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Canal Landing Park Fayetteville, New York

Professor Don Ferlow and LSA 470/670 Advanced Site Design Studio, Spring 2006

  • project design

    Fayetteville Canal Landing Park

  • community meeting

    Fayetteville Canal Landing P3rk

  • sketch of design

    Fayetteville Canal Landing Park

  • park entrance sketch

    Fayetteville Canal Landing Park

  • sketch of park design

    Fayetteville Canal Landing Park

  • sketch of parking area

    Fayetteville Canal Landing Park

  • sketch of park

    Fayetteville Canal Landing Park

  • design layout

    Fayetteville Canal Landing Park

  • flooding map

    Fayetteville Canal Landing Park

  • park design
  • community meeting
  • sketch of riverside
  • sketch of park
  • sketch of foot bridge
  • sketch of parking area
  • sketch of person
  • sketch of foot bridge
  • sketch of couple using path

In Spring 2006, community members from the Village of Fayetteville and landscape architecture students from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry worked together to develop design ideas for a Canal Landing Park located in the historic center of the village. The design process was initiated by Mayor Mark Olsen. He contacted ESF's Center for Community Design Research to request design assistance from landscape architecture faculty and students to help prepare design studies in advance of engaging a professional design consultant. It was important to the mayor that community members be involved in the park design process from the very early stages and he convened an advisory committee of interested residents and business people to work with the students.

The primary goal for the steering committee was to develop several conceptual design approaches that were based on an understanding of community values and needs, as well as an analysis of site conditions that they could use as the basis of dialogue with the broader community. Academically, the primary goals were to provide an opportunity for design students to learn and practice skills of engaging community members in the design process, to understand the important roles that both design professionals and community members have in creating place-appropriate designs, and to apply emerging design and graphic skills on a project that would benefit the local community.

The design process occurred over the course of five weeks and consisted of the following activities:

  • Workshop with steering committee and other community members
  • Additional inventory and analysis
  • Design studies
  • Presentation of design alternatives
  • Documenting results

Synthesis of Workshop Results

The workshop was held at the Village Hall on the evening of March 7, 2006. Approximately 20 community members participated. Through a series of activities using aerial photographs, brainstorming, and group discussions, participants answered the following series of questions:

  • What are the existing land uses or image areas in the context area of the park site?
  • What is the existing relationship between those land uses and the proposed park site?
  • What are the strengths or positive features of the park site?
  • What are the challenges or problems that we should be aware of?
  • Who do you think will be using the park?
  • What type of activities do you think should occur at the site, and why?
  • What type of support elements of facilities are required?

In the end, participants envisioned a wide range of uses for park visitors of all ages:

  • Organized sports and other highly active group recreational uses including basketball, baseball, and skateboarding.
  • Individuals or small groups could kayak, jog, rollerblade, walking, watch wildlife, fish, and picnic.
  • Large groups might gather for organized events such as family reunions or performances.

Student Designs

Eight student designs were presented at the communication meeting although designs from all 15 students were displayed around the room. Comments, both verbal and written, received from community members on the student presentations were overwhelmingly positive and appreciative of the thoughtfulness, extent, and legibility of the design work. While some of the designs appear to be ready to move onto the next stage of design development, it was never the intent of the process to select one of the student designs as a final approach for the park. Rather, the student work provided alternatives that could serve as the basis for discussion.

Next Steps

The collaboration between the landscape architecture students and the Fayetteville community produced a number of useful outcomes, including a site analysis and inventory, preliminary lists of activities and program, and alternative design ideas around which to base in-depth design proposals. Perhaps most important to the long term process of park design and implementation is the formation of the steering committee, the involvement of additional community members, and the beginning of a transparent process to encourage dialogue and participation in the creation of the new community park.