Urbanizing the American dream : symbiotic housing for Baltimore
Author(s)Gealy, Rachel (Rachel Katherine)
Symbiotic housing for Baltimore
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
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In the 1950s, the American dream of owning a suburban single family home was directed at one demographic, the nuclear family. America's resources seemed limitless: industry marketing and government policies encouraged over consumption and enabled middle class families to buy their own mass produced tract house on a plot of private land accessible only by car. The result was a landscape of sprawl and the draining of urban cores. Today, nearly sixty years later, attitudes toward how the middle class should live have shifted dramatically along with the make up of middle America itself, and the dream is no longer valid. The 21st century definition of the middle class has expanded to include unending variations of living groups which do not fit into the suburban mold. Further, our awareness of sustainability concerns drives us toward resource sharing and space exchange which is impossible to achieve in decentralized developments. Despite these issues however, housing for the middle class has changed very little. This thesis proposes an alternative dream, an urban one. The hypothesis: the conflict between how Americans want to live and what the urban environment has to offer can be resolved through a symbiotic relationship between three programs: long term family oriented housing, short term rental housing, and flexible education space. Decades of "dream" propaganda has left us with cultural attitudes which demand certain qualitative characteristics from housing, specifically access to light and air, privacy, safety, security. and permanence.(cont.) Also critical are rising concerns with living "green" and education opportunities for children. However, inner city Baltimore as an environment for family oriented housing is inhospitable to say the least, plagued by crime and lacking quality schools. In addition to these two real factors is the psychological dream, which is entrenched in our culture. This project explores how the design of symbiotic housing can attract middle class families back to the city, thus urbanizing the American Dream.
Thesis (M. Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 2010.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (p. 115-117).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology