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This book is a summary of my thesis project, as well as the Master study of Landscape Architecture at Auburn University. It might be the end product of my one-year thesis studio, but it is just a beginning of my landscape profession. I will keep my interesting in these fields for life, keep designing, keep studying, and keep green. I would first like to express my deepest thanks to my parents for their unconditional support in helping me to realize my dreams and work towards my goals, no matter how long and how much they cost. Mom, thank you for always being supportive and encouraging in my life and making every possibility for me. You have been a major influence to me, your kindness to people, your positive outlook of the life, your hardworking, and your never-end studying all together influenced me to be the person as I am. Thank you for accompanying me when I stayed up whole night and encouraging me when I felt frustrating, from the other end of the phone line no matter how late or how early it was. Thank you dad for giving me advice for every big or small decision, but never forcing me to do anything I don’t like to. You have been my guidance through my life. You taught me honesty and loyalty to people by yourself, with no need of any preaching. You and mom told me all the interesting things and people you experienced in your trips, which made me want to explore the world someday by myself. So, somehow, you all are the initial conditions of my study in the U.S. A special thanks to my grandparents, I believe you all will be proud of me if you have the chance to see the things I have done. I am deeply grateful for having all these dedicated

professors in the past two years. To Dr. Rod Barnett, thank you for your patient, time and brilliance you brought to the thesis studio. We are so blessed to have you for this year long studio. Your insight and deeply thinking have brought my project to a new level. Thank Prof. Charlene LeBleu for her advising in the past two years. Your dedication to education and to students has been a great part of my memory of my student life at Auburn. The smile on your face always encourages me to ask questions or ask for help. Thank you to Prof. John Pittari for his critiques for my thesis project. Looking back to the development process of my project, your critiques have made every important progress of my project. I also thank Prof. Michael Robinson and Prof. Jocelyn Zanzot for their generous help and advices. At last, but absolutely not the least, many thanks to my friends. Claire, Jill and Ceci, I’m so lucky to have you all. We had the most challenging two years together, sharing the happiness and sadness with each other. You girls even experienced emergency room with me in the midnight. Thousands miles away from home, it’s really a blessing for me to have you all. Great thanks to Shari, and the Johnson’s, for your kindly help and friendship. When Bubby and Mr. Johnson gave my hugs and told me their door will be always open to me, when Shari brought a surprise birthday cake to me, when Corrie introduced me to other people “this is Yang, my another sister”, I felt the love from a family. You are like my another family here in the U.S. Also thanks my other friends, no matter Chinese or American, you taught me about every aspect of life and helped me when I need a hand.




Jiayang Xie. MLA Thesis Studio. 2011

School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture College of Architecture, Design and Construction Auburn Universityv






Research Question




Background of the Project


Theoretical Framework


Chapter 1 - Site Context


Chapter 2 - Site History


Chapter 3 - Site Visit & Analysis


Chapter 4 - case Studies


Chapter 5 - Design Investigation I - Weaving the City


Chapter 6 - Design Investigation II - Seeding the City


Chapter 7 - Design Investigation III - Growing the City






List of Illustration



KEYWORDS Norwood, Birmingham, Urban Gap, Connection, Urban Forest


Research Question: How can landscape design improve Norwood Neighborhood’s connection with Downtown Birmingham, and the community’s well-being?




Like many other big cities in the US, Birmingham has a serious old neighborhood problem. Many elite old neighborhoods declined during post_industrial times. After the industrial decline of the 1950s’, the Norwood neighborhood of North Birmingham went with a period of economic and social degeneration, and lots of people moved out to other subdivisions. In 1968, Interstate 20/59 cut a wide path through the City of Birmingham, severing Norwood from downtown. Now there is a high percentage of vacant houses and lots in this neighborhood, which has caused numerous social issues. The neighborhood doesn’t have enough facilities to satisfy residents’ education, healthcare and recreation needs. A mapping investigation of Norwood and Downtown Birmingham area showed that there is a significant disconnection, infrastructural and emotional, between this neighborhood and the city. So the Norwood neighborhood needs to be connected back to the city. This thesis researches potential connectivity between Norwood and Downtown Birmingham through the disused terrain under Interstate20/59 and US31. The objective is to change it from a barrier to a linkage which will serve both the neighborhood and also the city. At the begining of my thesis exploration, I studied how fabric functions and link that back to the urban fabric study. Through three-dimentional model making, I learnt how fabric functions as a infrastructure, and the relationship between fabric, pattern, and urban terrain.

The first design experiment started with applying a biomimicry operation, seed dispersal, to this terrain. The process of seed dispersal was studied. Some seeds depend on a third media to get dispersed to other places. This process creates a connection between two different locations. So garden sheds in Norwood neighborhood were used as the “seeds” of the project. Some “seeds” are collected from their original places in the neighborhood, and then replaced on the site by community members. These garden sheds (with gardening tools) provide the community an opportunity to create a “place” for themselves by their own hands. These “seeds” would grow up to a whole community garden, and the new terrain would provide Norwood community accessibility to Downtown area and attract people from other parts of the city to come. Thus a connection between Norwood and Downtown would be created. Carry on from the garden sheds design experiment, I looked at using urban forest as a connector to link Norwood back to the city. Also I apply initial condition theorey to the design. Other than set everything up, I just set up an initial condition on the set, and let the nature operation law to control the development of urban forest. Also nature will help this initial piece of urban forest to spread out to other parts of the city.





Background of the project

Theoretical Framework

This project investigated urban landscape recovery through the use of an initial condition approach.

• • • •

Urban landscape architecture and connectivity Urban forest Case study and reviews of other projects in this study field How this project differs from others and what it offers to landscape architecture How does the neighborhood benefit from this project

In this approach, the landscape architect establishes the basis for the development of the site, but does not produce a completed design. Instead, the development of the urban landscape relies on the interaction between involved communities and environmental conditions.


CHAPTER 1 Site Context

By means of the following map series and diagrams, a better understanding of the greater Birmimngham area has been gained. Through looking at the spatial and ecological relationships between the study area and Downtown Birmingham, the project site was narrowed down to the area under the interstate, a problematic terrain which opens up an impassable disjunction or "gap" between the district of Norwood and the Downtown. The reconnection proposal was further confirmed through this process.

1.1 Study Area



1.2 Highway & Railroad System

1.3 Ground Traffic System

1.4 Sidewalk System


1.5 Parking Lots

1.6 Vacant Space

1.7 Paking Lots + Vacant Space

18 1.8, 1.9 The Interstate Highway 20/59 severs Norwood Neighborhood from Downtown Birmingham. It does this by breaking the continuity of the sidewalk and ground traffic systems, which makes the disconnectivity of Norwood.


1.10 GAP between Norwood Neighborhood and Downtown Birmingham


1.11 City of Birmingham Zoning Map


1.12 Flood Plain Map of Study Area

1.13 Community Facility Map of Study Area


This map shows Birmingham City's commercial revitalization plan in the study area. The Downtown Birmingham Zone will include Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex (will be referred to as BJCC in the rest of this book) area and Downtown Birmingham, and it goes from the north side of the Interstate bypass to the south side, linking the BJCC area with the Downtown area. The 12th Ave. N Zone is adjacent to the north edge o f t h e D o wn t o wn B i r m i n g h a m Z o n e , and extends east and west, spreading into the Norwood Neighborhood. This Commercial Revitalization Plan from the Birmingham City confirms my question about the necessity of linking Norwood Neighborhood back to the Downtown Birmingham area.

