Eco-Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change: Adaptive Strategies for Sacramento's Midtown
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This thesis seeks to examine the intersection of urbanization and climate change and asks how design can play a part in developing sustainable, healthy, vibrant, and adaptive cities. More specifically, it asks “How do we design for growing urban landscapes that are threatened by climate change?” The city of Sacramento, California is a relevant study site for this topic as it is currently experiencing a new era of growth and development while concurrently being threatened by intensifying weather extremes. The project focuses on the adaptive reuse of a freight railroad track that cuts through the Midtown neighborhood of Sacramento, and proposes re-imagining this space as a pedestrian-focused promenade layered on top of and integrated with functional urban stormwater infrastructure. The project also examines the existing spatial hierarchies of the city’s right-of-way adjacent to the project site and suggests strategies for reallocating space to prioritize interactions, activities, and designs that make for better urban life in addition to overlaying a network of climate adaptive strategies. A survey of relevant literature and precedent projects serves as the theoretical grounding for the design framework and proposed implementations. Ultimately, the goal of this project is to create a scalable set of strategies that address the thesis question and adhere to the tenets of the framework, and apply them to the study site as a neighborhood-scale pilot. Strategies for scaling the project up to a regional scale and down to an individual scale are examined with the intent to use this project as a catalyst for lasting positive change on the region, its inhabitants, and other urban environments both local and far afield.