Melissa Sapuan's (MS '12) thesis explored coastal cities, where much of the world's population and economic activity is concentrated, are vulnerable to sea level rise and other impacts of climate change. While there has been increased attention on taking action to reduce the adverse impacts of climate change at the city-scale, one of the obstacles local authorities face is the inherent uncertainty in climate change projections.
Designing landscapes for economy : designing regional landscape infrastructure to enable economic and environmental benefits
Lindsay Reul's (MCP '12) thesis seeks to deploy landscape design as a regional economic development strategy. It investigates the relationship between economic activity and the built environment. Economies transition from one trend to the next at a faster pace than urban stock, meaning the landscape and infrastructure, is able to adjust. Thus, flows of ephemeral economic phases leave patterns of durable infrastructure elements that may not serve as relevant or useful purposes in the emerging economic movements.
Stephen Kennedy's (MCP '12) thesis explored information visualizations, especially those utilizing web-based platforms, are becoming an increasingly common medium for exchanging ideas. This emergent class of tools enabling web-based, interactive platforms for visualizing data should be considered by urban planners and designers as an opportunity to create new modes of disseminating and communicating information. This thesis provides an overview of new visualization tools: how they are being developed and combined, their applications, and their potential future uses.
Driven to congestion : how the planning, engineering and politics of transportation established, preserves and perpetuates the automobile city
Vignesh Krishnamurthy's (MCP/SM '12) thesis found that the last eight decades of urban transportation planning and engineering in the United States have been dominated by the hegemony of the automobile. Auto-oriented planning of the transportation and land use system has had a profound impact on the built environment both in greenfield developments and neighborhoods that predated the auto. The pedestrian quality of cities has been eroded by the automobile, and urban renewal in the United States erased many neighborhoods strongly oriented around walking and transit use.
Enhancing access to public spaces : an evaluation of public libraries and the urban situation in Seoul
Seunghyun Kang's (MCP '12) thesis investigates the current situation of public space in the city of Seoul through public libraries. The public library has been one of the most Important civic spaces since the invention in the 19th century in the US or UK. While roles of public library are changing due to advances in digital technology, the physical and visible presence of public library spaces in the city remains significant in the privatized urban situation.
Amy Jacobi's (MCP '12) thesis came to an important conclusion that the current fiscally conservative climate on Capitol Hill, as the next surface transportation bill is being negotiated, may possibly carry over to a greater dependence on fiscal federalism for funding public transportation. With local governments already straining their resources, an examination of how a greater reliance on local funds for public transit is a prudent topic.
Assessing the Village Model and the Village To Village Network in advocating aging in place for older Americans
Vasudha Gupta's (MCP '12) thesis explored aging in Place allows seniors to remain in their choice of residence for as long as possible, using local services and conveniences to live safely and independently. The Village Model is a component of this movement, recognized as a community-based and peer-support network, which allows older Americans to age in their homes and remain active in their community.
The next great American station : Union Station and Downtown Los Angeles in the twenty-first century
Jaymes Dunsmore's (MCP '12) thesis argues that ideas about a city are powerful forces, and have lasting impacts on the built environment. While not every vision is realized in the built form, every aspect of urban development is the reflection of a vision about what the city should be. This is especially true in Los Angeles. Today, the ideas and trends that shaped the development of that city, and many American metropolises, in the twentieth century are falling away, presenting the opportunity for new visions of downtown development and civic space to take form.
The transformation of the ideal wilderness : a case study of Springfield, Missouri and the mid-size American city
Kathleen Dahlberg's (MCP/SMArchS '12) thesis explores the mid-size American city and examines the deeply nuanced relationship between city form, landscape and culture. Using Springfield Missouri as a representative case study, the city is viewed as a process of transformation, a reading which is used to build a layered spatial comprehension, interpreting the terrain as a set of limits, cultural production, and space of collective desire; and the city as a negotiation between global economic development and local specificity.
Caitlin Cameron (MCP '12) came to the conclusion that we believe we understand food deserts, but we do not. In the last decade the phenomenon of food deserts has been often discussed, and many solutions are proposed to alleviate food access issues in American cities. However, I argue that the efficacy of these solutions is questionable until the causes of urban food deserts are better understood. Beyond the economics of retail grocery exist systemic, physical factors which contribute to the gaps in food access.