Town-gown collaboration to develop Gateway District

PULLMAN, Wash. — WSU students are working with the Pullman community to develop a vision for the city’s Gateway District, the area that connects WSU to downtown.

As part of the year-long project, students in the School of Design and Construction are developing a master plan that will provide visionary and inspiring connection in the underutilized area between the WSU campus and downtown Pullman.  Junior landscape architecture students this semester are creating master plans, imagining what the Gateway District could be in 2040. The students will consider elements such as existing parks and public spaces; possibilities for mixed-land uses or incubator buildings for research and collaboration; multi-modal transportation; and renewable energy infrastructure. In the fall, architecture and interior design students will continue the work, creating detailed building designs.

Working collaboratively with members of the community, the students will be getting hands-on, real-world experience while helping to fulfill WSU’s land-grant mission in outreach, research, and education, says Steve Austin, clinical assistant professor, who is teaching this semester’s course. Associate Professor Matt Melcher will lead next semester’s course.

The project is part of the university’s desire to improve town and gown relationships, he said.  At the same time, the school has a continuing mission to engage and provide service to the community. The project also aims to support the city of Pullman’s efforts to improve downtown.

“While the project provides a rewarding learning experience for our students, we are also working to strengthen relationships between WSU, Pullman and other stakeholders and envisioning innovative solutions to a geographic district with incredible potential to act as a new gateway to campus,” Austin said.

Several community groups are involved in the project, including the Port of Whitman and the Pullman Chamber and Visitor Center. The launch event will be a chance for the community to meet students, add input to the Gateway visioning, and get involved.

“WSU and the community will benefit by increased relationship building and by ideally being inspired by the student work and visions,” he said. “These visions could spur increased investment for both the university and the city.”

Media contact:

  • Steve Austin, clinical assistant professor, School of Design and Construction, 859-473-3880

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