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Paola Viganò

Territorialism


Fall 2012/13

Studio Report


Paola Viganò

Territorialism


Territorialism In fall 2012 and fall 2013, the Territorialism studio examined the territorial scale and the form of the territory as a basis to understand the contemporary city and the important modifications that have occurred in its spatial, economic, and social structure. The studio was based on the premise that the urban field is changing, and ecological rationality can offer fundamental opportunities to intersect and integrate various territorial layers. It is a means of directing or redirecting attention toward the territorial support in contemporary landscape architecture and urbanism. It focuses attention on time, impermanence, and biotic relations, which, through natural dynamics, can permeate all environments. What we perceive as a territory, or as our territory, is above all a mental construction inside which territories can be created or erased. The design studio investigated the role of design as a knowledge producer, as an active research tool in the understanding and construction of the contemporary territory.

Instructor Paola Viganò Teaching Associates Lauren Abrahams, Chiara Cavalieri Students Kate Anderson, Fabiana Araujo, Alexander Arroyo, Pedro Bermudez, Dan Bier, Charles Brennan, Chris Buccino, Ana Victoria Chiari, Sang Yong Cho, Hugo Colon, Rob Daurio, Omar Davis, Carolyn Deuschle, Anya Domlesky, Harold Fort, John Frey, Shuai Hao, Ji Kangil, Michael Luegering, Bin Bin Ma, Michalis Pirokka, Jana Vandergoot, Cara Walsh, Phoebe White, James Whitten, Simon Willet Final Review Critics Pierre BÊlanger, Neil Brenner, Brad Buschur, Peter Del Tredici, John DePriest, Robert Fishman, Eelco Hooftman, Alex Krieger, Christopher Lee, Amanda L. Loomis, Miho Mazereeuw, Brian McGrath, Rahul Mehrotra, LZ Nunn, Hashim Sarkis, Bernardo Secchi, Robert Shannon, Charles Waldheim


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Preface 8 Paola Viganò

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Territorialis(m): An Introduction Paola Viganò

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Territorialism I: Inside a New Form of Dispersed Megalopolis

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Interior Peripheries, Framing the Future Paola Viganò

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Places of Evil Pedro Bermudez, Hugo Colon, James Whitten

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Servant as Destiny Dan Bier, Shuai Hao, Jana Vandergoot

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Liminal Nature Ji Kangil

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Vulnerable Endemism Alexander Arroyo, Michael Luegering

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Extracting Autonomy Cara Walsh

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Voids of Megalopolis Fabiana Araujo, Chris Buccino, Rob Daurio

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New Objectives for a Public Landscape Lauren Abrahams

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Scenarios, Opening Possibilities Paola Viganò

Territorialism II: Urbanism in the Land of Imperfect Democracy

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The Metamorphosis of the Middle Ground: Another Broadacre City Paola Viganò

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The Thickened Middle Ana Victoria Chiari, Simon Willet

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Rethinking the Suburban Commercial Strip Bin Bin Ma

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Motherland 2.0: How Many People Can We Feed Sang Yong Cho, Michalis Pirokka Toward a No Car Scenario: Public Transit as a Guide for Growth in the Middle Ground Charles Brennan Corridors Recovered: Reinforcing a Network of Ecologies Omar Davis Transition Space: Integration through Reclamation Harold Fort Mulligan: Rethinking the Links of the Middle Ground John Frey To the Water’s Edge: Walking on the Common Ground Kate Anderson

The Boston Archipelago: Past, Present, Future Carolyn Deuschle, Anya Domlesky

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The Middle Ground as a Whole Chiara Cavalieri

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Recycling Broadacre City Paola Viganò

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Conclusion: In the Form of a Few Statements Paola Viganò

144 Contributors 146 Colophon

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The Valley: Gaining Water Autonomy in the Middle Ground Phoebe White


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This book is neither a concluded project nor a manifesto. It contains the first elements of research on the North American city and territory, which began during the fall semester of 2012 with a group of 12 students and continued in 2013 with a new group of 14 students. Design is an experimental field of knowledge production, and the designer’s approach is that of an explorer. I am strongly convinced that the research we produce can be strategic, shared, and cumulative, part of a wider process of knowledge construction in which new trajectories and hypotheses can be discussed. This is also the sense of the book, which collects a series of expeditions inside a fragment of the megalopolitan area of the northeastern coast of the United States. Here, inside one of the multiple forms of the extended and diffuse urbanization we call the “contemporary city,” urbanity has redefined itself. To measure the still existing gap, but also to reveal unexpected proximities between the American city (and “American urbanism”) and the European one, is a research-based task. As a European, my point of view on North American urban space has been one of fascination and unfamiliarity. The diffuse European urban conditions I have been studying and designing for years was the implicit object of comparison. Literature and comparisons offered preliminary insight from afar. Thus, the parallel suggestions of two fundamental books on the North American urban phenomena, Benton MacKaye’s The New Exploration: A Philosophy of Regional Planning and Jean Gottmann’s Megalopolis: The Urbanized Northeastern Seaboard of the United States, framed our work. Beyond outdated and caricatured oppositions between the traditional European city and American sprawl, the hypothesis guiding the research was that today’s different global forms of city-territory represent immense and stratified spatial capital. They are defined by multiple forms of social and individual appropriation. Thus, a project should be proposed in light of their already emerged and emerging issues, with a vision of their potentials and possibilities.

I want to thank Charles Waldheim and Rahul Mehrotra for their invitation to the Harvard Graduate School of Design, an experience that has been greatly enriching, and has reinforced my curiosity in the American urban context and the still unexplored possibilities to design it. I would also like thank Lauren Abrahams and Chiara Cavalieri for their precious and clever help during the semester and beyond. I am grateful to the students for their passion, patience, and open minds: designing, discussing, walking, and biking along two north-south and east-west New England sections. — Paola Viganò, April 2014


Paola Viganò

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Territorialis(m): An Introduction


Questions in Contemporary Urban Space The megalopolis of the eastern United States is a terrain rich in interpretations, and an extremely slippery concept when trying to avoid the traditional opposition between metropolitanist and regionalist, which has strongly polarized the American debate since the 1920s.2 American regionalism, with its geographical regard, is an evident reference when reflecting on the character of American urbanization. But the term “region,” with its implications of homogeneity (natural, economical, and the like) does not seem

appropriate to reflect on contemporary urban fragmentation. “Metropolitanism,” on the other hand, emphasizes the role of the great city as the new territorial center, and the metropolis as the space of domination in a much larger territory. The metropolitanist position has returned to the Territorialis(m): An Introduction

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Territorialis: of the territory; the Latin adjective defines what pertains to a territory. A territory is the expression of borders, powers, and relations among subjects. A territory is a geographic space, a physical collection of qualities and characters. “Territorialism” is about both dimensions: the form of contemporary urban territories and the social artifact.1 Territorialism is the appropriation of a place from a species or group that through this process defines its own territory and the limitation of movements in a precise area. Processes of inclusion and of exclusion are connected to the idea of territorialism, as well as boundaries and defensive strategy. Reflecting on territorialism for urban and landscape designers means to reflect on the notion of territory at a high conceptual level and, in parallel, as well grounded in a situated reality. What we perceive as a territory, or as our territory, is above all a mental construction inside which imaged and concrete appropriations meet the material nature of the site, and inside which territories can be created or erased. The urban field has changed dramatically in recent decades: an understanding of the relations among multiple rationalities, ecological and social, can offer opportunities to intersect and integrate various territorial layers. Territorialism and the form of the territory are fundamental bases for understanding the contemporary city and the important changes that have occurred in its spatial, economic, and social structure. The centrality of landforms, the continuous redefinition of natural and social territories, and their dynamics inspire less abstract and more situated approaches—“a new modernity” in which the agency of natural elements is integrated in social space, and social space in the ecological frame. Territorialism is a means of directing or redirecting attention toward what constitute support in contemporary urban territories. It focuses attention on time, lifecycles, impermanence, and biotic and social relations.

political debate on the nature of American cities, stressing the need of new coalitions beyond the city-suburb dichotomy and attempting to overcome the metropolitan battlefield.3 “Territory” is the term that highlights the complexity of this battlefield, without immediately looking for homogeneity of solidarity; it is a polysemic term, the different interpretations of which produce heterogeneous descriptions and representations that reveal diverse perspectives. Territorialis(m) is an attention to territories as expression and acts of biopolitics. As an investigational tool, it is a way to grasp the spatial dimensions of practices, flows, and lifecycles. The relation between territory and power cannot be excessively simplified. Territory is not the sole support for different political and institutional forms: it is an artifact, a principle of organization with social origins and characters. It is a collection of particular places and positions; it is a resource, where goods, services, and values are produced.4 The territory is a palimpsest,5 not only a layered construction; it is a space of appropriation, an individual and collective construct and imaginary. A fragment of the megalopolis. Urbanization along the northeastern coast, highlighting the political boundary of Massachusetts.


The Book The first part of this book addresses the more generic, continuous, megalopolitan condition; while the traditional suburban America, the “middle ground,” has been consciously left aside. By observing the fractures and voids opening up in the megalopolis, the insistence has been on residual areas, on the spatialization of social, ethnic, and racial differences. Territorialism I: Inside a New Form of Dispersed Megalopolis is focused on understanding the specific “spatial framework for unequal development,”7 rooted in neoclassical economies of growth, where inequality is more efficient than equality. The “middle ground”—a source of alternative values,8 “provincialism,” and “counterrevolutionary ideology”—was, nevertheless, a silent protagonist, a shadow in the room, that comes back in the second part of the book, Territorialism II: Urbanism in the Land of Imperfect Democracy.9 There is no moralistic intention in the title: since Alexis de Tocqueville and the establishment of the New England isotropic network of towns, the American city and its suburbs have often been explicitly referred to as a space of democracy. But the limits and paradox of democracy, as well as the growing awareness of different types of democracy, each one with different sets of ideals, reconfigure the theme.10 Urban space is at the intersection of these diversities and conflicts. The tension between the idea of a democratic space and the imperfection of this representation and concrete realization of middle ground was a relevant point of reference throughout the two studios. But instead of considering institutional deficit, the idea is to observe the spatial configuration of a part of the megalopolis, to concentrate on the deficit of democratic space and on the role of urbanism in such a context. If the term “imperfect democracy” has been coined to describe the elitism and bureaucracy of European decision-making processes, our

focus was on the “democratic deficit” in North American megalopolitan and urban conditions. We looked at this in order to question the role of landscape and urban design in solving or mitigating such deficits. From this perspective, the work of Boston landscape architect Charles Eliot and urban planner Sylvester Baxter, which devised spatial projects in the metropolitan area as a means of combating slums and guiding future evolutions, continues to be an inspiration.11 Comparisons The northeastern American city is a mythical, dispersedly urbanized region, which has been an influential reference in the elaboration and recognition of urban models in other parts of the world. Working on the Boston metropolitan area, then, implicitly placed us in a comparative framework, where the built form, the water system, the forest and agricultural presence, and the relation between open and built space are considered relevant materials of territorial urban construction. With a few simple figure-ground representations, we begin to recognize similarities and differences with European metropolises. The Boston area resembles a hybrid of the Brussels region, with its strong territorial dispersion, and of the Randstad, with the presence of urban nodes—it is at once a carpet, or an inhabited forest, and an archipelago of more or less connected nodes. In Megalopolis, Jean Gottmann refers to Northern Europe as containing regions from which to draw similarities with the megalopolis. Later, it was it was his own interpretation of the megalopolis that became the reference for European and non-European scholars to propose other models of scattered and diffuse urbanity. Today, the North American city is no longer the “non-city” as described by André Corboz, who, while criticizing the inability of European scholars to describe New World urbanity, probably struggled to frame it properly.12 Nevertheless, scholars of the American city have obsessed over Corboz, who spent a large part of his career seeking to understand the powerful device of the grid in the development of North America. In Frederick Jackson Turner’s classic work on the frontier, the idea of the territory as palimpsest was already present: “The United States lies like a huge page in the history of society. […] Particularly in eastern States this page is a palimpsest. What is now a manufacturing State was in an earlier decade an area of intensive farming. Earlier yet it had been a wheat area, and still earlier the ‘range’ had attracted the cattle-herder.”13 The eastern coast

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Design is an active research tool in the understanding and construction of contemporary territories: it is a knowledge producer.6 During the two studios, we explored three main epistemological fields: elaborating concepts, figures, images, and metaphors; describing situations; and exploring (future) time. The focus has been on the need for new interpretations and spatial and processual concepts that deal with the extended urbanity of the northeastern American city, its new problems and perspectives.


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Territorialis(m): An Introduction

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Top: Boston: built area, 224,370 ha; population, 4 million; density, 17.8 per ha. Bottom: Randstad: built area, 108,000 ha; population, 9 million; density, 83 per ha.


Two Gazes In the case of the American territory, and in particular the northeastern coast of the United States, two main gazes have been constructed, both with different interpretations. The first, Gottmann’s Megalopolis, has revealed the powerful new urbanity stretching from the coast to the inland, developing a new type of city. The second, represented by Benton MacKaye’s project of the Appalachian Trail, reverses the gaze and starts from the crests and the watersheds. The two reveal different territories that are in fact a unique physical space where the two interpretations meet and superimpose themselves onto each other in concrete situations. Our research was interested in exploring the form of the dispersed megalopolis described by Gottmann 50 years ago, together with the hypothesis of MacKaye in the 1920s, both of which have been significantly affected by changing ecological, economic, and social conditions. Our design research started from the main supports and infrastructures of the greater Boston area: rivers, creeks, ponds, and canals, in conjunction with the iron network of railways, which further enlarges the scale. To deal with the multiple rationalities highlighted by the two authors requires both an enormous conceptual shift and the integration of ever-changing biotic relations together with energy, mobility, and water management in territorial design, and to use them as an active tool to increase spatial and environmental justice. At issue is how to recycle the leftover of the economic and ecological transition—how to rethink the megalopolis. Gaze 1: Megalopolis “The megalopolis is a laboratory of a new urban way of life,” a place offering “the privilege of being megalopolitan (the richest, the best edu-

cated, best housed, best serviced group of similar size in the world).”16 In distinction to The New Exploration, which proposes an explicit design strategy, Megalopolis, written by a geographer, is not explicitly offered as a project. Nevertheless, my interpretation is that not only was Gottmann fascinated by the object of his study, but that he developed his research in the idea of the megalopolis as an “implicit project,”17 as well as in terms of the reorganization of metabolic processes in a new spatial condition inside which different relations among resources and settlements was being defined. Apart from the classical image of the “main street of the nation,” Gottmann describes the megalopolis as “a cradle of a new order in the organization of inhabited space, a laboratory of urban growth,” and a space “at the threshold of a new way of life, […] beyond urban and rural and a multipurpose concept of land use.”18 Gottmann refers to the flourishing of studies on hierarchical systems and to their inability to describe the formation of the megalopolis and its nebulous structure.19 Since then, this very misunderstanding has been regularly rearticulated, both in the United States and in the interpretation of the European territories of dispersion. Gottmann clearly states the ambition of a reconceptualization of both the geographical gaze and of the idea of city. This hypothesis still engages many of us. A central concern in my personal research is a new form of urbanity and its design. The “horizontal metropolis” is an oxymoron, a rhetorical figure that by merging two opposed and contrasted terms can produce a displacement. It is both an image and a concept to which we have devoted considerable thought in our design work in Belgium and Flanders over the last 20 years.20 It synthesizes our understanding and interpretation of that diffuse urban condition. It is also a project for a metropolis that establishes both nonhierarchical relationships between its different parts as well as osmotic relationships between built and open space, between mobility infrastructure and places of dwelling. This hypothesis is also the core of the “project of isotropy” research we are leading on the diffuse city of the Veneto region. For this type of urban space we have developed no-car and decentralized energy production scenarios, working with an entirely inhabited and productive landscape. The megalopolis anticipates many of these themes,21 and also their inherent threats, starting with the poor fertility of the soil as part of the urban resource. “Half a century ago we began to

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is the palimpsest on which the different strata of the frontier displacement are superposed,14 where “one can study the germs of processes repeated at each successive frontier.”15 Today, the palimpsest of the northeastern megalopolis is a space of accumulation and includes multiple lifecycles: types of suburbia, new edge cities, marginal urban conditions, forests and golf courses, abandoned railways, extraction sites, relics of agriculture. It is also a space of growing metropolitan strength in a context of weaker federal policies. Impressive similitudes with many diffuse European urban conditions shape this space: it is a “horizontal metropolis,” with both its potentials and limitations.