1.14 Potential Connection Map

1.15 Extension Area Map

Other than the city's plan, there is a need to expand the Downtown Birmingham Zone a little further so that a continural linkage between the Norwood Neighborhood and the Downtown Birmingham area is created. The extension will maintain the continuity of the commercial revitalization plan.

Study of Birmingham Comprehensive Plan

In the Community Renewal plan of Birmingham area from Birmingham (Al) Department of Planning and Engineering, North Birmingham Community was listed as one of the several communities which need revitalization action. The city of Birmingham will invest its community renewal resources in ways to promote strategic revitalization of neighborhoods and communities knowing that community renewal goes beyond “ brick and mortar” physical improvements to encompass supporting human development and the nurturing of human aspirations in a community of shared goals and expectations about the conditions in which citizens live, work, and play. The planning suggests the promotion of strategic investment in the development of peculiar advantages of some locations in terms of aesthetics, natural resources, and/or access to diverse educational or other “life style” options. Investment in infrastructure (roads, water, and sewer lines, lighting, etc.), public facilities (fire stations, parks, schools), and public services will encourage residential and commercial development. Community renewal is more than physical improvements alone, that it includes support of human development and human capacity-building, through investment in community-based activities such as community development corporations, housing development corporations, programs serving the homeless, community economic development, and public health and education. Community renewal encompasses the physical environment and the life of the mind and spirit as well. In the section of Recreational and Cultural Opportunities in Birmingham Comprehensive Plan, a strategic policy has been stated “The city will continue to contribute to the recreational and cultural opportunities of city residents in order to stimulate a healthy, desirable quality of life. Neighborhood Action Plans find thirty-five neighborhoods, more than onethird, citing recreation needs as one of their priorities


for improvements. This is the second most frequently mentioned priority to housing improvement.” In the Public Facility part of Birmingham Comprehensive Plan, the accessibility to public facilities is part of the community’s well-being standard. Public facilities include lands, properties, buildings, and equipment which are owned, constructed and maintained by the public sector for use by all members of the public in meeting basic needs and improving quality of life. Such services to the public range from health (potable drinking water, sanitary and storm sewers), to education (schools, museums, and libraries), to public safety (police and fire stations), to access ( streets, transit, sidewalk, and parking decks), and to recreation (parks and open spaces). In the planning strategy for park facilities, the city will provide for citizens in all parts of Birmingham a wide variety of active and passive recreation, activities for health, and opportunities to experience the beauty of nature (including natural spaces within developed areas) in a manner that celebrate s our unique ridge and valley environment, and which is effectively organized, programmed, operated, funded and carried out to enhance the quality of life for all our citizens. So according to the city’s comprehensive plan, and the analysis of the study area, a reconnection strategy is proposed by landscape architect to connect the Norwood Neighborhood back to the Downtown Birmingham. Through connecting Norwood back to the Downtown area, a better accessibility of educational, recreational and health care facilities will be offered to Norwood Neighborhood, which will improve the community’s well-being.


CHAPTER 2 Site History

The inspiration for this project lies in the comparision between Norwood in history and now. The more I found out about the Norwood's history, the more I wanted to explore the revitalization opportunity for this neighborhood. In the early 20th Century, when industry was blooming, Norwood was one of the most elite neighborhoods in the greater Birmingham area. With the mid-century industrial decline and pollution from the industrial fields close to it, people began to move out of this suburb. Norwood experienced a major decline during the post industrial time. Looking at the historic pictures of this old neighborhood made me want to bring the lively environment back to Norwood.


2.1 Historic painting of Norwood "This is one of the inestimable opportunities of a new residential community--space for those of kindred taste and intimate associations to flock together. But it should be made clear that there is no narrow clannishness in Norwood. All are neighbors, and every citizen is enthusiastically active in promoting its growth and well-being. Emphatically, Norwood is advertised by its loving friends." Norwood: The Placid Place Published by Birmingham Realty, c. 1915


2.2 The Placid Place pamphlet


2.3 Birmingham Alabama, 1885 In 1912, B. B. Merriweather, civil engineer for the Birmingham Realty Company surveyed and laid off 28 full and partial blocks for development. The intricate plan called for the extension of Birmingham's grid plan, combined with a serpentine boulevard and a circular avenue. The officers at Birmingham Realty named the “elite” subdivision for Stanley Norwood, a real estate man and friend of Leslie Fullenweider, then president of Birmingham Realty. Early in the development of the neighborhood, Birmingham Realty published Norwood: The Placid Place, a sales pamphlet extolling the virtues of their new “planned” neighborhood. As predicted, Norwood attracted the cream of Birmingham's industrial entrepreneurs as well as average middle and upper-middle class businessmen. Residents included doctors, grocers, teachers, engineers, lawyers, and veterinarians. In 1925, one of Birmingham's premier architectural

firms, Warren, Knight and Davis, designed a neighborhood elementary school on Norwood Boulevard. Birmingham Realty had been lobbying for a school since it first started developing Norwood in 1913. Perhaps it was no coincidence that Dr. J. H. Phillips, the Superintendent of Birmingham Schools, lived on Norwood Boulevard at the time.


By 1928, residents could catch a streetcar at the pavilion at the intersection of Norwood Boulevard and 32nd Street and ride down the hill to the central business district. High school students could take the streetcar to Phillips High School at 6th Avenue and 24th Street. Throughout the 1920's and the 1930's, Norwood was a stable, prosperous neighborhood. Its ideal location made it home to some of Birmingham's civic, business, and corporate leaders. The streets were lined with large and comfortable homes in a variety of architectural styles. It boasted a good transportation system, excellent educational facilities, numerous religious institutions and convenient health care centers.

and that buyers could move "out of the smoke and into the ozone." As many of the residents of older neighborhoods moved into Shades Valley, Mountain Brook became the focus of Birmingham society. Nevertheless, Norwood continued to be viewed as an economically stable neighborhood throughout most of the 1940's. After World War II, however, Norwood began to slip into a slow decline.

