The Pettaway Pocket Park, whose latest design prize was reported here last week, is the subject of a complimentary article in the Atlantic Cities online publication.

The design was created as a collaboration between fifth-year architecture students in the University of Arkansas School of Architecture and the University’s Community Design Center. Writer Kaid Benfield describes how the Pettaway design came about:


In Pettaway, the students worked with a citizen advisory committee who, among other preferences, wished to avoid flat roofs or metal siding — nothing “aggressively modern,” according to Stephen Luoni, director of the Community Design Center. The designers looked for ways to blend traditional architectural elements — porches, balconies, terraces, pitched roofs — with modern principles — open floor plans, abundant light, natural airflow, refined choice of materials. I like what I can see of the results — a fresh look, but one in harmony with the scale and character of period housing in the neighborhood. At least one awards jury referred to the design as a “community within a neighborhood,” and that looks exactly right to me.

Even better, the pocket neighborhood could be just the beginning. There is a larger revitalization plan in the works for Pettaway. The Neighborhood Revitalization Manual mentioned above was commissioned by the same set of partners and elaborates a set of excellent principles for restoring the surrounding district. The goal is to bring completeness and ambition again to this once-thriving area whose proximity to downtown positions it well for a revival, and to do so without displacing current residents. Among the concepts discussed in the Manual are a master plan, a form-based code, improvements to walkability, and high-quality infill development.