COMMUNITY REVITALIZATION: THE METHODS & MEANS TO A SYSTEMATIC DESIGN APPROACH

Open Access
Author:
Donnachie, Laurie Beth
Area of Honors:
Landscape Architecture
Degree:
Bachelor of Landscape Architecture
Document Type:
Thesis
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Kenneth Tamminga, Thesis Supervisor
  • Stuart Patton Echols, Honors Advisor
  • Kelleann Foster, Faculty Reader
Keywords:
  • community revitalization
  • participatory design
  • studio
Abstract:
During the fall 2010 semester, I was enrolled in a community revitalization studio that proposed participatory design efforts with two communities within Pittsburgh’s greater metropolitan region. Since this was the first studio I took that involved multiple meetings with community residents, I became interested in researching the variety of approaches utilized in community revitalization. Community revitalization is important to landscape architects as revitalization usually involves seeing the larger picture and creating an experience for people to live in everyday. In order to create such an experience, landscape architects must rely on the residents of the community to share their knowledge which has been experienced and gathered over a long period of time. The landscape architect’s primary role in community revitalization is a facilitator; to collect the residents’ knowledge and encourage them to visualize and implement their ideas that will lead to an improvement in the quality of life and strength of the community. This thesis will first define and clarify a variety of terms that are associated with community revitalization and participatory design. Since such a broad topic is being discussed, there are quite a few terms that hold contradictory meanings and carry certain implications that impact how community revitalization is perceived. Following this section a criteria is presented; with three approaches to community revitalization presented. These approaches are then investigated through several small case studies the final being a detailed description of my studio project. After the approaches have been investigated, their pros and cons are discussed as part of a conclusion as to the most effective parts that should be in every successful community revitalization project. After the completion of this thesis, it will be presented to the landscape architecture department to use in future improvements to the curriculum. Participatory design studios provide more valuable lessons than other studios that are not involved in fostering interaction with residents.