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Placemaking for the pedestrian: generative design & the street

Placemaking for the pedestrian: generative design & the street

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Title: Placemaking for the pedestrian: generative design & the street
Author: Pypker, Steven
Identifier: MESMP02556
Abstract: This paper evaluates the influence of placemaking design concepts and historical development processes on the pedestrian experience of three different neighbourhood
commercial streets in Toronto. Placemaking is an urban design movement that proposes walkable, pedestrian-­‐oriented environments in reaction to Modern planning's "placeless" car-­‐dominated landscapes. To explore if placemaking design theories relate to actual pedestrian experiences, I conducted qualitative case studies of three Toronto streets using spatial analyses, interviews, photographic observation, and archival research. I found that placemaking design concepts did correlate to positive pedestrian experiences, but the theories were lacking when it came to explaining pedestrian accounts of the age and storied character of the street. This led me to investigate the historic formation and evolution of each street, where I discovered that, more than conceptual design theories, changes in the scale of street design practices—particularly involving techniques of construction and finance—have played a key role in shaping pedestrian experiences. My findings support Christopher Alexander's process-­‐based design theory, and the critical spatial theories of political economy. In my conclusion I suggest some ways that these theories might dovetail into a more holistic approach to design based on adaptive, egalitarian processes. My research shows that consideration of process is essential to any urban design theory that aims to account for the pedestrian experience of streets.
Type: Major Paper
Rights: Author owns copyright, except where explicitly noted. Please contact the author directly with licensing requests.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10315/30283
Citation: Major Paper, Master of Environmental Studies, Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University
Date: 2014

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