Comparative Urban Design Changes Generated by Planning Policy in the 20th and 21st Century
College: Fine and Applied Arts
Award year: 2006-2007
This project will compare 20th Century changes in the urban space of five Midwestern American cities to investigate the relationship between changes to built space and urban (re)development plans and policies, through an analysis of representations of space and physical form. In each city, the study will use archival sources including historical maps and aerial photographs, observation and documentation of resulting built space, and city planning documents. The key study objectives are: build computerized graphic database that allows layering of maps, figure-ground drawings, and other qualitative materials, using this database and analysis tool -- graphically analyze urban physical form, identify locations of major urban form transformation, document the built forms at these locations, and gather master planning documents to identify and obtain key development planning policies and projects impacting urban transformation in the five cities. Cities have historically been centers offering amenities in the arts, education and the sciences that have brought diverse peoples together. Today, cities are sites where global economic imperatives meet urban policymaking and confront local needs and values. In response to these global forces, cities are engaged in regeneration efforts to compete in the global arena and to sell themselves in the global marketplace. Current urban development paradigms and their resultant built spaces contribute to contemporary urban environments that many times lack a sense of social equity, are unsustainable in ecological or economic terms and fail to engage a broader vision for the future of the city. It is these resulting conditions: physical, social, political and economic, that the current study seeks to better understand, thus adding to the ongoing discourse about urban redevelopment and design.