In October 2011, Springfield, Illinois submitted an application to the American Institute of Architects for a Sustainable Design Assessment Team (SDAT) project. As the application stated: “The objective of Springfield’s SDAT project is to create a repopulation plan for a more sustainable downtown that maintains the area’s historic and cultural viability and increases its economic vitality.”
“Springfield, as a community, hasn’t been using our existing core resources to best effect and it shows. We realize this is how most communities like ours have grown since World War II, but wish to move forward with a more sustainable model, which truly ‘meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’ (Brundtland Commission). We need help to interconnect all of the components that would make Springfield’s core district fully livable: such as housing, office and commercial space, open space, and transit.”
The application was accepted in October, and in January 2012, an initial visit to the community was conducted to determine the project scope and identify the expertise needed for the project. In May 2012, a seven-member SDAT team conducted a three-day charrette with the community to assess current conditions, listen to resident input, analyze constraints and opportunities, and form a series of key recommendations for the downtown moving forward. The charrette process included tours of the project area, targeted meetings with public officials and stakeholders, a public workshop, and studio design sessions. Hundreds of residents and local stakeholders participated in the process. At the conclusion of the charrette, the team presented its recommendations at a community meeting. The following report contains a narrative summary of the team’s findings, with additional information and resources.