Friday, February 23, 2007
The quotes are directly from developers websites and from the East Cesar Chavez neighbourhood plan.
This give you the basic idea of the Cesar Chavez population. This is a relatively dense area of Austin with a predominantly hispanic population. There is a high density of only spanish speaking households which can be seen here statistically as well as being physically expressed in the many signs in the area.
Just by walking down East Cesar Chavez, you get a sense of its past history. Many houses that were once residential are now used for business purposes. Our Group found it interesting that other than the businesses, not much had changed on East Cesar Chavez since the early 1900s.
East Cesar Chavez
When our group visited the site, we observed how different activities on the street acted together to form a community. We then envisioned the whole street as a body system with organs that each had a role in maintaining the life of East Cesar Chavez.
We focused mainly on circulation, movement, and history. Grouping these categories and relating them to the body system helped us reveal their importance.
Thursday, February 22, 2007
What is a fence? Does it make one safe? Does it appear unfriendly or uninviting to those who live next to you?
There are many kinds of fences, those meant to keep people out, those meant to box you in, and those meant to mark space boundaries, just to name some of the possible uses for a fence. For many they stand as an unfriendly symbol, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The east side of Austin has a lot of problems. After being dumped on for many years it stands as the last bastion for affordable property in town. with many that migrate through the area, criminals, transients and workers, some parts haven’t always been the safest parts of town.
While walking around I set out to find what the fences around people’s yards meant to an outsider who wasn’t used to seeing them.
What I found was that to these people, the fences were simply a way of life, they weren’t uninviting, they just marked what was one person’s from what wasn’t. They gave children a place to play and while providing some feeling of safety, most didn’t need them for that purpose.
I even met a few people who rarely locked their doors.
Signage, Development, Light, Wireless
The clothesline is our represantion of the many signs and colors one encounters on Cesar Chavez. On the top line hang pictures of signs that are bigger and directed more toward the car traffic. The bottom line has signs which are at the pedestrian level. The clothesline installation gives an impression of the relaxed, colorful, multi-lingual feel of the site.
One side of the clothesline shows the signs during the day, bright and colorful. The other side shows the scene at night (image to the left). Almost all of the signs which are so prominent during the day are in darkness at night, with the exception of some which are lit up from within or with a spotlight.
With this installation, we wanted to represent the mixed programs and new development of the site. In the pods (the containers), one can see images of homes, businesses, and live-work places. The bright colors and collage style of the installation mimic the look of the Cesar Chavez. This is also our beginning study of lighting in the corridor. The static strips of Christmas lights represent the streetlights, while the blinking lights represent the other businesses and homes. The only containers that does not fit into the colorful theme are the white, blank flower pots, which stand for the new condos being built on the site.
The previous study installation led us to explore the lighting of Cesar Chavez in more depth. By driving through the site and observing firsthand and using a detailed electrical grid, we were able to accurately place all of the streetlights on the corridor. From the mapping we learned that West Cesar Chavez and the neighborhoods north of it receive more light.
Each circle on this map represents a wireless internet connection found on Cesar Chavez. We assumed that the wireless connections reach about one-hundred yards from the connection point. The green circles represent the one-hundred yard radius of public or non-restricted wireless internet, while the black circles represent the private or restricted wireless internet.
The red and green points on the map on the left represent the wireless internet connections available in all of Austin. The map on the right expresses the same information; however, this map is zoomed in more on Cesar Chavez and the surrounding neighborhood.
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Sunday, February 11, 2007
- Zoning is a North American system of land-use regulation. The word is derived from the practice of designating permitted uses of land based on mapped zones which separate one part of a community from another. Zoning regulations fall under the police power rights governments may exercise over real property. Theoretically, its primary purpose is to segregate uses that are thought to be incompatible; in practice, zoning is used as a permitting system to prevent new development from harming existing residents or businesses. Zoning is commonly controlled by local governments such as counties or municipalities. Zoning commonly includes regulation of the kinds of activities which will be acceptable on particular lots (such as open space, residential, agricultural, commercial or industrial), the densities at which those activities can be performed (from low-density housing such as single family homes to high-density such as high-rise apartment buildings), the height of buildings, the amount of space structures may occupy, the location of a building on the lot (setbacks), the proportions of the types of space on a lot (for example, how much landscaped space and how much paved space), and how much parking must be provided.
