October 19, 2017 Students Intern at NCDC, Engage with Community, Work with Next Generation

Natalie McCarthy and Fernando Turpin worked with these and other high school students during their summer internship with Nashville Civic Design Center.

Natalie McCarthy and Fernando Turpin, second-year Master of Landscape Architecture students, spent the summer in Nashville, Tennessee, interning with the Nashville Civic Design Center.

Nashville Civic Design Center elevates the quality of Nashville’s built environment to promote public participation in the creation of a more functional city for all. The college played an important role in its founding in 2000 and has sustained a valuable partnership since.

From May to August, McCarthy and Turpin worked on a variety of design plans across the city. Their summer projects included working on South East Park in Antioch, Tennessee, re-imagining key areas in downtown Nashville to reclaim pedestrian space and representing critical proposals from Nashville Next’s new master plan for the Green Hills area.

In addition to these projects, McCarthy and Turpin were able to give back to the next generation of future designers by working with local high school students in NCDC’s Design Your Neighborhood summer internship program.

McCarthy and Turpin’s group worked together to develop plans for a park at the historic Amqui Station in Madison, TN. This park would serve as a multi-generational public and play space.

Fernando Turpin and Natalie McCarthy

“This [project] included helping them gather community feedback from Madison residents and then utilizing that feedback to inform a site plan,” Turpin said. “I was amazed by [the students’] level of commitment and attention to detail. It is even more rewarding to know that the concept plans they produced will actually be developed at the site,” he said.

McCarthy described this experience as one of the most rewarding parts of the summer. “The students represented schools from across the county and came from a variety of cultural backgrounds,” she said. “It was fascinating to see them work in small groups comparing values and weighing priorities learned from community engagement exercises to reach a design consensus.”

The NCDC intern experience offered new knowledge and experiences for both McCarthy and Turpin. Turpin learned more on how to be cognizant of the overlooked details. “People are affected by design at any scale and in various ways; it is our job as designers to make sure we think through and cover every inch of ground,” he said.

McCarthy says her experience reaffirmed her passion to create spaces that unite communities and serve the public. She hopes to continue working in the non-profit sector or a community-oriented firm.

Article written by Whitney Brothers, College of Architecture and Design Communications Intern