Despite its elevated location, Norwood was trapped between the industrial centers of Birmingham and North Birmingham and suffered from the heavy smoke and haze that lingered in the air. In the 1930's new residential subdivisions on the other side of Red Mountain began to attract homebuilders anxious to escape the smoke and haze. The new subdivisions advertised that they were, "free of smoke and dust"

2.4 Historic Picture of Norwood Blvd.


2.5 View of Residence in Norwood on 32nd St

2.6 1920s' Norwood's Street Car


2.7, 2.8 Historic Pictures of Norwood Neighborhood


From this map of Birmingham's urban area traffic volume made in 1987, a major decline in traffic occured in the area north of Interstate freeway, especially on 11st and 12th Ave. N and streets between 11st Ave. and the Interstate freeway. Also a decline of traffic volume from south of Interstate freeway to the north of it, mainly on 12th Ave., can be seen from the larger Birmingham area

2.9, 2.10 Birmingham Urban Area Traffic Volum, Birmingham Regional Planning Commission. 1987

32 In 1968, Interstate 20/59 cut a wide path through the City of Birmingham, severing Norwood from downtown. During the 1960's Norwood began to see a mass exodus of its white residents to the subdivisions on the other side of Red Mountain. Through the 1960’s and 1970’s, the neighborhood transitioned from almost exclusively white to almost exclusively African American. Over time, and as a result of the shift in demographics, generations of families, both African American and white, have called Norwood home and treasure fond memories of their lives there. Today, the beauty of Norwood is virtually unchanged. Developed at the height of the Arts and Crafts Period, most of the earlier homes reflect the style and sensibilities associated with that era. Some of the later homes, primarily on Norwood Boulevard, reflect the diversity in architectural styles that were coming into vogue throughout the 1920s and 1930’s. While some of the neighborhood's houses have been lost to fire or other causes, most of the neighborhood's fine homes are still intact and occupied. Fortunately, the Norwood Neighborhood Association has taken a proactive approach to preserve the neighborhood's beauty and elegance.

2.11, 2.12, 2.13 Abandoned Houses in Norwood


2.14 Population and Household Growth Rates, Birmingham Planning Division, 1975-2000


Norwood Memories

My parents and I moved to Norwood, 3408 13th Ave. North, in 1959, when I was in the 8th grade at F.D. McArthur Elementary, near Carraway Hospital. Our house, a large, solid brick and frame bungalow, was listed for sale at 14K, but my dad was able to negotiate the price down to an amount below that figure. What stuck me most about the neighborhood, even back then, was the broad grandeur of Norwood Boulevard, the majestically immaculate homes, green lawns, flowering shrubs and the stately old trees that lined the shady streets and avenues. The area could best be described as clean and safe, populated by law-abiding, God-fearing families. Norwood in the early 60’s was a mellow period of easy-living and fun times. Our house had a high, wide front porch, always nice and breezy in the summer, from which we could see all the way to town. It was only a short drive from our house to Phillips High School, which I attended, and the heart of the downtown Birmingham retail district. When I was younger, my dad would treat us to milk shakes and cones from the Melrose Creamery, just up 26th street from Ed Salem’s Drive-In, the ultimate teen hangout for me and the rest of the Phillips High crowd. Growing up in Norwood was a most pleasant life experience; a quiet, slower time of innocence. There were probably minor incidents in the neighborhood, but I cannot recollect any crime or upsetting event ever happening. It was as close to a picture book middle class existence as one can imagine. Homeowners took great pride in keeping green lawns neatly trimmed, and sprucing up the homes, many of which were

humongous architectural beauties from the early 1900’s. Norwood Park was a lively community spot, hosting baseball leagues, picnics and rock bands at the armory, as well as serving as a popular parking spot at night for dating couples. I attended Norwood Methodist Church, which offered many activities to its youth groups. While in high school, I filmed a group of friends who volunteered to be impromptu actors for my biology project, “The Five Senses”. Looking back at that footage now, which I shot on the Boulevard, brings back a flood of fond remembrances of the era. It is encouraging to see the influx of new owners of Norwood homes, who have been welcomed by the long-term residents. It appears they are in the process of joining forces to spearhead an initiative to revive the once down-and-almost-out community to its original flourishing condition. It is my hope and prayer that the current inhabitants of Norwood can successfully recreate the uplifting, positive atmosphere that so many of us enjoyed in our earlier lives.


Joe O. Ray Hoover, Alabama


2.15 Historic Picture of Norwood Neighborhood



2.16-2.21 Site Visit Pictures of Vacant Houses and Deteriorate Streets in Norwood Neighborhood These huge vacant houses observed when I visited this neighborhood last summer intrigued me to really look at this neighborhood. The glory of this elite neighborhood back in 1940’s was almost in front of my eyes. This huge comparison between the dead neighborhood and the old day’s vitality, and the deteriorated houses made me want to know what were the reasons that caused this decline, and explore how this neighborhood can be revitalized and how the community’s well-being can be improved by means of community and landscape reprogramming.


CHAPTER 3 Site Visit and Analysis

A more intuitive understanding of the Norwood Neighborhood and its context environment was developed after the site visit. By walking through the neighborhood and talking with the residents living there, I got a deeper understanding of this neighborhood's problems, and the community's needs of infrastructural and spiritial revitalization. Also the careful observation of the traffic density, function zones, and the edge conditions gave me an opportunity to discover several most potential sites for my project, and further confirmed my reconnection proposal.


3.1 11 Ave. N

3.2 29th St. N & 11 Ave. N


As the pictures show, the roads on the edge of the neighborhood, adjacent to the Interstate Highway, connecting Norwood to downtown Birmingham, rarely have any traffic. Most of them have sidewalks on both side of the roads, but the poor surface condition and unattractive landscape have pushed people away from them. Also the vacant space under the huge Interstate Freeway construction creates an uncertain condition which keeps people away from using or crossing that space. According to Jane Jacob's book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, the edge condition of the two different functional spaces is especially important to the vitality of both spaces. The quality of the inbetween space will have a great influence on the spaces adjacent to it. In this case, the space under the Intertstate Highway and the roads on the south edge of Norwood Neighborhood and north edge of Downtown are all influential aspects for the quality and vitality of both Norwood and Downtown.


3.3 11 Ave. N & Carraway Blvd & Interstate 20/59

3.4 11 Ave. N & Carraway Blvd & Interstate 20/59


3.5 Interstate 20/59 & Carraway Blvd

3.6 Interstate 20/59 & Carraway Blvd


3.7 Site Material Map A collage of pictures of materials taken from the site visit shows the complicated context and environment of the site. This map also provides an intuitive personal reflection of different places in the study area.


3.8 Traffic Density Map This map shows the ground traffic density in the neighborhood based on the observation in an afternoon on a workday. Also the Interstate highway's traffic density is indicated by the orange dash lines. We can find out that there are only Norwood Blvd., 12th Ave. N and 31st St. N in Norwood have some traffic, other roads rarely have traffic on them. The Interstate Highway 20/59 is very busy.

3.9 Traffic Density Map + Pedestrian System


3.10 Potential Research Area Map From the combination of traffic density map and pedestrian system map, we can see the area (in the red circle) with low traffic density, pedestrian accessibility, and inbetween of the neighborhood and downtown has the opportunity to be developed to a connection between the Norwood Neighborhood and Downtown Birmingham. This area could also connect the BJCC with Norwood and with Downtown.


3.11 BJCC Extension Zone Map

3.12 Potential connection between BJCC & Norwood and Norwood & Downtown


3.13 Map shows how the project site along the BJCC Norwood corridor, 11th Ave. N, may be developed as a connection space between the BJCC extension zone and the Norwood Neighborhood. The critical zone (the red square) in the center of the three areas, which are Norwood Neighborhood, BJCC extension area, and Downtown Birmingham, has the most potential to become a linkage that serves all three.


