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The problem.

Definitions are important in planning, but placing a label on the urban experience can be challenging. Urban planner Kevin Lynch attempted to describe the “image of the city” using five elements: nodes, landmarks, paths, edges and districts. In this urban design class project, I set out to identify a downtown neighborhood for the city of Urbana using Lynch’s five elements.

The solution.

My analysis of urban form in central Urbana yielded three possible downtown neighborhoods. The Commercial Core definition set the boundaries based on existing uses and barriers, while Urbana Crossings attempted to increase connectivity using seams and paths. Main Street Plus, the preferred definition, brought together activity and connectivity by building on the elements that make Downtown Urbana unique: historic Main Street and Lincoln Square Village.

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