Presentation on theme: "Understanding the Link Between Urban Design and Imageability: Sense of Place Case Study of Library Walk on the UCSD Campus Alexa-Rae Navarro I University."— Presentation transcript:
Understanding the Link Between Urban Design and Imageability: Sense of Place Case Study of Library Walk on the UCSD Campus Alexa-Rae Navarro I University of California, San Diego I Urban Studies & Planning Program I March 15, 2012 Object of study: The environmental image of Library Walk Examined: This research project examined the perceptual form of the path of Library Walk through the assessment of its imageability. Abstract: This study sought to answer whether the university’s primary focus on new LEED infrastructure development has negatively impacted the environmental image of the campus. Did this marketable economic mentality foster growing disconnections across campus in regards to its identity and structure? The environmental image of UC San Diego was found to have a low level of clarity or ‘legibility.’ Further it lacks the goal of imageability, or the quality in a physical object, which gives it a high probability of evoking a strong image in any given observer. Through this research, certain design elements are suggested for implementation in order to create a greater sense of identity, cohesive structure, and distinct image on campus. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to demonstrate how the planning mentality at UCSD has ignored the concept of imageability. It has also further disregarded the necessary link between imageability and urban design, which is vital to creating strong visual images. Clear images promote individual growth, group communication, emotional security, and the increase in depth and intensity of human experience. The consistent use and organization of definite sensory cues from the external environment is fundamental to efficiency and over all survival of life. Background: The original 1963 concept plan of the university was built around 12 colleges or neighborhood clusters with distinctive physical attributes. In a desire to create a sense of place, architects called for a major north-south “Champs Elysees” type pedestrian boulevard along with a great central plaza rivaling Piazza San Marco to unify all neighborhoods. The Long Range Development Plan pushed aside this monumental design. The center of campus has shifted to “University Center” marking Library Walk as the main boulevard of campus. While UCSD’s Sustainability 2.0 Living Laboratory Initiative places focus on new LEED development, it lacks in improvements for the campus’ overall existing physical structure and identity in regards to its environmental image. Significance: The lack of sense of place facilitates disconnection from nature, a loss of natural social capital, and broken community bonds. Analytical approach & methods : The course of action chosen to answer the research question utilized a multi-strategy design, which combined substantial elements of both fixed and flexible design. This project primarily consists of flexible ethnographic and grounded theory studies followed by non- experimental quantitative methods. In this study, the imageability of the UC San Diego campus was assessed through various onsite visits, sketches, interviews, archival research, and observation meetings. Utilizing Kevin Lynch’s model, components of identity, structure, and meaning were analyzed. These components were further studied through the classification of physical forms into five elements: paths, edges, districts, nodes, and landmarks. The qualitative data reflecting UCSD’s image quality was then put into map form in order to visually demonstrate the assessment of legibility. Conclusion: Based on the model criteria, the focus area is slightly legible but completely lacks a clear image that promotes individual growth, group communication, emotional security, and increased depth and intensity of human experience. The image lacks what Lynch calls visual scope, there is no range of vision or vista in which a pedestrian can articulate elements (foci) which visually explain the space, there are relatively no cues to where the individual is in regards to the campus as a whole. There is no harmony in its aesthetic surface. The area of focus lacks motion awareness and kinesthetic responses to captivate the observer in terms of movement While the UCSD Master Plan does call for future innovations and implementations regarding the circulation of the campus, this project aims to emphasize the need for a community and visual image renewal plan that changes the vision of the campus for the better. The spirit of UC San Diego can be altered through integrating nature in design and by the creation of a unified campus “front door” and boulevard. The design guidelines must take into account meaning in order to create identity and further structure. A place must be sociable, and vivid, it must create a sense of the whole followed by sequential continuity to assure the efficiency of the external environment. Findings: While the focus area is found mildly legible, there are various factors regarding visual form that inhibit the space from becoming ‘imageable.’ The drawn diagram maps above break the space down into the 5 Lynch elements (paths, edges, districts, nodes, landmarks) and problematic areas. There are various points of isolation, confusion, discontinuity, problematic views, chaotic areas, and inefficient use of space. The implementation of structural, ecological, artistic, and historical influenced elements to the existing structures and paths would result in a more powerful environmental image. Pedestrian Complaints Overcrowding & too much cement No bike lanes Poorly designed campus “front door” Imageability Legibility Urban Design Alexa-Rae Navarro Lynch modeled maps: Key Literature: Kevin Lynch’s The Image of the City
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