Union Corners: A Neighborbood Re-invents a Vision
Madison, Wisconsin

The EastSide of Madison, Wisconsin has always been very active politically & culturally. People take each impending change as an opportunity to figure out how to make things better. When several local businesses closed, a major brownfield redevelopment possibility saw a unique and sustained collaboration between citizens, developers and planners to design a new urban hub that integrated dwellings, shops, grocery store, offices and public gathering space. And after economic downturn scuttled that effort, neighborhood activists switched gears again. As Lou put's it in his report:

"The neighborhoods adjacent now understand that development at Union Corners will be
evolutionary in nature. A single, massive development on the 11 acre site is unlikely in the current economic climate. Instead, neighbors envision temporary and transitional uses on the site. We want to do something creative and useful with the site -- to bring an audience and life -- while waiting for the economic conditions that would permit long-term visionary uses. And indeed not simply waiting, but in fact using carefully implemented transitional uses to encourage and support eventual high-quality permanent uses."

Read Lou's entire report which is intended to give guidance to entrants of the upcoming design competition being hosted by the Congress for the New Urbanism.

Union Corners Worskhop

Above: Lou Host-Jablonski presenting at the Union Corners public input session on April 9th, 2011. As part of a brainstorming activity, 45 people assembled from the neighborhoods surrounding Union Corners to brainstorm transitional uses. Then they used a worksheet technique that Lou devised to analyze the activities according to their "stickiness", "transitional trajectory" and management issues.

Union Corners Urban Design Talk

Lou mixes in some local history with his talk about the urban design context for the site.



Union Corners Photo Tour

This slideshow explores the Union Corners site and environs as of 7 April 2011.