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Suburban Bricolage: Tactical Interventions In The Everyday Suburb

Part 2 Project 2003
Ryan Sullivan
James Church
University of Maryland Maryland USA

Anticipating limitations upon suburban expansion and recognizing the successes and failures of contemporary suburban life, this thesis proposes a strategy for developing the existing suburban landscape. The thesis explores the formal and social characteristics of a prototypical suburban site consisting of a commercial strip and residential neighborhoods as a point of departure. The design solution includes a framework for future growth as well as development of a single portion of the framework in greater detail. Inspired by theories of the everyday, the design works tactically within the strategic framework of the existing suburban condition as an evolutionary step towards transformation.

Ryan Sullivan
James Church

The significance of this thesis project is its firm belief in a practical vision. It begins with a typical American suburban condition, analyzes its social and physical deficiencies and shows how, in real time, a vibrant urban metamorphosis can begin to emerge. By taking a snapshot in time along the route of this change it emphasizes the potential power of incremental design intervention. It suggests that the seeds of “place-making” can be sewn in even a presumably infertile environment through the creative nurturing of conditions that support a diversity of social interaction and a dynamic mix of land uses.


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