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Archive for November, 2007

East-West Corridor Development

A wide variety of topics came to light at the Columbus Social Media event held at COSI in conjunction with WOSU, at which I was present. One of the workshops I sat in on was hosted by a young man who hosts the Columbusite blog. We discussed urbanism in Columbus.

The discussion morphed from density, or lack there of, to street cars, to light-rail, to retail, to ethnic neighborhoods, to reactions about height restrictions to real-estate. As we talked, it became apparent to all of us, that none of us were Columbus natives, yet we all felt passionately about the city, though some of us didn’t live in Columbus proper. We all felt that it was important for every portion of the metro area, basically all of Franklin County, to feel as if it’s all a part of what is a really great city. Without a really great “city” even the best neighborhoods and suburbs will eventually fail.

As we hashed this out, we discussed how High Street is the linear path to the city’s current prosperity. While there’s other great streets and connectors along/to/from High Street, High Street is getting all of the attention. We all agreed that High Street is doing well, and perhaps its time for the city to “incubate” an east-west street.

There’s plenty of those to choose from, of course. We did feel, however, that East Broad Street, from High to the Franklin Park Conservatory should be highlighted as a prominent east-west corridor, creating a defining link to the Conservatory and Franklin Park.

East Broad Street travels past the Columbus Museum of Art, yet another facility that’s sort of “left out” of “downtown”. Additionally, East Broad Street anchors a good portion of Olde Towne East, an area that continues to pull itself up by it’s boot straps. East Broad Street was once, and should be once again, a brilliant boulevard extending east from the city.

Other possibilities exist. Town Street, when it’s reopened after the re-centering of City Center might be one to explore. Gay Street is emerging as an east-west area of development, as well. Which ever one is chosen, the group felt that the adjoining neighborhoods would gain the boost needed to take those neighborhoods to the next level, just as High Street has helped every neighborhood along its path.

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A New Metro Park?

Here’s a nifty idea for the metro area. It’s a “tree clock” designed to map out 1000 years. Creating such an installation around Columbus could be used to define our metropolitan boundaries. Part sculpture, part conservation, part attraction, part museum, part classroom.

While it only requires a path five miles long, a continuous ring around the city could host “multiple forests” ticking away the millennium. If a park-ring around the city were considered too much, there are still plenty of other planting options. The TiWalkMe site recommends space formerly used by strip malls or on the site of an abandoned railway.

A giant concrete ribbon surrounds our metro area. Imagine something different.

We must learn to think twice, and act once. This is the purpose of TiWalkMe. TiWalkMe is a place where a thousand years can be experienced as a walk through an ever changing forest. A place to learn and share with others, to better judge and improve our plans before they drift into actions tethered to the past. A forest which is at heart an enormous clock, slowly ticking out the pace of life, resetting our own sense of time and space, with a horizon swept out to a millennia.

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4,000 Words

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Find out more at Liveable Places.

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Now that the City of Columbus has obtained ownership of the former Schottensteins site (on Parsons Avenue), as well as some of the surrounding property, this area might be the right place to host the emerging Columbus film industry.

The area has easy access to SR-104, I-71 and I-270, as well as downtown. The leasing costs would be much lower than in other parts of the city, and there’s enough space to grow, at least for awhile. In the mean time, businesses supporting the film industry could easily be located in and around the Parsons Avenue facility. Catering, editing, wardrobe, lighting and special effects specialist would find both proximity and low-cost rents attractive.

Expansion of larger entities supporting the industry would be available at the nearby site that formerly housed of Federal Glass and National Graphics. Might there be space enough here for a production lot?

The surrounding neighborhoods would find an increase in available jobs that support the industry, as well as the industries that support it. Film makers would have the benefit of reduced costs. Simply put, it’s cheaper to film in Ohio than it is to film on either coast, and certainly less of a hassle than using the traditional cities of Toronto and Montreal.

Within minutes of the Parsons Avenue facility, one can be filming in rural settings, or in the heart of a city, filled with both old and new street-scapes. From rivers and wetlands, railways and factories, to skyscrapers, its readily available and easily accessible.

The Greater Columbus Film Commission web site, “Film Columbus” offers local businesses an opportunity to advertise their services that support the film industry. With a central area for the business, as well as those that support the industry, Parsons Avenue may be in the process of finding it’s new identity.

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