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Urban Theory & Design


In Fall 2017, Professor Caroline Lavoie’s urban design studio took on the challenge of planning and designing for a 22-mile section of the Portneuf River in Pocatello. Ben Swaner (BLA, 2011) contacted us in Spring 2017 with the idea of involving LAEP in his continuation of their Corps of Engineers “Vision Study 2016.” The mission of the studio was to understand the regional importance of the Portneuf River and its watershed to better fit the needs of its growing population in the world of shifting economies.

Five key topics/geographies associated with the Portneuf River reaches and land-use activities were identified to help create structure for future growth and redevelopment of the City of Pocatello, its river corridor, and its adjacent open spaces. The topic/geographies addressed the most significant elements of the city’s economy:

•The River and its side creeks

•The railroad and its transportation

•The downtown commercial core

•Idaho State University and its relationship to the urban core

•Creating an affordable Northern neighborhood

The resulting class-wide project won a Utah ASLA Honor Award. Well-deserved recognition for the students tremendous work. We had such a successful project that this past spring, the City asked Caroline and her students to develop a more detailed concept plan for the Centennial Park and a refinement of the urban design proposal around that area to reinforce the connection of the park to the River and the City core.

Department of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning | InSites 2018