Comparative Urbanism. The Healthy City

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ComparativeUrbanism

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A Seminar on Exploring and Comparing the Concept of the Healthy City in Alexandria, Virginia & Washington, DC, USA and Wiesbaden, Germany

ComparativeUrbanism

Published by

Technical University of Darmstadt Department of Architecture El-Lissitzky-Str. 1, 64287 Darmstadt, DE

Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center 1001 Prince Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

Virginia Tech Research Center School of Public and International Affairs 900 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22203

Lan Li , Sabbir Hussain , Hoda Taheri

→ John Carlyle Square, Alexandria & Farragut Square, Washington

Emel Özdemir, Marilena Appel, Agustin Chambard, Aaron Buren → Kurpark, Wiesbaden & Oronoco Park, Alexandria

Christina Jeyaseelan, Özge Taşar, Michelle Dsouza, Sarah Espenhain, William Redmon → Bowling Green, Wiesbaden & Market Square, Alexandria

Pratham Rewandkar, Jashwanth Vemulapalli, Drusya Kakarlapudi, Louise Bullock, Jürgen Springer → Waterfront, Wiesbaden & Waterfront, Alexandria

Contents 4
6 The
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Welcome
Course
Research Projects 12 Land Use and Open Public Spaces
16 Child Friendly Parks
20 Color, Historical Public Spaces and Mental Well-being
24 Accessibility of Urban Waterfronts
28 Wrap Up & Outlook 29 Imprint Online
→ architektur.tu-darmstadt.de/transatlantic-discourse/

Welcome to a transatlantic discourse on the healthy cities!

Car-dependent cities worldwide increase the risk to human health through air and water pollution, noise, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, lack of personal safety, and social isolation. There is growing evidence on regional and local interventions can foster more walking, cycling and public transport use, and in turn lead to better health outcomes. Regional and local governments can increase destination accessibility, distribution of employment, parking managing, active-travel friendly street networks, resi dential density, availability of public transport, and the quality of urban design. While the Healthy Cities Network by the World Health Organization (WHO) has become a global movement, there are still many challenges ahead, such as growing health inequity. Transdisciplinary research and implementation to city agglomerations can help solve these problems. This publication presents what we can learn about healthy cities from multiple perspectives that connect two cities across the Atlantic within the Washington D.C. and Frankfurt Rhein Main areas. The upcoming pages present comparative studies by architecture and urban design students joining a collabora tive seminar between Virginia Tech and the Technical University of Darmstadt. The students’ work reveals how public space is shaped by its morphologic, functional, and historic context and what specific design elements enable or hinder meaningful and active use of squares, streets, and parks. A specific focus was given to improving health and wellbeing for citizens of different ages, gender, and mobility restrictions. The results show differ ences in physical shape, structure, and urban planning processes between the two cities, and indeed within neighbourhoods of the same city. They also indicate communalities in how to activate urban fabric for an engaging and accessible public space, how to research possible relations between mental health and color in the urban environment, or how to bring diverse stakeholders together as part of engaging and open processes. Equally interesting are

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the questions students raised during the research, opening up a discourse and hopefully stimulating further exchange between students, researchers, policy makers and practitioners. This is already the second edition of this fascinating collaboration. The first edition – focused on accessibility and diversity in urban planning – came to life during a global pandemic, when travel restrictions made it impossible for students and staff to visit each other; to introduce their cities and work together in-person on-site and experience the places with all senses. The following pages document the enormous creativity with which students collabo rated remotely – forming transatlantic working groups and using digital tools and video calls and producing videos, postcards, diagrams, interviews, maps and posters along the way to commu nicate their ideas. One year into the pandemic, in this second edition, it became evident that these digital tools are here to stay. Comparative studies may indeed contribute to a global exchange between urban designers, based on an increased sensitivity for health issues and health equity in the wider population. The process was exceptionally guided by two main instructors, one on each side of the Atlantic, Gladys Vasquez Fauggier and Scott Archer, who steered the process and compiled a strong framework of video lectures, digital workshops, design critiques and individual tutoring. We are thankful to our generous guest lecturers including Prof. Jenny Roe, University of Virginia, Melanie Göbel and Marvin Burmester – Urban Planning Department – State Capital of Wiesbaden and Bill Conkey, Department of Plan ning & Zoning, City of Alexandria. This project would not have been possible without the generous support from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) program for digital mobility for students during the pandemic as well as the German Research Association (DFG) Heisenberg grant “Urban Design and Health”. The collaboration is rooted in the Strategic Partnership between Virginia Tech and Technical University of Darmstadt, which has provided an invaluable stim ulus and framework of support to develop joint research on urban planning over the years. This joint seminar has yet intensified this collaboration, involving students and their perspectives on both sides of the Atlantic, opening up many avenues how to study public life in the future.

Martin Knöll

→ Professor of Urban Design and Planning, Department of Architecture, TU Darmstadt

Susan Piedmont-Palladino

→ Director of the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, Virginia Tech

Ralph Buehler

→ Professor and Chair of Urban Affairs and Planning, Virginia Tech Research Center, Arlington

Paul Kelch

→ Professor and Chair of Urban Affairs and Planning, Virginia Tech Research Center, Arlington

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Gladys Vasquez Fauggier → Associate Researcher, Urban Design and Planning, Department of Architecture, TU Darm stadt Scott Archer → Adjunct Instructor, Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, Virginia Tech

The Course

Four Theses Ahead

→ First, cities and societies are growing rapidly and therefore sustainable solutions that are socially responsible, ecologically compatible and economically viable, need to be developed to overcome current and future problems.

→ Second, we believe that “health enhancing” is a fourth pillar to reach urban sustainability, next to the already known ones (socially responsible, ecologically compatible and economically viable). Healthy urban environments are key aspects to reach a sustainable development of cities and their population.

→ Third, research is a systematic technique that allow us to find holistic, integrative and sustainable solutions in design; future generations of designers and planners are up to develop and put into practice efficient research techniques.

