Project Objective

The spring of 2008 marked the commencement phase of the Sustaining Chipley project. Professor Martin Gold led an Architectural Studio of 12 students that initiated field research, held and documented a stakeholders meeting, and conducted precedent studies of housing typologies that might be adapted for the Chipley context. From the initial field studies and research, the project team developed five alternative master plan strategies that incorporate the needs and expectations expressed by stakeholders. The schemes take slightly different approaches toward capitalizing on the present amenities such as the CSX railroad that splits the main street downtown (a true railroad town); the historic fabric and scale of the early 20th Century buildings, and the pedestrian-orientated core fabric; and the available vacant land in the downtown.

The team traveled to precedent cities in Florida’s Panhandle including Panama City (recently redeveloped Main Street) and Seaside (model New Urbanist development) on February 3rd, 2008. Field documentation and measurements were conducted with regard to urban scale, amenity, pedestrian-only designations and the mixing of pedestrians and automobiles and viable building uses. On February 4th, 2008, the project team photo documented each block of Chipley’s core downtown area and made key measurements of urban infrastructural elements. The project team met with the Board of Directors of the Chipley Community Redevelopment Agency, members of the Chamber of Commerce, and downtown merchant stakeholders to survey perceptions of the community in terms of desirable and undesirable aspects of economic and urban development. Many comments and issues were raised. Three themes were consistent throughout the dialogue — (1) there was a desire for rehabilitating historic buildings that would likely require new structural systems; (2) additional parking for downtown customers was perceived as strongly needed; and (3) more residential units were desperately needed in the downtown to support commercial activity.

Our preliminary work focused on addressing the primary concerns as noted above in addition to linking the downtown to regional amenities, developing a sustainable infrastructure (power generation and stormwater filtration/ reuses), providing needed shade in the downtown, capturing residual space for commercial (revenue-generating) uses and developing a unifying syntax for urban design to integrate the quality historic buildings with new buildings that would be affordable and integrate sustainable construction methods and materials.

The project team met with the Board of Directors of the Chipley Community Redevelopment Agency, members of the Chamber of Commerce, and downtown merchant stakeholders on February 4th, 2008. The team met with stakeholders to survey perceptions of the community in terms of desirable and undesirable aspects of economic and urban development. Many comments and issues were raised which are summarized in detail below. Comments ranged from specific desires such as more parking to general characterizations of the familyorientated and slow pace of the town that is considered highly desirable. The three themes were consistent throughout the dialogue — (1) there was a desire for rehabilitating historic buildings that would likely require new structural systems; (2) additional parking for downtown customers was perceived as strongly needed; and (3) more residential units were desperately needed in the downtown to support commercial activity.

Teams Tackling Potential Development

Long-range planning requires man facets to align in a particular fashion over a long period of time to achieve a singular master plan. A single vision is useful in the early phases to get the first projects initiated but can quickly become a hindrance if markets, tourists, employers, or natural disaster events change the context for better or for worse.

Also, given the many possible opportunities for Chipley, the project team will study five alternate schemes to move toward a set of high-priority recommendations and visualizations of alternate outcomes. The project team was divided into five urban planning groups. Each group developed a conceptual approach to counterposing weaknesses and opportunities that draw on a combination of field and archival research.

Each team is developing an analysis/ strategy for urban design and downtown redevelopment that includes urban sections, urban plans, physical scale models, and electronic models. The teams will focus on optimizing vacant land, identifying buildings for restoration/adaptive use, linking the two sides of the railroad track for improved pedestrian crossing, developing quality civic space, integrating parking (grade and garage), and locating key commercial anchors such as a hotel and retail establishments.

Group 1: PV Park

Jennifer Del Rio, Jourdona LaFate, Jairo Vives

Group 2: Pre-Urban Structures

Patricio Ayala, Shaheen Gazvini, Orain Scarlett

Group 3: The Parkway

Alex Chaille, Ron Devine, Jose Vieyra

Group 4: Growing Small

Danielle Brown, Kayleigh Carlisle, Zach Chance

Group 5: Urban Rooms

Christa Campbell, Ross Howayeck, Michal McVinney

PV Park- Jennifer Del Rio, Jourdona LaFate, Jairo Vives

Drawing literally from the line of the railroad yet expanding the idea of a core infrastructure that supports a unique urban condition, PV Park incorporates a photovoltaic (sun electricity) power generator for an urban park in the town. This power generating system makes urban gestures to create civic space, enhance pedestrian circulation, provide needed shade and of
course, generate electricity. As an infrastructure, the system is completely expandable and able to accommodate both private and public investments.

1- Recreation Center 2- Main Station 3- Offices and Retail Center 4- Row Housing 5- Bike Trail and Running Path 6- Viewing Tower

7- Parking Garage 8- Hotel 9- Conference Center 10- Commercial Center 12- Low Rise Residential 13- Mid Rise Residential

Green space is layered with the Photovoltaic elements as a system of PV canopy, tree canopy, hardscape, greenscape, and wetscape. Existing natural areas are connected to the core through a system of parallel linear parks, with adjacent row houses, low rise, and mid-rise housing. The parks extend into the region through bicycle/pedestrian paths. A systematic phasing strategy will also be developed to take advantage of PV incentives from state and federal government agencies to facilitate the concept of Chipley as a unique PV town.

Group 2: Pre-Urban Structures- Patricio Ayala, Shaheen Gazvini, Orain Scarlett

Group 3: The Parkway- Alex Chaille, Ron Devine, Jose Vieyra

Group 4: Growing Small- Danielle Brown, Kayleigh Carlisle, Zach Chance

Group 5: Urban Rooms- Christa Campbell, Ross Howayeck, Michal McVinney