Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.Arch.

Degree Granting Department

Architecture and Community Design

Major Professor

Vikas Mehta, Ph.D.

Keywords

Placemaking, Integrated district center, Transit, Mixed-use, USF

Abstract

The phenomenon of place has always been a key issue of inquiry throughout theoretical discourse in relation to architecture and urban planning. To comprehend such a phenomenon, one must begin to understand how to concretize the factors that can be used to create such a meaningful environment. With respect to such a topic, what becomes of interest are the four primary elements that come together to illustrate how the structure and spirit of place are defined. Space, character, orientation, and identification are the elements that begin to provide such a definition. Ever since the end of the Second World War, American development patterns have been unaccommodating in an effort to cultivate place within our society. The trends in mainstream suburban retail and residential development along with unorganized zoning practices have all but ceased this phenomenon from occurring.

Such behavior has taken the once genuine, collective, unifying concept of the main-street, and has splintered it into independent development patterns which are disorganized and disjointed. In light of this plaguing issue, suburban communities in today's society lack elements that foster identity and character, therefore stifling place from being created. This thesis will begin by exploring the place theory according to Christian Norberg-Schulz, providing an understanding of how the primary elements of place culminate to define its spirit and structure, and the study of the types of neighborhoods that possess and lack a sense of place and the means by which they do so. These efforts will ultimately work to establish a framework on how a sense of place can be reintroduced within today's society.

The findings of this thesis will ultimately culminate in a project which will bring together prominent, fragmented developments that currently sit in a disorganized and disoriented portion of Tampa. Such developments have been burdened by isolation rather than be welcomed through integration. The vehicle used to unify these fragments will be a communal and shared place of transition, also known as an integrated district center, designed to accommodate those who reside, commute, and visit. This center will also work to illustrate the area as a defined place. It is only by means of coming in contact with methods that define and curtail place to seek the way in which it needs to be restored. In doing so, society shall grant a person pride to reside, reason to commute, and interest to visit.

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