Infrastructural opportunism inhabiting the Los Angeles hinterland
Author(s)Williams, Laura (Laura Lynne)
Inhabiting the Los Angeles hinterland
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
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Los Angeles is a vast, dense, and notorious city that overshadows the individualities of its outlying territories. California is likewise divided between urban center and middle land, with inland acting as producer and collector, and coast as consumer. However, there is the potential in this middle zone, stuck between the urban and rural, to re-imagine the way that cities develop and function based on infrastructural opportunities. North of Los Angeles over the San Gabriel mountains, Palmdale, Victorville, and Bakersfield operate together as the production and logistics staging grounds for Los Angeles, a collective back of house to the largest city on the west coast. Of these, Palmdale is used as the testing ground for infrastructural opportunism and edge expansion; but while Palmdale acts as producer, staging ground, and dormitory for Los Angeles, it will not be defined by this adjacency. Instead, Palmdale and its neighbors are re-imagined as a collective of edge cities that signify a new region both in service of and independent from Los Angeles: The High Desert Triangle. To address the edge region, this thesis proposes a new typology for expansion that identifies infrastructural overlaps between road, rail, and water as opportunities to link across fragmented city fabric. This method of aggregation and stitching operates at an urban scale within Palmdale, a territorial scale between cities, and site-specifically in bridging the scalar gap between humans and logistics. By operating opportunistically with infrastructure, this thesis proposes that 1] concentrating infrastructure and logistics development at multi-modal intersections reduces redundancy and de-fragments city fabric, 2] demographic segmentation can be altered by mixing communities and improving access to transit both locally and regionally, and 3] the cost efficiency of bundling infrastructures allows for iteration and experimentation at the architectural scale to address changing programmatic and demographic needs. The aim of this thesis is not to imitate existing city fabric, but instead to design the typological tools for urban edge development and re-imagine how essential logistics spaces can be integrated with living spaces. It does not propose to segment, buffer, or zone out the overlaps between logistics and people, but rather seeks out those intersections as infrastructural opportunities with inherent value.
Thesis: S.M., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Architecture, 2016.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 164-165).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology