The Plan of Cooperstown reflects the work that University of Notre Dame School of Architecture's Urban Design Studio produced to envision the city's future possibilities. Cooperstown, New York is a well-known city by baseball enthusiasts, but struggling in terms of contemporary development. It’s a familiar dilemma in an age when zoning regulations, traffic engineering standards, real estate finance and construction industry practices exclusively favor suburban sprawl. People sense their communities need to change, but they fear the results such changes have wrought. The Urban Design Studio began in Cooperstown in September with an eight-day “charrette,” a conversation among architects and residents that produces a visual plan for growth consistent with a community’s history and identity.
The studio assignment was to look beyond baseball and Cooperstown’s surface charm to examine pressures threatening the village, and to craft architectural and urban design proposals that might make growth as appealing as it was when Cooperstown was founded, protecting its character while sparing the surrounding landscape. When the students returned to Notre Dame, the team set up a blog-style charrette website so the conversation could continue at a distance. They pinned up reworked maps and renderings once more for a jury of architects and Cooperstown trustees, this time in Bond Hall’s first-floor gallery.
The students presented seven “interventions” to be implemented in 10- and 50-year master plans.