UTA Students Work with City to Design Downtown Streetfronts

By Natalie Webster

As you stroll through Downtown Arlington marveling at the professional and welcoming feel of developments like the one at 300 Abram Street—which houses Twisted Root, Freebirds, and Hooligans—you may be surprised to know that UT Arlington students helped create them.

In the first floor lobby of Arlington City Hall, students in collaboration with City of Arlington staff work on site layouts, parking plans and landscape designs for the Arlington community. The Arlington Urban Design Center creates a place for students from the schools of Urban and Public Affairs and Architecture to get real-world experience working with local clientele.

“They learn a lot about the practical regulatory environment that they will have to work in someday as practitioners,” said Lyndsay Mitchell, planning project manager for the center. “The AUDC gives students invaluable experience with real-world projects, clients and a glimpse at how planning and design work in city government.”

 The center was established in 2009 as a way to allow students the opportunity to “learn by doing,” according to the center’s website

 “The experience also gives them a boost on their resumes and is highly desirable to potential

employers,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell said that since June 2009, the center has worked on 20 to 25 projects in the Downtown Arlington area. These include façade improvements for the development at 300 Abram Street as well as Capital Bar.

“We also assisted with site layout, parking and landscape design for 212 East Abram,” Mitchell said. “We designed on-street parking for the Front Street area and assisted with the design for the Central Library patio on Mesquite Street.”

The center has also helped with a number of projects yet to come to fruition, Mitchell said. A portfolio and list of past and present projects is included on the website.

The center is open to the community, and community members and business owners are encouraged to stop by the City Hall location Monday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. to see what the interns are working on, Mitchell said.