Sustainable Landscape and Urban Design for a Safe and Engaging Public Space at the Catholic Worker

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Michaela Mahon

Our Lady of the Road, a program of South Bend's Catholic Worker House, is constantly evolving  to better serve the South Bend Community. One of its goals is to improve the outdoor space. Designing and implementing landscaping (greenery; a peace, therapeutic, or butterfly garden; a rain garden), seating, components of successful public spaces, and minor urban interventions will promote positive social interaction and discourage criminal behavior around their site. Long term goals also include a greenhouse to provide year-round fresh produce for the Common Goods Co-op, which runs out of Our Lady of the Road.

My Capstone project will explore how the design of the outdoor space can be completed in a way that supports environmental, economic, and social sustainability. My Capstone will consist of three major parts: 1) a literature review that examines components of successful and sustainable outdoor spaces, including native and stormwater-reducing landscaping, defensible space, and elements of successful public spaces related to social interaction and sense of community; 2) a site analysis to identify relevant nearby services (or lack thereof), and a precedent study to successful examples of landscape and urban design to create safe spaces, and review of relevant city zoning ordinances; and 3) annotated site and perspective drawings for the design of the property, identifying phases, landscaping elements, and cost estimates.