Ballard Bridge Park: Preserving Place for Transient Populations in Urban Spaces
Bush, Erica A.
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Public spaces are meant to serve and accommodate the needs of a diverse populace. These spaces are created in order to improve overall quality of life through access to open space in increasingly dense urban communities. In 2013 Seattle grew faster than any other city in the country (Seattle Times, 2014) further highlighting the need for this public amenity. Particular districts within the city of Seattle have experienced higher rates of growth than others, with the Ballard neighborhood being the frontrunner. This thesis focuses on designing a public space that responds to the growth of Ballard, particularly the impact this has had on the homeless population that has resided within the light industrial zoned area of the neighborhood since as far back as the late 1970's. While Seattle prides itself as a city heavily invested in the public process regarding how public spaces are created and managed, the homeless population has been omitted from this discussion. Furthermore, public spaces are increasingly systematically designed with the intention of removing this population, which arguably has more needs for this space than any other. My thesis explores this situation as it relates to the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle and demonstrates a design of one small space that focuses on the integration of the low- income and homeless population with the greater Ballard community. I chose to use a portion of the area underneath the Ballard Bridge as I felt it was well situated to achieve these goals. This integration is encouraged through a design that provides services that address the needs of a greater number of user groups than most public spaces, while improving the aesthetic and environmental quality of the underutilized portion of the site beneath the Ballard Bridge.
- Landscape architecture