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This proposal seeks to look at urban renewal through the analysis of main street thoroughfares that weave through the urban fabric connecting neighborhoods and people as vital life-lines within cities. How does history, culture, economics, and existing infrastructure feed these corridors? And what happens when this artery is blocked by development?
Specifically, this thesis is focused on exploring a non-urban oriented, dead-end corridor typology that has been forced onto the urban main street resulting in an area that has become blighted, underutilized, and disconnected from the surrounding urban environment.
The main argument is aimed at critiquing overlaying typologies onto urban areas with little or no regard to the context in which these areas are sited. While typological precedent and patterns can be the starting point for analysis and investigation into renewal solutions, the application of a type-based approach alone, will not solve the problem. Urban patterns and characteristics vary from location to location, and resultingly each place becomes unique with its own story and evolution.
Instead, the intention is to prove that design solutions must be heavily rooted in a holistic understanding and response to the affected site’s history, culture, economics, and existing and future infrastructure. These criteria must be analyzed and evaluated on the varying scales of the urban environment, including: the immediate site, the urban neighborhood, the urban corridor, and the larger city context. This approach is driven by creating the ‘story of place’ and finding solutions that work within these contextual constraints.
The goal of this thesis is to prove that by creating a story of place through the holistic understanding of context, the resulting design and architecture can convert these non-urban oriented, dead-end typologies into places that reconnect urban space, people and businesses in ways that are relevant in today’s society and optimal for the future.