CHAPTER 4 Case Studies

1. Windows of Opportunity: Reprogramming Residual Urban Spaces A proposal for a new urban open space typology, a working landscape for residual spaces along Los Angeles Freeway, California. Achva Benzinberg Stein and Norman Millar, 1998 2. Washington/Jefferson Park, Eugene, OR. City of Eugene, Parks and Open Space Division, 2006

Case Study 1 Windows of Opportunity: Reprogramming Residual Urban Spaces


4.1 1994 Los Angeles Downtown


4.2 Aerial Photo of Los Angeles Metropolitan Region The Los Angeles metropolitan region is located in a semiarid zone, where environmental conditions include increasing scarcity of water, a thin, fragile layer of soil, and native flora that is specially adapted to sustain the unique native wildlife. After years of unprecedented growth and development, the financial resources of the region are strained and need to be stretched further to provide the public services to keep the megalopolis operating. The channeling of public funds away from planting and maintenance is inevitable because they are often considered decorative luxury items. First to be eliminated from the budgets of public works departments are the management of residual open spaces along transportation routes, parking areas,

industrial parks, and vacant lots. These areas are located where the most needy part of the population resides. They are usually adjacent to public housing, low and moderate income apartment buildings, or overcrowded single-family homes. The 110 Freeway connects downtown Los Angeles with the city of Pasadena. The freeway passes by the western edge of Chinatown, Dodger Stadium, the encased Los Angeles River Channel, the new transportation depot at Taylor yard, and the eastern end of Elysian park. The demographic profile of the resident population is economically, ethnically, and educationally diverse. Residents include working people and recent immigrants, as well as artists and professionals.

Elysian park contains flowering trees, shrubs, and large expanses of lawns for traditional recreational use. As a result of high maintenance expenses, much of the land is vacant and neglected and poses security hazards.


The residual spaces along the freeway can become a showcase for a new urban open space typology, a working environment where man-made and natural laws operate simultaneously. Here the landscape becomes an integral part of daily life rather than a luxury item. Its nonromantic management is achievable. (Stein and Millar, 1998)

4.3 LA Downtown Residual Space Reprogramming Proposal


4.4 LA Downtown Residual Space Reprogramming Proposal Cultural Open Space A multiethnic society needs symbols, artifacts, and places to celebrate and perform our rituals. We simply need “vacant” land that is an extension of our private home into the public realm- a place not formally designed, but clean, patrolled, and safe – oriented to everyday life.


4.5 LA Downtown Residual Space Reprogramming Proposal Urban Agricultural Open Space Forests in arid zones are not simply for the production of lumber, but for groundwater protection, soil erosion control, and wildlife conservation – all of which in turn protect and maintain agricultural zones. This multilayered understanding of resource management is applicable to food and fiber production inside city limits. Such protection should be done as a means to better use water resources, to maintain land by leasing it to those out of work or in need of supplemental income, or for the improvement of health through

physical work done outside of aerobic halls, thus providing occupation for an aging and sedentary population.


4.6 LA Downtown Residual Space Reprogramming Proposal Reclaimed Green Open Space Linking our native habitat, rather than emulating somewhere else, only happens if we understand and experience it on a daily basis. We also need to learn not to be afraid of the decay, disintegration, and apparent chaos of natural processes.


Case Study 1 Reflections

A designed high quality urban open space along the freeway can offer a new vision for the city of Birmingham. An urban open space is needed by our multiethnic society, providing safe and clean areas for each group of people. It can become a communicational bridge from community to community. Urban agriculture can be introduced to urban landscape. It can get the community envolved and help to supply low income people. The landscape could have both easthetic and productive value at the same time. An urban open space has the opportunity to become a linkage between human and nature, where people can operate man-made and natural laws simultaneously.


4.7 Map of Washington/ Jefferson Park

Case Study 2 Washington/ Jefferson Park, Eugene, OR




The City of Eugene has partnered with the Downtown Rotary and local non-profit Skaters for Eugene Skateparks to fund and build City Center Skatepark in the heart of downtown. This 18,000 square foot facility will be located in the currently underutilized area within Washington/Jefferson Park covered by the I-105 Bridge. It is a key component of a broader effort to revitalize the previously troubled park and invigorate the Whiteaker neighborhood. It will be the largest covered and lit skatepark in the region, allowing the rare opportunity to engage our youth in year-round, outdoor, healthy, physical activity. It will also be uniquely Eugene, designed with the input of skaters by world-renowned and highly respected Dreamland Skateparks through a series of five public design workshops. When complete, it will draw skaters and skate enthusiasts from around the nation, particularly the west coast region, bringing significant economic benefits to our community. City Center Skatepark will be one more addition to a growing list of world-class athletic facilities in Eugene.

4.8 Washington/ Jefferson Skatepark Design Proposal



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4.9 Washington/ Jefferson Skatepark Design Proposal

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MISSION: To revitalize Washington-Jefferson Park by building an 18,000 square foot destination skatepark under the existing cover of the I-105 Bridge in a currently underutilized area, allowing the only regional opportunity for year-round and fully-lit use by local and visiting skate enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels.

4.10 Picture of Skate Competition in Washington/ Jefferson Park


4.11 Picture of Skate Competition in Washington/ Jefferson Park

Objectives • • • • • • •

Invigorate a neighborhood Utilize existing cover and lighting, creating the only covered skate facility for 150 miles Great access and connectivity Revitalize and reclaim an urban park Increase visibility to the site and improve ODOT and public safety access Build new safe restroom and playground in more visible locations Correct scale and good synergy of existing uses


case Study 2 Reflections Sport space in urban context is desirable, and it can connect all different groups of people together. Newly designed urban space should make use of the existing facilities. A good urban open space should be characterized by good accessibility and connectivity. Safety and sanitation are important issues for consideration.

4.12- 4.16 Site Pictures of Washington/ Jefferson Park


CHAPTER 5 Design Investigation I - Weaving the City

During the period of design investigation, several design theories and design experiments were conducted and examined. While they were not all used, each suggested a way forward, providing a platform for the next stage of design research. This design investigation looked at fabric. Through the process of making a threedimensional fabric model and applying that to a piece of terrain, how fabric functions and how it relates to terrain have been explored.



370 of the 1500 patterns of the urban fabric of Beijing's hutong from Instant Hutong's Community Catalogue 2007 (

Part of Instant Hutong’s Community Catalogue 2007, a catalog of hutong block patterns laid out as a “series of 1500 communities of courtyard houses cut out and isolated from the map of downtown Beijing”. image sourced from Instant Hutong’s portfolio on the Behance Network

5.1 Hutong Block Patterns Catalog



5.2 EUROPEAN + U.S. CITIES urban fabric Manuel de SolĂ -Morales, LAS FORMAS DE CRECIMIENTO URBANO, 1999

What is Urban Fabric? The urban fabric is the physical aspect of urbanism, emphasizing building types, thoroughfares, open space, frontages, and streetscapes but excluding environmental, functional, economic and sociocultural aspects.( In walkable communities, the urban fabric encourages walking as the primary mode of transportation by ensuring that most people's needs are within walking distance, and providing an environment which is safe and pleasant for pedestrians. Walkable communities are only technically and economically feasible when an infrastructure of quality transit services is provided. With good planning, transit infrastructure can be well integrated with the urban fabric. Cars are accommodated in most walkable communities, but not to the extent that they jeapordize the goals of walkability. These goals apply to any size of settlement; walkable small towns share many characteristics with large walkable cities. (http://www.

Mississauga-Long blocks and virtually empty sidewalks

London-The Mayfair and Soho districts south of Oxford St

Rome-East of the Tiber River bend that points to the Vatican


Barcelona-La Ramblas is the main north-south promenade

Copenhagen-City features a car-free zone called the Stroget

New York-Midtown Manhattan south of Central Park

Paris-Streets were designed by Georges-Eugne Haussmann

San Francisco-Market St splits the central city into two grids

Toronto-Between Queen and College Sts east of Bathurst








URBAN FABRIC WAVE TERRAIN (making urban fabric three-dimensional)




5.3, 5.8 Urban Fabric of New York City 5.4, 5.6 Fabric Pattern 5.5, 5.7, 5.9, 5.10 Pictures of Fabric Model


Weaving the City



The study fabric model helped me to learn how fabric functions and how it is formed. The learning process of applying the fabric conception to a terrain in Chewacla State Park brought more understanding of urban fabric to my thesis project.

5.11-5.17 Pictures of Fabric Model 5.13








Weaving the City


Ecological Network

The first design for Birmingham looked at the ecological connection from the Village Creek, through the Norwood Neighborhood, Interstate Highway, to the Downtown and the rest of the city. By developing a green net in the city, it was considered that each part could be connected by means of green infrastructures and landscape.

5.18 Green Infrstructure Network Conception


CHAPTER 6 Design Investigation II - Seeding the City

This design investigation looked at a biomimicry design approach. Studying how nature resolves problems, and discovering seed dispersal processes provided new design ideas and perspectives to this project.

Seeding the City


What is Biomimicry? Biomimicry (from bios, meaning life, and mimesis, meaning to imitate) is a new discipline that studies nature's best ideas and then imitates these designs and processes to solve human problems. Studying a leaf to invent a better solar cell is an example. The core idea is that nature, imaginative by necessity, has already solved many of the problems we are grappling with. Animals, plants, and microbes are the consummate engineers. They have found what works, what is appropriate, and most important, what lasts here on Earth. This is the real news of biomimicry: After 3.8 billion years of research and development, failures are fossils, and what surrounds us is the secret to survival.

chimp, create color like a peacock, compute like a cell, and run a business like a hickory forest. The conscious emulation of life's genius is a survival strategy for the human race, a path to a sustainable future. The more our world functions like the natural world, the more likely we are to endure on this home that is ours, but not ours alone.

Like the viceroy butterfly imitating the monarch, we humans are imitating the best adapted organisms in our habitat. We are learning, for instance, how to harness energy like a leaf, grow food like a prairie, build ceramics like an abalone, self-medicate like a

Biomimicry Design Experiment How does nature solve the disconnection problem? Eg. Some seeds depend on a third media to disperse to other places, such as wind, animal, or human.

6.1 Seed Dispersal Process Diagram


What are the SEEDS in Norwood?

-Garden Sheds In this biomimicry design experiment, garden sheds in the backyards in the Norwood neighborhood were considered as the SEEDs from Norwood which will be dispersed to other areas. The garden sheds have garden tools in them. The public bus route will be the seed collecting route. The garden sheds along the bus route will be collected and then be dispersed into the space under the Interstate bypass which is also on the bus route. Thus with the garden sheds on the site, the people in the Norwood community

6.2 SEEDS in Norwood Map

will have a chance and tolls to cultivate a piece of terrain by their own hands. A sense of community will be built up in the process of developing a community garden. Also the new space will attract people from Downtown and other places of the city to come to enjoy working with their children, friends, and families. Then a connection will be created.


6.3 SEEDs Collection Route

6.4 SEEDs Relocation


6.5 Seeding the site


A proposed view of the developed community garden on the site, under the Interstate bypass. People from the Norwood community work together, using the tools from the garden sheds relocated from the Norwood neighborhood.

6.6 Community Garden Design Experiment


CHAPTER 7 Design Investigation III: Growing the City Using urban forest as a connector.

Starting with the biomimicry design idea, considering garden sheds in Norwood as the SEEDs for the project, I went back to the first design experiment of green infrastructure network of the city scale, and got the idea of using an urban forest as a connector in this project. In the urban forest proposal, the trees of the urban forest will be dispersed to the other parts of the city by the process of natural succession. By this means, the Norwood Neighborhood will be connected back to the Downtown Birmingham and also the other parts of the city. From the trees planted on the site in the first stage, seeds will be dispersed to the green spaces along the street. By means of seed dispersal, an urban forest network will be established by nature itself. Also the community's well-being will be promoted through the development process of the urban forest.


5.18, 7.1 Green Infrstructure Network Conception


What is an Urban Forest? An urban forest is a forest or a collection of trees that grow within a city, town, or a suburb.In a wider sense, it may include any kind of woody plant vegetation growing in and around human settlements. In a narrow sense, it describes areas whose ecosystems are inherited from wilderness leftovers or remnants. Care and management of urban forests is called urban forestry.

New York City Central Park

Office Park

Roof Garden

7.2 Pictures of Urban Forest


Norwood Elementary School Urban Forest Initiative By proposing the Urban Forest Initiative program in Norwood Elementary School, the community can have an opportunity to create a place by themselves, and to create a community spirit. The program will run for many years. The trees planted by school children in Norwood Elementary School will grow up while children grow up, and the terrain will become a media linking people together. Hopefully, through the developing

process, this place will provide the Norwood Neighborhood an opportunity to reboot its vitality, and will also create a linkage between Norwood and Downtown Birmingham.

7.4 - 7.7 Illustrations of Norwood Elementary School Urban Forest Initiative






Objectives of Urban Forest Initiative - Connection Physical connection Ecological connection

7.8 Street trees serve as physical and ecological connection

- Community Revitalization Sense of community Sense of place Community spirit

7.9 Community involved tree planting day

- Environmental Benefits Clean air Storm water purify Water storage Wildlife habitat

7.10 Natural Habitat


7.11 Natural Forest VS High-maintenance Park VS Neutral Model

A natural forest system can be considered as an energy generator. It offers clean air, stores water, fertilizes soil, and provides habitat for wildlife. It takes the polluted air and water, sanitizes them, producing valuable resources. The natural forest system is a selfsustaining and productive system. A highly-maintained park is an energy sink because of the energy input that won’t be paid back. A highly maintained park requires a huge amount of electricity, water, and labor input, and also the high requirement of machines for the maintenance. By studying New York City’s Highline Park as a new type of urban park, I believe it is a new neutral model combining these two types of landscape together. The Highline Park had got a lot of input since the beginning of the project, human resource input, materials input and energy input. At the same time, the park has had

a huge success with social benefits since it opened. The park has developed a strong program to facilitate educational, promote community involvement, and improve community’s well-being. So, the social benefits derived from the park exceed the energy input of the park.


7.12 Comprision of Existing Condition and Proposed Urban Forest



7.14 Oak-hickory Forest



The site's natural situation

Alabama is a very geologically diverse state. Rocks exposed at the surface range in age from Precambrian to Holocene (2.5 billion years to about 1,800 years old). Alabama's vast geologic history includes episodes of continental collision and mountain building that produced numerous landforms, including in the folded and faulted sedimentary rocks of the Appalachian Valley and Ridge; the metamorphic rocks of the Piedmont Upland; and the extensive coal beds of north-central Alabama during the late Paleozoic and the formation and evolution of the Gulf of Mexico basin, as recorded in the Mesozoic and Cenozoic strata of the East Gulf Coastal Plain. These geologic events have shaped Alabama's landscape, and the rock strata that bear testament to these events are either host to significant natural resources— oil, natural gas, and ground water. Additionally, the landscapes, watersheds, and habitats of the Alabama we know today are formed on the foundation of the underlying geology and have in turn produced the state's impressive biodiversity, which is almost unparalleled in the rest of the United States. (www. Alabama's diverse geology has produced great variation in terrain and physiography, ranging from the coastal lowlands of the southern part of the state to rugged mountainous areas of the north. Physiographically, the state is divided into five sections: the Cumberland Plateau, Highland Rim, Valley and Ridge, Piedmont Upland, and East Gulf Coastal Plain. Each of these is characterized by rocks of specific geologic age and composition, and the resultant landforms reflect these rock types. (

City of Birmingham sits in one of the seven districts within the Valley and Ridge Section which are Birmingham-Big Canoe Valley, Cahaba Ridge, Coosa Ridges, Cahaba Valley, Coosa Valley, Weisner Ridges, and Armuchee Ridges. The Birmingham-Big Canoe Valley’s flora community is characterized by oakhickory forest. For the greater part, the slopes and ridgetops are forested with an assortment of chestnut, black, and scarlet oaks; mockernut, pignut, and sand hickories; and various pines, although black gum, sourwood, and tuliptree also assume some abundance.


7.15 Species in an Oak-hickory Forest


The oak-hickory forest is a general type of North American forest ecosystem with a range extending from southern New England and New York, west to Iowa, and south to Northern Georgia. Smaller, isolated Oak-Hickory communities can also be found as far west as North Dakota, south to Florida and northeast Texas, and north to southern Maine and Ontario. Dominated by nut-bearing oak and hickory species of trees, it has the largest range of any deciduous forest ecosystem in eastern and central North America. Oak-hickory forests as described by Kuchler are dominated by white oak, black oak, northern red oak, bitternut hickory (Carya cordiformis), and shagbark hickory (C. ovata). Other trees in alphabetical order of scientific name include pignut hickory (C. glabra), white ash (Fraxinus americana), black walnut (Juglans nigra), black cherry (Prunus serotina), chinquapin oak (Q. muehlenbergii), and basswood (Tilia americana). In the northern parts of the oak-hickory forest, other components are northern pin oak (Q. ellipsoidalis), and shingle oak (Q. imbricaria). In the southern parts of the oak-hickory type, forest tree species include black hickory (C. texana), mockernut hickory (C. tomentosa), southern red oak (Q. falcata), overcup oak (Q. lyrata), blackjack oak (Q. marilandica), Shumard oak (Q. shumardii), and post oak (Q. stellata). Occasional eastern white pine and eastern hemlock also occur. Few bird species can be considered distinctive of oakhickory forests. Species frequently encountered in oak-hickory forests include red-bellied woodpecker (Melanerpes carolinus) and cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulea). Avian species richness is well documented within the southeastern portion of the oak-hickory forest. Breeding bird communities within southeastern oak-hickory forests range from about 120 species in western Tennessee to about 93 species in the Southern extreme. Dominant members of the

avifauna of southeastern oak-hickory forests include downy woodpecker (Picoides pubescens), greatcrested flycatcher (Myiarchus crinitus), red-bellied woodpecker, eastern wood-pewee (Contopus virens), tufted titmouse (Parus bicolor), Kentucky warbler (Oporornis formosus), red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus), and summer tanager (Piranga rubra) in the Bluegrass region of Kentucky. On the Highland Rim and Knobs of Kentucky and Tennessee, dominant avifauna also include ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus), black-throated green warbler (Dendroica virens), black-and-white warbler (Mniotilta varia), blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata), red-eyed vireo, wood thrush (Hylcichla mustelina), Carolina chickadee (Parus carolinensis), hairy woodpecker (Picoides villosus), and eastern wood-pewee. In the Central Basin, Tennessee, dominant avifauna include most of the abovementioned species and yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus). Southeastern oak-hickory forests generally are low in mammalian species richness with the exception of bats (Chiroptera). The limestone-based geology of the region has fostered a rich cave fauna including little brown myotis (Myotis lucifugus), big brown bat (Eptesicus fuscus), and pipistrelles (Pipistrellus spp.). The white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) is very common in southeastern oak-hickory forest; other common species include short-tailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda and B. carolinensis), eastern chipmunk (Tamias striatus), eastern gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), eastern fox squirrel (S. niger), gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), raccoon (Procyon lotor), opossum (Didelphis virginiana), striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis), and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus)


7.16 Oak-hickory Forest Sucession in Natural Open Field • • • • • •

1st year: Horseweed dominant; crabgrass, pigweed 2nd year: Asters dominant; crabgrass 3r d t o 18t h y e a r: G ra s s s c rub c om munit y ; broomsedge grass, pines coming in during this stage 19th to 30th year: Young pine forest 30th to 70th year: Mature pine forest; understory of young hardwoods 70th to 100th year: Pine to hardwood transition 100th year plus: Climax oak-hickory forest


Oak-hickory Forest Succession Process Vegetation follows established patterns of regrowth and change after disturbances by farming, timber harvesting, hurricanes or fire. This process of patterned regrowth and change is called plant succession. The rate of succession and the species present at various stages depend on the type and degrees of

disturbance, the environment of the particular sites, and the species available to occupy the site. In the Piedmont of Georgia, land subjected to disturbances will grow back in a century or two to become mixed hardwood forest. Around the site region, most succession that takes place is field succession. Bare ground is colonized by a pioneer community of annual weeds, dandelion, white clover, plantain, and other colonizing plants. This eventually gives way to an old field community of “weeds” and grasses which includes plants such as goldenrod, Queen Anne’s Lace, Ox-eye Daisy, Red and Yellow Clover, yarrow, and milkweed. Then shrubs like sumac, poison ivy, brambles, Amur and Japanese honeysuckles, and multiflora rose begin to grow. The first trees are typically “weedy,” trees such as cottonwood, mulberry, and juniper. This gradually gives way to coniferous woods containing species like juniper with a ground cover that includes Lycopodium. About 50 to 100 years later, as other trees, such

as wild cherry, green and white ash, boxelder, and sassafras, begin to grow, the community is referred to as a mixed mesophytic forest. There is still a lot of light so there is much undergrowth (like the West Woods). Often, the next step is an Oak-Hickory forest which actually contains a number of species of trees, but primarily oak and hickory. Finally, the community would reach the Beech-Maple forest stage, which is the climax community. Whatever the origin of a forest stand, its species composition will depend on the environment of the site where it is growing. The Alabama Valley and Ridge is considered to be part of the oak-hickory climax forest formation. This means that the final, most stable stage of succession over most of the area should consist of a mixture of various species of oaks and hickories. Succession is a continual, never-ending process – the forest ecosystem is in a constant state of flux. Natural disturbances like a storm or fire will clear an area and the successional process will begin all over again. ( htm)


Development Processes of Urban Forest Based on the study of region ecology and forest succession processes, an oak-hickory forest will be proposed in this urban forest project. This type of forest is native to the region, and will be appropriate in the larger ecological context.

7.17 Pre-stage In the pre-stage of urban forest development process, oak and hickory acorns will be collected by school children, and then be grown by them and their parents in their own houses. School teachers or instructors will give instructions of how to grow an oak tree from an acorn.

7.18 First Stage At the beginning of the first succession stage, small oak trees and hickory trees will be transplanted onto the site by school children in a grid fashion. At this time, the ground cover will be mainly dominated by wild flowers and some emergent grasses, because a large percent of ground will be exposed to sunlight. The wild flower will be seeded by another younger group of school children from wild flower seed mix.

Wild flowers probably need to be reseeded in the first three years to get a stable established wild flower community, and then they will establish their own reseed cycle. When this site gets a great diversity of plant species and bigger trees, it will attract many birds and insects, which are helpful in seed dispersal.


7.19 Second Stage In the second stage of succession, oak and hickory trees will get bigger, thus providing more shade spaces for understory tree and shrub species. According to the natural succession code, these shade-liking understory tree species and shrubs will emerge spontaneously. The wild flower areas will shrink, because of the

reduction of sunny areas. The emergent species will be distinguishable from the planted trees, because all the planted trees are in a grid system. So this will be a great education opportunity for science classes.

7.20 Mature Stage

variety of understory trees and shrubs will accompany them. At this stage, only little wild flowers will be left, because most of the ground will be covered by mature trees. And the wildlife community will get a great diversity till this moment. The mature oak-hickory forest will attract a great amount of bird, rodent, reptile and insect species.

The final stage of urban forest succession will be characterized by a mature oak-hickory plant community, and a great diversity of plant and animal species. Mature oak and hickory trees will be the dominant hard-wood species in this community, and a



This is the initial condition has been set up when school children come to plant the baby oak trees. Children come to plant oak and hickory trees and wild flowers on the site to create a piece of urban forest as the start of the whole urban forest program. The dark green lines cross the site are the two main path way designed on the site. Other light color ones are the emergent pathways subject to the change of plant community through succession process.

7.21 Urban Forest Emerges in Critical Zone



The second phase of urban forest program will have trees emergent on the green spaces along the street. By this time, trees planted in the first phase will grow up, and get lots of acorns in Fall. And because of the diversity of plant community, bird species, insect species and reptile species will appear on the site. These creatures will help to disperse the seeds to other places, then the street trees emergent.

7.22 Urban Forest Emerges Along Street



Till the third phase of urban forest development, trees will be dispersed to further places, and more plant species will travel to other urban open spaces. Some vacant lots will be turned into small pocket gardens. So an urban forest network will be established through the process, and this development process is basically based on nature law.

7.23 New Pattern of Forest occur across the city as time goes by


7.24 Existing Space

7.25 Local Nursery Donation


7.26 Norwood Elementary School Urban Forest Planting Day & Outdoor Class

7.27 Plant Maintenance Volunteer and Continual Urban Forest Program in School


7.28 Community Involvement and Growed up "student" Reunion

7.29 Family Revisit Mature Urban Forest and Young Generation Education


Norwood Elementary School Urban Forest Initiative

The Norwood Elementary School will start an Urban Forest Initiative first in the community. This program aims to start an initial condition of continual urban forest development processes, which will serve as a physical and ecological linkage between Norwood Neighborhood and other parts in the city as well as a connector for people in community. As the start of urban forest, local nursery will donate seeds to the school; also school children will collect their oak and hickory acorn to grow in fall 2011. During the winter, children will follow the instructions to grow a tree from an acorn, with their parents’ help at home. Baby oak and hickory trees will be ready to move to the site in spring 2012. With outdoor classes and planting days in Norwood Elementary School for different grade children with diverse work load, school children will be educated how to plant trees and flowers, learn about teamwork, and spiritually get tied with this space and earth. During the following years, a continual urban forest plant and maintenance program will be developed in Norwood School system and also Norwood Community. Each year, there will be school students and volunteers come back to the site to do maintenance work. A bunch of maintenance job opportunities will be provided to community during the growing season or even throughout the whole year. Several years later, with the growth of urban forest, the school students also grow up. This urban forest will become a linkage for these people, and also a reason

for people to come back to their original terrain. A sense of community as well as a sense of place will be built by growing urban forest and keeping come back to see how it is doing. Fifty years later, in 2061, the forest is become a healthy mature forest, and by that time and urban forest system will be established in the whole city. An old lady bring her grandchild back to this place to see what she had done fifty years ago has become, telling her grandchild just a small seed will change the whole community!



To accompany the urban forest program in Norwood Elementary School, landscape architect designed a small book let for school children. The book provides instructions from how to grow an oak or hickory tree from an acorn to how to prune the trees and shrubs, from how to clear weeds in an eco-friendly way to how to maintain turf, from how to prepare field for wild flower to how to establish a wild flower community. School students can get knowledge and skills of planting for this project, which can also be used in their house or help them to get a part-time job. The book designed in an easy-to-understand way, the images help students to understand the text, and lots of blank space for notes.

7.30 Plant Maintenance Booklet for Norwood Elementary School


Urban Forest Phase 1

Urban Forest Phase 2


7.31 Urban Forest Development Phasing

ban Forest Phase 3


7.32 Spacial changes of each plant layer through succession




7.33 Master Plan of Mature Urban Forest


7.34 Railroad Corridor Landscape Design


7.35 Outdoor Furniture Design



7.36 Railroad Corridor Section



7.37 Railroad Corridor Night View



7.38 Pathway Crossing Detail Design



7.39 Pathway Crossing Section



7.40 Perspective of Main Pathway



7.41 Typicle Streetscape Design Plan


7.42 Typicle Streetscape Design Section

7.43 Typicle Streetscape Design Section Enlarge



7.44 Existing Space Under the Bypass

7.45 Proposed View




7.46 Existing Street Space

7.47 Proposed Streetscape



7.48 Proposed Urban Forest Network



This research is derived from the attention to old neighborhood revitalization and urban gap recovery. The project is in the form of a proposal, the basic objectives of this project are to set up an initial condition for the site, then let it develop by nature operation, at the same time get community involved in the development process of it, then establish a connection for Norwood Neighborhood, physically and emotionally. The project follows a sequence of find the question, confirm the question, solution experiments, and get the answer. Each step taken has moved the project to a new stage, and helped the designer to get closer to a reasonable design solution. By exploring the site through mapping studies, site visits, and conversations with local residents, the needs of connecting the neighborhood back to Downtown Birmingham and a sense of community had been confirmed. So how to provide the connection and create a community spirit by means of landscape design turned out to be the essential challenges for this project. Historic record showed that the interstate highway had severed the Norwood from the city. Several mapping studies and planning strategy studies also showed that the disconnection between Norwood and Downtown starts from the interstate highway. So to recovery the gap caused by the Interstate Highway and to use the vacant space under the bypass as a connector had been proved to be the suitable solution to this disconnection issue.

As was shown in growing the city design experiment, an urban forest initiative program will be started in Norwood community. The program aims to offer the community an opportunity to start to grow an urban forest on their own hands, and to create a sense of community through the urban forest development processes by getting people work together. The urban forest will become a linkage between Norwood and Downtown, provides attractive recreational space for both people from Norwood and Downtown. While school children are cultivating the forest on this site, they also begin to cultivate a strong tight with their community and this piece of terrain. At the same time, by nature law, seeds from this urban forest will be dispersed to other places in the city. Several years later, an urban forest network will emerge spontaneously in the city. Thus an ecological connection will also be established in the city. In conclusion, this project has explored a new design approach for community revitalization projects, especially when it also relate to environmental concerns. As has been shown in the proposed program development processes, community involvement is essential to this design strategy. By just setting up an initial condition but not a fully designed and finished design project, the development of urban forest will be exposed to nature operation, and the ongoing changing situation would be an interesting part of this project.


The project hasn’t been done at this point, some more detail site designs still need to be added in the future. Even one of the main idea is to let nature operate this program, but landscape architect still need to provide some place on the site to attract normal people to come. Also more research about how to disperse urban forest “seeds� to other places properly by nature or by people would facilitate a better future development of this urban forest.


References Barnett, Rod. (2010) A Ten Point Guide to Initial Conditions Conditions.pdf Barnett, Rod. (2010) A Ten Point Guide to Urban Field Theory Theory.docx.pdf Belanger, P. (2010). Redefining Infrastructure. Ecological Urbanism. M. Mostafavi and G. Doherty. Baden, Lars-Muller Publishers. Berger, A. (2008). Designing the Reclaimed Landscape . New York, Taylor and Francis. Mossop, E. (2006). Landscapes of Infrastructure. The Landscape Urbanism Reader. C. Waldheim. New York, Princeton Architectural Press. Shannon, K. and M. Smets, Eds. (2010). The Landscape of Contemporary Infrastructure. Rotterdam, NAi. Strelow, H., Ed. (2004). Ecological Aesthetics : Art in Environmental Design: Theory and Practice . Basel, Birkhauser. Thun, G. and K. Velikov (2009). Conduit Urbanism: Regional Ecologies of Energy and Mobility. New Geographies 01(02): 83-96. Zipperer, Wayne C.; Sisinni, Susan M,; Pouyat, Richard V. (1997) Urban tree cover: an ecological perspective, Urban Ecosystems, 1997, 1, 229-246 Department of Planning and Engineering (1992) Birmingham Comprehensive Plan , Birmingham Department of Planning and Engineering (1977) Land Use Plan, Birmingham, Alabama , Birmingham Birmingham Historical Society (2005) A system of parks and playgrounds for Birmingham : preliminary report upon the park problems, needs, and opportunities of the city and its immediate surroundings / by Olmsted Brothers , Birmingham Birmingham Regional Planning Commission (1987) Birmingham Urban Area Traffic Volume , Birmingham Birmingham Regional Planning Commission (1992) Rural County Highway Development Plan for Jefferson County , Birmingham Birmingham Regional Planning Commission (1977) Birmingham Urban Area Traffic Zone Forecast , Birmingham Harnik, Peter (2010) Urban Green: Innovative Parks for Resurgent Cities , Washington DC, Island Press


City of Lakeland, Natural Resources Department (2007) Discussion on Regeneration of Oak-Hickory Stand Types in Urban Environments , Lakeland Binelli, Eliana Kämpf; Gholz, Henry L.; Duryea, Mary L. (2009) Chapter 4: Plant Succession and Disturbances in the Urban Forest Ecosystem Czerniak, Julia and Hargreaves, George (2007) Large Parks , New York, Princeton Architectural Press Loukaitou-Sideris, Anastasia (2009) Sidewalks: conflict and negotiation over public space , Cambridge, Massachusetts, The MIT Press Lewes, G. H. (1875) Problems of Life and Mind (First Series) , London: Trübner, ISBN 1425555780 Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Emergent Properties , Alexander, Christopher, Harmony-Seeking Computations: a Science of Non-Classical Dynamics based on the Progressive Evolution of the Larger Whole , Berkley, University of California and University of Cambridge Badyaev, Alexander V., (2008) Evolution Despite Natural Selection? Emergence Theory and the Ever Elusive Link Between Adaptation and Adaptability , Published online Emmeche, Køppe, & Stjernfelt, published pp. 13-34 in: Peter Bøgh Andersen, Claus Emmeche, Niels Ole Finnemann and Peder Voetmann Christiansen, eds. (2000): Downward Causation. Minds, Bodies and Matter . Århus: Aarhus University Press. Emergent Urbanism, Rediscovering Urban Complexity, Beginning Emergent Urbanism Emergent Urbanism Network, Topics on Emergent Hutong's Community Catalogue 2007, Behance Network Historic Maps of Jefferson County Historic Maps of Alabama River


List of Illustration 0.3


Bruce Leibowitz

1.11 1.12, 1.13 1.14, 1.15

p20 p21 p22

Latitude Geographics Group Ltd. Latitude Geographics Group Ltd. Latitude Geographics Group Ltd.

2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5, 2.6 2.7, 2.8 2.9, 2.10 2.14 2.15

p25 p26 p27 p28 p29 p30 p31 p33 p35

Historic Norwood in Birmingham, Alabama Historic Norwood in Birmingham, Alabama H. Wellge, del. Beck & Pauli, litho. Historic Norwood in Birmingham, Alabama Historic Norwood in Birmingham, Alabama Historic Norwood in Birmingham, Alabama Birmingham Region Planning Commision Birmingham Planning Division Historic Norwood in Birmingham, Alabama

4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4-4.6 4.7 4.8 4.9 4.10 4.11 4.12-4.16

p49 p50 p51 p52-p54 p56 p58 p60 p62 p62 p64

Historic Google Map Los Angeles Historian Photoblog Stein and Millar Stein and Millar Google Map Hopper Designs City of Eugene City Central Parks Transworld Skateboarding Transworld Skateboarding City of Eugene City Central Parks

5.1 5.2 5.3, 5.4, 5.6, 5.8

p66 p68 p70

Instant Hutong Blog Internet Pictures

7.8-7.10 7.14 7.17 7.44

p86 p90 p96 p130

Internet Pictures Internet Picture wikiHow Google Map

All the other pictures in this book are made by author, Jiayang Xie.

Urban Gap Recovery  

this is Jiayang Xie's thesis book, as a summary of my one year graduate thesis project.

Urban Gap Recovery  

this is Jiayang Xie's thesis book, as a summary of my one year graduate thesis project.