Strong boundaries – campus edges, major roadways, and the river – both define East Lansing and separate the community. This project proposes a series of spatial and experiential connections that tie the city to the Michigan State University campus and unite Michigan Avenue and East Grand River Avenue with the Red Cedar River. These linkages build on existing uses and amenities to generate density and strengthen identity. Extending from downtown to Spartan Stadium, Gather hosts mass celebration and events. Make fosters cultural production and technological innovation. Live brings residents of all ages together. Grow unites Valley Court Park and Beal Botanical Garden. Play catalyzes development through linked public open spaces.
East Lansing’s recent urban planning and design efforts reflect a broader shift away from sprawl and the strict separation of different uses. Instead, current zoning and development initiatives emphasize framing public space; fostering a mixture of different uses at different times; and concentrating activity and development in urban areas. MSU has also recently completed infill and densification projects along East Grand River Avenue, including the Broad MSU, with the aim of activating the edge between campus and city.
Min | Day’s proposal expands these efforts, with each infill building intended to increase the density and connectivity of existing community activities. Although these zones of related uses are graphically highlighted in the drawings of the project, the new structures themselves are intended to blend into the fabric of campus and city, distinguished only by their design and the new pedestrian vehicle paths, plantings, and materials through which they are linked.