Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.Arch.

Degree Granting Department

Architecture

Major Professor

Shannon Bassett , M.A.U.D

Keywords

Environment, Infrastructure, Site, Form, Functional

Abstract

Scholars have suggested that landscape become the main ordering device in the development of the built environment. Traditional methods of urban planning have categorized landscape as a cosmetic application, the purpose of which is to beautify the urban environment after the planning and development phases. The problems associated with globalization and rapid urbanization at present includes the commoditization of urban form. As a result of this trend, many cities are becoming less and less distinguishable from one another, as urban form is generated without considering the particularities of site and context. The lack of a more specific understanding of a site in its environmental, social and cultural dimensions, has led to the phenomenon of "universal" urban form. Landscape has new found relevance in contemporary urbanism becoming the medium that defines urban form; inserting the built environment within the context of complex natural, social and cultural environments.

Landscape has the potential to design relationships between dynamic environmental processes and urban form, and become more of a functional system. In the island of Trinidad there exists the opportunity to explore the potential of landscape as a driver of urban form. The island is currently experiencing rapid urbanization and dynamic growth due to a boost in the economy, and an unprecedented government agenda to take the island to a developed nation status by the year 2020. Due to this emerging urbanity, there is the need to implement urban development approaches that protect the environmental integrity of the island, and preserve the social and cultural influences that give identity to the island. The investigation led to the development of a landscape infrastructure that is implemented in an effort to achieve sustainable urban development and preserve the natural integrity of the site.

Through an in-depth analysis of the landscape, identifying the natural, social and cultural processes occurring, a plan of intervention is developed that is integrated with the dynamics of the site, and serves as an example of the potential of landscape in urbanism.

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