Dempsey Park

How-To Activate Community Space

Our Approach

Our project is presented as a “How-To Guide” to help the community of East Price Hill spark positive transformation within the study site: Dempsey Park. The park and its surrounding amenities (Library, Rec Center, Pool, Businesses, etc.) are valuable to the community, yet they are disconnected from each other, resulting in underused spaces that lack purpose and activity. Our “How-To Guide” addresses these challenges by presenting a variety of design and programming possibilities, illustrating where and how they could function on the site. The guide also addresses how to turn these ideas into action, with recommendations on phasing, funding and events. The goal is that through these efforts, the Dempsey Park area can become a vibrant community gathering space for East Price Hill.  

The Team: Christian Umbach & Swapna Natesh Babu 

A 'How- to' Guide for Activating Community Space


The How - to Guide

Our practical "How-to" Guide discusses three simple steps to activation, which can be applied to any neighborhood communal area. Through the guide, we showcase Dempsey Park as a case study site to demonstrate how our process can be used to bring vitality and activity to under-utilized neighborhood assets.

Enjoy a quick peek into our guide below.

Onward to the next step!

After thoroughly analyzing the site, we found that the site contains many valuable assets. Yet, due to hilly topography and poor access, they remain disconnected for pedestrians, causing some areas of the site to be underutilized. Moving forward, we focused on how we could better connect existing assets and activate these underused spaces.  The images below illustrate potential activations and physical designs that we envision to be successful on our site. 

Parks are not just for the weekends.

Events and programming can start RIGHT NOW, even before physical improvements take place. They  work to invite the community together, build excitement, and attract investment for future projects. For Price Hill, there is plenty of potential to invite the neighborhood's already vibrant arts and cultural scene to participate in activating the site. 

We cooked up a whole schedule for what a week at Dempsey could look like. See for yourself!


The Dempsey Park Team

Swapna - 01.jpg

Swapna Natesh Babu

Swapna recently completed the MCP program from the University of Cincinnati. She is a passionate designer with a diverse background in Architecture, Planning and Urban Design whose interests lie in designing adaptive and sustainanble urban spaces. Her professional experience includes working with multiple design firms in India and as an intern planner for Dekker Perich Sabatini, NM. Swapna is looking to pursue a career in Urban Design with the added element of graphic visualization and illustration.


Christian Umbach

Christian Umbach is an urban planner who recently completed a Co-op with 3CDC (Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation). Also, he and his team were awarded finalist honors at the 2020 ULI Hines Student Competition, a national design and development competition. Christian comes from a community development background, where he served over 5 years with non-profits uplifting communities in Pittsburgh, PA. Christian earned his Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science from Allegheny College, in Meadville, PA.

University of Cincinnati

School of Planning

5470 Aronoff
University of Cincinnati
PO Box 210016
Cincinnati, OH 45221-0016

P 513-556-4943
F 513-556-1274

SOP website