FAYETTEVILLE — Slow Street: A New Town Center for Mayflower, a design project created by the University of Arkansas Community Design Center, won the 2015 World Architecture News’ Future Project Urban Design Award.
Mayflower and nearby Vilonia were struck by an EF4 tornado in April 2014.
This was the nation’s deadliest tornado in 2014, killing 16 people and destroying more than 400 homes.
The center’s design for Mayflower is focused on redeveloping the area with a new type of walkable town center with mixed residential, recreational, commercial and municipal functions, which would also incorporate an isolated city park and floodplain. The Community Design Center partnered on the project with the Central Arkansas Planning and Development District and the U.S. Economic Development Administration.
The plan was adopted unanimously by Mayflower’s city council, following a year of work between the tornado recovery planning team and the community. Mayflower is currently working on parcel aggregation to implement Phase 1 around the city park. The design was created around the concept of a "slow street," which stretches the qualities and landscapes common to a town square along the street’s 4,500-foot length.
The area measures 800 feet at its widest part, and no building is more than a block away from the "slow street," which is conceived as a combined main street and town square. Green spaces are incorporated into the street, so it also serves as a city park.
This project also accommodates a range of housing density (from six to 25 units per acre) in a town where the average density is three units per acre. The housing mix for the 350 units supports aging in place and the return of middle and low-income families to town centers.
"While not all of our projects involve students, this was one where fifth-year design students collaborating with the center’s staff operated with great clarity under urgent conditions to deliver a town plan in just a few months," said Steve Luoni, director of the Community Design Center. "Good urbanism is a matter of relationships and not a factor of population size, nor necessarily of high densities. I am thrilled that our school, university and state can set the bar for urban futures internationally, and so, it is incumbent upon us in Arkansas to work a little harder to implement such city plans."
About the University of Arkansas Community Design Center
The University of Arkansas Community Design Center was founded in 1995 as part of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design.
The center advances creative development in Arkansas through education, research, and design solutions that enhance the physical environment. It has provided design and planning services to more than 50 communities and organizations across Arkansas, helping them to secure nearly $65 million in grant funding to enact suggested improvements.
In addition to revitalizing historic downtowns, the center addresses new challenges in affordable housing, urban sprawl, environmental planning, and management of regional growth or decline.
The center’s professional staff members are nationally recognized for their expertise in urban and public-interest design, and their work has received more than 110 design and planning awards. For more information visit uacdc.uark.edu.
About the University of Arkansas
The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs.
The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines.
The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities.
Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.