Revitalizing Blacksburg

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


While studying at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, I noticed a significant issue: the town lacked a central hub to unite people of all ages, including students, families, and the elderly. Blacksburg needed to transcend its reputation as solely a college town, and that became the main focus of my thesis. My goal was to explore effective ways of connecting people and boosting the town's economy.

Drawing from my experience growing up in a European town, I realized that Blacksburg didn't have a dedicated space for its residents. The streets were dominated by vehicles, making it difficult for pedestrians to navigate. Main St., the busiest road in town, connected the south and north but was consistently congested, especially at night when students were out and about.

To address this issue, I chose to intervene near the lively downtown area. Draper St., which runs parallel to Main St. and serves as the border between Blacksburg and Virginia Tech campus, seemed ideal. While Draper St. currently accommodated both vehicles and pedestrians, it didn't experience significant traffic. I decided to remove vehicular traffic from a four-block stretch, from College Avenue to Washington St. This section housed important landmarks like the Black House and the iconic Benny pizza place. The Farmer's Market, where locals sold fresh local produce twice a week, was also located here, along with popular social spots like Rivermill and Milk Parlor. To make space for new structures like a greenhouse, hotel, apartment complex, and retail spaces, I planned to eliminate some parking lots. The urban intervention would have only one intersection, where Draper St. meets Roanoke St., allowing for shared use by vehicles and pedestrians. This intersection would also serve as a drop-off point for Farmer's Market vendors.

I firmly believe that this project has immense potential to benefit Blacksburg, not just financially but also by enriching its cultural fabric.



Pedestrians, Draper Street, green, vibrant, mobility