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Andre Johnson Urban Planning / Design Portfolio

Updated June 2018

Andre Johnson

2742 Powell Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45211 | 513-509-9494 | Personal Statement Having lived in many cities throughout my childhood and into my adulthood, I’ve found an interest in the factors that go into designing livable, functional, and aesthetically appealing places. The built environment is powerful in altering not only the human experience, but the economy, transportation, and the environment. It is my goal to design places that positively effect the built environment and its affected elements.

Education Fall 2017 - Present University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, OH

Pursuing Bachelor of Urban Planning / Certificate in Urban Design Spring 2021 GPA: 3.41

Fall 2011 - May 2015 Walnut Hills High School Cincinnati, OH

Spring 2015 College Preparatory Curriculum

Experience Jan. 2018 - Present Michael Watkins Architect, LLC Gaithersburg, MD

Design Intern Working closely with urban designers, dedicated to designing and implementing walkable and public realms that foster community. Assisting in design of neighborhoods, hamlets and town extensions, preparation of design guidelines and zoning ordinances, and participating in urban design charrettes.

Sept. 2016 - Present Campus Rec. Center Cincinnati, OH

Aquatics Supervisor Supervising patrons in the indoor pool; Rescuing and performing necessary care to distressed, injured or passive swimmers; Teaching and organizing swim lessons; Instructing and re-certifying lifeguards.

July 2013 - Present Cincinnati Rec. Comm. Cincinnati, OH

Pool Manager / Lifeguard Instructor Organizing, planning, and implementing strategy; supervising lifeguards and patrons; Counting and depositing money; Up-keeping pool facility.

Accomplishments/Skills Mar. 2018

Oct. 2017

Apr. 2017



Published plan drawing in The Town Courier, Gaithersburg, MD independent newspaper.

Adobe InDesign

DAAP E2C Blitz “Implement It Tomorrow” Award

Microsoft Excel

UC Rec. Center Employee “Rookie of the Year” Award

Microsoft PowerPoint

Dean’s List: Spring 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017

Adobe Photoshop Adobe Illustrator Microsoft Word SketchUp ArcGIS AutoCAD

College Hill Case Study


Grocery Store Suitability Analysis


Blythe Oldfield Master Plan


Planned Unit Development


Writing & Graphic Samples


Group (with Graham Wilz & Brain Longobardi) Planning Design Graphic Communication II Spring 2017 - Planning Semester 2

Individual Introduction to Geographic Information Systems Spring 2017 - Planning Semester 2

CO-OP Michael Watkins Architect, LLC Spring 2018 - Planning Semester 4

CO-OP Michael Watkins Architect, LLC Spring 2018 - Planning Semester 4


Spring 2017

College Hill Case Study


Group (with Graham Wilz & Brain Longobardi) Planning Design Graphic Communication II Planning Semester 2

This project was a semester-long case study on the Cincinnati neighborhood, College Hill. Located on the northern edge of the city, College Hill is a large, diverse, residential neighborhood. Home to about 16,000 residents, the neighborhood is 3.75 square miles. It is 8.7 miles from Downtown Cincinnati and located on one of Cincinnati’s seven hills. The southern side of the neighborhood is home to wooded hills while the northern side is where the main street and residential sections are found. After a visit to the neighborhood, a few quick sketches, and some photographs, we determined that College Hill is missing something. The historic past of the neighborhood is evident in every street. It is easily seen that College Hill is scattered with relics of its past, whether it be the monumental Twin Towers, the old Town Hall, or the many churches. At first impression, the neighborhood seemed down on it’s luck, but with the developments on Hamilton Ave, the future seems brighter.


Change in Demographics ArcGIS, Adobe Illustrator 1970






















Race (White Population)



Unemployment Rate



Education (High School Graduation Rate)



Poverty Rate



We decided that change was an important characteristic of College Hill to explore, so we looked at Census and American Community Survey data from 1970 to 2015, to draw comparisons from the past to the present. One of the most important conclusions from this data is the rise of both unemployment and poverty, which led us to ask ourselves why College Hill has is changing in this direction.


Urban Fabric Analysis ArcGIS, Adobe Illustrator

Figure-Ground Tree Canopy Building Boundary

College Hill has two main arterial routes connecting the neighborhood to other places, and collector roads connecting places in between. The core of the neighborhood is walkable and well connected showing its streetcar origins. Moving further out, this grid becomes disconnected due to its suburban nature.

