Burlington, Vermont: New Urban Design Possibilities for the Downtown Core

Burlington is Vermont\’s largest city. That said it is also the smallest U. S. city that is the largest in its state. It is routinely cited as one of the top cities in the country in which to live based on quality of life, health and fitness. Lake Champlain is a major feature of the downtown and within an hour\’s drive are several of the East\’s premier ski areas including Stowe and Sugarbush. Burlington is also a college town with a strong local music scene, art venues and interesting restaurants.The 20 block downtown area is vibrant and interesting on many levels but there is a growing demand for commercial space and housing there. Progressive in nature, the city is interested in exploring creative options to introduce greater height and density in the downtown core. And although there is a healthy regard for the historic qualities of the area, the city is open to the exploration of ways to integrate new urban design, landscape and architectural concepts into a historic context.In addition to devising strategies to encourage and accommodate multi-story and mixed use development projects downtown, there are also a significant number of specific site opportunities to be developed at an architectural level, most notably a 70\’s era two level indoor shopping mall in the heart of downtown. Other design challenges include re-thinking and updating an active four block outdoor pedestrian mall and coming up with planning and design strategies to better connect downtown with its nearby dramatic lakefront and with adjacent residential neighborhoods.The studio will be open to planning, urban design, landscape architecture and architecture students. There will be field trips and presentations in Burlington.