- The general intended use of a space is determined by the zoning rules, first and foremost. A property deemed residential by zoning cannot have a grocery store built there for example. The reverse is true as well. Although these regulations can be changed or altered over time, it is difficult to change and requires a multitude of legal paperwork. However, zoning regulations are often vague, allowing for variations in use. A property for commercial use could be any number of businesses.
- Public areas have a certain vibe and flavor that is not found in commercial areas just as commercial areas have a busy feel and largeness not found in most residential areas. Our society has taught each of us how to differentiate between the two. Green front yards free of signage indicate residential, privately owned homes while huge parking lots littered with advertising and signs is clearly commercial. Most times, private sectors and public sectors are separated. A common theme is to have a layer of commercial usage along side major thoroughfares followed by multiple layers of private residence. Again, it is the intent of zoning laws to separate these two kinds of area to increase the privacy and quality of life within a residential area.
- When it comes to commercial areas, signage is the main mode of communication about the program and usage of a building to the public. Signs on buildings display the name of the building as well as a small caption explaining its purpose (Ex. Java Hut… Coffee House and Bakery). This allows the passer-byer to determine if the place is of use to them or not without have to step foot in every building he or she sees. This is an informal communication between the consumer and the distributor. When it comes to residential communication, addresses are the most vital piece of the puzzle. These short numbers provide a distinct location of a home in an orderly manner. This is a way for a person that lives at a certain place to share that information with mail men, the government and visitors. Although it is not a large sign such as those seen in residential areas, it is a sign none the less communicating a specific use (who lives there) of a building.
Wednesday, February 7, 2007
geology, water, and climate are the determinates of the overall structure of a city.
cities form on the water because water sustains life. geology is also important, because it defines where you can build, whereas water is where you want to build. Those determine where you build but climate defines what you build. Flora and fauna are a result of the climate that wind and light are aspects of.
The determinates almost seem like limits and they would be if we as people were not innovative and willing to compromise. Because we are so adaptable there are cities, towns, tribes, settlements, villages, etc. everywhere.
Any thorough analysis of a city must include an investigation of its occupants. What is a city, after all, if not a physical setting for the inhabitation, interaction, and service of people? How individuals and groups interact with each other and the urban environment is essential to a city’s dynamic. A city’s demographics can be very informative, and is an integral part of a comprehensive view of the city.
The division of space into public and private zones is as old as communal settlement. The character of these spaces is fundamentally different, and they are therefore made distinctly separate in the modern city. This separation ranges from formalized building codes to general, unspoken practice. Also, spaces have varying degrees of public and private, and this influences how they are perceived
"A system of services, opportunities, or projects, usually
designed to meet a social need"
The term program brings about broad ideas. Every city shares the most basic programs such as: a business center museum district, parks, recreational centers, libraries, churches, homeless shelters, and the list goes on. These are just some major activities that happen during a normal day in a city.
Of course, it also depends on the city. The city's culture and history play a big part in the role of programs. For example,
Programs are created to meet a need, they must be functional and useful. As long as it is being used, it is being programmatic - even from small object like a trash can on to a bigger scale - sanitation system. There are countless number of programs that exist in 1 city, and many times these programs overlap and reach out to a global network.
Often closely linked with communication, perception is one’s opinion of a space. When looking at an urban setting an area can be deemed dangerous or safe based purely on perception.
This is also based on the individuals personal upbringing, experience, and knowledge. A visitor to
Communication in an urban setting takes many forms. Billboards and newspapers, cell towers and street signs; all contribute to the notion of communication in the urban setting.
Everything communicates. On the most base level we communicate with each other verbally and non-verbally. Our clothes, our possessions speak volumes about who we are without ever saying a word. In the built environment buildings speak to us. They can be imposing or meek, reeking of function or purely formal. Signs inform us where to find the local dentist; which direction to take.
Communication also extends to the media – newspapers, magazines, that band flyer stapled to the light pole; the news, the radio, the telephone – adding yet another layer to the already dense urban fabric. Graffiti is another form of communication deeply rooted within the urban setting. Graffiti and tagging holds different meanings for different individuals but none the less these graphic forms speak volumes about a place or area.