The neighborhood has an important tree canopy that characterizes its surroundings. The southern half of the neighborhood is forested by a fox preserve and woods. The northern half also has a present tree canopy showing tree-lined streets and a more suburban setting for the neighborhood’s development.

Linkages Roads

Arterial Collector Local Intersections Pedestrian Shed (1/2) Mile

Land Use Single-Family Multi-Family Commercial Institutional Agricultural Public

College Hill is a largely single-family residential neighborhood. It has a strip of commercial space on business district of Hamilton Ave. Institutions are scattered throughout the neighborhood, which are largely churches and schools. It also has some of the last agricultural space left in the city.


Neighborhood Typologies ArcGIS, SketchUp, Adobe Illustrator

Commercial District

Estate Residential


Small Suburban

Suburban Residential


College Hill Opportunity: Grocery Store ArcGIS, SketchUp, Adobe Illustrator



0 Mile Food Desert Map



Grocery Store

0.5assignment Mile Radius of Grocery Store Hill's isThe final reflects on College sues and Siteopportunities. of Proposal


1.0 Mile 0.5 Connecting Change Selected Edge P Route


ally, med

is an ts 10

Food Desert

College Hill: Food We always believed that Desert College Hill was missing something, and after semester worth ofStore College Hill: WithinaRange of Grocery research on the neighborhood, we decided it Street was missing a grocery store. The neighborhood has been a massive food desert since the KroOne prominent issue in College ger in College Hill moved to North College Hill. Hill is the lack of fresh produce. There are grocery stores located just outside There are no grocery stores of the neighborhood, following the Highway located in the limits of College system, but nothing to provide the residents of Hill. To remediate this issue, the College Hill accessible produce.

Boundary Street

1/2 Mile Ped She



Grocery Store 0.5 Mile Radius Site of Proposal College Hill Street Proposal Site

neighborhood can create a grocery co-op that community owners can buy into and will provide for the needs of the community. Without fresh produce, the community exists within a vacuum of necessities. Building Footprint Abandoned Buildings


1.0 Mile


Site Proposal Model Looking at a site on Hamilton and North Bend, right next to the location of the former College Hill Kroger, we designed a proposal for a Cooperative Grocery Store, with space for parking, a community center to bring together the community, and public space. This would solve a lot of the issues, especially the food desert. This easily accessible corner would provide much of the neighborhood with fresh produce, and bring together the community while at it. This assignment was a great way to end the project, as we were able to finally use the tools we developed throughout the semester to create a cohesive proposal for the neighborhood. This semester project improved my fundamentals of planning, and gave me experience gathering neighborhood or site impressions, historical data, and census data, along with analyzing urban design, and finally creating proposals. Site Proposal Plan


Grocery Store Suitability Analysis

Spring 2017

Individual Introduction to Geographic Information Systems Planning Semester 2


Given the task to create a Land-Use Suitability Analysis for Hamilton County, I chose to create a suitability analysis for the development of a new grocery store, from the developer's standpoint. Using the MCE (Multiple Criteria Evaluation) technique of land-use suitability, I used five criteria which were analyzed by distance or value. After determining the polarity of the data, based on its affect on the placement of a grocery store, the data was ranked by distance from points, or value of a given census tract. After ranking and weighting each criterion, they were combined into one unified map. Suitability for the placement of a grocery store dwindles with distance from Cincinnati’s downtown. Downtown Cincinnati clearly has the highest suitability for the placement of the grocery store, with its high population density, and easy access to transportation systems. Transportation systems were ranked the most important criteria to consider when placing a grocery store; without easy access to the store, the clientele will be limited. As a result, the locations outside of the range of highway exits or bus stops likely lack the accessibility to make the placement of a grocery store profitable. A couple months after I completed this assignment, Kroger released their plan to develop a grocery in Downtown Cincinnati to serve Downtown, Overthe-Rhine, and West End. It was great to know that my combination map was accurate enough to predict where the development of a new grocery store would be centered.

