The Citizens' Institute on Rural Design™ workshop in Wahiawa Town, Oahu, Hawaii, sponsored by the University of Hawaii School of Architecture was held on September 10-12, 2009 at the Marriott Ko Olina Resort and Spa in west Honolulu on the Island of Oahu. The workshop was planned, organized, and conducted under the auspices of the University of Hawaii’s School of Architecture’s community Design and Sustainable Research Program. The program is part of the School’s outreach initiative to engage and serve its surrounding communities. The Wahiawa town workshop was focused on community revitalization through economic development downtown urban design. It was coordinated by Dr. Janine Clifford and Patrick Onishi with the support of D.Arch candidate Jonathan Yabiku.
The workshop agenda focused on topics involving planning and design principals, and economic development concepts that could promote positive change for Wahiawa’s future, including community planning, downtown revitalization, main street design, cultural/heritage tourism, and diversified agriculture/eco-tourism. Speakers with these expertise gave presentations on topics ranging from pressures on rural communities in Hawaii to the Role of Cultural Resources on Community. It brought together a representative cross-section of the community to engage in conversation with the purpose and understanding of the value of developing a shared vision for Wahiawa’s future. The community has been involved with several planning initiatives over the past two decades and is tired of planning. At the conclusion of the workshop, there was a strong sense of commitment and resolve that can be built upon to pursue initiatives that will produce tangible results. Jonathan continued to support the workshop participants during the Fall 2009 semester to further develop those conceptual ideas and visionary designs that were produced during the workshop. He is spending the Spring 2010 semester producing a publication to aid the Wahiawa community to advocate for community design initiatives that will produce positive change to the Wahiawa community.
After the workshop, the studio further developed the ideas introduced at the workshop. In particular, the students focused on the need for infill development, shared parking, and a revitalized town center. They built upon ideas for a roundabout at the entrance into town, enhanced street corridors, and a pedestrian bridge. Following the workshop, they published full-color drawings that bring these ideas to life in a booklet that Wahiawa can use to educate the community and work toward implementation of the workshop vision.