Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.Arch.

Degree Granting Department

Architecture

Major Professor

Theodore Trent Green, M.Arch.

Keywords

Modular, Family, Sustainability, Society, Mixed-Use

Abstract

Within the United States, a growing sense of detachment exists. Conditions in both urban and suburban contexts have created a sense of social detachment where spaces do not exist which encourage social interaction. Without this social activity, neighbors become almost a disposable commodity as relationships never fully develop. This thesis will be an examination of environments which do and do not foster community relationships and an implementation of community into an urban multi-family residence. A major part of the problem is the recent move to the suburbs, but urban buildings also exhibit a lack of spaces which help encourage a community among neighbors. Suburban residents are separated by both spatial and physical boundaries. In addition to this, a social boundary is also created by a lack of interaction between the primary unit and the street as well as a reliance on the automobile which blocks any chance of spontaneous interaction.

The typical urban multi-family building exists in a context that and provides some spaces which give pedestrian traffic a chance for spontaneous interaction, but provides these by accident as these spaces are usually provided only as a means to get to one's unit. To discover what community is and how it can thrive, many research methods will be used. Existing building projects which have dealt with this problem will be examined; these precedents include residential buildings such as the Bedok Court Condominium in Singapore and large scale urban areas such as New York City. Theory on community within other fields such as sociology and psychology will also be looked at to see what it is that fosters community, and what blocks it. At the end of the project, a model will be designed for an example site within a typical city of the Unites States where the majority of the area is defined by disconnected neighborhoods.

The model being sought will not simply be a multi-family building with community space, but an environment where the neighborhood community can grow and thrive.

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