Date of Award

5-2007

Degree Type

Thesis

Major

Architecture

Major Professor

Marleen Davis

Committee Members

David Fox, Edgar Stach

Abstract

“…the interweaving of human patterns. They are full of people doing different things, with different reasons and different ends in view, and the architecture reflects and expresses this difference...Being human, human beings are what interest us most. In architecture as in literature and the drama, it is the richness of human variation that gives vitality and color to the human setting…” – Raskin (Jacobs 229)

This thesis asserts that the greater opportunity for people to interact socially, the greater sense of identity a community has. Over time, as historically defined public space has been in decline, so has the level of common knowledge about other cultures and people. A healthy sense of community goes hand in hand with good urban design to promote health, safety, and warm spirits in a neighborhood’s inhabitants.

The goal of this thesis is to increase communal interaction by (re)introducing public space within the contemporary American neighborhood, by way of a hybrid program of public transit, community center, retail and green space. The respectful relationship between public space and the surrounding architecture becomes a catalyst for similar relationships formed by the users in casual meetings, impromptu games, or organized get-together times.

This site of this study is within the limits of the Grant Park neighborhood in southeast Atlanta, Georgia. This area of the city is one of much potential, but has been overlooked in recent development for the more wealthy areas north of downtown. With historic Grant Park and Zoo Atlanta within its borders, this inner ring community has potential as being a model of diversity, but its pockets of uses are separated by lack of uniting common spaces in which to move about and interact.

This proposal stresses that recognizing the daily patterns of life, the ways at which people move throughout their day, is essential to developing more productive urban design. Nothing is experienced by itself, but always in relation to its surroundings, the sequences of events leading up to it, the memory of past experiences (Lynch 1). Comparative analysis of historic and contemporary urban plans provides a framework to design the Movement Center. By diagramming the characteristics of movement through the site, we can look to develop ways to maximize opportunities for people to intermingle in their paths through public spaces at a pedestrian scale.

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