Connecting Cores

Research, Wayfinding, Environmental Design

The goal of this project was to envision the ideal Cincinnati experience that will enable Cincinnati to become a “best-in- class city” with an excellent quality of life for its residents and is attractive to visitors. Develop key strategies to create a truly remarkable experience in the downtown area. 

Project Team: Shelby Murphy, Christopher Wells, Ali Lausch, Rachel Lee, Mary Knight, Mandy Smith, Emily Reiger, Kelsey Sears


Cincinnati has significant  gaps between its major destinations such as Fountain Square, Over the Rhine, and the Banks. Due to these gaps, the downtown area lacks a sense of connection and fails to highlight the potential of the communities in between.


How can we create a sense of place and connection in the gap areas in Downtown Cincinnati by implementing creative place-making, wayfinding, and programming for the growing community cores that lie in between?


Create a sense of place and connection in the gap areas through creative place-making, wayfinding, and programming for the growing community cores that lie in between.

Develop an overarching Cincinnati wayfinding system that focuses on pedestrian walkability and increases their awareness of communities.

Choose a critically placed location to implement the overarching wayfinding and explore the benefits of building up a community identity and public space.

selecting a location - St. Xavier park

1. Church
Since both a church and high school are tied to St. Xavier, they offer community support to the area, as well as a rich history and heritage. The church's beautiful architecture acts as a large gateway point and visual entry point approaching the neighborhood. 

2. Residential
Sycamore Place sits just across the street from St. Xavier Church, along with several other residential buildings currently under construction. This neighborhood has potential to quickly become a thriving community with new residents.

3. Surface Lot Parking
While researching other large cities, we found that surface lots are often replaced with new business development or underground garages. With newly built, multi-level garages directly across the street, this area's surface lots could be transformed into a more beautiful walking experience for visitors. 

Intended Audiences

With the development of the 8th Street Design District, St. Xavier is prepped for an influx of creative visitors and residents. Main Street is also seeing new growth in small businesses. 

Across from the primary parking lot connected to the church, Sycamore Place apartments offer a beautiful place to live in this neighborhood. Local architecture firms also have future plans for further residential development.

With the Aronoff Center only one block away, St. Xavier has potential to become a blossoming extension of this arts community, providing both entertainment through programming, and a place for leisure and relaxation.

park assets


The colors are based on the branding of the community that they are placed within.
Directions point to other community cores and reference the distance and time from each point for those walking through Downtown. The base of the structure would also change to match the architectural features of that neighborhood. 

Interactive Gallery in Whetstone Alley

When exiting the streetcar from the nearby stop you can see Whetstone Alley. With this alley’s close proximity to design district we decided to develop interactive frames that would showcase different work through out the year. They could frame posters from local artists, designers, residents, or even companies. The alleyway would be lit up at night and would provide users with direct access to the main part of the park next to St. Xavier Church.