OU Institute for Quality Communities (IQC) interns and architecture students Brandon White and Jackson Ware recently undertook a redesign project for a busy intersection in Midwest City.
They worked together with their project mentors, professional advisors Sam Day and Sam Callahan, to examine place-making and street design opportunities on a side street adjacent to the Air Depot corridor.
“As it stands, this study area is dedicated entirely to drive lanes and parking,” said Day. “Our goal was to reprogram some of this space so that it was more economically and socially useful to the city. Exploring, measuring and documenting the existing conditions helped us prioritize issues and gave us time to explore solutions.”
White and Ware documented the day-to-day traffic of the site and experienced the pedestrian flow in the area to better understand the needs of the city.
“The primary goal with the project in Midwest City was to create a proposal for a street on the original mile of Midwest City,” said White. “Our specific street that we focused on is McArthur Drive and where it intersects with Air Depot Blvd. We wanted to make this street a place where the people of Midwest City would want to come visit and spend time while also making the area look more attractive for private developers.”
Perhaps the most important takeaway from the project was the real-world training it provided. “One thing I learned that I wouldn’t have without this internship,” said Ware, “was not all architecture is working with a structure but working within a space.”
“I learned a lot from our supervisor Sam Day,” said White. “From zoning to overlay districts to what we as architects plan vs members in other disciplines.”
Midwest City is currently reviewing the proposal and the students are hopeful it will come to fruition and benefit the community.
“I hope Midwest City continues down the path they are looking at,” said White. “As far as I understand, they want to continually revisit streets on the original mile so that it becomes more pedestrian friendly and a hub for the city culturally.”
“My biggest hope for the community,” said Ware, “is to have an area for them to congregate to and see the beautiful parts of Midwest city and create a space for people to develop friendships with one another.”