Date of Award

8-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Architecture

Major

Architecture

Major Professor

Mark M. Schimmenti

Committee Members

Thomas K. Davis, Hansjörg Göritz

Abstract

Infrastructure influences both depictions of the ideal city and economic models predicting urban growth. As the common variable, infrastructure investments could promote ideal city values within free market economies.

To preserve the countryside and natural lands infrastructure investments must encourage concentrated growth in cities. The city and countryside are codependent. An abstraction between the two zones will lead to the demise of both the city and the countryside. New urban infrastructure should relate to public spaces creating economic, cultural, and social value in dense development. This value is achieved by generating a multiplicity of connections, program, and places within the existing urban fabric.

Supporting and facilitating human activity, infrastructure has the ability to create place and suggest future growth. Infrastructure in American cities is often isolated and mono functioning. Constant widening of roadways along with investments in suburban infrastructure increases the supply of land available for development in the periphery of the city. The result is an uncontrolled, unplanned outward growth consuming valuable rural and natural lands. Expanding roadways to accommodate low-density sprawl is like telling a fat man to add another notch to his belt. This money should be used to invest in infrastructure that facilitates growth within the existing urban fabric. To ensure maximum value, this infrastructure should preform multiple uses and relate to public space.

A design study preformed in Pensacola, Florida tests the viability of this new infrastructure. As North America’s first European settlement, Pensacola’s growth can be charted from the founding of the centralized historic city to the sprawling metropolitan area that surrounds it today. Implementation of water taxi and ferry systems will encourage dense development around existing harbors within the metropolitan area. A retrofit of Pensacola’s post-industrial waterfront supports this system while simultaneously providing a recreational and cultural amenity for the city.

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