Combination Diagram

Proximity to Grocery Stores

Median Household Income

Proximity to Highway Exits

Population Density

Proximity to Bus Stops

Suitable 100 50 0 Unsuitable


Blythe Oldfield Master Plan

Spring 2018

CO-OP Michael Watkins Architect, LLC Spring 2018 - Planning Semester 4


On my first CO-OP with Michael Watkins Architect, I had an amazing opportunity to go on a charrette in a Cleveland, TN neighborhood called Blythe Oldfield. The goal of the charrette was create a master plan for the neighborhood, including design goals, and addressing improvements to neighborhood aspects such as civic spaces and thoroughfares. The master plan also addresses new initiatives and funding. On this week-long charrette, I had an opportunity to participate in hands-on urban design, and interact with the community we were designing for. Blythe Oldfield is a neighborhood in Southeast Cleveland, Tennessee. The neighborhood has a blue-collar industrial history that was once rich in manufacturing, but when many industries moved out, the quality of the neighborhood declined. City Fields, a non-profit organization based in Blythe Oldfield, is committed to reinvesting in the neighborhood. City Fields has five “Fields� around which they focus their revitalization efforts: Physical Revitalization, Social Revitalization, Leadership Development, Economic Development and Neighborhood Safety. Most of the efforts presented herein address more than one of these fields, as they are often tangential in nature. The principles that guided this master planning process can be found in the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) Charter. The CNU is a non-profit organization which promotes walkable, mixed-use and diverse towns, neighborhoods and cities and the CNU Charter is a summary of the principles by which well designed towns and cities are built.

Existing Site

Master Plan

Master Plan Study Area Boundary

N 0




Blythe Oldfield Neighborhood Master Plan 23

Study Area Boundary 10-Foot Contour Flood Plain Electric Easement Property Line Existing Buildings


Blythe Oldfield Nei


w rd Ha

ree St ick


od dwo Wil

Lang Street

nu Ave

Hand Sketch, Photoshop

The master plan is a representation of what the community wants. There was a strong demand for more places in the neighborhood for the community to gather, so we designed for areas to become civic spaces. There was a strong demand for more places to shop, so we designed new commercial areas. We also redesigned thoroughfares to be more pedestrian friendly, adding sidewalks in areas to create a safer walk to school, street parking to keep cars off of front lawns, and lined streets with trees to beautify the neighborhood.

The addition of p wood avenue is become a comm street trees is an i


Big Springs Squa come Wildwood and commercial cause much of t led by Big Spring tively, Big Spring tious, but individ could make sma that would add u

Existing B


Property L

Flood Plai

2-Foot Co

Big Springs

Master Plan

Proposed Master Plan

14th Street

14th Street

oa L d oo dw il W

Upon review of available documents and

Upon review of available documents and Big Springs PlazainDetail Plan it seems observation the field, that some

16th Street observation in the field, it seems that some owners may owners may have have made made private private improveimprovements within the public rights-of-way� within theto public rights-of-way� The ments design was meant re-solidify the neighborhood's Rights-of-way and property lines should be relationship with Cleveland, by lines removing Rights-of-way and property shouldthe be factory verified� These drawings reflect our obserseparating it from downtown, and replacing verified� These drawings reflect our obser-it with a park. The Blythe Oldfield Regional located at the vations of is and may vations of what what is existing existing and Park, may conflict conflict northern borderrights-of-way of the neighborhood is meant to be with actual and property with actualincluding rights-of-way and property lines� lines� this These solution, many recreational resources. proposals may need to be adjusted� These proposals may need to be adjusted� The factory is within the floodplain, making a park the

best use of this space, now that the factory is abandoned.

The graphic above is a detail plan for an intersection in the neighborhood, and depicts the location of new buildings, spaces, and thoroughfares, conforming to constraints. More detail plans were done for specific locations in the neighborhood that have been redesigned. The graphic to the left is one of the many proposed thoroughfare sections, drawn to scale. The new plan transforms the previously large thoroughfares, into more pedestrian friendly ones. We focused on thoroughfares that would serve as main routes to the school on the south border of the neighborhood.


Typical Proposed Thoroughfare Section

5' 7'


7' 5'

Michael Watkins Architect, llc June 11, 2018 DRAFT


Blythe Blythe Avenue Avenue

e ak

Hardwick Street


15th Street Thoroughfares Thoroughfares

Proposed Site

Master Plan

Master Plan Study Area Boundary

N 0




Blythe Oldfield Neighborhood Master Plan 23

Study Area Boundary Proposed Buildings


Spring 2018 18

Planned Unit Development CO-OP Michael Watkins Architect, LLC Spring 2018 - Planning Semester 4

A planned unit development (PUD) is a type of building development that groups together land uses in one contained development. On my first CO-OP with Michael Watkins Architect, I was tasked to design a PUD as part of a design auction hosted by a city. Several other Urban Design firms were asked to participate in submitting a design for the space, and the best one will be chosen for implementation. With help from Michael Watkins, I used AutoCAD to design a site with the existing conditions (depicted to the right) kept in mind. Existing around the site are garden apartments and a day care to the north, undeveloped space and a shopping center to the south, and single-family residential homes to the east. Circulation into the site exists through the shopping center, and the bordering thoroughfare to the west of the site.

