Townscaping an Automobile-Oriented Fabric: Farmington, Arkansas | Notes of Interest

The townscape plan for Farmington proposes new public landscapes to restitch a 5,000-person bedroom community fragmented by a five-lane commercial arterial. Once a vibrant farming community, central to one of the nation’s largest strawberry and apple-producing regions in the early 1900s, Farmington is now a bedroom community. Unlike the totalizing pattern of a master plan, townscaping employs a serial organization of nodes to create a walkable urban environment within an automobile-oriented fabric.

As a retrofit planning strategy, townscaping offers a model for an incremental urbanization without reliance on capital-intensive architectural investments. The goal is to create a memorable town fabric for anchoring new growth in an otherwise fragmented and anonymous landscape. Working within the context of Farmington’s limited resources, townscaping creates "articulated environments" through sleuth planning techniques.

Beginning with the ordinary components commonly budgeted in urban infrastructure, the townscape plan condenses these elements into a series of nodes that galvanize a sense of place. The townscape plan for Farmington integrates multiple placemaking strategies in: 1) context-sensitive highway design, 2) public art planning, and 3) agricultural urbanism. Placemaking in the townscape vocabulary offers a strategic pedestrianization of automobile-oriented patterns without denying the automobile’s fundamental role in servicing contemporary development.

Additional Credits

  • Funding made possible by The National Endowment for the Arts 2010 Grant Award for Access to Artistic Excellence

Townscaping an Automobile-Oriented Fabric: Farmington, Arkansas

Jury Comments

An urban design approach that is both design driven and community oriented simultaneously. This plan proves that a place laid out originally for cars can be adapted to a future where people are connected in other ways.

A beautiful model for greening and organizing small town USA.

There is much that we can learn from smaller communities, and "townscaping" is a creative example of what a small, long-established community can do to transform its 20th century roadway system into a 21st-century amenity.

2011 Institute Honor Awards for Regional & Urban Design Jury

  • Daniel Williams, FAIA, (Chair)
  • Daniel Williams Architect
  • Seattle
  • C.R. George Dove, FAIA
  • WDG Architecture, PLLC
  • Washington, D.C.
  • Vivien Li
  • Boston Harbor Association, Public Director
  • Boston
  • Claire Weisz, AIA
  • Weisz + Yoes Architecture
  • New York City
  • Bernard Zyscovich, FAIA
  • Zyscovich, Inc.
  • Miami

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