- Sunlight: in large cities such as Tokyo there are "sunshine laws" that protect people's right to sunlight
- Artificial light: street lamps, headlights, commercial buildings, billboards
- Length of days (sunrise to sunset)
- Natural disasters: hurricanes, tornadoes
- Seed dispersal
- Prevailing direction of breeze
- Used for power: ships, windmills, wind farms
- Air quality and pollution
- Type of soil and rock
- Seismic conditions
- Erosion, floodplains
- Landmark formations
- Mineral/oil deposits
What I can remember about this site is that it utilizes a very vernacular style of architecture, or rather lack thereof. The buildings have coexisted harmoniously with the landscape for decades, and do not appear to be threatened by the encroachment of any monumental architectural endeavors. The buildings have been carved out and reformatted for different purposes, and I believe few maintain their original program or function. For these reasons, the buildings that line South First Street must maintain attractive and alluring signage as the primary vehicle to lure customers to that vernacular southern region of Austin. It is no downtown, where the Frost Tower and other skyscrapers manipulate the public with their towering greatness. In contrast, the buildings rely on history, tradition, establishment, and legacy -- ie. word of mouth through the Austinites -- to create an alluring urban fabric. That, and signage. And that is why I think that it is crucial to investigate the signage in this region of Austin in order to fully realize its material character.
Tuesday, February 6, 2007
Region: 62.5% City: 65.4% Nation: 75.1%
Dark Green: 80.8%
Light Green: 75.8%
Light Tan: 44.6%
Region: 22.1% City: 10.0% Nation: 12.3%
Dark Green: 36.8%
Light Green: 15.7%
Light Tan: 1.4%
Region: 20.4% City: 30.5% Nation: 12.5%
Dark Green: 38.2%
Light Green: 25.6%
Light Tan: 9.3%
People Over the Age of 25 with High School Diploma or Higher
Region: 84.7% City: 83.4% Nation: 80.4%
Dark Green: 97.9%
Light Green: 95.6%
Light Tan: 76.2%
People With a Bachelor's Degree or Higher
Region: 45.7% City: 40.4% Nation: 24.4%
Dark Green: 69.8%
Light Green: 69.5%
Light Tan: 33.5%
People (Over 5) With Disability Status
Region: 14.9% City: 15.5% Nation: 19.3%
Dark Green: 17.7%
Light Green: 16.5%
Light Tan: 5.5%
Language Other than English
Percent of People Speaking Language Other than English in Their Homes
Region: 25.5% City: 31.1% Nation: 17.9%
Dark Green: 37.3%
Light Green: 29.2%
Light Tan: 22.6%
Median Family Incomes
Region: $45,339 Nation: $50,046
Dark Green: $66,000
Light Green: $53,468
Light Tan: $27,431
Per Capita Incomes
Region: $21,041 Nation: $21,587
Dark Green: $25,571
Light Green: $23,281
Light Tan: $15,212
Families Below Poverty Level
Region: 9.2% City: 9.1% Nation: 10.4%
Light Green: 18.5%
Light Tan: 8.8%
Percent of Persons Below the Poverty Line
Region: 16.5% City: 14.4% Nation: 12.4%
Dark Green: 30.9%
Light Green: 23.3%
Light Tan: 21.4%
Information: Ticket fare. Time of arrival. Place of transfer. Destination. Route of the bus.
Interaction: The waiting travelers. Homeless man on bus stop. Passenger greeting driver. Card swiping against machine. Seated passengers. Crazy homeless man in bus. Delirious old woman. Creepy transvestite at the back of the bus. Awkward silence.
Bus over road. Bus cuts off car. Honking car. Frustrated cyclist. Middle finger.
Infrastructure: Seat of the stop. Seats in the bus. Route number. H.O.V. lanes. Overpass heights. Road network.
Communication: Bus stop signs. Bus electronic display. Bus driver nod. Requesting stop. Red stop. Green go. Driver radios bus network.
Political: Transport access for the poor. Cheap system of transport. Environmentally sound. Government investment in mass transit. auto-maker lobbies. Highway system. Urban pollution.
Economic: Cheap. Viable for the masses. Bus industry. Auto industry. Gas prices.
One bus. One city. Infinite networks.
-- Shank & Danz
Movement – an observation of the activities present at the site. What paths do people take? Which routes are more used? What are the different interactions of movement at the site? What is the choreography of the site and beyond the site?
History – an observation that is not limited to researching and investigating the historical context of the site, but an investigation of the process of the history. The stages that it goes through. What are certain aspects that remain? What were removed? What was the pace of the transitions?
