By MICHAEL BUSHNELL
December 4, 2013
Independence Avenue isn’t a thruway usually associated with awards. If it is, they’re dubious and usually muttered under the breath and punctuated with a shrug of the shoulders and a roll of the eyes.
Recently, however, the Kansas City Design Center’s (KCDC) Independence Avenue project secured an American Institute of Architects/Kansas City Design Excellence Honor Award for its innovative re-use of blighted space and redevelopment ideas for the Independence Avenue corridor.
Staffed entirely by students from the planning and architecture programs at Kansas State and the University of Kansas, the Independence Avenue Urban Vision Study was chosen from among nearly 50 projects submitted mostly by big name architectural firms in Kansas City, all competing for top honors.
“The award is not only a testament to the hard work done by our students but a testament to the dedication of our stakeholder group as well,” said KCDC Executive Assistant Tiffany Cartwright. “This award really goes out to the Independence Avenue community at large.”
The Urban Vision Study focused on converting blight space, often perceived as a negative, into a positive and contributing attribute to the Independence Avenue corridor.
Utilizing strategies such as community gardens and pocket parks along the Avenue corridor in place of actual bricks and mortar structures was just one of the reasons the project was chosen as one of three Honor Award recipients.