The University of Utah
College of Architecture + Planning

College Undergraduates win Urban Design Utah Award

College Undergraduates win Urban Design Utah Award

Meet four outstanding undergraduates Lauren Leydsman (Urban Ecology), Alexander Jacobs (Urban Ecology & Pre-Architectural Studies), Cadin Walker (Pre-Architectural Studies), and Anthony Barcenas (Film & Media Arts)! The four completed the College of Architecture & Planning’s interdisciplinary Honors sequence called People & Place last spring with instructors Darin Mano and Mark Morris. This Fall they won the “Thoughtful consideration of Urban Design” Student Award from Urban Design Utah. Urban Design Utah is made up of three organizations: AIA, ALSA, Congress of New Urbanism.

People & Place I & II weaves together urban design and architecture theory to analyze how cities can influence our behavior. In addition to attending lectures on a variety of urban-based theories, students also work on a series of community development service-learning projects directed by practicing architects, planners, and other community professionals.

The four students zeroed in on different ways to increase access to food for westside residents since the site sits in a food desert. Their final project included a design concept for a culinary incubator called the “Indiana Eatery.” This food-centric building would provide “a venue to expand fresh, healthy and affordable food options” and “fosters cultural connections.” The team also explored ways to increase economic opportunity for residents, and how to integrate community spaces, such as a garden and gathering spaces, as well as affordable and market-rate housing around the site. Student received valuable feedback from their mentor Ana Valdemoros from Salt Lake City’s Redevelopment Agency (and now City Council member).

The experience left quite an impression on the students. Alexander told us, the course “made me focus more on the west side after doing this project. It opened my eyes to the other side of the city and working in a group setting has taught me a lot about myself.” Lauren was struck by the “incomes gaps between the east and west side of the city.” She’d like to see the two sides invest in each other while also being proud of what each has to offer.