Existing Site






A Garden Apartments B Day Care C Shopping Center D Undeveloped E Single-Family Residential Site Site Circulation


The Proposal AutoCAD

1 7 Units

10,000 SF Retail

Stormwater Pond




MF Units




10,000 SF

The proposal for the planned unit development includes 10,000 square feet of retail space at the main entrance of the site. The commercial space here contributes to the shopping center to the Total 10,000 SF Total 84 Units Total southwest. It also plans for 84 Multi-Family units, each with a porch or balcony. Parking required

Parking required

Parking required

The parking prioritizes streets spaces, but also has parking lots for and residential sepResidential: 2/unit 168the commercial Retail: 5/1,000 SF 50 Retail: 5/1,000 SF arately. The street parking in total accounts for 74 of the site's parking spaces. The residential head-in parking lot is hidden behind the buildings with alley access, as to be not immediately visible. Total

50 Spaces


10,000 SF

168 Spaces



50 Space

The main thoroughfare into the site enters from street to the west of the site, and is tree-lined all Parking provided Parkingthe provided Parking provided the way through to the parking. The street terminates on a civic space and a residential building, Parking Lot 17 Spaces Parking Lot 130 Spaces Parking Lot 17 Space creating a contained sense of place. The end of the street allows for a potential connection with the Street 31 Spaces Street 43 Spaces Street 31 Space undeveloped space to the southeast of the site. Total 48 Spaces Total 173 Spaces Total Difference -2 Spaces Difference +5 Spaces The site also has access from the commercial site to the south, and enters onDifference a tree lined thorough-

48 Space -2 Space

fare, providing more street parking and a connection to the main thoroughfare.

Michael Watkins Architect, llc 20

Alternate Proposal, P





9 6




11 Residential:

48 24 12 84 Units

*Building 8 is 3 stories.

Parking required


1.5/unit + .5/add’l bed





150 Spaces Parking provided

Parking Lot Street Total Difference

130 Spaces 43 Spaces 173 Spaces +23 Spaces

N *Building 8 is 3 stories. 0'






MF 1 Bed:


MF 3 Bed: Total


Retail 10,000 SF Residential: 1.5/unit + .5/add’l bed 150

es es es es


RESIDENTIAL MF 1 Bed: MF 2 Bed: MF 3 Bed: Total

ogram: 84 Units MF 2 Bed:



Program Information Commercial

48 24 12 84 Units

Parking required

Parking Required

Total: Retail: 5/1,000 SF 150 Spaces 50 Spaces Parking provided

Parking Parking Lot Provided 130 Spaces Parking Lot 17 Spaces Street 43 Spaces Street 31 Spaces Total 173 Spaces Total 48 Spaces Difference +23 Spaces Parking Difference

Program: 84 Units

-2 Spaces

Beaucrest PUD 4 Residential Multi-Family Units

84 Units

Parking Required Residential: 2/unit

168 Spaces

Parking Provided Parking Lot 130 Spaces Street 43 Spaces Total 173 Spaces 0'


Parking Difference


+5 Spaces

N 120'

Beaucrest PUD 21

Effects of the Racial Wealth & Poverty Gap

Writing Sample

Individual Race & Ethnicity in American Culture Fall 2016 - Planning Semester 1


America is virtually split by the gap of disparity in wealth between the rich and the poor, largely shaped by racial segregation. It’s created an economic segregation, mostly between Black and White Americans, and also affects other races, but in recent years those gaps have been shrinking, while the wealth gap between Black and White people stays consistent. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the poverty rate among Blacks is about 27.2 percent, versus the rate of 12.7 percent of White people in poverty. “It is becoming increasingly difficult to contest the belief that where you grow up greatly determines your future success.” There are many reasons that race is such a large contributing factor in our wealth and poverty gap, which can be answered by examining the roots of the issue in the history of segregation. The racial wealth and poverty gap has affected many aspects of all American lives, most importantly their health and development, employment, and socioeconomic status. Living in poverty can negatively affect your health and development, especially considering the children, with the largest demographic of people living in poverty are black children. The worst cases of this are in cities such as Detroit and Cleveland, where the poverty rates for black children are 61 and 52 percent respectively. Even non poor black children often end up living in poverty, with 28 percent of non poor black children in Detroit living in poverty, versus the only 7 percent of white children with the same circumstances. As previously stated, living in poverty can negatively affect your development, as proven by Dr. Jack Shonkoff of the Harvard Center on Developing Child, who found that “repeated environmental stress in early years is damaging to a developing brain architecture, leading to lifelong problems.” This is extremely important to consider when examining the large statistic of black children in poverty. By growing up in poverty, you are likely to remain in poverty, without being given the proper resources and opportunities, or without even being taught to have the motivation to want to rise up in society. This is an important reason why there is a

