Sweet Auburn Works, the Main Street Program for Atlanta’s historic Sweet Auburn neighborhood, sought to create a vision for “Heroes Walk.” Cooper Carry led a process to develop a plan that would enhance the public experience and expand opportunities for entrepreneurs of color, proactively engage adjacent neighborhoods, align with the local market, and position the property for real estate investment opportunities appropriate for the Sweet Auburn neighborhood. Our Urban Design, Landscape Architecture, and Experiential Graphic Design teams worked collaboratively on this effort to create a comprehensive concept.
Through conversations with stakeholders that included local business leaders, neighborhood non-profit organizations, and residents, the theme of “Prisms” emerged as the palette of urban design features to entice visitors and residents along the path of the Heroes Walk between Oakland Cemetery and the Jackson Street Bridge. Inspired by the stained-glass windows and by the many facets of the rich history of the corridor, this theme provides opportunities to tell stories directly and indirectly through words and art. Colorful prisms in the sidewalk and at crosswalks along the path provide a clear path through the urban environment. Prism shaped bollards also help guide the path forward. At important points along the walk, large pillars with silhouettes of African Americans with written stories offer moments of pause, learning, and reflection. Finally, the concept identified opportunities for short-term and long-term tactical urbanism projects along the route to create a more dynamic environment of public space activated by public art and history.
Cooper Carry’s concept documents have been used to raise funds for implementation. The implementation phase is now beginning, with Cooper Carry leading the development of construction documents for the landscape features and design build documentation for the fabrication of the experiential graphic elements of the walk.
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