Engage the Neighborhood
In the summer of 2009 Alan Holt, Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at the University of Southern Maine, approached UMA/ARC about working with the East Bayside neighborhood of Portland, Maine. His idea was to build upon work previously done by USM graduate students at the Muskie School of Public Service.
Here was a chance for our third year students to engage in larger issues and do so with a very real, very active community. East Bayside is a significant and very distinct neighborhood within Portland. This shape of this neighborhood has undergone tremendous physical change over the past 200 years and it is home to the most diverse population in the State. The work of the studio allowed for interaction with real clients and constituencies on a large scale and with many voices. The project dealt with a multitude of individuals, families, neighborhood organizations, government officials, and a variety of stakeholders. The complexity of the problems was intense. It was the students’ challenge to sort through all of this and help determine a programmatic and architectural vision for this specific area of Portland. Through the work we saw that good design holds great potential answers for resolution.