→ Fourth, the future of cities comes with different perspectives and trends, driven by society, economy, politics, etc. We, as designers and planners, need to lead the development processes of our cities, enhancing critical thinking and avoiding simply following trends.

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Concept

Under these four theses, we designed the course Comparative Urbanism 2022 – The Healthy City. It was a seminar offered as an evolution of Comparative Urbanism 2021 (focused on accessible public space) to architecture and urban design students of the Technische Universität Darmstadt and Virginia Tech’s Washington Alexandria Architecture Center on the spring 2022 with a focus on healthy urban environments, comparative urban studies and research techniques. The course concept and methodology are based on the first cohort in Spring 2021. Under healthy cities we understand the city responses to its inhabitants and its developmental needs in an appropriate and efficient way. Moreover, the healthy city is a resilient city, meaning that its population, systems and infrastructure have the ability to cope with break downs and to modify itself to meet the new emerging requirements. Finally, the healthy city enables its habitants to use it to their advantage and to educate them.1

The healthy city as a concept has many edges to be explored. We embraced the concept in all its forms: physical, emotional and cognitive. Therefore, students designed and developed their own research from different perspectives: some focused on the physical (infrastructure, physical barriers), and others on the emotional and cognitive perspective (well-being feeling, cognitive perception, emotions). The selection of the two areas of research (one in Germany and the other in the U.S.) had to have a degree of comparability among them in terms of typology, use, cultural meaning, position within the city, etc. There was a diversity of scenarios and activities performed within, having for example: plazas, parks, market places, alleys, streets, and roundabouts. The diversity of perspectives around the topic of the healthy city, as well as the spaces and activities analyzed, brought interesting results and fruitful discussions during the course.

Methodology

The seminar took place from March until May 2022, having always collective meetings despite the different time zones. All meetings were held in digital form. The usage of several digital tools allowed collaborative work and socialization among the students.

1 → Duhl, L. J. (1986): The healthy city: Its function and its future. Health promotion international, 1(1), 55-60

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Examples of the first task: students collected photographs of open spaces of their cities (Wiesbaden or Alexandria/ Washington) and described the space from the point of view of the Healthy City. Credits (from top to bottom): Emel Özdemir (TUDa), Agustin Chambard (VT), Jürgen Springer (TUDa), Sabbir Hussain (VT) ↓

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Students worked in tandems (2 students from Darmstadt and 2 from Washington), and developed a research project with the same topic but in two different locations (the city of Wiesbaden and city of Alexandria / Washington) as cases of study. In this sense, a good framework was provided to develop comparative studies, which provided a fruitful learning experience.

The structure of the course was built in a way that the students enter step by step on the research process through different simple tasks: from observing a public space to creating research questions/hypothesis, selecting methods used in urban planning, gathering empirical data and coming up with a conclusion. In addition, the structure allowed from the individual to a collective work form.

Workshop

In addition, a workshop called What, Where, Why and How? was included on this seminar focusing on the research project´s design. This workshop focuses on the entire process of research design, acknowledging that a strong and clear idea ease the research process and makes it more fruitful. Through the work shop exercises, students explored the four questions: what, referring to the topic and question to work with; where, refer ring to the places selected to conduct the study and to compare; why, referring to the justification of the topic and how, referring to the methods on how to conduct the research. One of the outcomes were digital posters answering those questions, which created a clear research framework. Finally, the seminar had as final output eight different posters (two per group) displaying the final results of the comparative studies. Each poster, as mentioned before, has a different focus of the topic Healthy Cities (e.g. infrastructure, well-being, safety, etc.), different public spaces in each city, and different research methods applied. But all of them touch important aspects, sometimes underseen on a city, and open new questions and new perspectives for both cities.

Gladys

→ Associate Researcher, Urban Design and Planning, Department of Architecture, TU Darm stadt

Scott Archer

→ Adjunct Instructor, Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, Virginia Tech

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Vasquez Fauggier

Research Projects

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Waterfront
↓ Kurpark Bowling ↓
Wiesbaden 0 0.1 0.5 1km
11 Waterfront ↑ Farragut Square ↓ ← Oronoco Park Market place ↓ John Carlyle Square ↓ Washington DC Alexandria 1mi 0.1 0 0.5
12 Land Use and Open Public Spaces
Li ,
John Carlyle Square, Alexandria Farragut Square, Washington → Urban public space → Park → Park & Land use VECTORWORKS EDUCATIONAL VERSION → Park Usage 0 0.1 0.2 0.5km 0.5mi 0.1 0 0.2 VECTORWORKS EDUCATIONAL VERSION
Lan
Sabbir Hussain , Hoda Taheri

Despite similarities in form, area, and shape, each urban open space exhibits a different character. Sometimes it is challenging for urban designers to develop the physical features required for a particular open area. Therefore, it is essential to comprehend the relationship between urban open space use and surrounding land use. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between two quan tifiable variables: use and surrounding land use, through a comparison of two parks, one in Alexandria, Virginia and another in Washington, DC, that are similar in terms of form, area, and shape. A variety of survey methods were used to collect primary data, including non-participatory observa tion, structured interviews, and field surveys. Secondary sources of information were also accessed. It was discovered that there are significant differences in use due to differences in number of users, age group, and type of use, all of which are resulted by the surrounding land-use pattern. Future urban designers can use the research findings to better fore cast the character of urban public space based on its use and surrounding land use, allowing them to design more appro priately and sensibly.

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Get measurement from the Google Map

John Carlyle Square

Despite similarities in form, area, and shape, each urban public space exhibits a different character. Sometimes it is challenging for urban designers to develop the physical features required for a partic ular open area. Therefore, it is essential to comprehend the relationship between urban open space use and surrounding land use. The purpose of this study is to examine the relationship between two quantifiable variables: use and surrounding land use, through a comparison of two parks, one in Alex andria, Virginia and another in Washington, DC. They have similarities in form, size, layout, and also surrounded by buildings closely in the city but they are in different neighborhood environments.

Get measurement from the Google Map

Farragut Square

Hypothesis: The possible explanation is that there is a difference in use as a result of the land use dif ference.