racial poverty gap, and why it's difficult to mitigate. “By allowing so many of our youngest citizens to grow up in these neighborhoods, we are pulling the rug out from under their fee before they even learn to walk.” On the other hand, being raised in a rich neighborhood, a child is given the resources to thrive and likely earn high than average future earnings, expanding the gap further. Poverty also can result in numerous health problems and even lower life expectancies. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Black people have more the two times the likelihood of being diagnosed with diabetes, and having other problems, including almost two times the chance of having a stroke in their lifetimes. These health problems are possibly influenced by genetics, but are likely a result of poverty. The ability to afford health insurance, the quality of house, and access to parks and higher quality grocery stores could all be contributing factors when considering the connection between poverty and health. There is also a large difference in employment between each side of the gap, though there is a rising number of black executives and managers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in Black versus White people has been virtually unchanged in the last 40 years, with about two times the black people than white people that are unemployed. This may be influenced by the race gap in higher education, with 21 percent of Black people with a degree versus the 38 percent of White people with a degree. This large gap would obviously put Black people in a worse place employment wise, but even with a degree, 5.7 percent of Blacks are unemployed, versus 3.5 percent of Whites with degrees. Additionally, according to Urban Institute, in 2010 White families made on average over two times the income, but have 6.1 times the wealth of Blacks and Hispanics. This is likely because it has been more difficult for Black families to accumulate their wealth, and have more trouble finding employment. The last important aspect of American lives affected by the racial wealth and poverty gap is their socioeconomic status. A study was done by the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis to find the average net worth of families based on their race, and included yearly income and financial

resources accumulated over time. It was found that the “overall median net worth of white a white family without a college degree holder was $80,000. For black families without a college-degree holder, it was $9,000.” They also found results for families with degree holders-White families having an average of $360,000, and black families with an average of $33,000. This is likely because it is more difficult for black families to accumulate their wealth. Wealth in families is often passed down through property ownership, and in history black families have had difficulties buying houses and keeping property value in their often plunging neighborhoods. A major cause of this is the 1934 Federal Housing Act, which allowed insurance companies to redline certain neighborhoods, which were often predominantly black or Hispanic. This caused segregated neighborhood, with almost designated neighborhoods for minorities. The effects of are still apparent today when examining the demographics and property values of many of our neighborhoods. Another cause of the economic isolation of minorities is simply racism. As minorities moved into neighborhoods, white people would move out simply because of their dislike or fear of other races. This happened especially after World War II, when the era suburbanization began and white people moved away from the inner cities and into suburbs. Racisms was also found where the developers refused minorities from moving into their units, furthering the economic isolation of minorities. This still happens, as proven by a 2012 study by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which found that housing providers showed Black people 11% less units than White people. The racial wealth and poverty gap has affected many aspects of all American lives, most importantly their health and development, employment, and socioeconomic status. There is an obvious difference in wealth between races in America, caused by the historic racial divide. The result is segregation in neighborhoods and leading to poor development, unemployment, and economic isolation for minorities. Click here for the essay & citations.


Graphic Samples 24

Photo, Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha, NE

Photo, Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati, OH

SketchUp Model, Site Design

Photo, Chattanooga, TN

Photo, Camp Washington, Cincinnati, OH


Andre Johnson

2742 Powell Dr. Cincinnati, OH 45211 | 513-509-9494 |

Andre Johnson: Urban Planning / Design Portfolio  

Having lived in many cities throughout my childhood and into my adulthood, I’ve found an interest in the factors that go into designing liva...

Andre Johnson: Urban Planning / Design Portfolio  

Having lived in many cities throughout my childhood and into my adulthood, I’ve found an interest in the factors that go into designing liva...