Recycling Suburbia

download Recycling Suburbia

of 45

  • date post

  • Category


  • view

  • download


Embed Size (px)


A Graduate Final Project by Chloe Tyner

Transcript of Recycling Suburbia

  • Recycling Suburbia

    Chloe Tyner . Ball State University . College of Architecture and Planning . Graduate Final Project

    reconditioning the american dream for living communities

  • EDITOR-IN-CHIEFChloe Tyner

    FACULTY ADVISORSHarry EgginkAndrew Wit

    Recycling Suburbiareconditioning the american dream for living communities

  • When a patient asks a doctor for a medicine that the doctor knows will make him ill, the practitioner doesnt accede to those wishes. He knows full well that the patient isnt always right. The Hippocratic Oath that the doctor took also disallows it. Our work

    is the same. The consumer isnt always right, and our industry needs its own oath to ensure that were doing our best to serve consumer desires while not delivering products that are unhealthy, environmentally destructive, or unsustainable --Tedd Benson

  • abstract

    project proposal

    literature review

    story of suburbia

    the vision

    precedent studies

    the plan












    Recycling SuburbiaTable of Contents

  • 8There is growing opinion across the nation that Suburbia is... lacking. Once viewed as the American Dream, an oasis from the hussle and bussle of city life, a community within the landscape, Suburbia has been reduced to a network of meandering pavement and sprawling subdivisions. For the first time since the invention of the automobile, migration from the city to the suburbs has reversed. If the city-in-nature lifestyle is to survive, a better class of suburb must emerge.

    The purpose of this study is to argue against those who believe suburban principle to be at its end. The concept of Suburbia--the not-quite-dense, not-quite-isolated land of peaceful, beautiful communities nestled into the landscape--can and does survive, but its execution, as has been exemplified over the last half-century, cannot endure if humanity hopes to continue pushing for sustainability. Just as architectural styles have conformed to appease shifting ideologies throughout the centuries, Suburbia must now adapt to conciliate the mounting demands of climate change. The building doesnt have to be scrapped, just the way its built.

    Recycling Suburbia reexamines suburban lifestyle down to its basic wants and needs, analyzing in depth Spyglass Hill of Fishers, Indiana, then studies literature and precedents already concerned with finding a solution to unsustainable Suburbia. The ultimate intent of this project is to use Spyglass Hill as a case study in recycling a typical suburban neighborhood: maintaining the qualities which make it desirable, and blending ideals deemed more appropriate for an emerging green culture such that it becomes a stronger community in terms of sustainability, resilliency, sociability, and architectural diversity.

    The conclusions published by this study are meant to serve as a specific example to serve a broader scale. It is the goal of this project to become a new template for suburban community design as well as examples of new architectural typologies within.

    Recycling SuburbiaAbstract

  • 10 Recycling SuburbiaProject Proposal

    Suburbia, lush land of winding single-family units on beautifully manicured acre lots, recalls from somewhere in our subconscious the title the American Dream. For generations, Suburbia has been the goal, the life sought after by young couples hoping to make a good life for themselves and their families, but these days, deep down, we are all growing hyper-aware of some serious issues with our American Dream:

    As Tony Hiss puts it, people are no longer driving, theyre driven (?). Many zoning laws in suburbia do not permit residential and any other type of building type to overlap, thus creating massive clumps of housing that require cars to get anywhere from the grocery to soccer practice. But maximized paving isnt the only culprit of suburban isolation: the material and energy used to ensure electricity, water, gas, and sewage transport has an enormous cost on the environemnt as well as the wallet.

    Suburbias sense of community is quickly diminishing. The families living within these single-family units are as detached as their homes: driving straight into the garage, though sheltered from the elements, steals the opportunity to converse with neighbors after a long day; and the picket fence in the back lawn effectively keeps children and pets within view but at the cost of many wonderful benefits reaped from becoming friendly with neighbors.

