The Soft Edge of Density: Placemaking on the Urban Industrial Fringe
Nielsen, Steven Garrett
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How should we balance the pressing need for housing in our growing cities with job and employment growth? This is a complicated issue, tangled with deep roots in many sectors including: urban planning, architecture, political, environmental, community. Maybe nowhere does this fragile balance play out more than on the urban industrial fringe. The urban industrial fringe is the boarder between industrial & manufacturing uses and residential & commercial uses. Due to the massive exodus of manufacturing operations away from America's urban centers the fringe has become a collection of open lots, surface level parking, decaying buildings and incomplete urban narratives. Recently though, due to the widespread increase in urban populations, and subsequent need to provide both housing and working opportunities for the increasing masses the urban industrial fringe has been the target of many multi-family and mixed use developments. This industrial fringe realm is rich with potential; a strong proximity to existing living and working infrastructure it embodies a great potential for combining living and working opportunities while stitching together the incomplete narrative to form more clearly identifiable, safer neighborhoods. Though recent developments do meet a certain need for living and working needs, they often do not tap into the existing economic, social and cultural potential of the neighborhood in which they land but rather are developed under a homogeneous model in order to maximize build-out and profit with little consideration for integrating the community aspects in the place they land. This thesis searches for resolution and a better way to address the needs of all involved, to begin to see the urban industrial fringe as an opportunity and complementary piece to our urban puzzle.
- Architecture