Territorialis(m): An Introduction

14 This simple figure-ground drawing of the urban tissue of Boston and Brussels reveals similarities and differences between the two conditions. The Boston area seems to be a hybrid of the Brussels region, with its strong territorial dispersion, and of the Randstad, with the presence of urban nodes. It is clearly far from the model of the 19th-century compact metropolis represented by Paris. Top: Brussels: built area, 250,000 ha; population, 5 million; density, 20 per ha. Bottom: Paris: built area, 170,000 ha; population, 12 million; density, 70 per ha. Source: European Metropolis; Studio013 Secchi-Viganò.


Gaze 2: New Exploration MacKaye’s The New Exploration reverses the gaze. Starting from the crests and the watersheds, it introduces a vocabulary of streams and levees, which has probably been the only attempt to reflect on a territorial structure in the east-west transect that connects the Appalachian Trail to the Boston metropolitan area and further to the Metropolitan Park System. The context that The New Exploration was written in is described by Lewis Mumford in the introduction to its 1962 edition. More significant than MacKaye’s involvement in the Regional Planning Association, is the influence of some of the authors and professors he encountered, such as William Morris Davis.23 Davis developed the morphogenetic theory that introduced the study of the earth’s landforms. It is thus important to understand MacKaye through the influence of geomorphology and Davis’s theory of landform creation and erosion (the “geomorphic cycle”). This theory proposes the idea that mountains and landforms go through lifecycles, which makes Aldo Leopold’s radical motto “thinking like a mountain” easier to understand. Davis’s representations of the evolution of valleys, plains, and mountains through sections, bird’s-eye views, and over time, all represented in one drawing, connect three levels of reflection on a single surface—the comprehensive understanding of the birds’-eye view, the analytical cut of the section, and the evolution hypothesis in the representation of the process. Davis’s images remain a fundamental lesson in environmental thinking. Nathaniel Southgate Shaler, an influential geologist at Harvard, introduced the counterintuitive hypothesis that modern civilization is inherently and wholly dependent on the environment: from the savage that had to learn to be a geologist in order to survive (think of Élisée Reclus who referred to the farmer as a geologist, the “paysan géologue”),24 right up to the “dependence of our Modern States upon the conditions of the earth.”25 Shaler also connects the dependency on geography and environment to the globalization of relations among different countries, leading to the dependency of the local on global environmental conditions. This hypothesis clarifies why today, in a moment of aggressive attempts to reach global natural resources control, environmental concerns are so central.

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conserve our forests and other natural resources. It is high time that we begin to conserve our urban resources. They are not unlimited.”22

The beautiful dioramas that retrace the evolution of the landscape through three centuries at the Harvard Forest express the impressive transformation of a land, New England, from forest to agriculture, rapidly returning to forest when the frontier crossed over the Appalachian ridge.26 Authors such as Henry David Thoreau (“living be thy sport”) and Leopold are quoted in the book as defining MacKaye’s philosophical and ethical line of thought. Both The New Exploration and Megalopolis insist on natural and artificial rationalities, on interdependencies and interrelations. The interpretations and scenarios produced in the studios comment on them through design, opening up further questions. Sections “Let us take a cross-section of New England from mountain crest to ocean port: from the Berkshires to Boston Harbor, along the Hoosac Tunnel Route of the Boston and Maine Railroad.”27 Since the pivotal work of Patrick Geddes, the section has been considered a traditional tool to read and conceive territorial relations. It forces an investigation of the systemic associations and integrations among different areas, which we might call a region. The term “region” can nevertheless be misleading because it supposes the recognition of a clear entity (economically or ecologically), of clear borders, and Benton MacKaye’s sketch sections through the Appalachians. Source: Rauner Special Collections Library, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire.


Expeditions There is a long tradition, especially in this part of the United States, that associates a physical practice—walking—with the elaboration of a thought. In several “expeditions” along the eastwest and north-south sections we merged the concrete experience of the site and the projective approach. We borrowed this term from MacKaye who insisted on the value of fieldwork and walking, subsequently titling his second book Expedition Nine: A Return to a Region.30 The concrete experience of a site, the encounters and exchanges we have, the confrontation between a space and the words used to describe it, or the gap between its concrete and imagined features, all have a constructive role in defining an interpretation and by these operations to reveal relations, through the continuity of the experience of space. During the expeditions, sometimes in the form of a dérive, other times structured by fixed programs and interviews, we found, paraphrasing Julian Green, not what we were looking for, but many things we were not seeking out.31 The fieldwork along the two sections has clearly revealed the existence of fractures inside-

the New England “common ground” and the need to escape any preconceived interpretations.

1 This text expands the essay my essay “Territorialism I,” New Geographies 6 (July 2014). 2 See Robert Fishman, ed., The American Planning Tradition: Culture and Policy (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2000); and Marie-Claire Robic, “Ville et région dans les échanges transatlantiques entre géographes de la première moitié du XX siècle: convergences et diversité des expériences,” Finisterra XXXIII, no. 65 (1998). 3 See Bruce Kats, The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy (Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2013); James C. O’Connell, The Hub’s Metropolis: Greater Boston’s Development from Railroad Suburbs to Smart Growth (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2013). 4 See Fred Hirsch, The Social Limits to Growth (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1977). 5 See André Corboz, “Le territoire comme palimpseste,” Diogène 121 (January–March 1983): 14–35. 6 Paola Viganò, I territori dell’Urbanistica. Il progetto come produttore di conoscenza (Roma: Officina, 2010); French translation: Les territoires de l‘urbanisme (Geneva: Metispresses, 2012). 7 John Friedmann and Clyde Weaver, Territory and Function: The Evolution of Regional Planning (London: Edward Arnold, 1978), 89. 8 See John L. Thomas, “Holding the Middle Ground,” The American Planning Tradition, 38. 9 See http://www.worldaudit.org/democracy. htm and http://www.globaldemocracy. com; and Patti Tamara Lenard and Richard Simeon, introduction to Imperfect Democracies: The Democratic Deficit in Canada and the United States (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2013). 10 See ibid, in which the authors say that there is a paradox, “a gap between the theory and the ideal of democracy and the gritty, messy practice.” Democracy is characterized by collective self-determination and the reality is of disillusion. 11 “I argue that Eliot and Baxter viewed open space planning as a means of combating

Territorialis(m): An Introduction

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of a relative homogeneity. In Geddes’s conception, the river valley and the section were related by this possibility. In the case of the Boston territory, the New England plateau is a complex geological and hydrological structure whose specific context deems a particular analysis and understanding necessary.28 Distinct from other uses of the transect whose scope is the legitimization of a preconceived “theory,” we do not presuppose evident or clear relations among the different parts, neither do we think it possible to simplify the sequences in rigid codes. In Gottmann’s Megalopolis the east-west relations are shown as the result of natural and artificial rationalities. The water supply basin and the watershed define different geographies and interdependencies. If in Geddes’s section, or in Reclus’s Histoire d’un Ruisseau,29 the natural flow of water along the valley and toward the sea structures the changing natural, rural, and urban landscapes, and the streams’ carrying capacity could be used, in contemporary New England, a complex of watersheds describes non-evident relations of dependence, autonomy, or simply of exclusion among the different communities (for example in terms of water quality and drinking water supply). The section is a tool that helps to exemplify the complexity of contemporary territorialism.


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(Boston: Athenaeum Press, 1909). Together with Nathaniel Southgate Shaler’s Aspects of the Earth (1889) and George Perkins Marsh’s Nature and Man (1864), these texts constitute the rising concern for environmental issues. Élisée Reclus, “De l’action humaine sur la géographie physique. L’homme et la nature” (1864), reprinted in Du sentiment de la nature dans les sociétés modernes (Charenton: Editions Premières Pierres, 2002). Nathaniel Southgate Shaler, Nature and Man in America (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1891), 149. In the first studio we spent a night at the Harvard Forest. See Philip Stott’s special issue of the Journal of Biogeography 29, nos. 10/11 (October/November 2002). Benton MacKaye, “The New Exploration: Charting the Industrial Wilderness,” Survey Graphic 54 (1925). See Blake Harrison and Richard W. Judd, eds., A Landscape History of New England (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2011). Éliseé Reclus, Histoire d’un ruisseau (Paris: J. Hetzel, 1869). Benton MacKaye, Expedition Nine: A Return to a Region (Washington: Wilderness Society, 1969). See Julian Green, Paris (Paris: Champ Vallon, 1983).

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slums and establishing a regionwide land use template for future growth.” Steven Moga, “Marginal Lands and Suburban Nature: Open Space Planning and the Case of the 1893 Boston Metropolitan Parks Plan,” Journal of Planning History 8 (2009): 308–29. 12 See André Corboz, Looking for a City in America: Down These Mean Streets a Man Must Go (Santa Monica, CA: Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, 1992). 13 Frederick Jackson Turner, The Frontier in American History (New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1920), 11. The text was originally a paper delivered at a meeting of the American Historical Association in 1893. 14 I am thankful to Sébastien Marot for pointing this out. 15 Turner, The Frontier in American History, 9. 16 Jean Gottmann, Megalopolis: The Urbanized Northeastern Seaboard of the United States (New York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1961), 9, 13. 17 Giuseppe Dematteis, Progetto implicito. Il contributo della geografia umana alle scienze del territorio (Milan: FrancoAngeli Edizioni, 1995). 18 Gottmann, Megalopolis, 9, 16 ... 22. 19 Ibid., 736. His reading of the polarized development and its failure is echoed in Friedmann and Weaver, Territory and Function. 20 See Bernardo Secchi and Paola Viganò, “Bruxelles et ses territoires, Plan Régional de Développement Durable. Elaboration d’une vision territoriale métropolitaine à l’horizon 2040 pour Bruxelles, first report” (2010); and Paola Viganò, “The Horizontal Metropolis and Gloeden’s Diagrams, Two Parallel Stories,” OASE 89 (2013). 21 T. G. McGee puts Gottmann in exergo to his famous 1991 essay “The Emergence of Desakota Regions in Asia: Expanding a Hypothesis,” referring to the symbiosis of urban and rural in the megalopolis, an aspect that Gottmann writes “will probably be repeated in slightly different but not too dissimilar versions in many other regions of the rapidly urbanizing world.” Megalopolis, 257. 22 Wolf Von Eckerdt, The Challenge of Megalopolis: A Graphic Presentation of the Urbanized Northeastern Seaboard of the United States (New York: Twentieth Century Fund Report, 1964), 63. 23 William Morris Davis, Geographical Essays


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Benton MacKaye’s proposal for the Appalachian Trail. Source: Rauner Special Collections Library, Dartmouth College, New Hampshire.

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Paola Viganò Jean Gottmann’s illustration of the megopolitan water supply system, indicating various hydrological relations within the urbanized territory. Source: Jean Gottmann, Megalopolis.


Territorialis(m): An Introduction

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Top: Benton MacKaye’s east-west section of New England, describing the territory from the Berkshires to the Boston bay coast. Source: Benton MacKaye, The New Exploration.

Bottom: The first east-west and north-south expeditions followed the indicated routes.

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Paola Viganò FLUID TERRITORIES | MACKAYE’S GEOTECHNICS

Top: Benton MacKaye’s “Control of ‘Streams’ by ‘Levees.’” Source: Benton MacKaye, The New Exploration.

Bottom: Sections, from top to bottom: population density; Benton MacKaye’s levees; forest cover; water; Massachusetts boundaries, sea level.


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Territorialism I: Inside a New Form of Dispersed Megalopolis


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Interior Peripheries, Framing the Future

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injustices that involve up to 42,000 inhabitants of the Boston area. The Mystic River and Chelsea Creek are the most polluted harbors in Massachusetts: diesel units are partly responsible for a high NO2 level, salt piles pollute the air, and highly explosive materials including jet fuel are located close to living areas; noise pollution, barriers of all types, waste and wasted spaces, immense impermeable surfaces, poor green areas, and weak public transport connections have been mapped through a patient exercise that generated a representation of spatial and environmental injustice. The role of open space in territorialism (natural features, as along the Neponset River, specialized agriculture, as in the bog area south of Boston, and abandoned quarries) is the question of the third group of reflections. Increasing fragmentation of open spaces, the conflicts around which strategies to adopt for better water management, the role of dams, the construction of racial and social borders using the natural features—all these make open space and nature a complicated investigation. Finally, the Berkshires, at the extreme west of the section, is a test bed for rethinking connection and disconnection strategies. If for MacKaye the crest line of the Appalachian system was the new frontier, the traditional marginality of places like the Berkshires is still a fact and in need of a territorial strategy.

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Thomas Bender, Toward an Urban Vision: Ideas and Institutions in Nineteenth Century America (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1982 [1975]), 43.

