Designers and Students Come Together to Envision Future of Their Community

Designers and Students Come Together to Envision Future of Their Community


This summer the Nashville Civic Design Center (NCDC) led an intensive three-week design camp that paired NCDC staff members with 15 students, all focused on creating plans to help make the Nolensville Pike community a safer and more cohesive place.


The project was done in partnership with Conexión Américas, the Greater Nashville Regional Council (GNRC) and the Salahadeen Center, and was funded by a grant from ArtPlace America. The grant will generate a report on arts, culture, and transportation to help guide a series of community design charrettes with the intention of improving pedestrian safety on the Nolensville Pike corridor.


The effort was based on NCDC’s Reclaiming Public Space and Design Your Neighborhood initiatives. The goal of the camp was to create hands-on experiences for students to learn about design and community participation, and to make a change in the built environment they inhabit, using tactical urbanism methods.


The camp experience was a collaborative effort that involved several organizations and people. Melody Gibson, Ron Yearwood, Eric Hoke, Melissa Cornejo, and Hanna Naum-Stoian from NCDC lead different parts of the classroom and hands on activities. They were joined by Rochelle Carpenter from GNRC and Hardy Adham from the Salahadeen Center of Nashville. Special guests include Peter Bird from Metro Planning Department, and Byron Head from TDOT, who came to speak to the class.



TURBO stands for Tactical URBanism Organizers and seeks to make permanent change through temporary pop-up installations in the built environment. It is the action arm of the Nashville Civic Design Center’s Reclaiming Public Space initiative. TURBO seeks to engage with communities and neighborhoods through low-cost interactive interventions in urban settings around Nashville.


sTURBO: Student Tactical URBanism Organizers

sTURBO is made up of a combination of youth from the neighborhoods that connect to Nolensville. Students worked alongside NCDC staff and design professionals to design and build solutions to make the Nolensville corridor a safer, more walkable and more beautiful community.

sTURBO Walking Tour of Nolensville Pike Community


Over the course of the summer camp, students learned about the Nolensville Pike community through research and neighborhood tours. They also learned how to create quality communities through design, mapping, and placemaking exercises. The students addressed topics such as transportation, walkability, and public space. Members from Metro Council, TDOT and Metro Planning Department came to sTURBO camp to speak to students about focus areas and designs. Students identified issues and generated master plans with specific design projects to showcase at the NCDC’s July Urban Design Forum: Youth Voice.

Council Person, Fabian Bedne, talking to sTURBO students


sTURBO walking Tour


Students creating focus area master plans

Students experiencing some of Nashville’s public art


Students sharing their projects with the group


Students conducting community surveys


The South Art Crosswalk


North Art crosswalk Construction

Enhancing Chainlink Fence with Pops of Color 

Walkway through parking lot to classroom construction


North Crosswalk

People waking on the connections made by the sTURBO projects


All the projects in the sTURBO camp were conducted on private property. Instead of pulling permits from Metro Public Works, only approval from property owners was necessary to carry out these public space interventions. In a final summit, the students exhibited their designs for improving pedestrian safety, accessibility to transit, and public space on Nolensville Pike in the NCDC’s July Urban Design Forum. TURBO along with GNRC will look to expand on the ideas that were highlighted in the Youth Voice Urban Design Forum.


Interactive Site plan


The final Design consisted of two art crosswalks and an art path that ultimately better connected the Salahadeen Center to the community. A pedestrian plaza zone was created between the classroom space and the center to provide a hang out area for the youth who use the classroom.

Final Student Presentations 


Cars parking appropriately in the parking lot (TURBO attributes this to enhanced crossings)


July Urban Design Forum: Youth Voice