FALL 2019 Year Long Studio

SUBJECT: Craft Beer and Urban and Regional Planning
PROFESSOR: Theodore Lim

Craft breweries are enjoying a surge of popularity, growing from an estimated eight craft brewery operations in 1981, to over 4,500 microbreweries and almost 2,600 brewpubs as of 2018 (Brewer’s Association, 2019). In 2018, small and independent brewers comprised 13.2% of market share by volume, and 24.1% market share by retail value (ibid). Craft breweries are not just significant symbol of the US’ changing taste in beer. Their presence in local communities are also creating interesting spaces where people can gather, revitalizing downtowns, adapting historic buildings, and creating linkages between outdoor recreation, and the local business and food movements. Regionally, some areas are promoting craft breweries as part of a regional economic development strategy related to tourism and food and beverage processing. The growth in popularity in craft breweries is not without its challenges however. Examples of concerns accompanying brewery establishment include: increased congestion, public drunkenness, cultural changes, resident quality of life vs tourism development, infrastructural constraints, and environmental impacts.

In this studio we will examine the role urban and regional planners play in balancing the goals of community and economic development, infrastructure capacity, quality of life, environmental amenity, historical preservation, and sustainability. We will conduct in-depth site research using interviews, surveys, and photography in the City of Asheville, NC, known for its craft beer culture and tourism industries, and apply lessons learned to deliverables we prepare for our clients: (1) the Town of Blacksburg, VA; (2) the Blacksburg Partnership; (3) Onward New River Valley; and (4) the Brewer’s Association.

SPRING 2019 Year Long Studio

SUBJECT: Preparing Communities for Automated Vehicles
PROFESSORS: Wenwen Zhang and Theodore Lim

Description: Automated vehicles (AVs) are vehicles that require no driver. These vehicles represent the culmination of several rapidly developing technologies, such as remote sensing, machine-learning, and computer vision, and are capable of transporting passengers with little to no human input. In this studio, students explore what local agencies, policy-makers, planners, and residents can do to prepare their communities for local changes associated with the coming of AVs. While no one can predict the timeline of AV implementation with complete certainty, we can expect that AVs will have a profound impact on many aspects of private and personal life over the next decades, including: 1) individual vehicle travel, 2) public transit, 3) parking, 4) the metropolitan footprint, 5) parks and open space, 6) affordable housing and 7) employment. The challenge to planners and policy- makers is that the future of AVs is both uncertain and highly impactful. We will work to identify case studies of what planners can do to plan in the face of such uncertain, impactful change, as well as survey planners’ own perceptions of their communities’ readiness.

SPRING 2017 Transportation Studio

SUBJECT: Capital Bikeshare station expansion, feasibility study in Merrifield, VA
PROFESSOR: Dr. Ralph Buehler
Bikeshare is a convenient mode of neighborhood circulation that can also improve first and last mile access to public transportation. In the Fall of 2016, Fairfax County launched bikeshare in Tysons as well as Reston. In an effort to further expand their bikeshare network, the Fairfax County Department of Transportation has reached out to Virginia Tech to develop a feasibility study for a bikeshare expansion to Merrifield, Virginia. Read more…

SPRING 2016 Transportation Studio

SUBJECT: Foggy Bottom-Farragut Area Bicycle Facilities Assessment: Current Conditions and Perceptions of Bike Infrastructure
PROFESSOR: Dr. Ralph Buehler
The purpose of this project was to evaluate and recommend bicycle infrastructure within the Foggy Bottom Metro Area on the basis of existing field conditions, crash analyses, and survey results. Although the Foggy Bottom Metro Area currently serves residential, commercial and institutional land uses, it has typically received significant criticism in regards to its existing bicycle infrastructure. In order to evaluate these conditions, a field review was conducted within the area… Read more.