Urban Design Proposal 

- Downtown Clemson -

During the Fall Semester of 2014, the graduate program of Architecture + Health was involved in a vertical studio that explored the dimensions of examining community planning and design and how it impacts our local community,  physically as well as the community life,  health and well being in Clemson. The Healthy Communities Movement (as advocated by Drs Richard Jackson, Howard Frumkin and Trevor Hancock) deals with many of the same issues that New Urbanism, Sustainable Planning & Design, and Smart Growth theories and practices attempt to address – quality of life and ultimately health.

Clemson is a “Cap and Gown” condition - It is both the town and University -­‐ a place to live, work, meet, exchange, play, and learn – a place for both transient students and permanent residents.

Two common patterns that these themes attempt to address and correct is the phenomenon of contemporary suburban and small town America known as"sprawl"  or auto-­centric development and traditional late 20th century prescriptive single-­‐use planning, land-­‐use and zoning practices. 

The total project involved three distinct phases, including the research and analysis of Clemson, its comprehensive plan, zoning ordinance and other regulating documents along with a literature and best practice research on healthy and livable community design practices.


Urban Design Concept:

This second phase envisioned alternate Urban Design scenarios for the future development along the downtown heart of Clemson; including possibilities for physical implications of healthy community planning and design practices that are more sensitive to the unique conditions and issues facing this community.  

This Urban design proposal was one of three exploring alternative futures for the College Avenue Corridor and downtown. After working with the regulatory analysis group, it became clear that defining and developing three districts, or nodes, was a natural approach that formed a narrative of place:

Click the pictures to scroll thru the project:

Old Town Node: Beginning at the southern end of College Avenue, "Old Town" is currently the heart of small downtown Clemson. Everyone passes through and around here during all hours as it serves additionally as a gateway to campus. Specific implications and character was given to each; weaving a fabric and creating a patchwork that dissolved harsh thresholds of current condition. Important considerations were given to the zoning proposals, added bike and pedestrian pathways as well as ground material treatments and the introduction of an interactive plaza to help mitigate the issues of scale and new development.

City Center Node: Occuring in the center of College Avenue and at the lowest elevation, city center is an opportunity for more dense development to occur strategically while providing the opportunity for a round-a-bout  to serve as a traffic calming solution while giving monument and identity to an otherwise forgettable section of this road. This city center serves as a crucial link to Lake Heartwell, the surrounding neighborhoods and pocket parks.

Transportation Node: Occurring at the Northern most end where College Avenue meets HW123, this area is dense and congested with traffic and sprawl. It does have the unique location for which cyclists, pedestrians, vehicles bus and train transportation all converge, making it an ideal opportunity to look at alternate ways users can filter through and experience college avenue.  This design became the footing for the final phase which proposed how development might occur in sensitive areas. 


To view more about my individual parcel proposal, The Clemson Transit Hub, please visit:

The Transit Hub of Clemson

To view more about Healthy Community Planning in Clemson, Urban Analysis and the Public Form Process, please visit:

Clemson University Public Forum -- College Avenue Corridor Study


Team Members:

Emily McGowan

Braden Reid

Nan Jiang

Justin Miller