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The first research followed two east-west and north-south sections from the Boston metropolitan area to the Berkshires. It focused on the disconnections and enclaves inside the homogenous ground described by Benton MacKaye in The New Exploration and by Jean Gottmann in Megalopolis. Some of the important transformations affecting the social landscape, together with the economic and natural ones, sharply defined territories highlighted and reimagined by the studio. In the 19th century, the initial moral resistance to industry was overcome by the pastoral aesthetics of “American factories drawing their power from New England’s waterfall as contrasted with the fiery power engines that powered factories in crowded European factory cities.”1 Today, the spatial and social organization of former mill towns produces clearly segregated territories. The spatial transcalar design we explored in different contexts is strictly related to hints that came from grassroots, not-for-profit associations that have constructed an increasingly institutionalized frame. This is true of Chelsea, just outside of Boston, as well as Lawrence, a city along the Merrimack River, and in the Berkshires. From the European perspective, this is a challenge to the traditional idea of urbanism as integrated in a context of representative democracy. It asks for a redefinition of territorial design, as well as a redefinition of its role and position in the context of participatory democracy and of renewed institutional frameworks. Starting in the Lawrence-Andover area, our interpretation was guided by the theme of concluded lifecycles and their remains in terms of embodied energy. The reference to Broadacre City, which was imagined by Frank Lloyd Wright as a patch of continuously inhabited landscape, became an operational tool. Essential to this was demonstrating that this supposed homogeneity (albeit one comprising various situations) includes harsh confrontations. The role of large-scale mobility infrastructure has changed radically from what Wright had imagined when speaking of a city with no major or minor axes. The research reveals that hierarchy is present at all levels, even in the construction of smaller privatized territories, hidden by continuous landscape features—the pastoral dream. The second case, Chelsea, is paradigmatic. Close to downtown, it is Boston’s polluted backyard. Distinct from the previous case, here the “backyard” lifecycle has not yet concluded. We are in presence not of an empty node, but of a hub of established spatial and environmental


26

Places of Evil

Pedro Bermudez, Hugo Colon, James Whitten

Established during the 19th-century American Industrial Revolution, Lawrence was part of a series of mill towns that flourished in New England. Following the success of the pioneer textile complexes of Waltham and Lowell, Lawrence was developed in 1845 by the Essex Company, and designed and administered by the legendary engineer Charles Storrow. This took place during a historic moment in the development of the United States, where large infrastructure projects provided the foundation for great wealth. Fundamental to these industrial towns were: (1) water as a source of energy; (2) the construction of a network of railroads that connected industrial cities like Lawrence to urban centers and seaports; (3) industrial facilities articulated in the form of a town. During the 20th century, these mill towns experienced a major economic downturn as many of their industries closed or moved their operations to places with access to cheaper labor. Today, Lawrence is home to a large low-income population with many Latino immigrants and other minorities, and has been known for many years as a dangerous, crime-afflicted city. Can the leftovers of the industrial operation in Lawrence be used as a resource to improve the condition of the territory and the quality of life of its inhabitants? The two scenarios proposed are an attempt to provide an answer to this question. The first scenario, “From Mill Town to Campus,� works with the mono-functional and autonomous character of the urban and architectural form of the mill town, proposing to conceive it today as a campus within a large suburban landscape. It hypothesizes how this purely functional, planned city, realized for the purposes of a single economic activity that has now vanished, could be productive today. The scenario recognizes and accepts the suburban and isotropic landscape that surrounds Lawrence as the governing force. But it is also in this regard a critic against the fact that the poor and foreign who are


27

confined to this city and not really part of the territory. In this direction, the aim of transforming these structures into a campus is to free Lawrence from being a marginal enclave and turn it into part of this territory. The campus is seen as a way to bring new populations, new jobs, and new economic and cultural activity to Lawrence. But it is above all an attempt at dissolving Lawrence into the territory, seeing the campus as a typology that in its autonomy can easily operate at the territorial and suburban scale. The second scenario, “Embracing New Commons,” works with the networks associated with the former enterprise proposing to understand Lawrence as part of a larger network of small cities. It suggests that the industrial city should be strengthened and articulated through a series of different strategies. It starts from the idea that the megalopolis prioritizes resiliency at the territorial scale—this is its defining feature. While the megalopolis establishes relationships with its geographic, ecological, and social contexts, these are dictated by the economic performance of the system as a whole. The operational logic of the megalopolis is redistribution. Its nodes of urban concentration expand and contract to the rhythms of the entire system—they are completely elastic. This feature of the megalopolis is enabled by large-scale infrastructure: the roads and railways connecting its specialized nodes to others within a global system of mega-regions. As these nodes wax and wane in response to regional and global-scale influences, the impacts of redistribution are registered at the local scale. This scenario takes on the challenge of establishing frameworks of resilience by proposing a flexible and responsive model: a strategic form of incremental work, combining the vision of the masterplan with the catalytic potential of many modestly-scaled interventions.


Places of Evil

28 Top: The scenario recognizes and accepts the suburban and isotropic landscape that surrounds Lawrence as the governing force. But it is also in this regard a critic against the fact that the poor and foreign, who are confined to this city, and not really part of the territory. In this direction, the aim of transforming these structures into a campus is to free Lawrence from being a marginal enclave and turn it into part of the territory.

Bottom: Common spaces. The section cuts between two of the mill buildings, showing different types of spaces within the campus. From the walkable waterfront along the river, to the courtyard between the buildings, with shops, cafĂŠs, and a lively atmosphere, to the atria inside the buildings, different types of common spaces are proposed. The project takes advantages of the size and autonomy of the mill town to create an ideal environment for an elderly population. However its urban tissue and the fact that it can be easily connected to a large and diverse territory, gives the campus the possibility of being a catalyst for new forms of interaction within this territory.

Following page: Networks of industrial heritage: mills and dams. A history of conflict exists around the issues of water between the upper and lower reaches of the Merrimack Valley; the former harnessing the resource for agriculture, with the latter interested primarily in power generation.


29


Places of Evil

30 Public Works Department as immigration museum and community center.


31

Pedro Bermudez, Hugo Colon, James Whitten Urban wild on the Merrimack River as new regional-scale events space.


x

x

x

x

x

HAVERHILL

METHUEN

NORTH ANDOVER ANDOVER

DRACUT

LOWELL

TEWKSBURY

METHUEN LAWRENCE

NORTH ANDOVER DRACUT ANDOVER

LOWELL

TEWKSBURY

HAVERHILL

METHUEN LAWRENCE

NORTH ANDOVER DRACUT ANDOVER

LOWELL

TEWKSBURY

Top: Mills and dams. Networks of industrial heritage. Middle: Personal wealth. Concentrations of ethnicity and disparities of wealth within a 25 x 25-km section of the territory. Bottom: Ethnicity.

Places of Evil

34

LAWRENCE


Dan Bier, Shuai Hao, Jana Vandergoot

Chelsea is both a margin and a hub in relation to Boston and greater New England. While it once occupied a larger territory (approximately 6 square miles of land along the seacoast), Chelsea in the 21st century claims only 2.5 square miles (which are partly landlocked). Because of the difficulties that ships faced while navigating the shallow water of the Mystic River and Chelsea Creek, over time Chelsea became the periphery while Boston evolved to become the more easily accessible core for the shipping of goods by water. Chelsea is also a marginal place in the sense that it is known as Boston’s polluted backyard. While it was once called Winnisimmet, or the land of good springs, the Mystic River and Chelsea Creek that create Chelsea’s waterfront are some of the most polluted and waters in the Boston region. Heating fuel and road salt for New England, jet fuel for Logan airport, and leather goods for foreign markets are a few of the industries that occupy the waterfront. Historically, industrial dyes and stains and coal were processed within the city, and are responsible for the city of Chelsea’s overwhelming number of brownfield sites. The growing number of overlooked, illegal, and underserved ethnic minority and low-income populations that inhabit Chelsea live with the stigma of environmental and spatial injustices. Paradoxically, the diversity of its population and its adjacency to the metropolitan core have also allowed Chelsea to play a role as the distribution center for many food industries and be a social hub for Latino and East African immigrant culture. Site visits were made to Chelsea in order to conduct interviews and create a photographic record of observations. Two themed stories were a result of the expeditions: “Water Story” and “Injustice Story.” These stories weave together the elements that informed the hypothetical design scenarios. “Water Story” traces Chelsea back to the 1700s when the territory claimed over 30 miles of coast and was a well-known source of fresh spring water. The story projects Chelsea into a

35

Servant as Destiny


Title

36

future of climate change and sea-level rise. The story is inspired by historic visions of the salt marsh and coastal forest territory Chelsea once occupied. “Injustice Story” communicates the environmental and spatial injustices that burden the people of Chelsea. The story led to the following questions: Should Chelsea remain a logistic platform? Is Chelsea destined to be a servant? Informed by these two stories, our project speculates about two futures for Chelsea: “Chelsea as Hills and Wetlands” and “Chelsea as a Civic Logistic Platform.” In both scenarios the role of Chelsea as a servant is questioned, and new economies, urban fabrics, and modes of living are imagined as a way of responding to injustice and climate change. The design proposals aim to understand linkages (producer/consumer) and flows (goods/ energy/people) both historically and as an existing condition. Connections and disconnections in the megalopolis context and within the state of Massachusetts are leveraged in this project as a way to visualize a new future for Chelsea.


37

Dan Bier, Shuai Hao, Jana Vandergoot Mulching captializes on the wood waste stream from forestland in western Massachusetts. Railroad lines are used to convey this stream from west to east;

goods flow from mountain to harbor. A layer of regenerative wood mulch is laid down on both asphalt surfaces and pervious surfaces. The immediate effect

is the “capping� of brownfield sites nearest to schools. The long-term effect is that the lots begin to take on the role of a regenerative forest floor.


Servant as Destiny

38 Top: Injustice overlay map. Chelsea is stigmatized by its environmental and spatial injustices. When the injustices are overlaid one by one, the entire city of

Chelsea becomes a brownfield. Pedestrian movement through the city is broken by barrier after barrier.

Bottom, from left to right: No-man’s zone; marginal open space; brownfield vacant lots and schools.


39

Dan Bier, Shuai Hao, Jana Vandergoot Top: New England Minerals road salt pile. New England Minerals provides winter road salt for Boston and New England. By law, the salt pile is to be covered with a built enclosure.

Bottom, from left to right: Most polluted areas of the harbor; explosives; sites of spatial injustice.


Servant as Destiny

40 This page and the following page: The mobility of goods versus the mobility of people. The constructions of road infrastructures足(highways and bridges) connecting Chelsea with Boston and Logan airport make Chelsea a strategic

place for the logistics of goods, but at the same time become the barriers and threats to pedestrians and citizens living nearby. The time to travel the short distance from Chelsea to downtown Boston is twice as long via public transportation

than by car, and takes triple the time from Chelsea to Logan airport. The contrasting mobility of goods versus people exacerbates the case of environmental injustice.


41

Dan Bier, Shuai Hao, Jana Vandergoot


Servant as Destiny

42 This page and following page: Views of the civil logistics platform highlighting the floodable interface between urban logistics and public space.


43

Dan Bier, Shuai Hao, Jana Vandergoot


Servant as Destiny

44 Flooding is the final and most ambiguous stage of the design process. Instead of creating hard walls and levees to hold back the flood, retention basins,

wetlands, and earthen dikes are used to calibrate the waters as they meet buildings and civic open space.


Ji Kangil

According to both Benton MacKaye and Jean Gottmann, the historically important role of the river has been subsumed in the development of the megalopolis. High reliance on railway and highway networks in the process of urbanization, and the rapid dispersal of residential areas toward the seashore, wooded areas, scenic valleys, and lakes in the megalopolis has defined it as series of curious urban regions distinct from other old river civilizations that developed concentrated urbanity. Through this process, many natural systems in the megalopolis have become liminal—thresholds that have been exploited to fulfill people’s desire to escape from crowded and bustling urban areas to reside within “nature.” This mindset of megalopolitan people that facilitated suburbanization has created today’s problems of privatization, environmental pollution, and a host of other broader social issues. Hence, this megalopolitan understanding of liminal nature—residing in nature not for living and working, but for leisure or as a refuge from urban congestion—and widely networked transportation infrastructure has amalgamated two territories: urban and rural. As a result, this attitude of seeing nature as an antidote to extensive urban ills has posed a mythical role for liminal nature, which enabled the imagination and creation of large park systems like Central Park (1857) in New York, and the Emerald Necklace (1870) in Boston by Frederick Law Olmsted, and the Metropolitan Park System (1893) in Greater Boston by Sylvester Baxter and Charles Eliot. These plans were devised not only to solve physical problems of the city like environmental pollution, but also to decrease the level of social inequality and the privatization of nature by providing people with wide natural and public spaces. This perspective of seeing liminal nature as an effective remedy for urban problems is a widespread, as contemporary landscape architects like Anne Whiston Spirn insist through her case study analysis of the city of Boston.

45

Firstname Lastname

Liminal Nature


Title

46

Is this true in today’s megalopolis? If not, how should the liminal nature in the megalopolis be treated from now on? The aim of this project is to redefine the megalopolitan myth of seeing nature as a remedy for urban problems, to reexamine the function of liminal nature in the megalopolis, and to reorganize new physical and psychological relationship between city and nature. I have done this through a study of the Neponset River, which is located between the boundary of urban/suburban regions at the southern edge of Boston. The Neponset River is an example of liminal nature. Through history it has been marginalized and has now become a forgotten space, dividing urban and suburban, and rich and poor communities. Like many other rivers in the megalopolis that once provided water and resources for factory towns, it has now become a highly inaccessible space due to pollution and privately developed parking lots, shopping malls, and residential buildings. The Neponset, the only tidal river in the Metropolitan Park System Plan (1893), has the potential to address these issues through “designing with the river.� This project aims to create a new urbanity along the forgotten river, utilizing these problems and opportunities through an integrated water and green space management system.


47

Ji Kangil

Charles River

Canal

x T&H Dam x Baker’s Dam

This system goes through four phases. Top to bottom: (1) Demolish existing dams and restore tidal river condition; (2) construct a natural storm water drainage system by utilizing sloped topography; (3) connect fragmented small parks and open spaces as urban wetlands through the drainage system while providing them with more functions

like water purification and community gathering; and (4) convey the water to the riverfront and purify the storm water through bigger wetlands, create new civic spaces at strategic areas that can connect the river, inland water, and public amenities. At the bigger scale, this strategy can also be applied to integrate isolated suburban regions.

Tide


48

1 3

2

The Neponset River, a liminal nature dividing urban and suburban, and rich and poor communities, has been marginalized through history, and has now become a forgotten space. The project aims to create a new urbanity along the forgotten river that utilizes the problems and opportunities through an integrated water and green space management system.


4 49


Liminal Nature

50

Low tide : -0.499m

Mean Tide : 1.549m

High Tide : 3.598m

Rising Sea (2100) : 6.598m

By using the power of the tide, the project restores the ecology of the riverfront space and uses this space as a natural floodplain, while purifying collected storm water and the river itself through natural purification systems. Sloped planes on the riverfront facilitate the treatment of water, while providing diverse activities at different levels of the tide.


Alexander Arroyo, Michael Luegering

The megalopolis generates, appropriates, and maintains multiple scales of fringe—a condition of thickened threshold, relative periphery, and inclusive exteriority. This fringe may be understood less as a particular geographic condition, and more as a hybrid spatial and temporal condition engendered by processes of decentralization and shifting agglomerations, a kind of phase space of urbanization. As a generalized condition, the fringe condition is one of disproportionate productivity in relation to the geographic extents, infrastructural connectivity, and population density of its constitutive territory. This productivity inheres in the abundance of endemic resources; the fragile integrity of these systems is in turn threatened by the spatial effects of cycles of capital accumulation (through resource dispossession and degradation) by which the fringe is valorized in the first place. The fringe, therefore, is a metabolic condition of fragility and transformation, and to engage it as such demands a distributed, adaptive, and systematic design methodology that may operate on these terms. The complex metabolic matrices of wetland, cranberry bogs, aquacultural habitat, sand and gravel extraction, “lifestyle” residential development, and decentralized hydrologic infrastructure that characterize the Buzzards Bay watershed region of southeastern Massachusetts provide a contextually unique yet operationally paradigmatic case of the fringe condition. A close study of the metrics of this metabolic matrix refigures how we may respond to pressures of transformation—a rising saline gradient, nitrification, changing cycles of seasonal labor, and inhabitation, among others—through contextually responsive, functionally agile, and technically replicable design tactics. Furthermore, through this analytic, those heterogeneous populations that inhabit the fringe emerge as territorial agents, for whom new cooperatives may be envisioned, designed, and deployed through the landscape. To design as such reconsiders the fringe beyond the disciplinary infrastructures of central-

51

Firstname Lastname

Vulnerable Endemism


Vulnerable Endemism Title

52

ized systems of the megalopolitan economy, affirming instead the constitutive and resilient agency through which the fringe retains its disproportionate productivity. It is the autonomy of the fringe, not its geography alone, which is annexed by the megalopolitan economy, framing a political ecology of design at once localized and territorial. This embodied political energy cannot be effectively exported or displaced, and constitutes a fragile endemism of its own. The bog belt and its transformations pose critical questions of the socio-ecological and hydro-political relations between fringe and megalopolis: Does this type of agricultural history lie within the notions of the megalopolis, outside it, below it? What are the relative conditions of persistence, and relative geographic location to the function of megalopolis? How are autonomy and endemism related spatially and temporally, and how might that relation be threatened by forms of centralization or decentralization? Are endemism and autonomy of the fringe exclusive of heterogeneity and a resilient diversity, or might they depend on them? How might the autonomy of the fringe adapt to the changing profiles of its energetic regime of productive and extractive potential, and the cycles of extraction and production aligned with disparate socio-ecological demands? The engagement of these questions, we believe, yields projective models of spatial autonomy through temporal hybridity, and temporal autonomy through spatial hybridity, generating cooperative cycles through landscapes of production, extraction, and digestion that modulate the endemic potentials of the bog belt to produce new forms of resilience while maintaining and adapting local agency. Rather than use scenarios to identify new core conditions, we attempt to follow the entropic depressurizations of these pressurized systems through new or existing fringes that begin to identify emergent potentials for coupling function and cooperative cycling that links fringe conditions both intra- and inter-regionally.


53


Vulnerable Endemism

54

CO-OPERATIVE AUTONOMY AUTONOMOUS ENDEMIC CO-OPERATIVE

CRANBERRY BOGS AGRICULTURE

Energy Injection EXTRACTIVE

POPULATION INFLUX INUNDATION

PRIMARY ENERGY

Energy Siphon

WETLAND

RESOURCE EXPORT + INDUSTRY

CORE FOREST

SAND / GRAVEL

PRODUCTIVE

AUTOTROPHY (primary producer)

HINTERLAND HETERONOMOUS

nutrient pool

PANDEMIC

HETEROTROPHY (primary consumer)

BINARY

>>> FLOW >>> OPEN SPACE

>

entropic loss

RESIDENTIAL

>>

>

COMMUNITY METABOLISM

INGESTIVE

CYCL

E

DIGESTIVE ROADS EXCRETIVE

AUTOTROPHIC WASTE OUTFLOW

HETEROTROPHIC WASTE OUTFLOW SEWERED AREAS CATCH BASIN

ENCLAVE AUTONOMOUS ENDEMIC BINARY

HYDROTECHNICS | METABOLIC LANDSCAPE

Previous page: Metabolic matrix, density of adjacencies, tooling thresholds.

The unique hydrological manipulation that has yielded a fringe condition requires an analytical approach that starts with a study of the geological and hydrological conditions underpinning the rampant elderly housing development in the face of rural bog-based agriculture. The ages of space, combined with a critical Freedman-based analysis of the metabolic conditions informing these time-based

evolutionary hydrologic conditions key the project’s primary study method. In moving against the north to south, top to bottom assumptions typically taken when examining river systems, the project looks at the transverse strata of the bog belt region and how they, as fringe conditions, play on the typical river flow pattern structure.


UPPER WATERSHED

55

LOWER WATERSHED

Alexander Arroyo, Michael Luegering

MID WATERSHED WATERSHED SERVICED AREA SURFACE WATER

X

X

X

X

X

XXXXXX

HYDROTECHNICS | UPSTREAM + DOWNSTREAM + CROSS-STREAM

NITROGEN INPUT INTENSITY ALLUVIAL SEDIMENT SAND DEPOSIT SAND + GRAVEL DEPOSIT GRAVEL DEPOSIT

RHEOLOGIC REGIMES | CONSERVATION + PROTECTION

Top: Diagram depicting three generations of landscape subdivision through hydrologic manipulation.

Middle: Indexical flows, nitrogen. Bottom: Conservation and protection areas.


Vulnerable Endemism

56

HYDROTECHNICS | GROUNDWATER FLOW (PROJECTED)

Top: Subterranean hydrologic projections based on design details.

Middle: Rheologic regimes and constructed agencies.

0

200 M

1 K (APPROX)

Bottom: Rheologic regimes, constructed flows, and cranberry bogs.


Cara Walsh

In the mid-19th century an interest in the geology of Massachusetts piqued. Geologists such as Louis Agassiz began in-depth explorations of the unique glacial history of Masscahusetts based on the variety of its structure—from sandy outwash deposits to deep bedrock granite. The state also had a complete geologic analysis that was divided into economic and scenographic geology—a division that thematically has shaped this investigation. The range of geologic conditions make Massachusetts an anamoly in terms of the sheer variety of rock types it possesses. These idiosyncracies also made the state a critical starting point during the Industrial Revolution for the building of infrastructure throughout the United States—from the first rail tracks in Saugus to the granite explosion, and the Quincy Quarries that supplied the building materials for much of the country’s landmark architecture at the time. As most coastal mining stopped in the 1930s, the face of mining today still shows high-value mining in the hinterlands, but the prolific register of mining today is that of aggregates. A glance across the territory via aerial imagery creates a picture of how these massive impressions in the ground are embedded into the urbanized and expanding fabric of the territory. Today the nature of much of the active mining operations in the state are based in the industry of aggregate extraction for the materials of today’s built landscape. Aggregate mines are a necessary feature in any land-use mosaic near metropolitan and growing urban to suburban centers, but are hidden from view (based on legalities as well as perception) as industrial scars that should remain unincorporated into the social membranes of the city or the suburb. This investigation looks at sites across an urban to rural gradient within the study transect, considering individual adjacencies and closure futures. The question then is twofold in terms of the middle ground: (1) What futures can be imagined for closing quarries that incorporate design sensitivity beyond erasure and filling, and that embrace their unique

57

Extracting Autonomy


58

endemic character? (2) What is the role of the monumental in the middle ground? Can there be a place for large-scale manmade monuments outside of the metropolis? The hypothesis proposes that these sites could be considered by careful calibration of their adjacencies to continue to respond to the territory they supply, and posits that the role of design be used to meet both ends.


slope stabilizing species

60

Extracting Autonomy

Quaking Aspen / Populus tremuloides Sweet Birch / Betula lenta

remediative planting species Black Locust / Robinia pseudoacacia Alder / Alder sp. Sweetfern / Comptonia peregrina

existing forest Mix of White Pine & Oak

accessibility New access to the site via stabilized paving, mined from materials on site.

wastewater treatment Facilities are embedded into topography of crushed rock blasting practices, planned in tandem with the mine operators before closure. The unique opportunity to terrace and filter water through different water levels in the old quarry. The water is directed to the deepest cut of the quarry floor for groundwater recharge.

Primary Treatment Secondary Treatment Tertiary Treatment

Groundwater Recharge

Elements of a hydrological infrastructure scenario.


61

Cara Walsh

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21843m. N

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38808m. E

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Sites of Study // 3 Aggregate Mines on an Urban to Rural Gradient in the Transect Sites of study: The aggregate mines on an urban-to-rural gradient in the transect.

03

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Extracting Autonomy

62 Top: Monumental space, pyramid.

Bottom: Monumental space, rethinking quarries.


Fabiana Araujo, Chris Buccino, Rob Daurio

The megalopolitan territory is inscribed with four centuries of uneven spatial development. Iterative processes of dispersion and concentration have served a primary role in coordinating the structured coherence of the territorial fabric, division of labor, and social hierarchy to support large-scale economic development. These processes have created voids within the territory. This project investigates the Berkshires as a unique instance of this phenomenon, situated at the intersection of Benton MacKaye’s two megalopolitan projects. How might the Berkshires operate in the next economic cycle and with relation to the megalopolis? Embedded within and residual of this proposition are two dialectical realms of scenario-based interpretation: exogenous and endogenous forms of territorial restructuration. The exogenous form investigates further integration implied through anticipated high-speed rail projects, the reintegration of previously abandoned rail lines, and underutilized and degraded spaces within the valley section. The two scenarios under this hypothesis acknowledge the tendency for processes of urbanization to be motivated through capital investment in infrastructural projects. The “North-South” scenario tests ways to better integrate the Berkshires with the megalopolis through a public mobility system that runs along abandoned railroads. This scenario takes into consideration the current tendency of investments in public mobility systems, particularly rail-based ones. The “Productive Parks” scenario imagines a new model for the Berkshires, one that proposes a new hybrid, both social and economic, combining new industrial and cultural activity with recreation, and the productive use of the land. Running parallel to the Appalachian Trail, the project imagines a new economic network moving from the river basin outward. This new corridor would be a productive park, combining industry and recreational activities. The backbone of the project is transit

63

Voids of Megalopolis


64

infrastructure, developed along existing freight lines and connected with a continuous pedestrian and bicycle trail. The endogenous form responds to implications of radical landscape change associated with effects from processes related to concentrated forms of urbanization. These situations are interpreted as opportunities to destabilize previously held notions of supra-territorial inclusion, dependency, and legitimacy, investigated in the “Blind Field(s)� scenario. Introduced to the United States in 2002 via transcontinental shipping, the recent emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation in Dalton, MA, is a prototypical example of large-scale ecological disturbance resulting from direct processes of extended urbanization. The intensity and rate of this crisis suggests a landscape transformation, which currently transcends the epistemological and disciplinary bounds of landscape architecture and exists as a blind field within the collective social imaginary. Strategies must be developed to enable design practitioners to operate within the flows of these extended effects. The Berkshires is an ideal location in the megalopolis to ground and develop these theoretical concepts: historically, the territory is a popular leisure destination with strong multiscalar brand recognition; this peripheral location receives less capital investment than other urban agglomerations in the northeastern section of the megalopolis and could benefit from increased local industrial production; and lastly, high landscape quality and relatively large concentrations of Fraxinus americana, white ash, suggest the potential for radical landscape transformation and subsequent sociocultural response. The intersection of these realms provides an ideal temporal field for investigating the socio-ecological context and the nuanced sociopolitical responses proposed to manage potential effects of this disturbance. These situations are interpreted as opportunities to reflect on established EAB management practices and political rescaling processes that are associated with moments of crisis.


ash sites

power generation timber

electric remediation

biomass

soil glass ?

bio plastics

light manufacture

phyto remediation

agriculture

water heat

solar sites

greenhouse

A synergetic internal relationship: through the proximity of diverse programs and actors on site, the Pittsfield Productive Park is able to create a spatial network. Some of these interdependencies formerly existed on the site. Here, these mutual proximal benefits could be amplified and better integrated.

data center

Voids of Megalopolis

66

pcb contaminated soil


67

Fabiana Araujo, Chris Buccino, Rob Daurio Top: Proposed loop and major roads.

Bottom, from left to right: North-south road connections; east-west road connections; and Amtrak stops. Source: MassGIS.


> 35 sf

+

> 20 sf

+

> 6.2 sf 250m cell

Fraxinus americana, white ash: 1:2,000,000 square footage of live basal area. The Berkshire Territory has a relatively high concentration of this species and will be effected significantly by EAB infestation. Data set provided by the United States Forest Service, Washington, DC.

Dalton, MA

Voids of Megalopolis

68

+


Lauren Abrahams

69

New Objectives for a Public Landscape


Operating Strategically and Speculatively at the Margins The case study areas encompass a range of scales and intensities of development. The commonality between the sites is their ten-

uous connection to the greater megalopolis, and the resultant accumulation of social and environmental problems. Each case is rooted in a study of the inherited spatial structures, the by-products of concluded and ongoing cycles of economic development—abandoned infrastructures from an industrial past, neglected and polluted support structures of ongoing oil-based development, productive extraction sites vulnerable to shifting cultural and market values, and passive landscapes vulnerable to latent ecological change. Drawing out these spatial elements set the groundwork for design intervention and questioned how these layers of manipulated landscape explicitly or implicitly reinforce the conditions of marginality. The studio research starts from these “voids in the megalopolis” and posits ways that they might function differently. While the scenarios address a range of scales, conditions, and approaches, reflecting on the research as a collection suggests some common ideas. Addressing Social and Environmental Injustice through Design Insists That “Public Landscape” Take on an Expanded Meaning This struck us early in our expeditions. Walking along the Chelsea Harbor for the first time, confronted with the blatant instances of extreme public health risks, left us questioning: How can so many toxic operations literally be piling up in one community’s backyard? What about regulations? Enforcement? Less immediate but equally alarming was the situation we encountered at the cranberry bogs. On the surface, the scale of production and the traditional cooperative model of operation seemed to suggest a balanced relationship between extraction, inhabitation, and environment. Digging deeper revealed a host of interdependent pressures—spearheaded by a single corporate interest, threatening the ecological and cultural stability of the area. These issues, and the many more raised by our expeditions, are hardly specific to design research. Yet it was clear to us from our first walks that as designers we could offer a particular perspective; the rampant inequalities we were witnessing were more than just a matter of institutional breakdown. We were inspired by the practices of groups like Groundwork Lawrence and Chelsea Collaborative, whose work is literally grounded in the spaces of everyday life.3 We looked beyond the declining role of public policy and the increasing institutionalization of nongovernmental organizations to test out another form of civic participation. The studio research challenges the dichotomy of

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The 1893 Boston Metropolitan Parks Plan by Sylvester Baxter and Charles Eliot suggested an entirely new role for the public landscape. Like Frederick Law Olmsted before and Benton MacKaye to come, Baxter and Eliot were interested in how the growing interests of the private real estate market and industrial developers were reshaping the relationship between nature and built form, advancing the potential for landscape design to engage in this conversation. They understood parks and open space as more than scenic respites for passive consumption. If planned together as a system, parks could perform important urban ecological functions, like flood protection and water filtration. Expanding this thinking to the scale of the region, their plan articulated a new influence for the public landscape well beyond its traditional boundaries—to act as the guiding structure for metropolitan development.1 Baxter and Eliot “sensed opportunity in marginality.”2 They looked to the residual spaces of urban and industrial intensification—polluted, depleted, abandoned—and imagined redemptive functions for these leftover landscapes. They envisioned the potential to reclaim these spaces, enhancing their performance toward addressing the social and environmental ills of the time. The result was a plan that imbued the open space system with a new set of social and cultural objectives, supported by a new vocabulary to describe, organize, and design the public landscape. Almost a century and a half later, questioning the role of public landscape to influence spatial development remains as relevant, if not more so, than in the time of Baxter and Eliot’s plan. The research in the Territorialism studio takes on this charge, expanding the scale and focus from the metropolitan to the megalopolitan. The first explorations by the studio across the east-west and north-south transects of Massachusetts revealed fractures and inconsistencies in the so-called continuous urban form of the megalopolis. These exceptions—places of pronounced, even extreme social and ecological deterioration—set the research trajectory. Starting from these “interior peripheries,” the studio questioned the transformative potential of marginal landscapes to reframe their context, through design.


The Reclamation of Leftover Landscapes as a Design Strategy Is a Function of Both Necessity and Opportunism Building on these two approaches was a common starting point for many of the scenarios. The research interrogated the role of spatial design not only in remediating landscapes, but also in envisioning new narratives at varying phases within the lifecycle of an area. The scars on the post-extraction landscape or the leftover mill towns are clear examples of cases where there is an obvious set of elements waiting to be rethought. And as the case of the Neponset River highlights, pollution, flooding, and ground water contamination are commonly associated with these residual spaces. These cases provide clear design challenges, to which the scenarios respond. Much of the research also engaged the spaces peripheral to ongoing development processes, rather than focusing on the relics of long abandoned industry. Here the scenarios envision ways these underused or disregarded features could take on new meaning while continuing to function in an existing context. There are a lot of very practical reasons to look to these sites as catalysts for design projects. The same reasoning elucidated by Baxter and Eliot has been evoked throughout the last century,4 often used to substantiate the development of greenways and other landscape corridors.5 Marginal lands are often cheaper, of lesser interest from a development perspective, and free from political contestation. This makes them easier to reclaim, to unlock their latent potential, formalize their benefits, and even create value in otherwise overlooked or disregarded landscapes.6 While this practical approach has been a valuable layer in the research, the scenarios take further steps to articulate bolder intentions for civic transformation. Working with the leftover landscapes offers possibilities to reveal lost community narratives, to restore ecological processes, and even to anticipate large-scale transformations, as the case of the emerald ash borer in the Berkshires demonstrates. The designs imagine new forms of living and new support structures, in response to the advantages identified in these marginal places.

A Megalopolitan Scale Public Realm? The public realm is shaped by the preferences and needs of the population it serves as much as it shapes the quality and organization of the landscape around it. The research collected under the Territorialism studio explores this reciprocal role of the public landscape with a focus on the fractures within the megalopolis. The expeditions revealed that a common characteristic of the “interior peripheries” was a conspicuous lack of emphasis on the public realm, especially outside of traditional urban arrangements. Grounded in MacKaye’s comprehensive, regional approach,7 many of the scenarios address the noted lack of attention on public landscapes at the regional scale—the public transportation scenario to strategically connect and disconnect the Berkshires, the national park proposed around the Merrimack River, the statewide strategy for the repurposing of obsolete quarries. These proposals not only suggest the multifunctional potential of regional-scale public realm interventions, but also test their capacity to transform and restructure the territory. The scenarios envision futures where public purpose is prioritized across the multi-scalar spaces that we inhabit daily, embracing opportunity at the margins.

1

The thesis behind the work of Steven Moga argues that “Eliot and Baxter viewed open space planning as a means of combating slums and establishing a region-wide land use template for future growth.” See Steven Moga, “Marginal Lands and Suburban Nature: Open Space Planning and the Case of the 1893 Boston Metropolitan Parks Plan,” Journal of Planning History 8, no. 4 (2009): 308–329. 2 See ibid., 317. 3 Groundwork Lawrence is a nongovernmental organization based in Lawrence, Massachusetts, with the mandate to “bring about the sustained regeneration, improvement, and management of the physical environment by developing communitybased partnerships which empower people, businesses, and organizations to promote environmental, economic, and social well-being.” See http://www.groundwork lawrence.org/. Chelsea Collaborative is an NGO based in Chelsea, Massachusetts, with the mission to “enhance the social, environmental, and economic health of the community and its people.” See http://

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Lauren Abrahams

public versus private control, operating beyond the limits of literal public space toward the design of spaces that work together for a “public purpose.” Within scenarios, public landscape becomes a much broader container defined by the interaction between institutional and physical characteristics—rooted in space.


chelseacollab.org/. Both organizations shared their experiences with the design studio through numerous discussions, guided site visits, and critiques. 4 See Moga, “Marginal Lands and Suburban Nature,” 317. 5 Charles E. Little outlines the history of greenway development in his book Little Greenways for America, in which he describes the “concrete and quite immediate social, environmental, and economic benefits that their greenways confer upon the cities, suburbs, and countryside areas in which they are located.” See Little Greenways for America: Creating the North American Landscape (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1990), 30–36. 6 Ibid. 7 Benton MacKaye, The New Exploration: A Philosophy of Regional Planning (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1962).

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Paola Viganò

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Scenarios, Opening Possibilities


are sometimes encouraged to think. It is an evident political construct that can be reinforced, for example, by closing “horizontal” railway lines (connecting the micro-region as it did in the past) in favor of vertical (and radial) relations with Boston. In this sense, the transformation of the old warehouses into residential “lofts,” separated from the existing poorer housing stock, becomes part of a new suburbanization flow, without tangibly modifying the situation. The integrated urbanity of the megalopolis, still operational on the large scale, cannot rely on caricatured metropolitan relations and remain indifferent to its interior fractures. Former nodes in specific territories can be networked again instead of constituting weak and divided satellites. Both scenarios propose possibilities. Servant as Destiny: Future Environmental Stories and Present Spatial Injustice The representation of spatial and environmental injustice in Chelsea is a terrifying map that authorizes two contrasting scenarios. In the first, environmental history supports a radical shift in the urban and natural landscape anticipating the closure of the harbor cycle in Chelsea due to climate change and rising sea level. The scenario proposes the refoundation of its territorial qualities. The second scenario imposes a “civic” perspective that deems environmental injustice unacceptable. In this contrasting scenario, in which Chelsea acts as a “civic logistical platform,” the shift is essential. Chelsea houses the only food terminal market in Massachusetts. Food is an important component of social exchange. The scenario introduces strategies that embrace food as a social connector; public space as a tool to impose the community’s reappropriation of the site; and pedestrian continuity in a context where a sizeable part of the population does not own a car. In both cases, long-term scenarios can be implemented, starting with immediate action that can take place, whether the servant character of Chelsea is considered inevitable or not. Boston Harbor is undergoing transition and its continuous modifications show that it does not work as a separate system. Even in the short term this leaves the redesign of the access to the waterfront as an open proposition. Here the “expedition” moves toward a sensory approach. Walking is not only a cognitive experience; it is also an affective one. The megalopolis, the giant machine that digests the flows arriving from land and sea, has

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Places of Evil: Looking for Another Broadacre City Lawrence, Andover, and Methuen—with their common albeit divided history of immigration, political contestation, the Underground Railroad, waterworks, and geological and geographical features—are a rich battleground. The scenarios elaborated for this megalopolitan “void” raise two important points. The first is the exceptional character of the industrial city. The dissemination of mill towns across the megalopolis and their subsequent decline has introduced exceptions in the middle ground. The idea of making this spatial exception the basis for future redevelopment is powerful; it is based on the autonomous architectural nature of the mill town. But it is ambiguous, as it might reinforce the inherent isolation of the complex. At the same time, it restores the mill town to the middle ground with a “proper” status, as a campus—a well-known and traditional figure in the American city. The legitimization of the existence of the former industrial city as an autonomous object, ready for different uses, is the first step of a strategy to reconnect it to a place and to be enlarged in relation to the rest of the megalopolis. The second scenario developed the hypothesis that in such a heavily divided urban condition, the challenge is to elaborate a new collective imagery. “Embracing new commons” means a new appropriation of natural and historical features such as the waterworks, the social and political history of the region, or the contemporary Latino culture that dominates Lawrence today. This is a very delicate topic: collective memory can be manipulated or codified through spatial interventions. The effort has been to emphasize the role of space in the deconstruction of inherited memories and their reconstruction inside the idea of a new modest and incrementally assembled commons. The underlining hypothesis is that there is the possibility to absorb the exception of the former industrial city in a collection of fragmented memories exposed through public space. The existing Lowell National Historical Park could be enlarged to the scale of the territory defined by the four cities: Lowell, Methuen, Andover, and Lawrence. Altogether, these cities compose the organization of a former industrial system, with working class housing alongside the factories and the white-collar residences in the surrounding pastoral lands or further away centers. Today, this micro-region no longer exists; public transportation has been forced toward a more banal center-periphery model. But metropolization is not a natural event, as we


Liminal and Fringe Opportunities The idea of natural and open space—living in natural environments, in the forest, close to a pond, inside protected natural areas or agricultural ones—has shaped the megalopolis stronger than any other megalopolitan contexts. But although the American tradition of environmentalism and landscape design stands as a political and philosophical reference, the relation between natural features, open spaces, and the city has not yet been resolved. Benton MacKaye’s idea of “streams and levees” for guiding Massachusetts’ urban growth and sprawl has been rapidly dismantled and probably not entirely understood. If we consider liminal and fringe conditions not only through topology, but also as provisional and ever shifting characters connected to the economic, social, and natural dynamics that shape space, then the process of resource exploitation, degradation, reconstruction, or substitution can be investigated through the concept of lifecycle. In the Cranberry Bogs area in the southern Boston metropolitan region, naturally rich in water resources, the consumption of the territorial conditions goes on behind the gentle and idyllic image of a traditional agriculture. The externalities of this process may lead to a totally new environment, where the traditional landscape acts as a scene to accommodate the population boom, mainly of elderly people and new lifestyles. In this scenario, the agropolitan idea proposed by John Friedmann for an Asian context comes back as a distinctive approach to development. To activate the “fringe,” to valorize and engage self-management, a deep understanding of both site features and dynamics is required: of the subterranean hydrologic and sedimentary geologic infrastructure; of the sand, gravel, and stone extraction that modifies the topography of the region with no explicit design; and behind the traditional picture of forests and hills as a theatrical set. Liminal and fringe conditions, structurally related to megalopolitan

habits and organization, are privileged places for activating landscapes with multiple and hybrid roles, beyond specialization and revealing natural and cultural monuments. Voids of Megalopolis: Reversing the Gaze In this final case study, the definition of the Berkshires territory itself was a true research question: a result of plural imageries—local, metropolitan, megalopolitan, and multilayered. The matrix of the Berkshires may nevertheless evolve radically in the near future (the emerald ash borer infestation could be a factor), which would generate the need to redefine the region altogether. The practices of conservation, a “black box” that seems sometimes to detach from common sense and collective understanding, are tackled in relation to their capacity to face processes and dynamics or ecological conflicts. The lifecycles interpretation helps in following the silvicultural transformations of the megalopolis forest, a theme that both MacKaye and Jean Gottmann considered relevant both in relation to lifestyles and economics. The scenarios are used to make explicit the challenges of an evolving marginal territory. They evaluate the advantages of either remaining marginalized (valorizing the territorial asset, working toward self-sufficiency) or of a strong functional project that reconnects the Berkshires to the main flows of the megalopolis. An important investment in infrastructure is still necessary for this second scenario, and railway lines can be the main ground of intervention. Here, too, the valleys are the strategic areas, while the first scenario does not rely as heavily on them, but involves the entire region. In both scenarios, the opposition is only instrumental, and synergies between connect-disconnect strategies are easy to detect. In both scenarios, strategic places emerge—along the rivers where partially abandoned or underused polluted industrial areas are found, or on the crest line where a new productive approach can exploit the consequences of the ash borer infestation. The megalopolis is rich in marginal areas, which contrast, by their own existence, the orthodox territorial development theory. The clue of marginality and fallow lands is double faced. It asks to develop different conceptual and ideological tools, and to work inside open perspectives or visions of the world.

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produced several Chelseas, places that in the Benthamian perspective work for the greater good, even though they produce harm for the few people who live within their boundaries. There is something inevitable in the “servant role” and in the utilitarian justification of its existence. But the environmental, economic, and social/political cost of maintaining the situation rises together with sea level. In both scenarios, edges and borders are the space inside which to mitigate and reformulate the conflicts, revealing the sublime side of Chelsea.


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Territorialism II: Urbanism in the Land of Imperfect Democracy


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The Metamorphosis of the Middle Ground: Another Broadacre City

Paola Viganò


After having investigated fractures and exceptions in the megalopolis, this part of the book is concerned with core urban materials, the generic socio-spatial devices of the megalopolis and of the American city: vast middle class suburban spaces, the system of clusters along railways and highways. We have investigated their landscapes, infrastructures, lifecycles, challenges, and crises, along the east-west transect through the Boston metropolitan area. It is in this “middle ground” that we have looked for “urbanism in the land of imperfect democracy.” Following John L. Thomas, the definition of middle ground has to do with “the idea of a median line between ‘primitivism’ and ‘civilization’ […] the middle ground as the point lying between under-development and overrefinement. The American variant of this utopian concept was the myth of the “garden”2 and pastoral innocence. In Frank Lloyd Wright’s thinking, Broadacre is not only a democratic idea, but also the only possible one. The two-mile by two-mile model of Broadacre City is a careful selection of the elements (natural and artificial, infrastructural and tissuey) that define a middle ground, a new type of urban space. Over the course of the studio, we discussed the possibility of rethinking Broadacre City both operationally and conceptually. In the middle ground, “places owned names,” writes Thomas, speaking about Ian McHarg’s description of his own middle ground above Glasgow.3 Middle ground is a source of alternative values,4 of “provincialism” and “counterrevolutionary ideology,” of the everyday life of most Americans. The philosophy of the “middle state,” between the savage and the refined,5 influences the construction of the American landscape, and suggests that human intervention and the process of artificialization of the country can even improve natural processes. The “middle landscape,” the concept proposed by Leo Marx in his classic 1964 volume The Machine in the Garden: Technology and the Pastoral Ideal in America, “was supposed to be the nursery of good citizens.”6 More recently, Peter Rowe has reframed the idea of the middle landscape using the Boston metropolitan area as his testing field.7 The hypothesis is that the middle ground is undergoing a metamorphosis—where the idea of metamorphosis alludes to an alteration

after which the object has completely changed its nature. We look at the middle ground as fragmented spatial capital and as an agent of transformation, as a support and a place of potentiality. It is a layered territorial construction where what Jean Gottmann defined as a revolution in land use has created an original mix. The research question is, how can we make the middle ground a renewable and democratic resource? A new narrative is at stake.

Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, trans. Gerald E. Bevan (New York: Penguin Books, 2003 [1835]), 11. 2 John L. Thomas, “Holding the Middle Ground,” in The American Planning Tradition: Culture and Policy (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2000), 38. 3 Ibid., 36. 4 Ibid., 38. 5 Thomas Bender, Toward an Urban Vision: Ideas and Institutions in Nineteenth Century America (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 1982 [1975]). The author refers to the concept of “middle landscape,” proposed by Leo Marx, which “was supposed to be the nursery of good citizens” (7). 6 Ibid. 7 Peter G. Rowe, Making a Middle Landscape (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991). “Wasteful Fragmentation or Pure Democracy?” is the title of one of the chapters. 1

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“Of all the novel things which attracted my attention during my stay in the United States, none struck me more forcibly than the equality of social conditions.”1


The Metamorphosis of the Middle Ground: Another Broadacre City

80 Frank Lloyd Wright, Broadacre City model, 1935. The model was initially displayed at an Industrial Arts Exposition in the Forum in Rockefeller Center.


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Paola Viganò GSD students, Another Broadacre City model, fall 2013. Area of Framingham, MA. Midterm proposal. Red for waters; black for level ground; light gray for drumlins; white for existing urban fabric.


