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Reclaiming A Forgotten Piece of Land
Empty Lot Transformed Into Usable Public Space

By Andrew Soto, LASN


Walnut Hills, a neighborhood in Cincinnati, Ohio, is one of the city's oldest hilltop neighborhoods. When an area of the city needed some attention, the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation stepped in. To that end, the foundation approached MKSK Studios, a Columbus, Ohio, based design firm, to help the community reclaim pedestrian connectivity in the neighborhood, create a public space for music, stage events, food trucks, and biergartens.

The Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation and MKSK Studios teamed with community partners to help turn a forgotten lot into a comfortable outdoor space for a Cincinnati neighborhood.

This project focused on an empty area known as "Five Points," the junction of five urban alleyways, transforming it from a neglected overgrown parking lot surrounded by vacant properties, into a vibrant community gathering space.

The foundation approached MKSK to be the lead design team of the Five Points transformation. The design includes a sequence of "rooms" weaving through the site promoting active and passive activities including a performance area, caf? seating, conversational space, and a play/activity area with festive lights that act as a ceiling. MKSK's landscape architects and urban designers creatively used salvage materials and architectural artifacts from a former church to provide seating and recreational opportunities.

This unique public space keeps the gritty "backyard" look and feel of an urban alley with the addition of landscaping, caf? lighting, and a stable permeable surface.

This project was made possible by a large group of invested public and private community partners, including donors such as the City of Cincinnati. MKSK provided pro bono design services and coordination for the project.

As seen in LASN magazine, July 2017, Stewardship.

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January 22, 2019, 11:57 am PST

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