the Bluegrass Region's legacy in relation to population growth and often conflicting cultural values. The mission of the Bluegrass Corridors Legacy Initiative (BCLI) was to find a balance between the preservation of the region's valuable landscape and the inevitable land development that is destined to occur.
"We will create a vision for the planning and design of the Bluegrass Region's contemporary landscape and corridors which will be founded on cultural, philosophical, expressive, ecological, and enriching values. These corridors will ultimately unite the Bluegrass Region and emblazon an image onto the minds of those who are touched by the charm that this landscape embodies. This vision will offer us a fulfilling experience by allowing us to simultaneously grow as budding landscape architects and provide a valuable service to the community that we have called home for the past five years." -Student Team, 2008
In 2006, the World Monuments Fund listed the Bluegrass Cultural Landscape as one of the 100 most endangered sites in the world. The designation of the Bluegrass Cultural Landscape as a threatened cultural region serves as a call to arms for the region's stakeholders. The BCLI is using the 2010 Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games as the catalyst to evoke innovation in Bluegrass planning principles. Although there are over 600,000 attendees expected from over 60 countries, not all will be staying directly in the Bluegrass Region, as many will be commuting in and out from adjacent cities.
The intent of the BCLI was to address the following objectives:
1. Document and understand the public's perceptions about landscape issues and values in central Kentucky, particularly in transportation corridors.
2. Identify critical and threatened areas susceptible to landscape change through physical inventory, analysis, and stakeholder input on a range of corridors.
3. Demonstrate and evaluate a variety of prototypical land use scenarios for area corridors.
4. Develop a regional system that highlights tourism opportunities, alternate transportation, and wayfinding.
5. Identifying additional landscape and community assets which make this region a desirable place to live and visit.
6. Involve stakeholders throughout the entire process.
This stakeholder involvement was essential in project conception, development, refinement, and ultimately implementation. The initial public meeting consisted of three primary components; first, a formal presentation; second, an "open floor" segment where stakeholders were encouraged to ask questions about the project; and finally a public participation activity. The public participation activity consisted of a series of four station/tables for collecting information about several aspects of the Bluegrass Region vital to the team's approach. At the first station the stakeholders were asked to identify, "what the 'Bluegrass' means to you and locate your place of residence and work on a map." Station two was a mapping activity where participants were provided highlighters to indicate transportation corridors they feel are important to the Bluegrass, as well as corridors they frequent. Station three was another mapping activity where participants were asked to use stickers to locate points of interest within the Bluegrass Region. Finally, at station four participants used stickers to locate areas of concern on a map of the Bluegrass Region.
Upon completion of the first public meeting, along with subsequent data analysis of the participation activities, several subproject approaches were identified for further team effort. These subprojects included landscape conflict mapping, land use scenarios at the site scale along a hierarchy of corridors, tourism routing to connect points of interest in the landscape, land art, landscape resource visual assessment, and landscape representation.
The second public meeting, like the first, opened with a formal presentation detailing highlights of the work that had taken place since meeting one. Each individual project designer offered insights into their conceptual ideas and led a planned activity to gather further stakeholder comments and opinions. Many different methods were employed to fully utilize the stakeholders' input regarding each individual project. Comments, insights and opinions collected at the second meeting were taken into consideration and helped the designers more fully develop each concept/project for the third and final public meeting.
Throughout this endeavor, the project team thought of themselves as ambassadors for the landscape architecture profession since many of the almost 100 invitees were not familiar with the capability and range of the profession. The community service aspect to this project was essential to the entire experience. The student team had the ability to look beyond traditional planning unit boundaries that often constrain problem conceptualization and solution generation. Although considered pro bono community service, many community stakeholders contributed to the overall project's success. The interaction of our student project team and the stakeholders thoroughly enriched the entire experience for all involved.
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