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Theorizing the 21st Century City: Urban Design through the SETS Framework

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As the move towards sustainable urbanism grows, understanding how the city has previously been envisioned and designed will be useful to moving forward. This work examines the legacy of urban design theories, what these theories have implied about what the

As the move towards sustainable urbanism grows, understanding how the city has previously been envisioned and designed will be useful to moving forward. This work examines the legacy of urban design theories, what these theories have implied about what the city should be, and their sustainability consequences. Noticing three prominent urban design visions of the city, the technological city (as proposed in 1922 by Le Corbusier's Ville contemporaine and later in 1933 by his Ville Radieuse (The Radiant City), and in 1935 by Frank Lloyd Wright's' Broadacre City), the social city (as explored in 1961 by Jane Jacobs and in 1976 by Edward Relph of the University of Chicago), and the ecological city (as expounded upon in 1924 by both Lewis Mumford and in 1969 by Ian McHarg), I have newly applied the social-ecological-technical systems framework (SETS) to help classify and analyze these urban design theories and how they have mixed to create hybrid perspectives in more recent urban design theory. Lastly, I have proposed an urban design theory that envisions the sustainable city as an ongoing process. Hopefully, this vision that will hopefully be useful to the future of sustainable development in cities, as will a more organized understanding of urban design theories and their sustainability outcomes.

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2018-05

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Applying Arcology: Implementing Paolo Soleri's Vision into Existing Cities

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In this project I analyze Paolo Soleri's concept of arcology \u2014 the combination of architecture and ecology \u2014 from a theoretical, symbolic, and physical perspective. I utilize these three viewpoints to determine what aspects of his theories are most effective

In this project I analyze Paolo Soleri's concept of arcology \u2014 the combination of architecture and ecology \u2014 from a theoretical, symbolic, and physical perspective. I utilize these three viewpoints to determine what aspects of his theories are most effective for urban design. While his ideas are based on building "arcologies" from the ground up, I will be using the Phoenix Metropolitan area to determine how we could apply his ideas to existing cities without having to rebuild entirely. This past summer I participated in the 5-week construction workshop the Cosanti Foundation offers at the physical prototypical city of Arcosanti in Mayer, Arizona during which time I studied Soleri's work and participated in the construction of the city while also participating in the community dynamic there. I have found that while not all components of Soleri's theories translated well into Arcosanti, there are certainly some ideas that could be applied help to improve the City of Phoenix. I propose improvements to the pedestrian realm and an increase public space with an emphasis on utilizing the infrastructure and land that is already present for future development.

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Date Created
2018-05

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Residential Choice’s Impact on Sustainable Transportation Options: A Study in the Phoenix Metro Area

Description

This study adds to the literature about residential choice and sustainable transportation. Through the interviews and the personal stories gathered, there was diversity shown in the residential location choice process. We also noticed that “commute” means different things to different

This study adds to the literature about residential choice and sustainable transportation. Through the interviews and the personal stories gathered, there was diversity shown in the residential location choice process. We also noticed that “commute” means different things to different households, and that many people did not consider their commute to work to be a primary factor determining their final home location. Moreover, many people were willing to increase their commute time, or trade access to desirable amenities for a longer commute. Commuting time to work was one example of the tradeoffs that homeowners make when choosing a home, but there were also others such as architectural type and access to neighborhood amenities. Lastly, time constraints proved to be a very significant factor in the home buying process. Several of our households had such strict time constraints that limited their search to a point of excluding whole areas. Overall, our study sheds light on transportation’s role in residential choice and underscores the complexity of the location choice process.

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Date Created
2019-05

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Bringing sustainability science into the body

Description

This project draws sustainability material out of the textbook and into the body using a
role play simulation modeled around Michigan wolf management. In this case, role play simulation is a game fabricated to reflect the complexity of real-world conflict.

This project draws sustainability material out of the textbook and into the body using a
role play simulation modeled around Michigan wolf management. In this case, role play simulation is a game fabricated to reflect the complexity of real-world conflict. The goal of the exercise is to engage players in mock negotiation and expand their knowledge of wicked environmental problems. By encouraging participants to question their own thought process, the activity aims to foster a transformational experience.

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2020-05

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The EcoCode: Redesigning the Urban Block

Description

Midwestern cities are in decline, with shrinking populations and corresponding disinvestment. Many organizations and city governments are working on addressing the problem of vacancy while bringing these urban areas into the global economy. The EcoBlock Organization (EBO), a St. Louis-based

Midwestern cities are in decline, with shrinking populations and corresponding disinvestment. Many organizations and city governments are working on addressing the problem of vacancy while bringing these urban areas into the global economy. The EcoBlock Organization (EBO), a St. Louis-based non-profit, proposes block-level redevelopment as a method of fostering community and economic development while minimizing the impact on the environment. The EcoCode is a block-level form-based code describing the vision of the EBO and its implementation. This vision is centered around eight key design principles: energy, public health, social, urban design, water, transportation, resilience, and landscape. It manifests as an EcoBlock: a block of buildings surrounding a shared green space, connected by an energy grid and a shared geothermal loop with the goal of net-zero energy. The residences are a mix of building types for a variety of incomes and some building space will be designated for shared use, all physically reflecting the historic design of houses in the city in which the EcoBlock is implemented. Specifications like design, building placement, and mechanisms by which to strive towards net-zero energy and water will be determined in each location in which the EcoBlock is developed. The EcoCode describes the process and the desired outcome, providing a framework for this implementation.
The EcoCode resembles a typical form-based code in structure, but at a smaller geographic scale. General Provisions describes the context of the surrounding area that must be assessed before choosing to create an EcoBlock. Development and Adoption strategy explains the evolving role of the EBO and how the realization of this design is currently envisioned. Regulating Block, Block Development Standards, Building Envelope Standards, and Building Development Standards describe the detail that will need to be developed for the physical aspects of each block. Streetscape Standards describe the vision of the EBO as applicable to the streets surrounding an EcoBlock. Finally, the Sustainability Standards contain the contribution of each board member of the EBO with their unique expertise on implementing the design principles.
As a supplement to The EcoCode itself, this document contains three topics for case studies looking into the feasibility of the EcoBlock as a whole: shared space, net-zero energy, and mixed-income housing. Shared space development and management uses Montgomery Park in Boston to show the potential of community-based organization while warning against gentrification. The West Village campus of the University of California in Davis shows the technical possibility and the financial challenges of a net-zero community. Brogården, an affordable housing community in Sweden, demonstrates the possibility for decreasing energy consumption in public housing. Finally, Via Verde in New York City is an example of combining health, green space, and affordability in a mixed-income housing development. Though there is not yet an example of a fully implemented EcoBlock, these case studies speak to the challenges and the facilitators that the EBO will likely face.

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Date Created
2018-05

Sense of Place, Place Attachment, and Student Perceptions of Sustainability in the Salt River Valley

Description

The purpose of this study was to investigate undergraduate sustainability students' engagement with sustainability in relation to their sense of place in the broader Salt River Valley community. The study was guided by two research questions 1) How do undergraduate

The purpose of this study was to investigate undergraduate sustainability students' engagement with sustainability in relation to their sense of place in the broader Salt River Valley community. The study was guided by two research questions 1) How do undergraduate Sustainability students explain their sense of place in the Valley with relation to their perceptions of sustainability? 2) Does residency in a different city, town, or state prior to entering the Sustainability program influence students' sense of place in the Valley? The study consisted of two distinct parts. In the first part, twenty students were interviewed using a narrative inquiry process to understand their perceptions of sustainability, their sense of place in the Valley, and how those two components influenced their engagement with sustainability in their communities. In the second part, these narratives were analyzed, synthesized, and samples of the stories were placed into a creative nonfiction collection to express an overall picture of sustainability in the Valley. Results showed that students generally relied on academic, professional, and social factors to identify places in which they could practice or engage with sustainability. Regardless of previous residencies, students expressed similar frustrations or limitations in expressing their sense of place, as related to sustainability, in the Valley.

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Date Created
2014-05

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An Evaluation of Bicycle Friendly Rating Schemes for Cities and the Implications for Tempe, AZ

Description

City planners often use bicycle friendly rating schemes as tools to guide them in their efforts to establish a bicycle community. However, the criteria and methodologies used vary from program to program and often do not encapsulate all of the

City planners often use bicycle friendly rating schemes as tools to guide them in their efforts to establish a bicycle community. However, the criteria and methodologies used vary from program to program and often do not encapsulate all of the necessary elements that comprise true bicycle friendliness. This report documents the important elements, strategies, and best practices that well-established Dutch, Danish, and German bike friendly cities exhibit to create a baseline standard for bicycle friendliness. Not all rating programs' criteria and methodologies align perfectly within this understanding of bicycle friendliness. City planners should use these programs as tools while keeping their limitations in consideration. The City of Tempe currently uses the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Community program and BikeScore.com. By understanding the limitations associated with these programs, Tempe should move forward in their pursuit of bicycle friendliness by using multiple rating programs simultaneously and by looking at top-rated cities' strategies to enhance their infrastructure, network, urban form, and biking culture.

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Date Created
2014-05

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Governing the Commons: A Case Study of Rupa Lake Rehabilitation and Fishery Cooperative

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This case study explores the institutions and governing strategies involved in the management of Rupa Lake in Kaski district in Western Nepal, particularly Rupa Lake Rehabilitation and Fishery Cooperative. Methods used for data collection include key informant interviews, household interviews,

This case study explores the institutions and governing strategies involved in the management of Rupa Lake in Kaski district in Western Nepal, particularly Rupa Lake Rehabilitation and Fishery Cooperative. Methods used for data collection include key informant interviews, household interviews, a focus group discussion and archival records. Institutions were examined for their effectiveness in sustaining natural and socioeconomic systems as perceived by community members. Based on a literature review and the results of the data collected, this thesis builds a case study highlighting Rupa Lake Rehabilitation and Fishery Cooperative's strategies for governing its local watershed and formulates a framework for commons institutions that aim to achieve sustainable outcomes. Based on findings, I argue that no single form of governance is a panacea for solving commons problems, governing strategies should be implemented on a case-by-case basis, and institutions should be involved at multiple levels and always include local input. Additionally, a sustainable institution should provide benefits to society that it can see, function democratically and with transparency, promote a biodiverse ecosystem, elevate marginalized groups, and collaborate with other institutions. These "clumsy" institutions create a series of complex interactions that are robust and adaptive to reflect the ever-changing systems they aim to govern.

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Date Created
2015-05

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Lessons in Arcology: An Overview of Two Experimental Urban Projects and Their Viability in Phoenix's Sustainable Urban Development

Description

Defines the concept of the arcology as conceived by architect Paolo Soleri. Arcology combines "architecture" and "ecology" and explores a visionary notion of a self-contained urban community that has agricultural, commercial, and residential facilities under one roof. Two real-world examples

Defines the concept of the arcology as conceived by architect Paolo Soleri. Arcology combines "architecture" and "ecology" and explores a visionary notion of a self-contained urban community that has agricultural, commercial, and residential facilities under one roof. Two real-world examples of these projects are explored: Arcosanti, AZ and Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, UAE. Key aspects of the arcology that could be applied to an existing urban fabric are identified, such as urban design fostering social interaction, reduction of automobile dependency, and a development pattern that combats sprawl. Through interviews with local representatives, a holistic approach to applying arcology concepts to the Phoenix Metro Area is devised.

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2015-05

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The Nature of Cinema: Feminism, Film, and the Nature/Culture Dualism

Description

In this paper, I analyze representations of nature in popular film, using the feminist / deconstructionist concept of a dualism to structure my critique. Using Val Plumwood’s analysis of the logical structure of dualism and the 5 ‘features of a

In this paper, I analyze representations of nature in popular film, using the feminist / deconstructionist concept of a dualism to structure my critique. Using Val Plumwood’s analysis of the logical structure of dualism and the 5 ‘features of a dualism’ that she identifies, I critique 5 popular movies – Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Brave, Grizzly Man, and Planet Earth – by locating within each of them one of the 5 features and explaining how the movie functions to reinforce the Nature/Culture dualism . By showing how the Nature/Culture dualism shapes and is shaped by popular cinema, I show how “Nature” is a social construct, created as part of this very dualism, and reified through popular culture. I conclude with the introduction of a number of ‘subversive’ pieces of visual art that undermine and actively deconstruct the Nature/Culture dualism and show to the viewer a more honest presentation of the non-human world.

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2015-05