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The Thickened Middle

Ana Victoria Chiari, Simon Willet

Today, most Americans reside in neither city nor countryside but rather in the middle ground. The contemporary metropolis is overbuilt and too dependent on the automobile for its daily needs and too little familiar with its local idiosyncrasies. What’s more, obsolete and intransigent zoning laws prohibit progressive urban strategies that can ease crowding and address ecological concerns all at once. What kind of city is possible when these obstacles are removed? Much of the credit, or blame, for the form of the contemporary metropolis is given to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City model, which described a dispersed city both everywhere and nowhere but always highly self-sufficient and respectful of local environment. Could Wright’s model be updated to reform the contemporary metropolis? Our initial research led us to Framingham as a representative and especially dire node in the contemporary suburban landscape. The nation’s largest town, it is bisected by three east-west regional transit networks and strategically located equidistant between the two largest cities in Massachusetts: Boston and Worcester. While these connections are key to its relative prosperity, they have also created an unsustainable community too dependent on the car and too little engaged in stewardship of the land. Our fieldwork reinforced these conclusions but also revealed opportunities for smart growth and economic transition latent in the town’s built tissue and soil. What operations might realize a metamorphosis of the metropolis into a more intense, sustainable, and equitable future? The proposal envisions a metro-urban future that relies not on unfeasible fantasies but instead embraces the existing fabric of the suburban landscape. With fuel prices soaring and technology allowing ever more people to work from home, the proposal calls for staying put and going local. With fewer cars in the picture, more of the landscape opens to agriculture and ecology. Without burdensome and unnecessary zoning ordi-


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nances, subtle intensification of the residential tissue can easily accommodate growth for decades to come. Locally vested communities are united by common spatial pursuits and connected to their neighbors by reinvigorated edges. Such a thickening of the existing middle ground is possible and can be not only radical, but also familiar. The project examines the structure of the urban tissue in Framingham and its environs. Residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional tissues are all present. According to Ellen Dunham Jones and June Williams, these can be broadly catergorized into three distinct types: static tissues (such as residential subdivisions), which are difficult to wrest from their homogenous and parcelized character; campus tissues (such as office complexes or shopping malls), which allow for large, autonomous transformation; and elastic tissues (such as commercial strips), which have high turnover and can be combined or subdivided with relative ease. While anonymously dense— Framingham is described as a built-out community—its building stock is nevertheless representative of tissues found throughout the metropolitan region.


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CORRIDOR vs. MESH Edges define communities and will become critically important in a newly pedestrian and locally focused metropolis. The quadrants are contained by a perimeter of commerce and services within walking distance of anyone living within. This porosity allows for the superimposition of existing and proposed ecological corridors as well as intense social interaction between neighboring communities.


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Ana Victoria Chiari, Simon Willet Shoppers World and environs. Application of these proposals to two real sites in the northeast of Framingham, framed by the two-mile limits of Wright’s Broadacre city, demonstrates their feasability within the existing suburban landscape.


CUL-DE-SACS

Ana Victoria Chiari, Simon Willet

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The suburban commercial strip, which started with short-life buildings and large parking lots after World War II, is now stepping into a redevelopment period. A critical question then emerges: how should this “urban tissue� develop in the future and what are its possible scenarios? Some serious problems are historically intrinsic to this development model, which created linear development along highways with the advent of the automobile. On the one hand, the commercial strip performs imperfectly in the middle ground. Most of these large commercial buildings are old and underperforming, resulting in vacated and for-sale properties that are usually located between regional centers. On the other hand, the ubiquity of the parking lot, which is considered to be the orienting space together with big signs in the commercial strip, creates significant environmental and social impact. Potential floods endanger the regular operation of commerce and run-off pollution threatens bodies of water. Meanwhile, large parking lots, with their out-of-human-scale emptiness, are not considered to be spaces for social use, and in some cases, parking lots enhance social injustice. This implies that a new scenario for future commercial strips needs to be proposed in order to address the ecological, economic, and social injustice of the current landscape. Based on the optimization of public transportation networks, the hypothesis transforms 50 percent of average occupied parking space into multifunctional space. The design rethinks parking lots as new infrastructure, a space that functions as stormwater and flood buffers, civic space, and pedestrian connections. The design positions the parking lot as a space to use vegetative intervention to address environmental and social injustices. Existing giant eviods would be transformed into central attractions, better organizing the relationship between parkings lots and buildings, and utilizing landscape components to create more integration.

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Rethinking the Suburban Commercial Strip


Rethinking the Suburban Commercial Strip

90 Plan of post-transformation of Shopper’s World with park, plaza, agriculture, and mixed-use development.


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Bin Bin Ma Perspective view.


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The Valley: Gaining Water Autonomy in the Middle Ground

Phoebe White

Metropolitinization is a process that, according to Benton MacKaye, mimics reservoirs breaking free from the confines of their levees. These levees were believed to be those features inherent to the territorial landscape, such as mountains, hills, forests, wetlands, and bodies of water, that served as embedded obstacles for the ever-pressing expansion of the metropolitan machine. However, this investigation of the Boston metropolis and its peripheral territories hypothesizes that the aqueous levees, and the valleys in which they are found, did not halt the urban streams from flowing westward, but instead acted as the primary mechanisms for feeding metropolitan growth. A previously crucial and subservient component of the metropolitan water supply in the 19th and 20th centuries, the valley is now a landscape of contaminated rivers and abandoned reservoirs. The human experience of this territory is fragmented by planes of pavement, rendered continuous only by the dependence on the automobile. The urban tissues are oriented toward the parking lot rather than the lake, the road rather than the river. This investigation postulates that the valley has become spatially and socially disconnected from its water networks in three primary ways. The first was through the establishment of the Forested Source Isolation Buffer. This buffer was meant to protect the reservoirs and generate lumber. As the bodies of water of the valley were no longer used for providing water to the metropolis, these forest buffers became unmanaged and grew thick, visually disconnecting the water from the urban fabric. The second is through the contamination that was heavily generated as industries moved in to the valley in the 20th century. This contamination has ultimately rendered the valley the most contaminated watershed in Massachusetts. The third layer of marginalization is comprised of those impervious surfaces that further perpetuate the contamination of the water.


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This project postulates that these four elements—water, contamination, impervious surfaces, and forest—should no not be stigmatized, but rather seen as an opportunity for a territorial network where the urban and water might be woven together through the establishment of a new buffer system.


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Materials Naval Weapons Industri-Plex Technology Lab Industrial Reserve Glue 1816 1852 1873

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Framingham Reservoirs 1 & 2 1875

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NAVAL WEAPONS INDUSTRIAL RESERVE Operated 1852-1984 Concord River Missile development VOCs found in groundwater, heavy metals found in soils

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Operated 1958-1997 Produced depleted uranium products VOCs and radioactive material in groundwater and soils

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Operated 1954-Present Textiles research, aero-mechanical production VOCs, heavy metals found in soils and groundwater

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Phoebe White Previous page: Reflective sketch demonstrating the highly connected aqueous network. Moments of convergence are emphasized in darker areas.

Proposed buffer reorienting the valley to the water and protecting against contamination of the Superfund site and urban runoff from impervious surfaces. Rainwater is captured by basins and circulated back to the houses at the scale of the individual pond.


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Motherland 2.0: How Many People Can We Feed

Sang Yong Cho, Michalis Pirokka

Urban farming offers a multitude of community advantages, such as access to a healthy food source, educational value, and a boost to the local economy. A local food system, where food is grown and sold within a city’s limits, has many potential economic and environmental benefits in addition to providing fresh quality food products. The project provides an alternative sustainable environment that questions the existing typologies that occur in the regional development of the city. The new lifestyle that is proposed reclaims and evaluates urban space based on its lifecycle rather than on finite or existing conditions, generating a new perspective for the city that increases the potential for urban agriculture, adding environmental, economic, and social value to traditionally undervalued spaces of the city. The proposed design negotiates the spatial relationship between natural landscape and living environment, and creates a new valuable productive landscape, which becomes the keystone for the city’s future development. The new urban environment follows an articulated orientation in space with a strong connection to its surrounding context, providing better land management and a more predictable but at the same time, dynamic model of development through design. The external borders of this development are formed by natural obstacles, such as forests, lakes, and so on. The proposed “productive landscape” is the base for a diverse landscape inside the city limits that will generate a new model of social interaction between people and their activities. Placed mainly among previously built and abandoned infrastructures, the proposal attempts to accelerate the development of the local community. As a result of this model application, future depressed and abandoned zones are no longer a setback, but on the contrary, they become potential plots for urban agriculture.


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Motherland 2.0: How Many People Can We Feed

102 Comparison: Broadacre City and the middle ground.


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Sang Yong Cho, Michalis Pirokka Top left: Height of forest clearing and agriculture, 1830 AD. Top right: Presettlement forest, 1700 AD. Source: Harvard Forest.

Middle and bottom: Proposed housing transformations. The design proposes the conversion of front and backyards as spaces to practice urban agriculture, as well as placing greenhouses as integral parts of the house.


Motherland 2.0: How Many People Can We Feed

104 Top: The transformation of powerline corridors into agricultural plots for food production.

Bottom: The transformation of aqueduct slopes into a productive landscape.


Charles Brennan

Residential subdivisions, office parks, malls, and commercial strips characterize the contemporary middle ground of metropolitan Boston. The size and the distances separating differing land uses in the territory make walking an impossibly difficult task. The automobile is an object that every household requires in order to access places of work, retail, and public services. Public transit, found throughout the metropolitan core, is absent except in a few places. This design research started with a simple question: what if public transit service was expanded so that it was no longer necessary to own a car in order to travel through and around the middle ground? While public transit alone will not replace the car in the middle ground, I believe that expanding the system of public transit in the territory will be an important organizational element of its future development, as well as helping to transform it into a more equitable and sustainable settlement pattern. The new system proposed here will use the three commuter rail lines as a guide, seeking to stitch together the spaces in between with a multi-tiered mesh of public transit. The first layer will be a regional bus system that, like the streetcar system of the past, will traverse the entire region. The regional system will connect not only town centers, but also office parks and retail strips, which currently may only be accessed by automobile. A secondary inter-town system will be necessary to make important connections between towns and commercial nodes that are hard to make with the regional system alone. A third layer of public transit will be needed to access the residential subdivisions that would be impossible to service with just a regional system and even an inter-municipal system. Besides increasing the ability of people living in the middle ground to access and use public transportation, the new system will also expand suitable locations for transit-oriented development

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Toward a No Car Scenario: Public Transit as a Guide for Growth in the Middle Ground


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across the territory. As more mixed-use compact forms of development are encouraged at intersections of the new bus routes, public transportation will become a much more feasible and practical form of mobility in the middle ground. Before the dominance of the automobile in the middle of the 20th century, the territory was organized around mass transit. Towns in the middle ground, especially the mill towns, were well connected by the railroad, streetcar, and trolleys. The manufacturing industry relied on good access to Boston and the metropolitan core, as Boston’s port served as a vital link to export markets around the world. The streetcar, more than the railroad, initiated the growth of the middle ground as the upper class of Boston, followed by the middle class, was able to leave the city and settle in new suburban developments. As it was not plausible, nor desirable, for commuters to live far from the system of mass transit that made the early suburbs possible, growth was centered around transit stops. With the appearance of the automobile and the growth of the highway network, the previous transit network disappeared into the landscape, leaving few traces. Even though passenger rail service resumed on once active tracks, transit usage in the middle ground pales in comparison with that of the automobile.


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Charles Brennan

MBTA commuter rail

Shuttle bus routes

Regional bus routes

Rail stations

Inter-town bus routes

Important bus intersections/potential TOD locations

Existing and proposed mobility network in Framingham area; elaborated from MassGIS.


Toward a No Car Scenario: Public Transit as a Guide for Growth in the Middle Ground

108 These diagrams show the disconnection and isolation of some areas within a typical residential area in the middle ground and the typical development along highways in the middle ground.


Omar Davis

Railroads, reservoirs, and evolving commercial/industrial cores have prepared the towns of central Massachusetts for the era of rapid expansion via automobile. In the face of population increase, traffic congestion, and reconfigured workplaces, existing physical resources must be harnessed. These underused and forgotten infrastructural corridors then might be valorized through an act of re-covering and a new role as lower, supporting networks of transportation, recreation, and democratic space. Today 50 percent of the railways are abandoned and many more of are underutilized. Although the automobile has since become the dominant mode of transportation, continued growth and adaptation for these towns and cities requires utilizing all available networks in order to support commutability, economic activity, and attractive neighborhood development. Railways and infrastructural corridors as the former drivers of development and shapers of cities may not take a primary role in the future, but they hold great potential to support the already expanding the middle ground. The project proposes not just rails-to-trails but railsand-trails. Early railroad barons hoped to increase economic potential through connecting remote towns, but it is clear that their scope was unmanageable. Reimagined light rail along these corridors might grow at a small scale from higherpopulation nodes like Framingham, which are already connected to the stable MBTA commuter lines. The tram system would occupy one track, using crossing loops to minimize expenses and leave room for parallel bikeways. Times would be roughly 3 to 10 minutes between stops and each length no longer than 45 minutes from inner to outer city. Layering over these light rails would be a growing network of bike trails, extending the length of the original railways without the requirement of for expensive maintenance and operations. These longer paths for walking, cycling, and cross-country skiing would continue to extend the edges of disparate communities.

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Corridors Recovered: Reinforcing a Network of Ecologies


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Aqueducts and transmission lines, many of which are informally used, would support the growing network of cycling and pedestrian trails. These corridors have valuable state- or utility-owned buffer space which can be put to public use in a number of ways. Linear tracts of land can emerge as community gardens, athletic fields, and passive parklands. Links to existing trails and parks are strengthened, as well as the cultural fabric of the community. These trails are literally the backyards of many residents, and so a formal treatment of the space compliments a more porous community line. Additionally, studies show that land value stabilizes or increases when properties adjacent to transmission lines are converted to openspace. The process of recovering corridors encourages a number of speeds to the lines. Just as the rail trails doubled, use of a faster tramway and slower, more porous bikeway permits multiple uses. Where aqueduct corridors are topographically rich and of adequate width, parallel paths are conceived for a faster, paved cycling lane and slower, undulating, grassy hiking lane. In the case of transmission corridors, the slower lanes are those for community gardens and fields.


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Omar Davis Potential tram systems using available rail networks (red) within two miles of the town center’s tramways and bike paths (black).


112 Top: Active, abandoned, and planned freight and commuter rail. The gray squares represent 2 x 2 miles. Source: MassGIS.

Bottom: Section along aqueduct trail.


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Aqueduct trail plan, design proposal.

Corridors Recovered: Reinforcing a Network of Ecologies

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Harold Fort

“Transition Space” proposes a reintegration strategy for underutilized long range infrastructural elements within Boston’s metropolitan middle ground for productive and recreational uses. This new model for integration is intended to rearticulate Benton MacKaye’s ambitions set forth in his work The New Exploration: A Philosophy of Regional Planning. MacKaye’s work notably called for controlling streams of metropolitan flows, creating preservation and conservation areas, and providing wild areas for people to reconnect with nature. The proposal intended to use the natural corridors within the super regional landscape, including rivers and mountain ranges, as levees for controlling and limiting growth, while providing recreational opportunities and protecting natural resources. MacKaye’s streams and levels proposal responds to the metropolitan landscape through revelations of the terra incognita to control massive commercial flows rapidly sweeping across the social, economic, and political spheres that create the fragmented conditions that currently define Boston’s metropolitan frame. Through the reimagination of a relatively isotropic distribution of latent infrastructure, fragmented layers within the middle landscape can be integrated to promote social, economic, political, environmental, and spatial continuity.

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Transition Space: Integration through Reclamation


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Mulligan: Rethinking the Links of the Middle Ground

John Frey

Golf courses have social, recreational, and territorial heritages that date back to the late 19th century in Massachusetts. But now, a century later, urban areas are shifting and these territorial anchors have the opportunity to respond to new environmental and social changes. The territory of the “middle ground,” as explored through mapping, is a varied composition reflecting its history of use/non-use and public/private of which the golf course is a major element. Today, golfing mostly remains an introverted type of recreation separated from surrounding social networks, yet the courses are anchored by their effects on local ecological networks. Is there any benefit to this relationship? As for municipal courses that tend to be more inclusive, do the inherent environmental and economic issues of maintenance overshadow the sport as a sustainable recreational outlet? These questions reinforce contemporary concerns of land use practices, especially within the context of decreasing land availability from urbanization. If the Boston metropolitan area continues to expand, accessible and productive spaces need to be created to inform growth and preserve critical habitats and infrastructures. As part of this system, the contemporary golf course should be reconsidered. An important component of Wright’s Broadacre City was space for recreation and preservation. He envisioned these places to be conserved for use by future generations. Using the Broadacre model as a framework to explore the possible futures of Boston’s Metro West region, this scenario recontextualizes the New England golf course as a place of isolated recreation to structured spaces that buffer a hydrological system from infringing commercial and industrial districts. In this scenario the contemporary golf course acts as an extroverted network of possible recreation that preserves open space. By reclaiming unused commercial lots along existing wetlands and forests, the new course acts as a secondary buffer from pollution and reconnects a larger wetland system bifurcated by previous development.


