Through intensive design and planning processes and the implementation of a new streetscape, the West Side of South Bend is the newest “comeback” story for the City. A cultural nexus that brings together a variety of businesses, food experiences, organizations, and most importantly, people – Western Avenue is one of my favorite places to hangout. Despite all of this energy and progress, there’s still much to do, including introducing more people to the unique experience of this neighborhood.
Enter West Side Wednesday (WSW), which brings together people from all over the City each month to celebrate this neighborhood. In collaboration with the Best.Week.Ever (BWE), WSW will host a summer festival on Wednesday, May 31st (a signature event for BWE) showcasing the cultural amenities of the community. This event hosted over 1,000 people last year, and with increased interest from a series of successful monthly meet-ups, it’s ready to connect even more people to the West Side this year.
In this idea, we explore how the 100 Ideas Project can better support the capacity of WSW through programming vacant spaces in the area. The vacant lot we chose to focus on, sits within the middle of the festival area. The owners of the lot support a temporary/pop-up space, which allows people to see what could be there, without costly investments or improvements made. Check out our concepts for the space below and let us know what you think (or if you’d like to help put something together):
Existing: A vacant lot, sandwiched between two important amenities (a restaurant and art gallery).
Pop-up 1: Dynamic and fun seating
The Lexington Art League, as part of their Expanding Fields Exhibition developed these great “cloud seating” options, which fits several needs when you’re bringing a bunch of people together: more seating and unprogrammed space for downtown.
Pop-up 2: More plaza space
The Rosales Supermarket parking lot does not count as a hangout place on the West Side. Having a plaza space (with movable tables and chairs), supports the adjacent businesses, and adds value to the streetscape with infill.
Pop-up Idea 3: Interactive art
The Camden Create Festival featured this interesting pavilion as its centerpiece in 2014. Something like pavilion adds visual interest to the street corridor and a unique interaction opportunity for WSW attendees.
For more information on how you can help, reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org