    Two simple words: cookie; cutter. These cut and paste homes are exquisite for pushing development speed up and keeping cost (relatively) low. However, these designs more often than not have little to no concern about design aspects such as daylighting, solar gain, natural ventilation, or site context. Not only does this lack of attention inhibit good design, but it inhibits any serious attempt at sustainability. Furthermore, neighborhoods with master plans and associations to maintain those plans are seriously hindered by strict freedoms. Simple tasks such as painting your house, choosing a unique mailbox, and adding a guest house must first be approved by your association.






  • 11

    The fix? Simply reverse the problems:

    This author is concerned with understanding the underlying needs of a suburban neighborhood using Spyglass Hill, a subdivision in Fishers, IN, as a case study. It is the goal of this final project to re-cycle the analyzed subdivision, re-using the favorable aspects, discarding the adverse, and replacing them with new benefits.

    A neighborhood should be walkable, meaning more amenities (access to food, entertainment, work, etc) should be within a 1-mile walk radius. The invention of the car saw faster and more direct means for transport. If neighborhoods were designed for built-in amenities, legs would be the new car, and the car no longer an every day necessity. Additionally, a neighborhood should be self-sufficient. No longer should miles of pipelines expunge precious carbon and energy to deliver utilities to residents.

    A neighborhood should encourage community interaction. Many less-than-neighborly feelings are born of lost opportunity, such as the arrival home inside the enclosed garage instead of on the shared-public realm, like a street or shared parking area, where residents can meet and strike up a conversation. Residents should feel comfortable and be able to share spaces, amenities, and activities with neighbors.

    A neighborhood should allow for more individualistic freedoms in home maintenance and improvement. Building a backhouse for arthritic parents or installing a lighthouse mailbox should be second nature. Most importantly, a prospective resident in the neighborhood should not be forced to choose from a handful of faades, rather have the freedom to consult an outside designer or contractor from whom they would be given greater number of design customizations. A neighborhood should concern itself less about having an identity as a single, identical entity than as a community of unique individual homes with unique individual residents.



  • 12Recycling SuburbiaLiterature Review

    The American Institute of Architects, in the article Vision 2020 from their ECOHome magazine, tells us we humans have become an invasive species (Vision 2020). We were put on this Earth and have since scavenged, excavated, burned, polluted, and nearly depleted it more so than we have nurtured, replenished, or appreciated it. But as designers of the built environment, we have the opportunity to become forerunners in redirecting the human journey from one of invasion and destruction to one of respect and stewardship. The aim of this literature review is to compile a selection of ideologies, speculations, and studies from others concerned with what this project has defined as the 3 main problems surrounding Suburbiadissociation from amenities and infrastructure, community disengagement, and design restrictionsand how they in turn affect our carbon footprint.

    ALIENATE + connect

    As Tony Hiss describes, sprawl steals from us time, choice, and closeness, not just space. Ironically, each of the four qualities Hiss lists are qualities suburban dwellers think they are receiving from Suburbia. By separating the home from daily amenitieswork, school, food, energysprawl demands we commute far and wide just to get through the day, illuminating such valuable time that could be utilized elsewhere. By making neighborhoods a large single entity segregated from the rest of the city, sprawl has forced mass production of homes to feed the demand of the market, eliminating variety and choice. With uniform, fenced-in designs of neighborhoods, sprawl has taught residents to disengage from their neighbors and their community, eradicating closeness to fellow residents. Lastly, by allotting no minimum density for Suburbia, sprawl has allowed the expansion of building as far as money will allow and is stealing precious green space from the planet.

    Hiss further describes that due to suburban withdrawal from the city and estranged commutes to work, people are no longer driving, theyre driven. Yet as much as those same people complain about the

  • 13commute, the traffic, and rising gas prices, they dont so much as consider leaving their oasis of perfectly mown quarter-acre lawns and white picket fences for a life of mass transit, short commutes, and urban housing. As said by Bill McKibben, changing the face of a city is a matter of blueprints, of dollars, of cubic feet of concretetheres no simple way to bulldoze attitudes, to pour old f