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The golf course is by no means the only option for recreation and is merely one possibility of open land preservation when reimagining what a New England Broadacre model might contain. Golf courses in this region take on many informal uses during non-golf hours and seasons. In winter, courses are used as cross country skiing paths while in summer they may host community events. The Broadacre Golf Course would engage the community in similar ways by providing the interstitial spaces between the course and the commercial. These spaces may contain plots for community agriculture and markets or perform as storm water collection and treatment. Regardless of their ultimate programming, these spaces can form larger agglomerations of open land for preservation or conservation.


Golf Courses

Bodies of Water

Park System

Prime Forest

Roads

Contours

Mining


Mulligan: Rethinking the Links of the Middle Ground

122 Previous pages: Left: The spatial relationship of golf courses to the built environment. The map reveals that 50 percent of all newly built golf courses are within a 1.5 mile radius of an existing golf course. Right: The axon analyzes the landscape elements that compose the middle ground of which golf courses are an important component. Beyond the shear amount, golf courses have a large footprint and are typically within close proximity to critical environments such as bodies of water and prime forests.

Relationship of the golf courses in the transect with major wetlands, floodplains, and aquifers.


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John Frey

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To the Water’s Edge: Walking on the Common Ground

Kate Anderson

“In democratic countries, knowledge of how to combine is the mother of all other forms of knowledge; on its progress depends that of all the others.” — Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America, 1840 Cities and regions in the megalopolis have faced trends affecting many other parts of the country and the world in recent history. Divisions in income and class seem to be growing, separating the rich from the poor and the haves from the have-nots. This divide is exhibited in Boston and surrounding regions in varying forms, including through unequal access to water and natural resources, public amenities, and transportation options. An increasing dependence on the automobile, especially in suburban and rural regions, has created landscapes that do not value or facilitate walkability or shared public spaces and amenities. By strategically developing and building around public parks and other public spaces, especially those by natural waterways, cities and towns can design and create new spaces that encourage porosity between regions, connect residents and visitors to natural resources, decrease automobile dominance, and provide some common ground that encourages civic participation and connects populations of all socioeconomic backgrounds.


125 Top: Proposed circulation and amenities in the Broadacre frame.

Bottom: Public open spaces: parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, sports fields, golf courses, community gardens, train stations in the transect.


The Boston Archipelago: Past, Present, Future

Carolyn Deuschle, Anya Domlesky OUTER BREWSTER MIDDLE BREWSTER

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CALF ISLAND

Since World War I, the Boston Harbor Islands have been conceived as a territory of isolation—the place of quarantine hospitals, military fortresses, garbage dumps, police firing ranges, jails, and a sewage treatment plant. Though thousands of people fly over the islands daily, entering and exiting Logan ISLAND International Airport, and overDEER seven million people live within fifty miles of the islands, they lay outside of the popular conception of the greater Boston area. However, prior to the last half of the 20th century, the Boston Harbor Islands, comprised of a little more than 1,300 acres, were an integral part of the urban fabric of the city, both recreationally and economically. Not only did the islands provide the timber from which the city was built in the 17th and 18th centuries, but also they served as a popular place for recreation and refuge. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, the islands wereLOGAN a retreat for Boston residents looking for ISLAND relaxation and recreation. Hotels, baseball games, opium parties, and boxing matches facilitated leisure, and some wealthy Bostonians had second houses there. In the cartographer’s map, the islands were diligently portrayed as part of the city’s system. Today, they are given less regard, and seldom imagined as an entity or even amenity of the city. The design hypothesis considers the islands as the middle ground of the megalopolis, and in so doing offers a definition of the middle ground as a metaphor for the city itself, reflecting a fabric of the megalopolis that it wishes to push to its periphery. The Harbor Islands act as a mirror to the city, reflecting what it is but does not wish to be. Looking at land use patterns, both historical and present, of the middle ground gives us back the sharp contours of its position, its limits. It tells us about a kind of puritan urban form of the megalopolis: the activities on the islands represent a dichotomy between heaven and hell, refuge and jail, unsavory and pleasurable, where material, individuals, or social relations are transformed.

CASTLE ISLAND

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BOSTON LIGHT

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The Boston Archipelago: Past, Present, Future

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ISLANDS AS RECIRCULATORY TRANSFORMERS

Previous page: Bird’s-eye view of Boston with projected 2-foot, 4-foot, and 6-foot sea level rise. The dashed red line represents proposed connections, either hard and/or soft, between the mainland and archipelago. Sources: MassGIS, NOAA, Boston Redevelopment Agency.

Top: A bird’s-eye view of the harbor from 1923 show the harbor islands were once a site of heavy urban activity. Today urban uses have declined and the islands are being purchased with state and federal money that effectively halts development and change on the islands.

Bottom: Slow, medium, and fast connections within the archipelago. Different shades of gray represent three distinct water-level scenarios: current, 3 feet and 6 feet.


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Carolyn Deuschle, Anya Domlesky Islands of the megalopolis. Source: Esri.

Right: Iterations of connectivity: abandonment (no connectivity), cul-de-sac, pass through, neighborhoods.


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Successional Forest

“By their very multiplicity, and variation in shape, size, degree of isolation, and ecology, islands provide the necessary replications in natural ‘experiments.’” — Robert H. MacArthur, E.O. Wilson, The Theory of Island Biogeography (1967)

The Ecology of an Urban Island

Peddock’s Island. While connection is maintained between the east and middle head, the west head is kept isolated. A bridge stops short of the west head island, allowing the public to understand the island as inaccessible, but to be able to view it as a scene. Furthermore, the island can be understood as a decipherable unit, a scale that the mind can grasp. Source: MassGIS, NOAA.

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Successional Forest

The Boston Archipelago: Past, Present, Future

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Chiara Cavalieri

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The Middle Ground as a Whole


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133 Middle ground: east-west transect. Source: MassGiS.


First Step: Reading the Transect The first approach to the middle ground was the reading of the east-west transect. A transect that inscribes the Boston metropolitan area in relation to the surrounding space, that not only builds the cultural context, but also provides the economic, social, and environmental resources required to feed the metropolitan machine. Reading the territory via the transect meant not so much following the hierarchical figure of the corridor, but rather seeing the middle ground as a place in which to analyze situations, order relations, recognize urban patterns, and reconstruct the continuity of environmental ecologies.3 This work of analysis soon revealed the need for a transcalar reading, that on the one hand reconstructs broader geographies, and on the other observes the tissues more closely. The work then continues both via transversal readings and the organization of a field trip that entailed crossing the transect by bicycle, something that it was not designed for. Second Step: Geographies of Altitude The field trip immediately—and empirically— revealed an important ordering principle of the territory: its topography. Due to its unique geological structure, the transect is a continuous alternation of plains and drumlins, of lower and upper ground. A deeper analysis led us to devise an image of the middle ground composed of two fundamental parts (see image on the spread that follows).4 First, the lower plain, which lies along principal routes and infrastructures and is constituted by a wide strip of both commercial and industrial platforms, as demonstrated by the dimensions of the existing fabric. The second primary component of the middle ground is the drumlins, the suburbs, and the low-density

patterns of the typical residential tissue.5 This image is of course an interpretive reading, which could generate paradoxes but that nevertheless opened new paths of investigation for the studio. Paths that, following several geographies, have generated different design hypotheses. Therefore, there are projects that investigate the environmental dimension of the middle ground; dimensions that inevitably imply looking at those ecologies that branch off in a north-south direction, parallel to the direction of the water flows and the levees proposed by Benton MacKaye.6 In opposition to these “cross-transect” ecologies, another group of design proposals runs “along the transect,” down the large zones of commercial sites and infrastructure that lie in the lower plain. While other proposals pay greater heed to the lower density territory, to the suburban landscape, to the diffuse pattern of golf courses, to the forestland and the lower density tissues. Lastly, the presence of a widespread network of leftover infrastructures, now mostly abandoned or underused, testify to the presence of a past in which the hierarchy of the territory was less obvious. The principal elements of this diffuse, rather than dispersed, condition, are evident in the disappearance of rural agricultural landscape, now replaced by the forestland, or a capillary network of railways and tramways now totally forgotten. This sort of fragmentation has inspired the image of the middle ground as an archipelago, which provides the basis of the reflections on Boston Harbor. Starting from the idea of fragmentation, the studio elaborated the hypothesis of restoring those lines of continuity now lost, using the notion of isotropy,7 implicit in the Jefferson township grid, as a starting point for building a new image of the middle ground. Third Step: Horizontal Measures The grid as device is used, however, not only as a spatial expression of the republic’s democratic mandatory,8 but rather as a tool to measure the land, enabling the identification of some figures by concentrating on topographic rather than geometric features. And it is precisely along Jeffersonian lines, in the quadrillage (1795), recognizable today in its readability and rigor across the American landscape,9 that the model of Broadacre City situates itself. In the model Frank Lloyd Wright intended to describe not so much the image of a city project, but rather to draw the outline of a general principle of spatial organization.10 Therefore, the places in which to test the studio hypotheses are constituted by two frames of

The Middle Ground as a Whole

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Collecting Hypotheses The notion of the middle ground was constantly tested, verified, and reworked during the Territorialism II studio.1 The elaboration of a design proposal regarding the very essence of the megapolitan territory implied, above all, the devising of specific categories of reading in order to tackle the new challenges that the contemporary city has to face.2 Through progressive steps during the semester, the studio gained a common understanding of the middle ground. This shared knowledge generated different but ultimately coherent design hypotheses, constantly compared to the idea of Broadacre City and finally overlapped with, showing an attempt to identify, by design, the key elements in the construction of the contemporary North American territory.


Layering upon “Another Broadacre City” Getting closer to the spatial detail of the model of Broadacre City (at a 1:900 scale) the students’ hypotheses tried to find their own space within the two selected frameworks, trying to identify some of the elements of Wright’s project, dealing with two realities, which although adjacent are radically different in terms of density, tissues, land use, and landscape. “Another Broadacre City” is therefore designed through the overlapping of single elements along the horizontality of the middle ground. The specific frames are just opportunities, as was the physical model for the Broadacre City proposal, and the final result is not a complete project nor an alternative to Broadacre City; it is simply an attempt to understand the spatial condition of the middle ground and its design possibilities, responding to the contemporary challenge that the urban environment needs to face. Another Future In “Another Broadacre City,” the citizens will be called upon to change their lifestyles: they will be drinking locally accessed water, due to the restoration of abandoned aqueducts, the reclamation of polluted bodies of water, the storage of rainwater, both in single-family houses and in the big-roof surfaces of the commercial platforms along the highways. There will be no need to depend on the complex system of large pipes and reservoirs that today feeds the metropolitan area of Boston and which over centuries has modified the landscape and caused the loss of biodiversity. Gaining water autonomy primes the construction of a second layer of the overall proposal: the rural landscape. The future residents will be achieve the famous principle of one hectare per person—where the urban density enables—and appeal for “the social right [of man] to his place on the ground as he has had it in the sun and air.”11 They will be, therefore, involved in transforming their own gardens into small agricultural plots, rebuilding a continuity that goes beyond the limits of private property and continues along the edges of roads, abandoned railway tracks and the powerline corridors that cut through the forestland, transforming large often oversized parking lots. Along Route 9, for

example, there will be a radical transformation: the agricultural landscape will appropriate margins of roadside, street, and areas in front of the shops, reversing the image of the neverending malls that today constitute the main feature of this area. The reduction of the road sections, both of high and low capacity, is supported by an idea that is opposed to one of the founding principles of Broadacre: the drastic reduction in car use.12 In the drumlins, thanks to a policy of increased functional mixitè, people will no longer need to travel by car on a daily basis, in a projection of increased telework and reduction of mobility.13 In addition, an extensive public transport system will also serve the principal low-density routes, as well as offering a minibus service able to reach any user. Within the idea of a progressive autonomy of the middle ground, the movements of the typical commuter toward the metropolis will decrease in favor of slower movements that privilege the connection of small towns. Along the highways, the agricultural landscape will gradually be joined by a tramway. The tram stations will transform the entire system of access, while in the meantime the malls will begin to modify their own structure. Elevations, densification, and change of use will in fact progressively transform the spaces and the urban impact of these objects that conceal natural areas beyond their borders, offering the opportunity of an extensive connection within a wider network of leisure space, where a golf course may replace underused or no longer used parking lots, where bicycling and walking mobility will be paramount, following the age of automobile hegemony.

Studio field trip: biking the middle ground.

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Chiara Cavaleri

four square miles, within which the overlap of different themes and geographies underscores the characteristics and paradoxes of the different tissues. It is no coincidence that the two frames represent both the suburban landscape of drumlins and the lower plain with the hierarchical densification along the infrastructural corridors.


John L. Thomas, “Holding the Middle Ground,” in The American Planning Tradition: Culture and Policy, ed. Robert Fishmann (Washington, DC: Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2000), 38. 2 Bernardo Secchi has pointed out in different occasions the main themes of the next urban question (mobility, environmental question, social justice). Bernardo Secchi afterword to The Next Urban Question, eds. Valentina Bandieramonte et al. (Rome: Officina Edizioni, 2013). 3 On embracing the idea of ecological planning see, Patrick Geddes, “The Third of the Talk from my Outlook Tower: The Valley Plan of Civilization,” Survey Graphic (June 1925): 190–288, 322–25. See also Ian McHargh, Design with Nature (Philadelphia, PA: Natural History Press, 1969). 4 The figure registers the topography in black and white, while color identifies higher and lower urban density. 5 Similar urban patterns, although in absence of the topography as an urban development device, are recognized in the Venice metropolitan area, and called high inten-City and low inten-City. See Paola Viganò, “L’urbanistica come strumento di ricerca” in New Urban Question: Ricerche sulla città contemporanea 2009–2014, ed. Lorenzo Fabian (Rome: Aracne editrice, 2014); Lorenzo Fabian, “Toward No Auto,” in Recycling City: Lifecycles, Embodied Energy, Inclusion, eds. Lorenzo Fabian, Emanuel Giannotti, and Paola Viganò (Pordenone: Giavedoni Editore, 2012). 6 Benton MacKaye, The New Exploration: A Philosophy of Regional Planning (New York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, 1928). 7 Paola Viganò, “Water and Asphalt,” Architectural Design 78 (2008). 8 Denis Cosgrove, “The Measures of America,” in Taking Measures across the American Landscape by James Corner (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1996), 8−9. 9 André Corboz, “Un caso limite: la griglia territoriale americana o la negazione dello spazio sub-strato,” in Ordine sparso. Saggi sull’arte, il metodo, la città e il territorio, ed. Paola Viganò (Milan: Franco Angeli, 1988). 10 J. L. Cohen, foreword to Frank Lloyd Wright, La città vivente (Turin: Einaudi, 1966), xxviii. 11 Wright describes the right to the ground as one of the three principal human rights, along with the right to the social credit and to the ideas by which and for which he lives.

