Thursday, October 16, 2014

Low-Rise High-Density Urban Community

By Brittney Mount

Over the last few months I have had it set in my mind that I would be spending the next two semesters designing a hotel casino as a part of my thesis proposal. However, when it came down to the purpose of the design, it hit me that what I was trying to do was not enough. I decided I wanted to take this opportunity to study a topic that has actual relevance in the world of architecture. I have opted to research the effects of a low-rise high-density community within a city. After referencing a few pieces of literature on the subject of residential issues, I found the same topics being repeated:  the suburban sprawl, increase in pollution, and the comparison of the United States’ energy consumption with other countries.
With this research I came across the concept of high-density living as a solution. The suburban sprawl is the migration of city residents from the urban lifestyle to the single family housing suburban lifestyle. The issues with the suburbs have really built up. One of the big issues is the move away from the city now requires people to drive their cars to work, wasting money, time, and adding air pollution. The second issue is the isolation that comes with the sprawl. The sprawl does not just reference the leaving of the city life, the divisions of houses is a huge waste in land, and typically requires the destruction of habitat. This aspect also affects the social lives of people living in a suburbia, being so spread apart, requiring a lot of travel time to anywhere they need to go, the boundary of a person’s yard keeping people away. We need to burst the suburban bubble and bring people back to the city.
Therefore, my proposal for the low-rise high density residential community will aim to promote a different style of living compared to both suburban and urban lifestyles. When people think of cities they think skyscraper so I wanted to study the effects of low-rise in the urban setting as an attempt to create a suburban feel. I plan to reference other countries and their cities residential solutions because the fact is we are growing in population and we have spread far enough. The living spaces created will be smaller than what the U.S. resident is used to making them more efficient in spacial aspects and environmental.
Below is my thesis proposal poster from my Architecture Research Methods course.

The diagram to the right is meant to simply represent the benefits of bringing a high density community into a city: bringing people back together (density), having a shorter commute to work/not having to drive (health/sustainability), and giving the city an income (economy).
I plan to begin my research with the comparison of the urban life fifty years ago in the U.S. and other countries to today.

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