Restructuring the urban neighborhood : the dialogue between image and ideology in Phoenix Hill, Louisville, Kentucky
Author(s)Isaacs, Mark Andrew
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Antonio Di Mambro.
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This thesis addresses the problems of restructuring the urban neighborhood as specifically applied to the Phoenix Hill community in Louisville, Kentucky. Theory and concepts are briefly presented as a basis for design proposals for housing and open space. The first chapter introduces the destructure-restructure concept and discusses its social and political consequences when applied at the neighborhood scale: urban renewal produces changing ways of life for existing residents, but are they desired changes? Whose beliefs, ideas and aspirations are built into the renewed urban environment? Whose way of life becomes embodied in physical form? This leads to a discussion relating the images a designer projects in the environment to the ideology represent . The second chapter presents an historical reading of the social and physical context of the Phoenix Hill area, discussing how the interests of various social structures (or ideologies) were built into the physical structure (or image) of the environment. The third chapter presents the Urban Renewal Plan now being prepared for Phoenix Hill--an inner city neighborhood with a predominantly low-income black population. An analysis of the planning process interprets which social interests are represented in the physical plan: community development for one group may threaten community destruction another. In this case, transplanting suburban images and ideology back to the city may mean the end of a way of life for Phoenix Hill's existing residents. The final chapter offers some alternate images of what Phoenix Hill could be. Designs for housing and community open space follow a statement of planning objectives and redevelopment strategies. The work draws upon lessons taken from the reading of the historical development of the neighborhood. The design activity focuses on a key block at the center of the various institutional forces operating in Phoenix Hill. The model for the block structure relates to the existing pattern by confining buildings close to the street edge while leaving the interior of the block free. A new pattern of community open space maintains this block center as a two-acre park for the common enjoyment of all residents. This model for Phoenix Commons is extended to other blocks to form a continuous greenway connecting the cultural and work activity of downtown Louisville with the recreation and relaxation found in Cherokee Park--a major Olmstead-designed park just beyond the inner city's edge. The housing strategy emphasizes rehabilitation of existing sound buildings and new in fill construction relating to the historic nineteenth century fabric. In approaching the maximum density allowable under the Urban Renewal Plan, the historic house types are transformed to a new urban housing form: the infill dwellings combine the spacious, light-filled qualities of historic atrium houses with the energy-and material-saving aspects of attached townhouses. The units have been designed with consideration of implementation strategies that maintain lower - income residents as part of a mixed-income development and allows them to participate in the benefits of cooperative homeownership.
Thesis (M. Arch.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Architecture, 1980.MICROFICHE COPY AVAILABLE IN ARCHIVES AND ROTCH.Includes bibliographical references.
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Architecture.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology