Justin Traw Thesis Seminar / Studio University of IdahoArchitecture IURDC Boise Idaho
Table of Contents Exploring Ideas
Thesis President Research Defining the Problem
Effects of the Problem
Case Studies and Precedents
Design, Process, and Product
EXPLORING IDEAS ARTICLE RESEARCH
Phenomena and Idea Steven Holl
ArticleArchitecture is a form of art, that is experienced in many ways, and similar to art architecture should start as a thought, a thought that forms itself through material and phenomenal space. Architecture has the potential to be â€œopenedâ€? this can occur when the designer relinquishes control and allows the building to form from free thought and exploration. The article continues to explore how one might go about accomplishing this and the phenomena that proceeds. One solution is to continuously adjust the design process to let your design evolve freely. To expose the meaningful core of the composition rather than all the fluff commonly found in the nostalgic architecture of today, we must continue to move forward by thinking and acting on our thoughts of the present.
Diagrams of Diagrams: Architectural Abstraction and Modern Representation Anthony Vidler
ArticleThe architectural diagram has been forces to evolve over the years, and for better or worse has become a driving force in design. The diagram is a way to analyze anything from building envelope to the way a person experiences the space. Diagrams are used to develop ideas or as a base to show and persuade clients, over showing a client a hard lined drawings. The diagram is a strong and versatile tool to the modernist architect and has kept them â€œfrom grasping whole heatedly the return to the past and New Urbanismâ€?. With the age of computerization it allows for the literal translation of a diagram or sketch with little or no thought to program, context, or use into a physical building, and whether this is a positive tool for design or merely a passing fad that will soon be dissolve into time, of perhaps be used to meld old and new methods of design to create a more copacetic building and urban fabric. Modernists celebrate the diagram, in what one can call a neomodernist return by many architects to rationalist simplicity and minimalist lucidity.
SEATTLE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Thesis Precedent Philip A. Hall Hillside college 2002 Masters of Architecture
This projects examines the void that has formed in industrial cities over the course of the last 50 years with a specific interest in a Detroit neighborhood, near the urban core. This paper examines the problem and starts to solve it by focusing on creating green urban space for the community. The focus is on revitalizing the main road the transects the site. A site that is freckled with gaps from past development where the occupants have moved on leaving only ruins behind. He creates a community garden as well as replanning the street layout to make it more pedestrian friendly.
7 DETAILS This project has a great focus on the details and how the systems and infrastructure effect the use and the examined area
Response: The project is well executed but has a very narrow focus; what happens in the rest of the district. I think this is a thoughtful solution but perhaps its not extreme enough to stabilize the problem in Detroit.
Thesis Precedent Designing a Design Problem
The turning point for my area of focus came from an exercise where we had to choose a design problem put forth by a fellow student: The Void formed by two unrelated building to form a cohesive design was an interesting idea.
Defining the Problem Shrinking Cities
Defining the Problem
In the past few years the stunning wealth of these urban cores are left casting shadows upon the ever desolate and dilapidating city. Streets are expansive and bare, accommodating only a fraction of the traffic once served. Entire districts become abandoned providing noman’s land between urban destinations. Although at first glance the “central” area may appear to be thriving it is only due to constant investment to maintain image, this solution is merely trying to cover the root of the problem in the shrinking city.
Ghost towns have always been an image of times past and have been the result of boom and bust economies; the mid century industrial cities could be suffering the same fate on a much larger scale. Planning must be put in place to properly downsize these post industrial cities. Cities provide the economic and social requirements it takes for a person to thrive in this modern society. Cities utilize location and a plan for providing the necessities it
WINDOW TO THE RECENT PAST
takes a person to thrive, green space through parks and urban landscapes, security, hygiene, and food etc. While most cities expect to grow, they incorporate that expected growth into future plans, always looking ahead; no city has planned or is prepared to shrink. Due to recent economic shifts cities that were once hubs of industry are not able to adapt to the new economy, forcing the inhabitants to fin for themselves. They often choose to move away when all hope is lost.
11 1920 New York Chicago Philadelphia Detroit Cleveland St. Louis Boston Baltimore Pittsburgh Los Angeles
1950 5,620,048 2,701,705 1,823,779 993,078 796,841 722,897 748,060 733,826 588,343 576,673
This problem has been festering for decades and only recently attracted the attention it deserves. The large scale cities were a growing and thriving organism supporting life to the American culture. This was the case up until 1950, fuelled by the world wars and domestic industry cities within the United States quickly grew. By the pivotal date of 1950 there were 17 US cities with more than half a million people living in them. It was the trend up to this date to live in these large scale cities.
New York Chicago Philadelphia Los Angles Detroit Baltimore Cleveland St. Louis Washington DC Boston
7,891,957 3,620,962 2,071,605 1,970,358 1,849,568 949,708 914,808 856,796 802,178 801,444
It was the practice of industry to operate all its operations out of one location centrally located along the rail lines or ports for ease of operations, trade, and supply. These industrial cities spurred growth mainly in the East and Midwestern cities. By 1950 these large cities (more then 500,000 people) were home to 26 million people, compared to the small cities (100,000 to 500,000 people) but as quickly as these cities grew the trend seemed to reverse with smaller cities
2010 New York Los Angles Chicago Houston Philadelphia Phoenix San Antonio San Diego Dallas San Jose
8,175,133 3,792,621 2,695,598 2,099,451 1,526,006* 1,445,632 1,327,407 1,307,402 1,197,816 945,942
growing by 17% in 1990 while the â€œlargeâ€? cities only grew by 6% with some actually shrinking. There are many possible reasons for the swift change in population trend, which is the root to the post industrial urban abandonment problem, many of which are economic related.
*FIRST POPULATION GAIN SINCE 1950 information provided by US census
Defining the Problem
Shrinking Cities Factories once needed to be close to major bodies of water or rail lines. Traditionally found in large cities. Like this old Atwood Machine Company factory.
It is speculated that initially this population shift was contributed to simple economics. Big industry was discovered to be less prosperous then the smaller plants, typically located in the smaller cities and rural areas. This is contributed to a variety of factors, that were shaped by the large mill industry and large city atmosphere. Moving to the small city plants was a fairly easy transition with the development of the car and truck commerce it was not a requirement that industry needed direct connection to rail or shipping routes.
Modern facilities prefer room to grow and therefore move away from cities. No longed tied to major shipping lines. Silicon Valley is the prime example of new industry development
Beside the perfection of automobile and plane usage telecommunications have assisted in the removal of industry from these once industrial driven Meccaâ€™s. Business can be conducted virtually from any location at any time nationwide or even worldwide. One advantage the smaller cities had on the established quick growing cities was young infrastructure influenced by the new technologies. Simply put the plumbing, electric and other city infrastructure had an increasingly
high operating cost in the larger cities. At the time of conception the large cities offered the most current and state of the art options, but as time progressed and technology developed it became to costly and inconvenient to update city infrastructure. The smaller cities were still installing these amenities and thus could accommodate new industry and offered a more affordable option to the outdated amenities of the larger cities. This is the spark of a new type of urban destination and surrounding suburbs.
Assembly lines were once required a lot of man power and space to operate properly.
Automated factory requires precision and open space to produce material and goods
Original Ford assembly line
This population shift was not a sudden occurrence and is in fact still taking place. Not all the large cities are suffering from this pattern, just like not all small cities are experiencing uncontrollable growth. As of 1990 there were 77 cities with a population of 500,000 or greater, 26 of which actually shrank between 1950 and 1990. The remaining 51 cities continued to grow, just a slower rate than pre-1950 figures. Seven of the largest cities that suffered from the population decline were New York, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Baltimore, Washington DC and Boston.
Boston New York Philadelphia Washington DC Baltimore
Defining the Problem
Land Area Comparison PHOENIX Agriculture Phoenix
These largest cities have lost 500,000 people over the course of the last 60 years with fairly steady succession, implying that this problem is not a new development but will most likely continue to happen in these cities. It has been stifled on some cities, that have been able to mitigate its losses and attract new industry and interest, New York for example had been able to level out its shrinking curve in the recent past, while cities like Detroit are losing people faster than ever and are unclear how to handle the situation. Even though some cities have been able to cope and mitigate population it is really the core of these cities that are suffering. The metropolitan area of at least these seven cities have grown in the last 60 years fairly substantially.
Neighboring Cities 1955
“This means that the cities that shrank do so not because they were part of dying regional economies but, rather, in spite of strong regional growth.” It should also be
mentioned that the “small cities” growth were frequently due to aggressive annexation of surrounding cities and towns. Some of the fastest
growing cities in population have also doubled in area. Phoenix for example, up until recently, one of the fastest growing cities it increased its area by more than 20 times its initial scale since 1950 which also contributes to the rapid population growth. Again, unlike the original industrial cities these new cities were not constructed to their initial area and because of modern technologies could become the sprawling and growing city that we all know.
Example of â€œnewâ€? growth
It seems that the opposite has taken place in the new model of city and without driving into the pros and cons of the modern model it was definitely designed for heavy automobile traffic and until recently did not incorporate and sort of mass transit system. It had streets and highways to link not only the central city to the suburbs but to link the suburbs to other suburbs. These cities are so expansive and
Urban Voids caused by population shifts
have a very low density, an average of 3,000 people per sq. mile, compared the once large cities where 10,0000 people per sq mile the use of private automobile is almost a necessity. Like the large cities discovered, it is costly to update infrastructure and that is the same dilemma that the new cities have discovered it trying to implement mass transit.
Effects of the Problem Shrinking Cities
Once a city starts to get an increasing vacancy rate it only has a few options to try and save the city. It becomes increasingly expensive for the city to continue to operate the way it needs to. Vacancies often do fallow a pattern as far as location, but many times it can affect arbitrary parts of the city. The city must provide the services for an expansive area, even if the population is only half of what it used to be, that means only half the income from city taxes and services to provide 100% the service. In many cases the city chooses to privatize services, like education and sanitation. This can reduce many overhead costs. A major step it planning for population reduction is political. It involves changing past planning and zoning policies as well as the tax structure to better accommodate and stimulate a stable all is it smaller urban fabric. After addressing the politics of a shrinking city there is still the problem of the change in city density.
You start to have similar density of the growing cities, an appealing idea to have more space per person. The predicament is, however, the shift in density is arbitrary. Meaning unbalanced gaps are created within the urban fabric. These gaps can become a financial liability for the city. The cost of minimal maintenance as well as security can quickly add up when up to a third of all properties stand vacant and abandoned it is quite the undertaking. Aside from the financial burden vacancies impose on cities, abandonment can also take its toll on the ethos that was created by these dense cities. Because many areas were traditionally a mixed use type set up when the density is not still present in a particular district or neighborhood it can no longer support the retail industry. The social aspect is similarly affects. The people make that place and when the balance of people becomes skewed the place suffers from a lack of social energy,
16 resulting in further degradation and potential for undesirable activities. It can quickly fall into a spiral until there is nothing left to save. This creates gaps in the urban fabric resulting in incoherent area and voids scattered about the greater context of the city. To sum up the results of unplanned urban reduction; once a city starts to shrink, and great amounts, the overall quality of life is ultimately lowered. The city is left to foot the bill to provide minimum services to keep the public safe from the abandon property but inevitable it becomes to much. Buildings are destroyed and sit to disintegrate into dust or become fuel for a fire. This empty patch work of property becomes dumping grounds. Piles of garbage accumulate on these lots causing even worse appeal to the community. It is my belief that once a lot become visually abandoned, in the urban context, it will result in more abandoned space and further determination of the city.
Abandoned buildings cost cities millions every year and pose serious fire and health problems
Shrinking Cities Case Studies and Precedents
PHILADELPHIA- Philadelphia green
NEW YORK- high line project TORONTO-waterfront project
Shrinking Cities- Case Studies and Precedents The plan:
With no clear direction on what shrinking cities should do to stifle the loss of population there are many suggestions and case studies to be examined. Philadelphia for example has decided the best course of action is to create public space out of the once private space. Filling the urban voids with green space and parks for public use. Like many cities are realizing, half the battle it identifying what land in abandoned. This seems like a simple enough goal, but in the case of Philadelphia there were more then 40,000
abandoned lots that fell into the position of the city. After all Philadelphia has lost over 600,000 residence since 1950, when it was listed with a population of 2 million people. Philadelphia has taken 7,000 of the 40,000 lots and dedicated them to â€œgreen space, horse-paddock fenced parks and urban farms.â€? It is important for these cities to focus and identify their assets when trying to mitigate and plan population loss. It is more useful to focus on what you have
and how it can be improved rather than trying to recreate the former glory. In the case of Philadelphia it meant to invest in the public and parks, this is not a decision derived easily. By converting these lots of land scattered about the urban area the city took a gamble and made a commitment, with only a hope that this would start to solve the problem. Philadelphia is
still considered a shrinking city, after all the problem will not be solved overnight. Philadelphia decided
to take a stance in their situation. Crime and filth finally became too much for the remaining citizens to deal with. After weighing many options it was decided to go forth with the green infrastructure plan. It was concluded that simply by cleaning up the urban afflictions the problems of crime, segregation, property value, as well as proving a since of place that the city was starting to lose.
A professor from the University of Pennsylvania, Wharton School of Business, Susan Watcher (real estate, finance, and city planning) reports that by investing in the new green infrastructure it could raise property values in affected areas by up by 25%. Streetscape planting, pocket parks, and other green initiatives provide visual comfort and long term equity in property value.
Shrinking Cities- Case Studies and Precedents The reality:
Another side effect of becoming a green city is the new “green color” jobs that are created. To develop this new green infrastructure takes a small army of volunteers and new city employees. Philadelphia used these new jobs to provide income and training to the lower-income residents that resides in these affected neighborhoods. The cities new green space has found a place in the hearts of the citizens of Philadelphia, although
“the city doesn’t own the land, but it owns the problem- and it needs to take charge.”
“Great parks make great neighbors”
Philadelphia has just started to address the problem of abandonment. This is one of the best examples of a shrinking city, it is facing the problem head on and providing an example for cities that are suffering the same fate. Green parkways, urban bike trails, and pocket parks are not a new idea and have been greatly utilized in cities like Seattle and Portland. However these cities are very young compared to the Industrial Cities of
the East and Central United States, and have always been experiencing growth. It only makes since to look and the success of the growing cities to and even recreate it in these post industrial shrinking cities. Providing urban green space may not be the only solution or way to address the shrinking problem, and all the side effects that come with it. It is however is a positive stance to take to try and resolve the problem. It is most successful when a city
23 Although the city has not formed a urban farm there are a number of community gardens that fill once vacant lots. A sense of ownership is felt city wide for the green initiatives that it has undertaken
finally realizes that it must shrink to survive and can no longer dream to be as large of city as it once was. Philadelphia is proof that it is not to late in life to provide a green infrastructure for its city. Since 1974, Philadelphia Green has supported the development and ongoing care
of community gardens, neighborhood parks, and public green spaces in Philadelphia. Working in partnership with neighborhood residents, community organizations, and city agencies, the program uses greening as a community building tool. Additionally, it educates people to make the city a more livable
place though horticulture. In more than 400 community gardens, residents are tending plots, growing fresh produce, sharing food with neighbors, and discussing and resolving neighborhood issues. In 80 neighborhood parks, â€œfriends of the parkâ€? groups work with Philadelphia Green to revitalize their parks.
Shrinking Cities- Case Studies and Precedents The High Line is 1-mile built on a section of the former elevated freight railroad, which runs along the lower west side of Manhattan; it has been redesigned and planted as a green way. The recycling of the railway into an urban park has spurred real estate development in the neighborhoods that lie along the line.
It has been said the project has helped usher in something of a renaissance in the neighborhood: by 2009, more than 30 projects were planned or under construction nearby. Crime has been extraordinarily low in the park. Shortly after the second section opened,
The park is relatively small but has a great impact on the community and the city around
Before the development the tracks were over grown and not structurally sound. It did provide a good base for the design team and city to work from.
The park has had almost no major crimes and the Parks Enforcement Patrols had written tickets for various infractions of park rules, such as walking dogs or bicycles on the walkway, but at a rate lower than central park. Park advocates attributed that to the high visibility of the High Line from the surrounding buildings.
“Empty parks are
dangerous”, David told the
newspaper. “Busy parks are much less so. You’re virtually never alone on the High Line.” It costs substantially less to redevelop an abandoned urban rail line into a linear park, rather than to demolish it. James Corner, one of its designers, said,
“The High Line is not easily replicated in other cities,” observing that building a “cool park”
requires a of neighborhoods around it in order to succeed.
New development has taken root along the high line that has revitalized this area of the city.
Utilizing natural plants that were already growing there or easy to grow in the diverse atmosphere it has become a thriving green way
This was a huge investment for the city and in the end it paid off. Over $50 million was invested into the initial part of the project and in return it saved several neighborhoods as well as create a destination for people from all over the city and world.
Shrinking Cities- Case Studies and Precedents The revitalization of Toronto’s waterfront is one of the largest urban Brownfield remediation projects anywhere in the world. Rather than “digging and dumping” contaminated soils, the traditional approach to brownfield remediation, Waterfront Toronto is planning wherever possible to clean and process soil for reuse on the waterfront.
Toronto’s waterfront revitalization is a huge undertaking by the city. The total area being redeveloped is 800 hectares (1,977 acres). This project is expected to take 25 years to complete, the new “blue edge” will create approximately 40,000 new residences and 40,000 new jobs though through the construction process as well as post construction.
Currently the site is a brownfileld wit limited public access and serves as a liability for the city.
More accessible and clean “blue edge” will provide public space for the city as well as stimulate the economy and interior growth
This project is expected to have a great economic impact on the city of Toronto, but will also serve the people of the city by providing new accessible space to recreate. Between 2001 and March 2010, work on the waterfront had already generated approximately 9,700 full-time years of employment and contributed $1.9 billion to the Canadian economy.
Shrinking Cities-Site Analysis
Shrinking Cities-Site Analysis Detroit is suffering from population loss and property abandonment more than most shrinking cities. It has grabbed national attention and has help focus the spotlight in the shrinking problem. Iconic building throughout Detroit lay abandon. Crime and poverty has replaced industry and growth, it has been said that Detroit is slowly (seems pretty fast) killing itself and many feel like devoting any attention to revitalization is a lost cause. If a measure is to take place it must be an extreme movement. An action that must not show compassion if it mean its conflicts with that larger goal of bring Detroit back from the edge of total annihilation. Detroit has a rich history that many people have forgotten about because of its apparent bleak future. It falls within an ideal location, sandwiched between two great lakes and the Canadian border, It was originally a founded in 1701 as a French and because of its easy access and promise of free land it quickly
28 Original Woodward plan 1905
Current figure ground
grew (64 years) to a population of 800 people, becoming the largest city between Montreal and New Orleans. From that point on Detroit became a sought after territory in times of war, because of its geographical access as well as its thriving economy (mostly in fur trades) it was an asset for anybody to control. This territory was passed to the United States ownership in 1796 and was given a clean slate in 1805 when a fire destroyed the city. The fire gave the opportunity to start a plan for growth and how that might look, Augustus B. Woodward designed the new street layout for the city. He was a politician and a Washington man, the plan reflected Lâ€™Enfant Washington DC from just a few years earlier. At this time Detroit was the largest city in Michigan and also served as the Capital of the state, including the metropolitan area of the time it was home to Âž of the entire state population.
Shrinking Cities-Site Analysis
30 Detroit Financial District
One Detroit Center
It was not until the late 19th century that Detroit came into its own right of wealth. At this time the mansions and iconic buildings were being constructed that dubbed Detroit the “Paris of the West” for its rich architecture. Detroit was a modern city and they wanted to show the world. It was able to become a Industrial powerhouse because of its geographical strengths. Strategically located along the Great Lakes waterway, Detroit quickly became a
central transportation hub. The city had grown steadily from the 1830s because of its access to shipping, which led to industries in shipbuilding, and manufacturing. In 1896, a thriving carriage trade prompted Henry Ford to build his first automobile, in hindsight this was the start of Detroit’s problems. This is the period of time that Detroit expanded its borders annexing all or part of several surrounding villages and townships, growing its area and providing new living away from the
core. Detroit continued to grow due to the automobile and many other transportation based industries, rail and shipping, for the next 50 years. Occupying more land area to provide homes and industry. Although public transportation was offered it never was fully utilized, the urban streetcar was popular but to reach the new areas away from the urban core Detroit started to develop a massive highway system that started to intersect and bypass Woodward’s original plan to
31 Renaissance Center
almost unrecognizable, but at the time this too became a status of Detroit, the motor city. It became the home to powerful men and strong unions. The city was a thriving and rich politically and financially. This is the time that Detroit has started the downward spiral. The post industrial voids in the urban fabric were starting to become apparent. Business moving away or closing, even in the 70’s it was evident. The core of Detroit was suffering, as well as most areas of the city,
The Broderick Tower- tallest abandoned building in the world
but officials and the public were not going to let it die. The Renaissance Center was conceived in the late 70’s. It is a block of skyscrapers that were designed as “a city within a city” this one projects that was along the international waterway and in the Downtown area started a chain of projects that halted the shrinking of the downtown area. The core was saved, or salvaged, but the rest of the city was still suffering. In the 1980’s like many cities of the time “urban renewal” took
United Artists Theater
place. A mass clearing of building took place, some abandoned but many just considered too old to utilize. This action just depend the urban fracture causing more separation and voids. Redevelopment was supposed to fill the gaps, but at the time redevelopment was not taking place. Like Philadelphia these empty lots became a ground for crime and other dangerous activities.
Shrinking Cities-Site Analysis Focusing on the core is one strategy, it is important for a city to have a center that has an identity and since of place. However, the wreckage that is occurring away from the core is overwhelming and has no plan or direction. It has become a place for crime and unrest. As mentioned earlier, the people that are left in the shrinking city by this time are typically the type of people that cannot afford to get out. They are the minority which deepens the fracture even more. What remains in Detroit is bleak. From the demographics to the infrastructure there appears to be room for a lot of improvement. As far as the population of Detroit nearly 70% of the population holds a high school degree but only 11% hold a college degree. 75% of the population is black while only 13% is white and an unemployment
CRIME COMPARISON- Detroit vs. Boise
rate of over 20% as of March. Given the current social unbalance it is no surprise that Detroit has one of the highest crime rates in the country with over 300 murders last year, one of the lowest murder rates for Michigan in the past 10 years. It did however have over 1000 cases of arson last year. This is potentially because of overwhelming amount of vacant properties that are in the city. These
act as a haven for unlawful activities and because of the unintentional gaps that have formed across the city self policing is not common. Even routine police patrols are few and far between. The distance that the city must cover is so expansive and the population so low that the police force hired is far to small to cover that amount of square footage, on top of the social unrest the police is not trusted. This problem
Black alone - 689,965 (75.7%) White alone - 120,891 (13.3%) Hispanic - 67,361 (7.4%) Climate Data
applies to other city services as well from public safety to education. Detroit has recently approved a plan to close over 70 schools by 2014. In this effort to save money it means that class sizes will grow to new heights. It also means that children are now going to have to be bussed all over the city just to attend class. The closure also just adds to the number of properties that sit abandoned in Detroit.
Asian alone - 15,184 (1.7%) Two or more races - 13,548 (1.5%) American alone - 1,831 (0.2%) Other race alone - 2,068 (0.2%)
DETROIT Examining Solutions
Shrinking Cities-Examining Solutions
Turning blight into art
Once the city becomes a manageable size, it then becomes responsible to start to implement some green strategies, like Philadelphia, green infrastructure can start to add interest and a since of place. Detroit has already started to develop its natural boarder along the river but it needs to focus its attention on the inner
landscape that is adjacent to the core. There is enough open space that Detroit need to start to own. It no longer needs the 8 lane highway that leads into the core of the city. The development of pocket park and community gardens will benefit the immediate neighborhoods. The massive roadways can make way to
recreational trails and urban bike lanes to help with the connectivity problems that face Detroit. This will provide employment opportunities for a city with one of the highest unemployment rates in the country it will also provide many other advantages. The first goal for Detroit may be the hardest, but it must consolidate its population.
It currently has the area of Manhattan, Boston, and San Francisco, 138 sq miles, with less than half the population. That is a huge area for the city to provide services to with very little in tax revenue. The areas annexed in the 1800â€™s should be de-annexed, readjust city boundaries to help shrink the urban service areas and reduce cost.
Inventory should also be conducted to determine particular districts that should be cut from the cityâ€™s infrastructure. This will streamline the cities services and prevent wasted resources. One strategy to reduce the overhead cost of cities is to contract private entities to provide public services. This can range from ambulance and public safety to school systems.
If Detroit is to implement some sort of consolidation and green infrastructure it is going to take a comprehensive plan and strategy, something that Detroit has not been able to do in along time. It means that all current planning ideologies are going to have to be reexamined and potentially changed to enable Detroit to start to change. Laws and zoning are going to have to change, but it is important to remember that Detroit is not to only city that has suffered this post industrial population shift, there are not a lot of case studies
that have turned to green infrastructure but the ones that have are successful. Philadelphia and Philadelphia Green: uses urban greening as a base to and aesthetics and mitigate pollution. reclaim vacant lots, engage residence, and educate the community all while creating a more livable city. New York with its highline project, an old
above ground transit line turned into a successful park that cuts through the city. Toronto Waterfront Regional Trust Project is more of an ecosystem approach to greening the city by redeveloping brown fields and vacant properties that fall along the water front by providing green ways, parks, and retention ponds to increase land value
39 Cork Town is an urban district that has been affected by the vacancy and has resulted in numerous abandoned properties, this is also the home to the historic Detroit Depot. The current area of the area far exceeds the dwelling units, resulting in a very low density for the area. This chart suggests that the vacant space can be used as community support space, providing power of food for the district.
United Artists Theater
Factory Floor 18th floor dentist cabinet, David Broderick Tower
Ballroom, American Hotel
Highland Park Police Station
St Christopher House, ex-Public Library
Waiting hall, Central Station
Design, Process, and Product
Design City Scale
City Scale eight separate districts
Consolidated districts of Detroit, making room for green support space while increasing the density of the city. The new districts occupy the most vital areas of the city, areas that still show signs of life and vitality. These areas have slightly less crime or foreclosure, as well an a diverse economy.
1) 5.322 sq miles 2) 1.60 sq miles 3) 11.22 sq miles 4) 14.848 sq miles 5) 15.395 sq miles 6) 15.93 sq miles 7) 6.70 sq miles 8) 14.84 sq miles
forestlands constructed wetlands urban farmland current nature preserve
Street Scale A lot of factors have lead to the demise of Detroit many of them stem from economy and Detroit’s inability to adapt, along with dated infrastructure it has lost over half its population in 50 years. The city is disconnected and resembles a no mans land. The original 1905 Woodward plan implants an axial plan reminiscent of Washington DC, although this plan is still visible in Detroit’s current state, it has become muddled by gross freeway systems and uncontrollable annexation. As we move though this population time line you can see on the bottom the amount of land that is annexed and just were and when the population starts to shift. As you can see by the 50’s population starts to move out of the core of the city, coincidently this is when the initial freeways were constructed and the light rail is removed from the city. Towards the turn of the century there isn’t an area that isn’t losing population. In the last 5 years a great amount of money has been invested into the core and it has seemed to help a bit, bringing people back to the center. As you can see Detroit has the area of three of the largest cities in the country and not even half the population. A huge amount of money is being invested in razing the ruins of Detroit but the majority of the abandonment is residential and light industrial. Money is being arbitrarily thrown at projects without a clear goal. Citizens are actually trying to “beautify: there communities by implementing public art into the ruins- it quite creepy. My proposal to the problem is to consolidate the population into eight individual directs, including the core. In designating the areas where consolidation world take place I looked at crime rate, foreclosure, abandonment, and current economic diversity. Is an area past saving- is one area better then the other- the answer was yes. So once I divided the areas worth saving and isolated the areas of abandonment I calculated the new density of Detroit. Before consolidation Detroit had a density of 3169 people per sq mile (6 per acre). Once the population is moved into one of the eight districts the density doubles to about 6338 people per square mile (12 per acre) leaving the habitable area of Detroit at 71.9 sq miles and the remaining 71.1 sq miles becomes natural community support space. With spreading the population across this area a higher density is achieved, to put it in perspective Seattle sits at 7361 people per sq mile. The open space is set aside to serve the newly created districts on an individual basis and match the approximate area, they will also serve as wildlife habitat as the decay process continues. Once I split the city into districts it was realized the scale and magnitude of the freeway system. This is a system that is not used to its design capacity, and once the city is divided into self sufficient quadrants it became even more unnecessary.
Freeway Transformation Detroit has constructed an enormous high speed roadway system. The out dated and under utilized freeway has become a burden on the city and continues to widen the voids in the city. With over 80 miles of highway and interstate it provides the opportunity to create a new mode of navigating through the city. The massive road system will be transformed into a secondary commute scheme. Upward of 13 lane roadways will be condensed into two lane roads, making room for a coupled network of pedestrian trails and wildlife habitat. The industrial rail system has been out of service for nearly 20 years but the infrastructure still remains. This network transects the highway system providing the opportunity to offer recreation paths to points of interest and historical sites that will serve as a reminder to the past.
Freeway Transformation The adjacent Detroit river is home to the only international wildlife refuge (Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge) providing a habitat for over 2000 different species. With the roadways making room for nature to once again takeover, wildlife corridors can be created to help stimulate diverse ecosystems throughout the Detroit area. Although there is no exact science to space requirements to provide migration routes the expansive removal of roadway provides opportunity for wildlife to move freely between the refuge and the newly created natural spaces throughout the city. Creating these passageways will create a new type of urban by-way in which direct access to nature is made to the city.
Freeway Transformation This transformation is designed to be as natural as possible. Letting nature take back the man made impositions will be a process that will create the most authentic environment once all usable material is harvested for district development. With human interference provided to maintain the right direction in the transformation it will take several years and create a land reef of habitat options. This transformation will celebrate Detroitâ€™s fall and provide a base for its rise. This area of the country offers a great environment for many different species and this provides opportunity for them to controllably infiltrate the urban fabric. Aside from the large mammals, there are many small mammals and waterfowl that can already be found inhabiting the city in its current state. The larger wildlife corridors will accommodate the migration in a controlled manner. Barriers will be in place to retain the wildlife, as the corridors move into the designated wild space the barriers will be lifted allowing for free exploration.
Freeway Transformation The transformation from freeway to corridor is one that will take time, as to create the most authentic environment for wildlife.
Once all usable
material is taken for district use the roadway will start down the transformation.
will celebrate Detroitâ€™s recent history as it returns to a great city.
This will serve as
a reminder of the history of
Freeway Transformation This new type of urban scenic by-way will provide a new way for people living in the urban fabric to access natural and wild space.
These routs will pass through the city and offer access to many sights constructed and natural or just provide an escape of the afternoon.
The eight proposed districts of Detroit will address the issue of voids in the urban fabric. By consolidating the population, density is increased and the voids filled. These districts will take on a New Urbanist approach. They will provide living necessities, economic necessities, and social necessities to the residents. This will minimize the daily commute outside of their direct and area of support. Access to other districts and designated support spaces is vital for the city as a whole to thrive but is not a necessary action on a daily basis. Each district has a support space of approximately the same size as the adjoining district. Within these spaces, points of interests ranging from constructed wetland to modern day ruins that were allowed to continue down the path that has already started will be called out. All material that can not be directly moved will be recycled and used. These spaces will serve as an urban mine before final transformation. These spaces are proposed to serve the community whether it is thought energy production, food production, or access to nature. The purpose is to provide rural amenities threaded into the urban fabric.
shrinking cities in the us
detroits core abandonment
urban urban edgeedge
Corktown The smallest of the eight districts is Corktown, a historical district that is adjacent to the center of Detroit and is the oldest neighborhood in Detroit. It was initially an industrial center along the Detroit River providing access to trade and commerce. Within the district is the historic rail line that once served Detroit and terminated at the iconic rail station. Like the rest of Detroit, Corktown experienced record foreclosure and abandonment rates stemming from the seventies. Corktown has become a mostly residential with pockets of industrial and commercial. With its proximity to the core, stable economy and rich past Corktown has become the case study district. North of Corktown is the Briggs district. This area is the approximate size of Corktown but has far less to offer. It was choked from the urban fabric by the four different freeways that surround it. It has a vacancy rate of one in three properties and has seen almost no new development in the last 10 years. This area will be optimal to provide large scale urban gardens for the people of Corktown. Energy production can also take place and although there is not enough land to produce enough power for the proposed population of Corktown the steady wind from the Northwest is optimal for wind turbines.
briggs agricultural support space
corktown historic depot
In the 90â€™s urban renewal took place and many of the buildings that once lined this grand avenue into the city center were removed.
This left a vast amount of space between buildings and a less pedestrian oriented street scape.
Over time buildings will be moved from support spaces and used to re-create density and a sense of place on Detroitâ€™s axis and
recycled architecture to form new density
Corktown Support Space
Once material is mined out of the support space this area will be left alone to continue down the path of degradation.
This will create
a dynamic atmosphere and an ever changing landscape; one that people can relate and identify to throughout the decaying process.
Eventually this area will become the utopia of Detroit, providing intersections, wildlife, and destinations.
creating destinations and habitat
When exploring all the possibilities of my proposed support space I looked at the implementation of urban camping. This was one exercise to look at turning the current water treatment facility into a wetlands and then provide access to the city through the rail network. Once here they could enjoy the nature or stay the night in the campground. It was decided that this was to specific for my project but regardless it was a good exercise and added personal validity to my project.
URBAN CAMPGROUND DETROIT
LEGEND POINTS OF INTEREST WALKING TRAIL TENT CAMPING AMPHITHEATER PARKING PICNIC AREA BIKING TRAIL CONSTRUCTED WETLAND REMAINING STRUCTURES
URBAN CAMPGROUND SCHEME 1
PROCESS To start initial plan for consolidation, a quick street layout was necessary. Corktown had long blocks and I propose a more narrow and connected grid.
PURPOSED DISTRICT DESIGN
1 S Q U A R E
1 S Q U A R E
Initially it was my plan to provide a building program to my project. This did not quite happen but early process suggests that this would be a community center that served as a gather place, rec facility, and the urban mining building. It would be located in the support space and utilize recycled material in the construction.
CORKTOWN SITE SECTION
EQUIPMENT AND MECHANICAL SPACE COMMUNITY RECREATION SPACE COMMUNITY ACTIVITY CENTER REPURPOSING / MATERIAL STORAGE
Population Time line
Population by Decade
1910 Population Growth Population Decrease
Consolidating Detroit Population by Decade
Population Growth Population Decrease
Original Woodward plan 1905
Detroit has constructed an enormous high speed roadway system. The out dated and under utilized freeway has become a burden on the city and continues to widen the voids in the city. With over 80 miles of highway and interstate it provides the opportunity to create a new mode of navigating through the city. The massive road system will be transformed into a secondary commute scheme. Upward of 13 lane roadways will be condensed into two lane roads, making room for a coupled network of pedestrian trails and wildlife habitat. The industrial rail system has been out of service for nearly 20 years but the infrastructure still remains. This network transects the highway system providing the opportunity to offer recreation paths to points of interest and historical sites that will serve as a reminder to the past.
The adjacent Detroit river is home to the only international wildlife refuge (Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge) providing a habitat for over 2000 different species. With the roadways making room for nature to once again takeover, wildlife corridors can be created to help stimulate diverse ecosystems throughout the Detroit area. Although there is no exact science to space requirements to provide migration routes the expansive removal of roadway provides opportunity for wildlife to move freely between the refuge and the newly created natural spaces throughout the city. Creating these passageways will create a new type of urban by-way in which direct access to nature is made to the city.
N Corktown aerial
detroits core abandonment
crime rate comparison
Each district has a support space of approximately the same size as the adjoining district. Within these spaces, points of interests ranging from constructed wetland to modern day ruins that were allowed to continue down the path that has already started will be called out. All material that can not be directly moved will be recycled and used. These spaces will serve as an urban mine before final transformation. These spaces are proposed to serve the community whether it is thought energy production, food production, or access to nature. The purpose is to provide rural amenities threaded into the urban fabric.
shrinking cities in the us
The eight proposed districts of Detroit will address the issue of voids in the urban fabric. By consolidating the population, density is increased and the voids filled. These districts will take on a New Urbanist approach. They will provide living necessities, economic necessities, and social necessities to the residents. This will minimize the daily commute outside of their direct and area of support. Access to other districts and designated support spaces is vital for the city as a whole to thrive but is not a necessary action on a daily basis.
The smallest of the eight districts is Corktown, a historical district that is adjacent to the center of Detroit and is the oldest neighborhood in Detroit. It was initially an industrial center along the Detroit River providing access to trade and commerce. Within the district is the historic rail line that once served Detroit and terminated at the iconic rail station. Like the rest of Detroit, Corktown experienced record foreclosure and abandonment rates stemming from the seventies. Corktown has become a mostly residential with pockets of industrial and commercial. With its proximity to the core, stable economy and rich past Corktown has become the case study district.
North of Corktown is the Briggs district. This area is the approximate size of Corktown but has far less to offer. It was choked from the urban fabric by the four different freeways that surround it. It has a vacancy rate of one in three properties and has seen almost no new development in the last 10 years. This area will be optimal to provide large scale urban gardens for the people of Corktown. Energy production can also take place and although there is not enough land to produce enough power for the proposed population of Corktown the steady wind from the Northwest is optimal for wind turbines.
briggs agricultural support space
corktown historic depot
This transformation is designed to be as natural as possible. Letting nature take back the man made impositions will be a process that will create the most authentic environment once all usable material is harvested for district development. With human interference provided to maintain the right direction in the transformation it will take several years and create a land reef of habitat options. This transformation will celebrate Detroitâ€™s fall and provide a base for its rise. This area of the country offers a great environment for many different species and this provides opportunity for them to controllably infiltrate the urban fabric. Aside from the large mammals, there are many small mammals and waterfowl that can already be found inhabiting the city in its current state. The larger wildlife corridors will accommodate the migration in a controlled manner. Barriers will be in place to retain the wildlife, as the corridors move into the designated wild space the barriers will be lifted allowing for free exploration.
eight separate districts forestlands constructed wetlands urban farmland current nature preserve
freeway transformation- 13 lanes
1) 5.322 sq miles 2) 1.60 sq miles 3) 11.22 sq miles 4) 14.848 sq miles 5) 15.395 sq miles 6) 15.93 sq miles 7) 6.70 sq miles 8) 14.84 sq miles
freeway transformation- 14 lanes
wildlife habitat and pedestrian trail
Michigan Ave.- Corktown
wildlife habitat and pedestrian trail
creating destinations and habitat
recycled architecture to form new density
When I started my thesis it was my goal to focus on a building and its service to the community. I wanted to establish a Detroit utopia, making some assumptions and guidelines. Throughout the semester my guidelines were challenged and questioned, forcing me to clarify and continue to develop them. My intent to design a building was shadowed by the developing consolidation plan of Detroit. I now see how a clear and developed idea for the city can be more important than a building plan in a theoretical place. When focusing on the city I was able to jump scale, pointing out the character that will start to take over Detroit. This was a challenging project on many different levels, but one of the most personal challenges was getting past the fact that this was not directly an architectural project, not focusing on a building. When explaining to colleagues many were not sure how or why I would stray from a building design. A clear and thought out city plan is far more important than a building design when creating an alternative city concept. I feel that the critique went quite well. My idea was clearly defined and presented. The suggestions for the project were insightful and helpful but did not fully disagree with my over arching ideas. For the most part my idea was bought in to as a viable option for the city. It was thought that perhaps I should have pushed the envelope a bit further and increase the density even more. The questions that were raised I was able to address. I was prepared on every level of my project, from density, food production, and wildlife habitat. My graphics were clear in showing my goals for what I want to accomplish in the city, and was told so. In the end it was a great final critique that led to great comments and even better discussion.
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http://fc06.deviantart.net/fs11/i/2006/181/c/3/Detroit_Silhouette_by_Shame00. jpg http://www.detroityes.com/home.htm
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