The Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture recognized cityLAB
, Urban Design Build Studio
and Carnegie Mellon University architecture professor John Folan with the 2014 ACSA Collaborative Practice Award
for cityLAB's 6% Place project
CityLAB is a small nonprofit that produces local economic development projects, its website
describes “6 percent” as the magic number for a tipping point.
“If a neighborhood can get that many creative workers, it becomes an attraction in its own right,” the site
states. “CityLAB has been testing out this hypothesis in Garfield, an overlooked neighborhood in Pittsburgh’s East End, since 2011. Our goal is to fill in the neighborhood’s vacancies with creative workers who will be good neighbors, invest in the community and help the neighborhood grow sustainably.”
Sara Blumenstein, cityLAB program manager, explains that the initial idea to draw creative neighbors stemmed from data that showed that after creative types move into a region, development follows. She said the initiative had multiple goals: to improve the community and to put Garfield on the map for prospective residents.
During the fall of 2011, Folan’s students worked with Garfield community members to come up with proposals for 16 ideas for Garfield cityLAB, detailed in the 6% Place book
“[It was an] opportunity to get experience that they wouldn’t get in school,” Blumenstein says about Folan’s CMU architecture students. She explains that students worked with neighbors while applying classroom skills to budget costs and develop plans.
Two projects have taken flight from the 16 fledgling ideas: the Tiny Houses
project and the Garfield Night Market
The Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation
’s Garfield Night Market is returning Friday May 2, with assistance from cityLAB. Blumenstein says visitors to the market can expect a street fair setting with paper lanterns, food and crafts. She notes that the market does more than draw families and patrons to Garfield for a good time — it is also a business incubator.
Garfield community members who have the goal of running a small business can get the training and skills they need by starting at the Garfield market. About a dozen of the market’s current vendors are Garfield residents, but Blumenstein says it is a goal to eventually have Garfield entrepreneurs host at least half of the market.
Writer: Caroline Gerdes
, Sara Blumenstein