Fall 2012

Semester Start Date: 
Saturday, September 1, 2012

The image has the power : fighting blight in Philadelphia

Jonah Stern's (MCP '12) thesis argued that blight has plagued Philadelphia for the better part of a century, though the understanding of blight has changed dramatically over time. Originally used to describe neighborhood overcrowding, the term retained its currency even as once-overcrowded neighborhoods emptied out in the decades after World War II. The agenda of eradicating blight in its various forms has driven successive waves of redevelopment policy since the 1940s, and yet the problem persists to an astonishing degree in neighborhoods throughout the City.

Successful streets : performance measures, community engagement, and urban street design

Jeremy Steinemann's (MCP '12) thesis explored that over the past decade, local transportation agencies have increasingly re-designed urban arterials, their cities' major surface streets, to better accommodate a wide range of users. At the same time, a growing number of agencies are using performance measurement, the tracking and reporting of specific transportation-related variables, to evaluate and document their impacts. This report attempts to understand the role that performance measurement plays in design decision-making for urban arterial streets.

Waiting for TOD : developing in the Millbrae BART Station Area

Janet Shih's (MCP '12) thesis focused on the suburban terminus station dedicates large amounts of land for parking in order to cater to its driving riders, and causes a trade-off tension between attracting ridership through providing park-and-rides and building transit-oriented development (TOD) within station areas. I focus my research on the Millbrae Intermodal Station, a suburban terminus station in the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system, which is still waiting for a large amount of TOD to occur in its station area.

Sharing local energy infrastructure : organizational models for implementing microgrids and district energy systems in urban commercial districts

Rosie Sherman (MCP '12) argues that there is a growing trend in cities toward establishing localized, shared energy infrastructure. As existing energy infrastructure ages and demand increases, cities face rising energy costs and security risks combined with mandates to decrease carbon emissions. Local energy infrastructure provides cities and neighborhoods with greater control over their energy production and consumption, including the ability to lower the cost of energy, move to low-carbon energy technologies, and improve energy reliability and security.

The contemporary International Building Exhibition (IBA) : innovative regeneration strategies in Germany

Alice Shay's (MCP '12) thesis explored the Internationale Bauausstellung or International Building Exhibition (IBA) is a planning methodology implemented over the course of the 20th century and into the 21st century in Germany. The IBA is unique and characterized by a mix of seemly contradictory conditions. In composition, IBAs are characterized by being site- and time-specific by a mix of seemly contradictory conditions. In composition.

Using uncertain sea level rise projections : adaptation in Rotterdam and New York

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.

Transforming big data into knowledge : experimental techniques in dynamic visualization

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.

Larry Susskind Op-Ed Appears in Chilean Newspaper

Larry Susskind co-published an opinion piece in a Chilean newspaper yesterday with Daniela Martinez, a Chilean attorney and recent graduate of Harvard Law's LLM program.


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.