Realizing a Healthy “Heart of Peoria”

ARCH 572 | Spring 2016
Associate Professor Lynne M. Dearborn


This studio explores linkages among the built environment, green urban infrastructure, health, and wellbeing in the South End Neighborhood of Peoria, Illinois.

The goal of the studio is to understand and imagine a neighborhood environment that supports positive health, wellbeing, and quality of life outcomes for all residents. We collect, analyze, and utilize various types of data (e.g., environmental, health, economic, social, and psychological) throughout the semester; these data form the basis for a range of design decisions at multiple scales. Systematic searches for existing literature on environment & health and sustainability topics augment data collected through meetings and participation with various segments of the Peoria community, and city and government leaders -- our studio partners. We investigate the application of WELL Building Standards and the Living Building Challenge to affordable residential environments.

With its basis in DPZ’s Heart of Peoria Plan, this studio targets the South Village TIF District in an area of Peoria that is challenged by a recent history of decline in the physical and economic environment, and which has a large number of vacant lots and deteriorated and/or dilapidated structures. This area of the city is also burdened with regular occurrences of combined-sewer-overflow, crime and fear-of-crime, prevalence of environment-linked child-lead-poisoning, as well as high incidence of chronic disease with environmental contributors.

Studio products – five proposals for a walkable, mixed-use urban district with a neighborhood fabric offering a fine-grained mix of many environment use types including: residential, office, retail, employment, education, commerce, public and community gathering, government and religious buildings – support the on-going work of the Peoria Innovation Team and its partner organizations. When woven together into an aesthetically inspiring ensemble, the neighborhood environment supports the everyday needs of residents and visitors and provides a pleasant and stimulating multi-sensory context.