The trend for a significant portion of current development models is to create vibrant, walkable, mixed-use neighborhoods and shopping districts. The focus of these new urban areas is on the appropriate materiality, proportions, and various land-use practices, which will ensure a quality pedestrian experience. The scale of these areas ranges from new mixed-use shopping and residential districts (Crocker Park, OH) to complete new towns (The Woodlands, TX). While much critique has been written on the techniques and urban form which these immediate urbanisms produce, gaining both public acclaim and academic ridicule, the critique of this project focuses on their isolation and regulation. Immediate urbanisms rightly identify both the failings of much of America’s post-war sprawl and the current popular market demands for urbanism as a complementary experiential spatial product to any existing program type.
Participant Name: Sam Friesema
Country: United States
Their manifestations, however, do nothing to improve existing conditions. They exist as commodities of contrast to failing or plateaued urbanism. Just as dense city dwellers once escaped to Olmstedian fabrications of idealistic landscapes, the contemporary suburbanite now escapes to a fabricated form of on-demand urbanism. Problems reside within their contiguous, closed-off, all inclusive boundaries and in their overly managed processes for growth and change. Through intense oversight and control mechanisms they remove the possibility of full and diversified contributing engagement by the entire population.
The question raised by this project is this: How do you inject large amounts of new program into an existing area with no room for large and contiguous development? This project seeks to harness the energy and understanding of market demands that immediate urbanisms possess, and to explore techniques to overlay new layers of program and forms into built-out areas with static existing urban conditions. Dynamic coupling of temporal and substantive actors will be explored in order to propose a new way of thinking about urban development within an established urban context. The proposed Networks of Urban Acupuncture (NUA) is a strategy of program distribution through coordinated points of intervention within an existing urban context.
NUAs exist as active form, using the agency within their configuration to spread the power and significance of ideas, forces, and spaces that lie outside of the designer’s conventional realm of control. By inserting carefully coordinated sets of interventions within existing conditions, there exists the potential to contribute new temporal and physical layers of activity and connections within the city. The program interventions will stimulate areas adjacent to individual network points while simultaneously creating its own stabilizing structural framework of interconnectedness among the points collectively.
Utilizing a Non-Contiguous Planned Unit Development (NC-PUD) the project proposes increasing a city’s program by 10% on only 5% of the existing area; essentially doubling land-use intensity where the policy is active. Each point of the distributed policy overlay responds to micro-local context while the network as a whole responds to larger collective urban issues. The result of the project is increased population, public space, density, diversity, revenues, and a myriad of social benefits.