By Jeremy Clow
Urban or Rural, the opposite stand points being developed in the current graduate studio. My specific group focuses on the rural environment. We are to design a new development in a small disconnected community just thirty minutes from the great Metropolitan East Coast. The existing area is vast with untouched nature and suburban homes on very large lots. The typical suburb if you will of a major city. The program enlists a variety of infrastructure from public to private. The municipal structures, community center, city hall, hospital, police, and fire station will support the new development as well as surrounding communities. Offices, retail, and dining will provide additional jobs and attractions for locals as well as visitors. Apartment complexes with two thousand units provide a substantial amount of living space for people working in the area as well as commuters. A large hotel, casino, and conference center providing three hundred rooms is the specific building I am focusing my design on. This establishment houses a casino providing a variety of employment opportunities and a major attraction for visitors. The conference center and ball rooms can be used to house multiple types of public and private events increasing the likelihood of increased revenue for the community. Major retail and high end dining located within the facility as well as some adjacent structures will provide a luxurious environment for those who wish to indulge. The new development as a whole faces many difficulties before any of these pieces within can work. The location, disconnected from public transport at its current state would require all residents and visitors to travel via automobile. I began researching all forms of public transportation in the area to find a solution to this problem. The Baltimore area has an enormous amount of public transport, almost too much. There are so many ways to travel however many are very disorganized and hard to use. Successful pieces for traveling the Metropolitan area are the Subway and MARC rail line. I also searched for the nearest Amtrak and Airport for connection to the rest of the nation and world. Through an extensive amount of research and station locations I proposed a plan to my group. The Shady Grove station, a thirty minute drive south west of the site, provided a close proximity and also a path of least resistance to and from the site. The proposal included a new rail line from the site to Shady Grove with one stop in between at the Montgomery County Airport, another commercial hub disconnected from metropolitan public transport. The Shady Grove station however is the last stop on a Subway line; this provides only one form of transport however the station can accommodate the new influx of potential travelers with its lower amount of use at the end of the line. The next stop however provides three major forms of transport, MARC, Amtrak, and the Subway connecting the newly developed site as well at the airport with the Eastern metropolitan area. The new development will provide an array of parking options for visitors the area as well as the residents however our focus is on alternative forms of transport that also increase the social experience. These options aren’t limited by class or financial states and provide the optimal melting pot of people from all backgrounds. Implementation of safe passage for pedestrians and cyclists as well as bike share provides a reduced speed of traffic across the site and a potential increase for social interaction with the elimination of a sheltering vehicle that confines those within.