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Designing Community Space in Mixed-Income Housing Prof. Lawrence Vale Massachusetts Institute of Technology August 2004.

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Presentation on theme: "Designing Community Space in Mixed-Income Housing Prof. Lawrence Vale Massachusetts Institute of Technology August 2004."— Presentation transcript:

1 Designing Community Space in Mixed-Income Housing Prof. Lawrence Vale Massachusetts Institute of Technology August 2004

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3 Which Mix? Mixing income extremes or a continuum? Mixing source-of-income? Mixing ages and family structures? Mixing races? Mixing uses? (i.e., beyond mixing people)

4 Who should benefit from redeveloped public housing?

5 Which goal? Wholesale replacement of one community with another? OR-- Nurturing and rewarding the best elements of a distressed community with new resources?

6 Values Drive Design Choices Are poor people regarded (by developers) as something to minimize or cope with? OR are they seen as deserving of better living conditions? Do programming and design efforts genuinely engage existing residents? OR are these new communities planned for someone else?

7 USHA, Planning the Site (1939) Public Housing site designers resisted engagement with streets and avoided any space that was not either wholly public or wholly private.

8 Minimum Spacing Standards Between Public Housing Buildings 1 Story50 Feet 2 Story55 Feet 3 Story60 Feet 4 Story65 Feet 6 Story75 Feet Source: United States Housing Authority, Planning the Site: Design of Low-Rent Housing Projects (1939), later codified in Federal Public Housing Authority, Minimum Physical Standards and Criteria for the Planning and Design of FPHA-Aided Urban Low-Rent Housing (1945).

9 Plan D, Judged to be the Lowest Cost

10 By 1945, Many Different Kinds of Public Housing Site Plans Prevailed, as Open Space Became More Prominent

11 Distressed Public Housing (in Boston) by 1980

12 Two Examples of Re-designed Public Housing in Boston Harbor Point--formerly Columbia Point, 1502 units, built in 1954 and redeveloped 1978-1990 Commonwealth (aka Fidelis Way), 648 units, built in 1951 and redeveloped 1980- 1985

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15 When I took office in 1993 there was no better example in the country of what was possible, of literally going from worst to first, than Harbor Point. Harbor Point was the pioneer, the trailblazer. It gave us confidence. --Henry Cisneros

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17 The community is not interested in being planned for; the community is interested in planning --Columbia Point resident Terry Mair

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23 Subsidized residents treat this more like a neighborhood, doing things out on the porches, in the streets, on the grass, as opposed to shorter-term residents whose domain is really just their units, Theyre only in the common spaces as they go and come from their units. Thats a different way of using space. And if we decide that were going to police and patrol things like noise, things like kids, things like black presencethis becomes problematic. --April Young (resident anthropologist at Harbor Point)

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25 Bostons Commonwealth Development Rendering and View from the early 1950s

26 Commonwealth Development in the 1950s

27 Commonwealth Development in the early 1970s: Still Socially Viable

28 By the late 1970s, Many Abandoned Public Housing Apartments Were Vandalized Even Before They Could be Re-Rented

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30 Commonwealth: Before……….. and After

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32 Revitalization by Design

33 Re-landscaping Commonwealth Development, 1980s

34 Commonwealth Development under Private Management, 1990s

35 Children Also Help Set Rules for Community Behavior

36 Conclusions Successful new communities are built from the successful parts of older communities. Design process matters as much as design products. Public space must be planned for and managed through agreed-upon norms. New communities should be city pieces, not enclaves. Private spaces should provide informal surveillance of public places.


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