Recycling Suburban Sprawl: Coming to Terms with an Existential Crisis

Project (Thesis)



Thesis committee chair: Matt Bell FAIA, Professor

Thesis committee member: Garth Rockcastle FAIA, Professor

Thesis committee member: Madlen Simon AIA


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The sprawl development which typifies the American landscape has an uncertain future. Mounting costs, changing demographics, and an inherent instability in value threaten to lift some neighborhoods, gut others, and expand sprawl into the countryside in a relentless, destructive march. This thesis seeks to develop a strategy by which increased density and additional land uses may be inserted into existing tract housing developments as a means of protecting and improving our previous investments, rather than bulldozing and replacing them or seeing them laid to waste. These changes to the fabric of sprawl may lay the groundwork for breaking down barriers to further development and modernization which have been put in place by policy, systems of finance and land ownership, and the very nature of the places we have created. Adding density to current settlements may also reduce pressures to sprawl further, protecting the undeveloped wilderness beyond the city limits.

Julian Goldman
Spring 2013