Research Methodology: The research methodology is quantitative and exploratory in nature. The fol lowing methods were used to conduct the investigation:

1. Mapping.

2. Non-participant Observation

3. Structured Interview

Land Use

Surrounding Building Types and First Floor Usage

National Center for Missing & Academy Alexandria Center Bank

Commercial Building

Commercial Building Commercial Building

Commercial Building

Commercial Building

Convenient Store

Well Fargo Center Bank with Restaurant at First Floor

Commercial Building

Restaurant & Education Center

Commercial Building

Society for Human Resource Management Restaurant & Food Store

Commercial Building

The Army & Navy Club

Education Centers & Restaurant

Residential Building Commercial Building

Use
The Relationship between Use of Urban Open Space and Its Surrounding Land
Commercial Building Commercial Building
Commercial Building Metro Station
Restaurant & Food Store
Varieties Stores Restaurant & Food Store
Industial Institutional Mass
Multiple/Mixed Residential Transportation Other
Commercial
Assembly
John Carlyle Square Farragut Square John Carlyle Square Farragut Square

Location: John Carlyle Square

Time: Monday 12pm - 1pm Weather: Sunny Tool:

Farragut Square Farragut Square Stay 22People Total: 87 People Total: 147 People

Resident Location of Participants

John Carlyle Square Farragut Square

Non-participant Observation Across Across

Stay Stay Stay

Across

Open Space Types and Five Minute Walking Range John Carlyle Farragut

22People Acrossing Reasons of Visiting the Space

Be with Child 13%

Take Survey

Age of Participants

Identity of Participants

Be with Child 0% Meet Others 23%

Meet Others 0% Dog Walking 0%

Escape from Interior 14% Be in Nature 23% Be in Nature 32% Lunch 23% Lunch 27%

Dog Walking 9%

Farragut Square Survey Boards, GoPro Sticker(Pick Color Randomly) Take Survey Pass 9% Pass 5% Escape from Interior 23%

Survey John Carlyle Square Farragut Square Farragut Square

Conclusion

• Differences in User’s Age and Occupation: e.g., More children in John Carlyle, More busy profes sionals in Farragut, More students in John Carlyle

• Differences in Use: e.g., People stay more in John Carlyle, whereas, people pass through Farragut more. Due to its location in the capital, Farragut receives more visitors than John Carlyle. John Carlyle is primarily used for activities centered on residential neighborhoods (i.e., dog walking, watching movies, etc.), whereas Farragut is primarily used for activities centered on working peo ple (i.e., taking lunch, meeting friends, etc.).

• Implication: The research findings can be used by future urban designers to better forecast the character of urban space based on its use and land use, allowing them to design more appropri ately and sensibly.

• Limitation: The data are for a specific time period and weather condition; they do not cover the entire day or year. As a result, the research ignores the year-round character of the locations. The survey’s response rate is nominal (10-15 percent ).

Memorial Park Sport Field Playground Square Park Pathway Park Memorial Park Sport Field Playground Square Park Pathway Park Cemetery Park
John Carlyle John Carlyle John Carlyle John Carlyle John Carlyle John Carlyle John Carlyle John Carlyle John Carlyle John Carlyle Farragut Farragut Farragut Farragut Farragut Farragut Farragut Farragut Farragut Farragut Farragut Public Transportation Public Transportation Bicycle Scooter Car Foot Pedestrian & Bike Metro & Bus Drop-off Metro & Bus Station Metro & Bus Station Metro & Rail Station Metro & Rail Station Bike Lane Route Pedestain Foot John Carlyle Square Farragut Square Employed 21 - 30 11 - 21 0 - 10 31 - 40 41 - 50 51+ 20% 20% 20% 0% 0% 0% 40% 40% 40% 60% 60% 60% 80% 80% 80% Pensioner Visitor Student/Child 36% in Washington DC 69% in Alexandria 32% in other NCR 32% in other NCR 32% in other cities 9% in other cities John Carlyle Square
John Carlyle Transportation Systems On-site Survey Data Summary John Carlyle Square John Carlyle Square

Child Friendly Parks

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Özdemir, Marilena
Kurpark, Wiesbaden Oronoco Park, Alexandria VECTORWORKS EDUCATIONAL VERSION → park design → active behaviour → children → child friendly spaces 0 0.1 0.2 0.5km 0.5mi 0.1 0 0.2
Emel
Appel, Agustin Chambard, Aaron Buren

With urbanization expanding at a rapid rate, more children will grow up in an urban environment than every previous gener ation. The urban park has become a critical center of social interaction and access to nature that was once present in a family's backyard/garden. The design for the parks will become a serious concern as more families raise children in urban envi ronments. Careful design decisions will ensure the inclusivity of all persons, with special consideration for children, to allow universal access to nature in a safe and enriching way. Access to outdoor space and water views (as available) will become a vital characteristic of a healthy and safe neighborhood and healthy city overall. This condition could prevent the feeling that families with young children need to move out of cities, supporting compact urban centers rather than unsustainable sprawl. Our research focused on how children interact with a neighborhood park with and without guardian in both Wies baden, Germany and Alexandria, Virginia, USA. Our methods for collecting information are primarily mapping, personal observations, and existing documentation and research. Our intent was to examine the usage of these parks by school-aged children and their guardians to determine whether or not comparable strengths and weaknesses exist between them. The walkability of a neighborhood park ensures its viability for all residents to enjoy the park and take advantage of the multiple benefits of short escapes into nature while surrounded by high-density urban fabric. Initial conclusions from our efforts show widespread usage of the parks with varied durations for people. Patrons mostly pass through the park as a connector in their commutes but those with children seek out shelter and entertainment for their children, expecting to remain for an extended amount of time. Through observations, we found that children in both parks are interested in the water's edge, hills, and trees seemingly undeterred by the lack of dedicated playground equipment. Detailed analysis showed that chil dren were not bothered by the lack of a playground, but rather found other means or entertainment with most focusing on the water feature due to its dynamic presence and abundance of wildlife. The water can be a dangerous place for small children so supervision as a common theme for both parks.

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WHAT

An urban planning research about the rela tionship between urban park design and chil drens‘ activity/behaviour/(duration of) stay

Subquestions

_What impact does the given safety structure have?

_How does the accessibility of the park influ ence it?

_Which elements improve/disable it?

_Which guidelines have to be considered?

USER STRUCTURE

HOW

_mapping & sectioning _observing & counting _diagramming

_photographic analysis

_existing sources: guidelines, historical preserva tion, Wiesb.: Stadt Ralley

USES OF THE PARK & HEALTHY STIMULUS

Activities of kids

Sunny, little clou dy, no rain, 23°C/ 73,4°F, little wind

Saturday, 7th May 2022, 3-4pm Kurpark 07 May 2022 - 3-4pm adults (74) - 47% Seniors (26) - 17% Children (till 18y) 56 -

_sitting and chilling, mostly in the shadow _playing with statue _climbing on trees _walking and running around _riding pedal boat, esp. families _watching the lake _riding a scooter, riding a bike, skating _playing soccer on the lawn _playing in the pool and with toys

Location of children

_mostly on lawn close to pathways _mostly shadowy/close to trees _frequent use of lake _more children walking than sitting _high use of pool and toys at restau rant at the plaza

Subconclusion: The kids were ac tive in various ways. Families were mostly located on the edges of the lawn in the shadow, playing at the little pool of the restaurant at the terrace or on a boat on the lake.

Subconclusion: The Park was visited by many kids, most of which between the ages of 0-4 years and supervised.

SAFETY

_rules: riding a bike, a scooter or skating is forbidden in the park; dogs must be on a leash _the lake and the high topographic changes are not secured; kids may fall _the are no winterservices _there is a broken staircase with little handrail at one of the entrances _all entrances have a gate and cameras

NATURE

green and blue infrastructure and animals _many trees _big lawns _many benches _statues _a lake with possibility to ride pedal boat _stream _secluded spaces with trees and topographic variations _many birds, esp. ducks, also dogs

_there are 4 entrances to the park _3 entrances have ramps going down, one entrance with stairs _all entrances can be closed by a gate _the park cannot be accessed at other locations because the park is sourrounded by a fence, topographic variations, high vegetation and at one point even a stream _3 entrances are at rather less frequent streets; the other ent rance is located directly at traffic lights

Subconclusion: The park accesses are mostly safe, while some risks remain. There is only a little amount of handrails or fences within the park. The park is very green and also offers blue infrastructure which can be used to ride a pedal boat.

CONCLUSION

_The urban park design can have both a posi tive and a negative affect on the interaction of children with it. Therefore it can contribute to the „healthy city“ concept.

_A park doesn‘t need to have a designed playground to invite kids; but a single attrac tion will be enough; in Alexandria this is the ri ver. Particularly, nature serves as an attraction because it cannot always be found at home.

_A lot of parental supervision was observed but cannot be connected directly to the urban park design.

Common positive features of the two parks:

_A lot of children visit the parks to meet and hang out.

_Water features: More kids are staying clo se to water, so this is verifiable as an attrac tive urban park design element.

_Almost all entrances provide barrier-free access, which is important because a lot of visitors where coming with a stroller.

Differences and critique:

_Water: In Kurpark, not a lot of children where found close to the stream, but rather using the lake (pedal boat) vs. Alexan dria where walking next to water is popular.

_The rules to not drive a bike/skate/scooter in the parks is limiting the children‘s activity choices.

_In Alexandria, there are less trees in the Park which lessens the shadowy places which were liked in Wiesbaden.

_The Parks‘ surrounding barriers in Wiesbaden make the ac cess more difficult.

Sources: https://www.wiesbaden.de/leben-in-wiesbaden/freizeit/natur-erleben/gruenanlagen-parks/kurpark-rallye.php (9th May 22); https://www.wiesbaden2030.de (9th May 22); https://maps.google.com; https://www.alexandriava.gov/Planning; https://www.alexandriava.gov/parks/alexandria-parks-listing-m-r#OronocoBayPark;

Comparative Urbanism

Presentation

How does the design of an urban park affect the way children choose to interact with it An urban planning research about
C O N C L U S I O N A N A L Y S I S T A K E O F F
W I E S B A D E N
Final
WIESBADEN MARYLAND KURPARK SCHOOLS ORONOCO PARK SCHOOLS
KURPARK, WIESBADEN ORONOCO BAY PARK, ALEXANDRIA
30 30 50 30 30 50
36% ages children supervised
children
supervision
ages of children Kurpark - 07 May 2022 - 3-4pm adults
Seniors
Children
ages children
supervision
ages
adults (74)
47%
EDUCATIONAL VALUE
https://www.wiesbaden.de/leben-in-wiesbaden/freizeit/natur-erleben/gruenanlagen-parks/kurpark-rallye.php
42 - 93%
independently 3 - 7%
8-12 years 10 13% 4-8 years 30 - 38% 0-4 years 38 - 49%
(74) - 47%
(26) - 17%
(till 18y) 56 - 36%
supervised 42 - 93% children independently 3 - 7%
8-12 years 10 - 13% 4-8 years 30 - 38% 0-4 years 38 - 49%
of children
-
Seniors (26) - 17% Children (till 18y) 56 - 36% children supervised 42 - 93% children independently 3 7% supervision 8-12 years 10 - 13% 4-8 years 30 - 38% 0-4 years 38 - 49% ages of children Kurpark - 07 May 2022 - 3-4pm adults (74) - 47% Seniors (26) - 17% Children (till 18y) 56 - 36% ages children supervised 42 - 93% children independently 3 - 7% supervision 8-12 years 10 - 13% 4-8 years 30 - 38% 0-4 years 38 - 49% ages of children Families: 38 Baby strollers: 26
In Kurpark in Wiesbaden there is a „Kurpark-Ral lye“ to teach children in a playful manner about the aspects of the park. Source:

WHY helps/improves health of kids and families --> contri bution to the „healthy city concept“ _socially _mentally stimulus nature/animals educational value _physically activity air quality

Hypothesis

_If there is less safety provided in the park, then the kids need more supervision and cannot stay/ play independently.

_Historical preservation restricts/limits the urban park design possibilities.

_Expectation: Because there are a lot of schools and dwelling structures around the park, a lot of children are using it.

USES OF THE PARK & HEALTHY STIMULUS

Activities of kids

_sitting and chilling, mostly in the shadow _climbing on trees and hills _walking and running around _riding pedal boat, esp. families _watching the lake/waterfowl _riding a scooter or riding a bike _playing soccer on the lawn

Oronoco Bay Park - 08 May 2022 - 3-4pm

Location of children

_mostly near water‘s edge _mostly shadowy/close to trees _frequent use of over-water boardwalk _more children walking than sitting _most children simply passed through the park walking or riding bikes

Subconclusion: The kids were active in various ways. Families were mostly located near the edge of the Potomac River and particularly on the overwater boardwalk structure watching the ducks, geese, swans, and turtles

cloudy, no rain, 53°F/ 12°C, medium wind

Oronoco Bay Park - 08 May 2022 - 3-4pm

USER STRUCTURE

Oronoco Bay Park - 08 May 2022 - 3-4pm

Sunday, 8th May 2022, 3-4pm

Oronoco Bay Park - 08 May 2022 - 3-4pm

Oronoco Bay Park - 08 May 2022 - 3-4pm

Adults (74) - 38%

Seniors (26) - 13% Children (till 18y) 56 - 29%

children supervised - 19 - 95% children independently - 1 - 5% supervision

ACCESS

_there are 3 entrances to the park _all entrances have ramps going down into the park _the park cannot be closed by a gate _the park can be easily accessed at other locations because it is fully open on all sides, encouraging free movement

SAFETY NATURE

green and blue infrastructure and animals _few trees, many young and few mature _big lawns _many benches _a river with competitve rowing facility _secluded spaces with trees and topogra phic variations _many waterfowl, swans, and dogs

Contribution to the „HEALTHY CITY“ concept

_Urban Park design improves health of kids and families socially, mentally, physically, educationally and in terms of local recreation.

_Urban park design can fill the need for green and blue infrastructure where private green infrastructure is mis sing. Access to public urban parks is an essential compo nent of child and youth-friendly cities.

_Places where kids can meet and hang out with friends after school/on weekends supports social activities.

_Children and youth seeking involvement in play and sporting activities, urban parks can be a hotspot for it.

PROPOSALS to improve the relationship bet ween urban park design and children

_We propose to have several areas with a high safety infrastructure to simplify leaving kids without supervision.

_We suggest implementing/encouraging designs with a better defined/safer kids playing areas.

_We propose to offer signs showing examples how to use the park to improve health and fun, rather than only marking what is forbidden.

_For educational value, improve maps and signs to teach about historic preservation, the meaning/value of trees and water are suggested.

Adults (74) - 38% Seniors (26) - 13% Children (till 18y) 56 - 29% ages children supervised - 19 - 95% children independently - 1 - 5% supervision

ages of children

ages

4-8 years - 6 - 30%

0-4 years - 4 - 20% ages of children

Adults (74) - 38% Seniors (26) - 13% Children (till 18y) 56 - 29% ages children supervised - 19 - 95% children independently - 1 - 5% supervision

Adults (74) - 38% Seniors (26) - 13% Children (till 18y) 56 - 29% ages children supervised - 19 - 95% children independently - 1 - 5% supervision

Adults (74) - 38% Seniors (26) 13% Children (till 18y) 56 - 29% ages children supervised - 19 - 95% children independently - 1 - 5% supervision

Strollers: 02

8-12 years - 10 - 50%

ages of children

ages

Families: 11 Baby strollers: 2

Subconclusion: The Park was visited by many kids, most of which between the ages of 8-12 years and almost always supervised.

_rules: riding a bike, a scooter or skating is forbidden in the park; dogs must be on a leash _the river edge is not secured; kids may fall _pathways are gently sloping to afford accessibility _wide open space makes supervising children easier

Subconclusion: The park access points are mostly safe, while some risks remain. There is only a little amount of handrails or fences within the park. The Park is very green and also offers blue infrastructure by opening onto the Potomac River with a very popular over-water boardwalk.

FURTHER RESEARCH PROPOSALS

_How can designers implement a water based playground?

_The correlation between private green spaces and public green spaces.

_Is the supervision as high at the moment be cause of the urban park design or because of helicopter parenting?

_How do historical preservation and other governmental restrictions limit or support the urban design possibilities for children?

about the relationship between urban park design and childrens‘ activity/behaviour/(duration of) stay
C O N C L U S I O N A N A L Y S I S T A K E O F F https://www.alexandriava.gov/parks/alexandria-parks-listing-m-r#OronocoBayPark; All photographs, drawings, graphics,
depictions not expressly cited are the work of the authors of this document. A L E X A N D R I A Group 1: Aaron,
and
Summer 2022
and/or
Agustin, Emel
Marilena
ALEXANDRIA OLD TOWN WASHINGTON D.C MARYLAND KURPARK, WIESBADEN ORONOCO BAY PARK, ALEXANDRIA 30 30 50 30 30 50
ages
20
Historical Public Spaces and Mental Well-being
Color,
Bowling Green, Wiesbaden Market Square, Alexandria → Historic Preservation → Natural Colors → Pedestrianization VECTORWORKS EDUCATIONAL VERSION 0 0.1 0.2 0.5km 0.5mi 0.1 0 0.2 → Vitality
Christina Jeyaseelan, Özge Taşar, Michelle Dsouza, Sarah Espenhain, William Redmon

The research delves into an exploration of aspects which create ‘Healthy Cities’. Old Town Alexandria, Virginia in the United States and Wiesbaden in Germany are cities which have strong historical significance. Revisiting public spaces at these locations and making observa tions through photographic analysis generated certain questions. The plethora of colors along the streets of Old Town Alexandria were eye catching and created a sense of curiosity about the role of color in elevating one’s mood. The city of Wiesbaden had a relatively sombre atmosphere due to emphasis placed upon retaining the historical character of the place. The variations in color were noticed to be less appealing and lively. This inspired the research to explore public spaces which lack vibrancy and color- the ‘Bowling Green’ in Wiesbaden and ‘Market Square’ in front of the City Hall in Alexandria. The ‘Bowling Green’ and ‘Market Square’ were selected as ideal examples to study due to their similar nature in terms of activities, urban form, and historical character. Both these spaces have a similar sense of space and are bounded by the street and buildings similar to the character of a public square. The ‘Bowling Green’ is located at the core of the city bordered by Wiesbaden’s old spa buildings. It is used for leisure and recreation and is ecologically important due to the large stretch of green space within the city. The City Hall of Alexandria is an iconic structure built in 1872. The ‘Market Square’ that precedes it is an active public space frequented by a diverse set of people of all ages, cultural and economic backgrounds. It is actively used for events like the farmers market, tourism as well as for leisure, recreational activities. The next stage of the study was focused upon defining relevant questions and research methods which would inquire about the role of color within historical urban environments. Photographic analysis of colors was carried out by identifying the factors which have the largest impact within the space. If the public squares are considered to be a room then the sides that make up the room cover the most amount of area and thus have the largest impact upon the color within the room. Building elevations are considered to be the ‘walls’ of the room and the plan is considered to be the ‘floor’ of the room. The objects within the room constitute of urban furniture which are smaller elements. Finally, colors within an urban space are never constant and change due to a change in season, time of the day, events that take place and people that occupy it. Besides observation and photographic analysis, direct responses from people were crucial in understanding how people perceive color in an urban environment. The stimulation that colors provide people are unique to each individual. However, larger conclusions were drawn through surveys and interviews which helped in identifying what people prefer within the urban environment. Due to a limited survey group size, case studies are also used to supplement and direct the study.

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lIterature rev ew: explor ng envIronmental colour desIgn In urban contexts

Exploring Environmental Colour Design in Urban Contexts by Galyna McLellan and Mirko Guarlda focuses on the concept of environmental co lour composition (ECC). The paper starts by defining ECC as “a synthesis of the colour of all visual elements within an urban setting including natural elements, colours of the built forms, and urban elements as well as spatial and human activity patterns” (McLellan & Guaralda, 2018). The authors argue that this definition can be expanded upon and that environmental colour design can be reframed to incorporate traditional color design methods and different psychological perspectives. They claimed that ECCs can be broken down into six main categories: color of natural elements, color of the built form, spatial urban parameter, colour of urban elements, patterns of human activities, and symbolic and cultural co lour association. They noted however that the combinations of these elements vary greatly depending on multiple factors including the physical properties of the area and the viewer’s perspective. Another way they believe ECC can be expanded upon is my understanding of the modern day tendency of branding colors. This is when a corporation (for example McDonald’s) has their buildings all be the same color, even if it does not fit in with the rest of the area aesthetically. The authors argue modern day designers need to acknowledge this and the effect it has on ECCs. Additionally, they point to light as being another design element of ECCs. Lighting varies depending on time of day and more and more buildings within cities are incorporating nighttime lighting that either harmomizes or contrasts with the daytime colors of the area. Thus, the authors argue that these lighting systems can be merged with lighting design to create an overall pleasant visual experience. In summary, the authors believe that the traditional definition of environmental color composition and environmental color design can be expanded to include aspects such as branding colors and lighting systems. Doing so will prompt designers to create more pleasant environments in their cities (McLellan & Guaralda, 2018). This paper was a helpful resource for understanding the background of color design. It went into the history of how colors are traditionally vie wed by architects and designers, and points out a few modern day changes to

Dark Green

Impression: Balancing, natural, calming Message: Balance, simplicity, security, liveliness Effects on the Ground: sure footed, solid

Light Green

Impression: Moose, autumnal Message: Naturalness, tradition Effects on the Ground: natural, safe

Light red

Impression: Stabilizing, neutral, resonant Message: Security, tradition, rootedness Effects on the Ground: Noble, enhancing, valuable

case studIes

White

Impression: Balancing, natural, calming Message: Balance, simplicity, security, liveliness Effects on the Ground: sure footed, solid

Grey

Impression: sattled, fine, still, reserved Message: Unassertiveness, elegance, reserve Effects on the Ground: sure footed, solid

Beige

Impression: embracing, soft, earthy, old- fashioned Message: traditionalism, conservatism, Gentleness Effects on the Wall: sandy, light

atmosphere with a festive feeling, and the color blue created a relaxed and calm feeling These colors all mixed together created an environment that was lively and powerful and was overall pleasant for the pedestrian (see Figure 1). The colors also created a differentiation in the areas of the plaza. The contrasts between the colors break the plaza up into different sections, and the yellow stripes help to promote the movement of pedestrians along major circulation points (See Figure 2) Overall, the case study of Colored Zocalo demonstrated that an active and lively mood in the area that is promoted by the colors in the plaza helps to create a positive social experience and has a great effect on the well-being of those visiting the plaza. The colors also helped to define the place and create a strong identity (Abu-Salha, 2021).

TheeffectingofColor:Wiesbaden -ComperativeUrbanisemColorAnalyse,Comparedtotheinterviews? Casestudie/Interview Conclusion Detail3:Flora?
North East South West Detail1:Changingcolors Detail3:Ground Detail2:Furniture Col.
DiagramofColor proportion
IntervIew Day: 08. May. 2022 Time: 12-14 Weather: sunny with clouds Part 1 Which colors stand out to you in this place? Which colors do you find more attractive in this place? Why? Green- because of the connection to the nature, the space gives a sense of plea sant atmosphere and invigorating environment. Beige and white: Because of the traditional and old culture buildings around the square What is the time of the day and season during the year when you find this space the most appealing to visit? 50% Spring and 50% Summer, at the summer 30% at the evening Do you prefer the natural colors of brick, stone, pavements and foliage which retain the historical character or would you like to see a more vibrant color scheme kee ping with the present times? 100% natural colors Do you think color can effect your mood or emotions? How? 100% Yes, because brighter and more intense colors lift the mood The basis of the interview is based on a balance between male and female subjects, their ages range from 16 to 65+. Half of her place of residence is Wiesbaden. 1 2 3 Strongly Agree Agree Neutral Disagree Strongly Disagree Part 1 1: Do you think that color can make a space more cheerful? 2: Do you consciously plan visits to public spaces where the foliage is vibrant du ring Spring or Fall? 3: Would you like to see more urban furniture in this space including benches, street lamps, canopies, tables chairs etc. ? the varyIng effects of colors In hIstorIc publIc spaces: wIesbaden comparatIve urbanIsm north east south west detaIl 1: changIng colors detaIl 2: furnIture detaIl 3: ground detaIl 4: flora color analysIs Sources: Impression and Message refer to Meerwein, Rodeck, & Mahnke, 2007, p.30-31; Effect on the ground refers to Meerwein, Rodeck, & Mahnke, 2007, p.69; cultural meaning refers to Lluch, 2019, pp. 120-121
coloured Zocalo In mex co c ty mex co For this case study, the area of the Project zocalo in Mexico City was analyzed. Zocalo is the main square of Mexico City and underwent a re design in 2015. Prior to the redesign the plaza was flat and lacking in identity. A color analysis on the redesign, which included three dominant colors: red, yellow, and violet-blue. The case study found that the colors used in the area created an active and lively feel to the area. The color yellow contributed to a sunny and light feeling, the color red contributed to a warm
„The square is very green, but looks very monotonous without flowers or other color.“ „The red elements, such as the carpet and flags stand out, but fit to the historic cul tural venue.“ „To such a historical place I do not find fit colorful elements that draw the eye“ conclusIon In conclus on accord ng to the Interv ew our researched Informat on s congruent w th the actual effect on the users bow lIng green as the name s characterIZed by green and has a natural and h storIcal effect on the user through theIr other co lor addItIons such as whIte be ge and gray followIng the IntervIew the domInant color n the bowlIng green s l ght green whIch makes the users feel happy and has a partIcularly posItIve effect on the well be ng of people the only colors l ke red or lIght blue stand out as temporary accents, espec ally dur ng events, and f t the hIstorIcal place thIs analysIs concludes that the s gnIf cance of the color affects the user and Its context wIth ts ImmedIate envIronment Sources: Abu-Salha, V. (2021, April 5). Explore How Ground Colours Support Social and Societal Functions of Urban Space. Retrieved April 1, 2022. Abu-Salha, V. (2021). Psychological Effects and Associations of Used Colours. photograph, Mexico City, Mexico. Abu-Salha, V. (2021). Effects of Used Contrasts. photograph, Mexico City, Mexico.
colors in cities. It then argues for how planners can address these changes to make their environments better for all. McLellan, G., & Guaralda, M. (2018). Exploring environmental colour design in urban contexts. The Journal of Public Space, 3(1), 93–102. https://doi.org/10.5204/jps.v3i1.320
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Urban Waterfronts Pratham Rewandkar, Jashwanth Vemulapalli, Drusya Kakarlapudi, Louise Bullock, Jürgen Springer Waterfront, Wiesbaden Waterfront, Alexandria → Accessibility → Healthy City → Waterfront VECTORWORKS EDUCATIONAL VERSION VECTORWORKS EDUCATIONAL VERSION 0 0.1 0.2 0.5km 0.5mi 0.1 0 0.2
Accessibility of

The waterfront planning initiatives of Alexandria, USA from 2015 and Wiesbaden, Germany from 2011 both show similarities and differences. This comparative analysis between the two cities takes a comprehensive look at how both cities approach accessibility along their water fronts for a controlled set of user-groups such as wheelchair users, the elderly, cyclists and families with strollers. The topic was selected on the basis of academic research and the seminar “Comparative Urbanism” by Virginia Tech and TU Darmstadt. Furthermore this research project looks at how accessibility stands in relationship to the concept of a ‘healthy city’ focussing on the different experiences at the waterfronts in Alexandria and Wiesbaden. It is well known that ‘blue spaces’ such as seas, canals, waterfalls, waterfronts etc. have a strong impact on our happiness and wellbeing thereby alleviating stress and reducing anxiety and depression (Insight Depart ment: The Health Benefits of Being Near Water). Accessibility is a human right and vital for inclusion (Barrierefreiheit in Deutschland | Eine Übersicht, 2022). This research aims to create an overview showing the strengths and weaknesses between the two cities on the waterfront and investigates what types of infrastructure are missing to make the waterfront in Alexandria and Wiesbaden more accessible and a healthier place for citizens and visitors to spend time in. The methodological approach of this research was undertaken through site visits to the respec tive places, questionnaires, material studies, academic and planning papers, photographs and research of the topographic conditions. Through analysis based on qualitative and quantitive data the results show that Alexandrias waterfront is deemed to be more accessible than the waterfront in Wiesbaden. Our surveys showed that while people want to spend more time at the Waterfront in Alexandria, they also believe it to be a more relaxing and calming space with easier topographic conditions to manage in comparison to Wiesbaden. In addition to this people feel that accessibility to transport in both Alexandria and Wiesbaden along the waterfront are key areas to address and improve. The results show that while both Wiesbaden and Alexandria were visited at a similar frequency planning initiatives in Wiesbaden must be implemented in a more thorough way to improve accessibility and lay a stronger focus on the concept of a healthy city.

Wiesbaden, Germany and Alexandria, USA are both examples of lively waterfront areas. Both areas show diverse user groups along the waterfronts including wheelchair users, the elderly, cyclist and families with strollers. However, it is noticeable that accessibility of the waterfront areas has not been optimised to its fullest potential for all user groups and that the respective areas are not making use of its full potential, allowing for a healthier city.

To conclude, our research project has shown that the waterfront in Alexandria is more accessible than the waterfront in Wiesbaden. The surveys show that while people want to spend more time at the waterfront in Alexandria, they also believe it to be a more relaxing and calming space with easier topographic conditions. Nevertheless, people feel that accessibility to transport is a key area to address and improve both in Wiesbaden and Alexandria. While both waterfronts have been visited at a similar frequency, planning initiatives in Wiesbaden lack a thorough implementation and strong focus on the concept of a healthy city.

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Rather yes 3 Cannot judge 1 Often 4 Very often 2 Very rarely 2 Rarely 4 Publ c ranspor 4 No change 3 Pub c squares 2 Parks 2 Cu tural ins i u ons 2 Shops 1 Park ng ots 2 Playgrounds 2 Streets wa kways/ cyc e paths 4

Wrap Up & Outlook

This seminar facilitated an extraordinary discourse on the Healthy City from multiple perspectives: Students set the agenda exploring land-use, children’s particular affordances, the use of color in public space, and accessible waterfronts in their proj ects. City users participated as part of interviews and on-site observations. Staff provided context with historic and theoretical background and possible research techniques, while experts from the cities of Alexandria and Wiesbaden responded with insights from practice and pathways to implementation. It was a joy to bring people together – from the US and Germany – and work on shared topics and challenges in urban design. This transdisciplinary approach is crucial to study urban design and healthy cities in particular. It was guided by a seminar structure that responds to the needs of remote and collabo rative learning, onsite data collection and digital mobility. We are proud that this new format has been positively received by students and been recognized with Teaching Awards – for the first time for faculties on both sides of the Atlantic. In the future, we are planning to extend the collaboration to selected partners in the America and in Europe to further develop Comparative Urbanism to further cities and planning cultures.

This seminar on Comparative Urbanism, now in the second edition, is deeply embedded in our Transatlantic Architectural Discourse – spearheaded by WAAC at Virginia Tech and the department of Architecture at TU Darmstadt. As a next step We are looking forward to exhibit results of both semesters as part of an upcoming exhibition at the Goethe Institute in Wash ington. Scheduled to open in mid-January, 2023, the exhibition will feature introductory text, analysis and proposals from the student teams, and a selection of student-produced videos. An opening reception will bring together Goethe-Institut members, Washington area planners and designers, students, and faculty to celebrate the work and share reflections.

Martin Knöll

→ Professor of Urban Design and Planning, Department of Architecture, TU Darmstadt

Susan Piedmont-Palladino

→ Director of the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, Virginia Tech

Valentina Višnjić Lang

→ Consultant for Organizational Development and Internationalization, Deputy Management & Coordinator for Inter national Relationships, International Office, Department of Architec ture, TU Darmstadt

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Martin Knöll, Susan Piedmont-Palladino & Valentina Višnjić Lang

Imprint

This publication “Comparative Urbanism. A Seminar on Exploring and Comparing the Concept of the Healthy City in Alexandria, Virginia & Washington, DC, USA and Wiesbaden, Germany” is the outcome of the project “Transatlantic Architectural Discourse”, funded by the program “IVAC - International Virtual Academic Collaboration” of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

→ architektur.tu-darmstadt.de/transatlantic-discourse/

Published by

Technical University of Darmstadt

Department of Architecture El-Lissitzky-Str. 1, 64287 Darmstadt, DE

→ architektur.tu-darmstadt.de

Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center 1001 Prince Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

→ archdesign.caus.vt.edu/waac/

Virginia Tech Research Center

School of Public and International Affairs 900 N Glebe Rd, Arlington, VA 22203

→ spia.vt.edu

Editing

Gladys Vasquez Fauggier & Martin Knöll

Authors

Dr. Martin Knöll

→ Professor of Urban Design and Planning, Department of Architecture, TU Darmstadt

Gladys Vasquez Fauggier

→ Research Assistant, Urban Design and Planning, Department of Architecture, TU Darmstadt

Contributors to the course

Dr. Sabine Hopp

→ Associate Professor, Urban Design and Planning, Department of Architecture, TUD

Marvin Burmester

→ Urban Planning Department, State Capital of Wiesbaden

Students of the course

Technical University of Darmstadt: Jürgen Springer

Sarah Espenhain

Emel Özdemir

Özge Tasar

Luise Bullock

Marilena Appel

Credits

12 Land Use and Open Public Spaces

Graphic design

Anna Luise Schubert

Typefaces

FrontPage Pro, Charter

Susan Piedmont-Palladino

→ Director of the Washington-Alexandria Architecture Center, Virginia Tech

Dr. Ralph Buehler

→ Professor and Chair of Urban Affairs and Planning, Virginia Tech Research Center, Arlington

Bill Conkey

→ Department of Planning & Zoning, City of Alexandria

Jenny Roe

→ Professor and Director of the Center for Design & Health in the School of Architec ture, University of Virginia

Virginia Tech: Aaron Buren Agustin Chambard William Rendon

Lan Li

Sabbir Hussain Hoda Taheri

Christina Jeyaseelan, Michelle Dsouza, Pratham Rewandkar, Jashwanth Vemulapalli, Drusya Kakarlapudi

Scott Archer

→ Adjunct Instructor at the WashingtonAlexandria Architecture Center, Virginia Tech

Valentina Višnjić Lang

→ Deputy Management & International Office, Department of Architecture, TU Darmstadt

Anna Luise Schubert

→ Research Assistant, Architecture Theory and Science, Department of Architecture, TU Darmstadt

Supported by

→ own production based on GIS data retrieved from https://opendata.dc.gov/ and https://cityofalexandria-alexgis.opendata.arcgis.com/

16 Child Friendly Parks

→ https://www.wiesbaden.de/leben-in-wiesbaden/freizeit/natur-erleben/gruenanlagen-parks/kurpark-rallye.php (9th May 22)

→ https://www.wiesbaden2030.de (9th May 22)

→ https://maps.google.com

→ https://www.alexandriava.gov/Planning

→ https://www.alexandriava.gov/parks/alexandria-parks-listing-m-r#OronocoBayPark

All other images → by the authors. The publishers have made every effort to locate all owners of illustration rights up to the production deadline. Persons and institutions who may claim rights to images used are requested to contact the publishers.

Some rights reserved, 2021. CC BY 4.0 International

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UrbanismComparative

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