The Lake City Commons: a catalytic approach for generating urban coherence
MetadataShow full item record
THE LAKE CITY COMMONS: A CATALYTIC APPROACH FOR GENERATING URBAN COHERENCE By Katy Haima, 2014, 99 pgs. Chair of the Supervisory Committee: Ron Kasprisin This thesis explores the role of urban design in generating coherence within urban systems and in facilitating urban growth, as informed by an investigation of systems theory and the urban catalyst concept. The quality of <italic>coherence,</italic> in regards to systems, refers to the ability to continuously regenerate and evolve, brought about by an integration of distinct elements to form a whole greater than the sum of the parts. In coherent systems, the parts are maintained, discarded and removed to maintain a dynamic balance of the whole. Concerns are growing over resource scarcity, climate change, social and economic inequality, and the realization that many man-made environments are lacking the qualities that make them livable, healthy and safe. The prioritization of the automobile has resulted in a lack of pedestrian infrastructure and the neglect of the pedestrian environment. As a result, many cities are pursuing planning strategies that reduce dependency on the automobile and the negative effects of sprawl. The neighborhood of Lake City, in northeast Seattle, was planned and built around the use of the automobile, and is now seeking to intentionally shift typologies to a pedestrian-oriented urban village. The existing urban structure does not provide a basis which to integrate pedestrian elements. Shifting urban growth patterns from car- to pedestrian-oriented development requires a transformation of the urban structure; urban structure is a result of the processes which shape the city, thus urban design must intervene in shaping these processes. To do this, the proposed strategy explores the use of an urban catalyst to generate a network of social infrastructure that supports pedestrian elements. The transformation of the urban structure to integrate movement and social interaction facilitates the emergence of a coherent urban system. Through intervention processes such as the catalyst approach, urban design intervenes in the existing urban system and changes the direction of growth patterns, network operation, and urban processes to transform the overall urban structure. Urban design does not (directly) create coherence, but supports the complex processes and relationships that generate the urban structure from which it may emerge. The lessons learned from this investigation are transferable to other urban areas other urban areas of similar typology to Lake City, as well as to other processes in urban systems that require intervention to obtain desired results.
- Urban planning