Frank Lloyd Wright, “Broadacre City: A New Community Plan,” Architectural Record (April 1935): 243−54. 12 Frank Lloyd Wright, “Broadacre City: An Architect’s Vision,” New York Times Magazine, March 20, 1932, 8−10. 13 Complying with Wright’s prospects of a future development in transferring data and information. Frank Lloyd Wright, Modern Architecture: The Princeton Lectures (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1931).

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Paola Viganò

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Recycling Broadacre City


The Machine Is the Garden In the 1980s, the revelation of the “subtler boundaries between urban realms with different

functional and social identities”4 replaced larger distinctions, as the city and the suburb asked for and required new organizational scales. Metropolitan facilities and environmental and mobility problems seemed to be the logical terrain to reintegrate an aspiration for the common good. The story is well known: the 20th-century metropolis externalized its problems and needs, while the 21st century’s extended metropolitan condition has no “out.” The detailed reconstruction of the evolution of the contaminated rivers and abandoned reservoirs along the Sudbury, the Assabet, and the Concord watershed (the most contaminated watershed in Massachusetts) is revealing. If the middle landscape is an “unfinished project,” the reactivation of landscape needs not only to engage its in-between condition, the “machine in the garden,” and the relation between the machine and the garden (“the machine with the garden”5), but also to engage a reconceptualization of what the garden and the machine are. The quality of the soil composition of Massachusetts ground has been the alibi, until today, in avoiding the reconsideration of the land as a productive agricultural surface. Nevertheless, with proximity to small-scale food production along dismissed infrastructural lines, on top of impervious surfaces, along new buffers around bodies of water, coupled with sports facilities and public and domestic space, a productive land and a new landscape can be imagined. In our scenarios the machine is the garden. No Car in the Middle Ground Inside the extended metropolitan condition, the relations between Boston and the rest of the territory cannot be described in the terms of center-periphery—many horizontal relations have developed. But the actual public transport structure and the one envisaged for the next future do not recognize the change and privilege of the metropolitan core. Mapping the impressive network of trains and streetcars that made this territory accessible in the past has revealed the density and connectivity of the mesh. Together with the bodies of water, this network defines a completely forgotten “ecology.” From the reuse and the reintroduction of transit lines, the transformation of new greenways, and a valorization of trails along the old aqueducts, a radical shift is possible: reinforcing existing lines and nodes, following the transit network of the past, imagining multiple modes of transportation, toward a “no car middle ground.” A new territorial, megalopolitan

Recycling Broadacre City

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Another Broadacre City: The Plains and the Hills Frank Lloyd Wright’s Broadacre City model is a careful selection of the basic and fundamental elements of an urban space (city), which is accessible, infrastructured, self-sustaining, and typologically varied. It is a productive landscape, which integrates metropolitan facilities and domesticity, while being part of a wider territorial organization. The deconstruction of Wright’s model guides the hypothesis of a radical recycling of the basic materials of a megalopolitan fragment. The east-west transect has been interpreted as composed of two fundamental territories: the plains and the hills. The primary focus of the studio was on the plain territory—where infrastructures are numerous, where there are higher environmental and social risks, where lower quality built structures stand, where the fragmentation of space makes it difficult to move, and finally where the democratic spatial deficit seemed more evident. In a model realized after the fieldwork, these two territories represented and informed the scenarios of “another Broadacre City.” Inside the transect, the area of Framingham has been observed periodically by students and professors at the Graduate School of Design: in the 1950s an application of the neighborhood unit and sector theories was proposed—the commercial center was imagined as the collective core within the town, and not in between centers as was eventually realized1; in the 1980s Peter Rowe read the multitude of middle landscapes needed to be understood less generically, and the metropolitan suburbs needed a new spatial structure and lifestyle that could be “territorially molded.”2 Today, the demographic structure has changed completely, and the immense stock of prefabricated one-floor single-family houses— the ranch house—has concluded its lifecycle. In the proposed scenarios, houses, parcels, roads, parking lots, and dead-end street microcosms are interpreted as part of an adaptation process in which urban theories and models are layered. By connecting public transport strategies, urban agriculture, programming, and public space, a new variety of spaces can rise that makes the old suburb into a new city. Because of the specialization and functional separation of its different themes, the “unfinished project”3 of the middle landscape is an open structure to reimagine.


Latent Structures for Public Space Continuity of public space in the Boston metropolitan area is a fundamental issue. The 400 introverted golf courses and scattered facilities; the abundance of forest, rivers, and ponds; and the interrupted or abandoned infrastructural lines that fragment the region are observed as latent structures for a new system of public space and support for further initiatives. Golf courses, major wetlands, floodplains, and aquifers are in strong spatial proximity, while unequal access to natural resources and public amenities defines an archipelago of islands both in the forest and in the bay. The Boston Harbor and its islands are proposed as a mirror and a metaphor of the middle ground, highlighting its fragmentation and the latent, possible connectivity, which is propelled by new conditions related to climate change and sea level rise. Resisting the idea that the archipelago is the only operative figure in the contemporary urban space, the design research concludes with an open trajectory to reinstall spatial collective continuity through territories.

1 See Arthur T. Row, Louis P. Dolbeare, and Judith Tannenbaum, eds., Framingham: Your Town, Your Problem (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Graduate School of Design, 1948). 2 Peter G. Rowe, Making a Middle Landscape (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991). 3 Ibid., 275. 4 Ibid., 63. 5 Ibid.

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public space can develop along with it, valorizing power lines, water edges, and marginal sites. A generalized accessibility and new continuities redesigns territories and social relations in the middle ground.


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the long history of territorial construction, understanding the waves of rationalization and exploitations. The idea of the city as a resource, like a a river or a forest, is strongly embedded in American culture.5 The perception of the limits to its erosion is even stronger today than in Jean Gottmann and Wolf Von Eckerdt’s time. This suggests a new reflection on the concept of lifecycle, on the embodied energy related to the process of accumulation and stratification typical of any urban environment, on the processes of inclusion and exclusion that traditionally follow or generate the beginning or end of lifecycles. This is why “territorialism” is a concept that introduces an alternative understanding of socio-metabolic processes and investigates their spatial manifestation in urban design. The shift I propose is “that the process of accumulation which is typical of urbanized territories (from overhead capital to social capital) can be ‘renewable’ under certain conditions and that this approach deserves specific investigation and design tools.”6 Recycling spatial capital goes beyond brownfield recovery to all brown-, gray-, and greenfields. The redefinition of territories is then an obvious consequence.

Design Design is a knowledge producer, a tool to elaborate theories that may reach a broader arena and cross economic and social borders.1 As I have already written, “Today thinking about the contemporary city requires the use of contrasting and distant epistemologies. Describing: looking closer, measuring the fractures, faults and craters that open before our eyes. […] Thinking about the future: […] it looks straight ahead, opening its glance, observing vast horizons detached from contingency. It opens to the long-term.”2 What connects the two epistemologies is the concept of possibility, where to integrate individual and social expectations with the new spaces, contradictions, and paradoxes that nourish them. Reading situations (to recognize the unique, the self, as in Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass) and constructing scenarios work along the same lines of revelation—localizing this ambition in the time and space of the future.3 The scenarios take the role of enlarging the field of what can and cannot be said—an important task for design imagination. It is not only Herman Kahn’s “thinking about the unthinkable”4 approach that can save the world from the worst, but the lighter and deterministic-free idea that things might be different and that design imagination counts. Scenario construction can be an indicator of how free of thinking we are.

Territorialism: Constructing the Future Territorialism is a design tool to read situations where geographies of variable positions, individual and collective practices, and flows define territories. The lens of territorialism and territoriality highlights the agents that constantly shape the environment in terms of habits, natural social and cultural values, and ideals. The anthropic structuration of the territory has to be considered in the appropriation of the physical configuration, the paths, and the productive warping.7 If we reconnect the interpretations and scenarios, some more general ideas about the megalopolis emerge, enabling the detection of possible research trajectories. The cumulative character of design investigation supports the idea that the work illustrated here may serve as an opening to more extensive investigations.

Concepts: Lifecycles, Embodied Energy, Lifestyles, Inclusion We have tried to read the main lifecycles (for example the forest/agriculture/forest cycles in New England); we have reconnected hydrology to pollution, water power, dams, canals, railways, textile production, and reconsidered the leftover. We have questioned how each process has defined different social borders, following

Four Statements Through the book, a series of ideas on the Boston metropolitan area and on the megalopolis have been developed, together with some criticism toward the actual territorial construction. 1. In a territory where social differences and processes of distinction are so readable, the continuity and accessibility of space is a fundamental task for territorial design.

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With these notes I wish to conclude the work and return to the initial assumptions and hypotheses. The explorations put forward general themes about the megalopolis and the contemporary urban condition. What becomes clear is that we have addressed situations that to a certain extent recur within the megalopolis, giving the investigation a degree of generality. The main motivation behind the work was to understand the contemporary territory through the lens of territorialism, and territoriality as a formidable agent that constantly shapes our environment and social and cultural values and ideals—a story that an immense amount of North American urban literature reveals.


1 Despite the vast literature on the subject of design thinking, I have had the need to dedicate a book, from a designer’s perspec- tive, to this fundamental topic. See Paola Viganò, I territori dell’Urbanistica (Rome: Officina Edizioni, 2010). 2 Paola Viganò, “Situations, Scenarios,” in Our Common Risk, eds. Emanuel Giannotti and Paola Viganò (Milan: et al./Edizioni, 2012).

3 Benton MacKaye speaks of planning as revelation emphasizing the role of the five senses. “The function of planning is to ren der actual and evident that which is poten tial and inevident.” Benton MacKaye, The New Exploration: A Philosophy of Regional Planning (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1990 [1928]), 148. 4 Herman Kahn, Thinking about the Unthinkable (New York: Avon, 1964). 5 See Jennifer S. Light, The Nature of Cities: Ecological Visions and the American Urban Professions, 1920−1960 (Baltimore, MD: John Hopkins University Press, 2009). 6 Paola Viganò, “Elements for a Theory of the City as Renewable Resource: Lifecycles, Embodied Energy, Inclusion: A Design and Research Program,” in Recycling City, Lifecycles, Embodied Energy, Inclusion, eds. Lorenzo Fabian, Emanuel Giannotti, and Paola Viganò (Pordenone: Giavedoni Editore, 2012). 7 Gianfranco Caniggia, Strutture dello spazio antropico (Florence: UNIEDIT, 1976). Aldo Rossi, Eraldo Consolascio, and Max Bosshard, La costruzione del territorio. Uno studio sul Canton Ticino (Milan: Clup, 1985). The first and much larger edition of the book was released in 1979; it collects research developed between 1974 and 1979. 8 Bernardo Secchi, “A New Urban Question: Understanding and Planning the Contemporary European City,” Territorio 53 (2010).

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In the metropolitan area of Boston this includes a revision of the hub and spoke logic of public transport and the valorization of greenways and trails that recycle former infrastructures (rail lines, aqueducts, canals) and rivers. 2. The spatial democratic deficit distinguishes higher and lower territories. The polluted floodplains and aquifers, the low-quality urban condition, and the presence of outdated commercial strips in the plains need to be included in an integrated project of recycling in the lower territories. It is in the plains that new forms of urbanity and soil productivity can be tested. 3. The interior peripheries of the megalopolis are spatial and are not only social excep tions. They need radical projects—it is there where we read sharply how territorialism operates by dividing and excluding. To recycle the legacy of past rationalities and to reflect on connection and disconnection needs a careful understanding, courageous scenarios, and open debates. 4. Broadacre City has been an influential model worldwide and my insistence on reframing it, reimagining it, designing it, and producing models of it can raise suspicions (of a “comprehensive” design and “master plan” attitude) or frequent misunderstand ings (supporting the American sprawl). My idea is that the “new urban question”8 asks for specific strategies in the city-territory that Frank Lloyd Wright tried to conceptualize. The environmental and social crises take on definite connotations in the city-territory in relation to the abundance of open space, the diffuse productivity, the mix of functions, the possibility of decentralized water and energy systems, and the need to reduce vehicular use. Porosity, permeability, and connectivity of space are an issue in this form of city and against extreme forms of territorialism. This is why I insist on the possibility to imagine “another Broadacre City,” and on the scope of any new idea of space.


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Contributors

Paola Viganò is an architect and Professor in Urbanism and Urban Design at Università IUAV, Venice, and EPFL, Lausanne. Winner of the Grand Prix de l’Urbanisme in 2013, she founded her studio with Bernardo Secchi in 1990, working on Le Grand Paris vision in 2009, Brussels 2040, and New Moscow. Her realized projects include, among others, Cemetery in Kortrijk, Park Spoornoord, and Theaterplein in Antwerp.

Lauren Abrahams is an urban designer who has taught and practiced architecture and landscape and regional design in Canada, Italy, the United States, and the Netherlands. She is currently based in Toronto, working with the studio Public Work, with a focus on research and design of the public realm. Chiara Cavalieri is an architect and urbanist. In 2012 she was awarded the title of Research Doctor in Urbanism at the School of Doctorate Studies, IUAV, Venice. She has worked on various research studies and pedagogical programs (IUAV, Venice; EMU, European Postgraduate Master in Urbanism; Harvard GSD). She is currently a postdoctoral fellow at EPFL, Lausanne.


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Colophon

Territorialism Instructor Paola Viganò with Lauren Abrahams and Chiara Cavalieri Report Editor Carolyn Deuschle Report Design Carolyn Deuschle with Daniel Rauchwerger A Harvard University Graduate School of Design Publication Dean and Alexander and Victoria Wiley Professor of Design Mohsen Mostafavi Assistant Dean for Communications Benjamin Prosky Editor in Chief Jennifer Sigler Senior Editor Melissa Vaughn Associate Editor Leah Whitman-Salkin Publications Coordinator Meghan Sandberg Series design by Laura Grey and Zak Jensen ISBN 978-1-934-510-41-4 Copyright Š 2014, President and Fellows of Harvard College. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the Harvard University Graduate School of Design.

Acknowledgments Rahul Mehrotra, Charles Waldheim Image Credits Cover: Distribution of towns in Massachusetts Data: MassGIS; elaborated by Ana Victoria Chiari and Simon Willet. The editors have attempted to acknowledge all sources of images used and apologize for any errors or omissions. Harvard University Graduate School of Design 48 Quincy Street Cambridge, MA 02138 publications@gsd.harvard.edu gsd.harvard.edu


Studio Report Fall 2012/13

Harvard GSD Department of Landscape Architecture

Students Kate Anderson, Fabiana Araujo, Alexander Arroyo, Pedro Bermudez, Dan Bier, Charles Brennan, Chris Buccino, Ana Victoria Chiari, Sang Yong Cho, Hugo Colon, Rob Daurio, Omar Davis, Carolyn Deuschle, Anya Domlesky, Harold Fort, John Frey, Shuai Hao, Ji Kangil, Michael Luegering, Bin Bin Ma, Michalis Pirokka, Jana Vandergoot, Cara Walsh, Phoebe White, James Whitten, Simon Willet Additional Contributors Lauren Abrahams, Chiara Cavalieri

Territorialism  

Territorialism, Studio Report, Spring 2014, Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Instructor: Paola Vigano.

Territorialism  

Territorialism, Studio Report, Spring 2014, Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Instructor: Paola Vigano.