Speed(s) – an observation of how fast the activities and lives are moving at the given site. Residential vs. Corporate. What is the pace that people move in? What is the atmosphere like? This reflects on the personalities and mind-sets of the inhabitants as well.
Rhythm – an observation on the cohesion of the site. How is everything linked? Does the site maintain a constant rhythm? Pace? Is it ever-changing? How does this reflect the history, movement, and lives of the inhabitants?
Circulation – an observation on the choreography of the movement at the site. How does the system of the site operate? How is the flow of movement regulated?
Perceptual Qualities of Space
Language of Materials vs. Feel of Spaces
This map shows the city of Chicago broken down into a color diagram based on the materials of each of the buildings. It maps the use of brick on buildings (red) and the use of wood on buildings (yellow). These two colors show the break down of the buildings according to commerical use or residential use. This map is useful for showing the divisions of Chicago according not only to the material of the building but also the program and use of the building as well.
This was another intesting article found:
Flat, dark-colored roofs like those on many retail centers, apartments, warehouses and offices can exceed 160° F. in the summer, enough to affect the temperature of whole neighborhoods. Greater use of more reflective roofing with high albedo (a measure of the reflectivity of solar radiation) helps cool urban air temperatures. Greater use of green or garden roofs also reduces urban temperatures and help reduce runoff that contributes to flooding. Cool
A dark surface on parking lots can reach 160° F. or hotter. Parked cars on hot pavement emit gasoline fumes contributing to air pollution. Rainfall on this surface is heated before it flows into waterways where it harms temperature-sensitive species and carries heated pollutants into our streams. Light-colored pavements offer a cooler alternative, reducing surface heat and lowering the temperature of stormwater runoff. Porous paving offers a good solution for low traffic areas such as parking lots and light duty roads, cooling the city and reducing urban runoff. The Cool Houston Plan provides information on paving technologies and a course of action on encouraging their use.
From 1972 to 1999, the
This article talks about three very important aspects of Urban street life and the materials used to help with the comfort levels of the people using the streets. This article was written about houston but more of this will apply to Austin as well.
Interaction is the process of things having an effect on each other or acting on one another.
Interaction forms a relationship, a link, a bond.
Interaction can be positive or negative.
Types: private and public, couples and groups, cars, walkers and bikers, shoppers and clerks, city and citizens, age groups, different cultures
Information helps develop a deeper understanding
Information can be obtained in different ways.
The basic underlying framework or feature of a system or organization.
Foundation of a city: There are ways a city is organized (grids, lot lines, streets, highways, county lines, sidewalks…- there are different scales of organization.
Communication is the interchange of thought, opinions or information
Communication has many forms and methods:
Speech, documents, radio, signs, television and other visual messages or signals
In terms of biology: activity by one organism that changes or has the potential to change the behavior of other organisms.
Of, relating to, or dealing with the structure or affairs of government, politics, or the state.
Relating to, involving, or characteristic of politics or politicians
Politics can determine a number of things indirectly.
Politics drive decisions made for the city. Stances are taken by citizens and agendas are supported in a way that profits a citizen personally.
Politics cause separation.
Economical pertains to the economy and the system of production and management of material wealth.
Economics creates divisions between classes.
Once I started defining these terms in several different ways, I realized that they are all connected to each other, either directly on indirectly. They either overlap each other, determine each other or limit each other.
For Example, people's interaction can be limited by economical and political divisions; however, interaction is enhanced through communication. In turn, communication can be formed on the basis of infrastructure with the laying of telephone lines and cable, which can also bring information to people over radio or television. Information can then determine people's views and opinions on politics with a better understanding of the world...(this can go on forever).
* Volume and space are closely related in that volume is traditionally defined as the amount of space an object occupies in three-dimensions
* In cities, the interrelationship and sequential experience of spatial typologies play a strong role as building volumes interact with their surroundings to shape new spaces
* The relationship between positive and negative, mass and void, edge and open space is particularly important in the urban landscape
* Volume could refer to the quantitative aspects of a space, such as the volume of traffic and pedestrian activity
* Volume and space engage one another in a state of flux; the relationship between the two is fluid and continually evolving
EDGE & FRAME:
* Defining edge conditions: urban to suburban, interior to exterior, sidewalk to street, public to private, individual to group to society, poverty to wealth
* Streets and other systems form the framework for activities within a city; buildings are contained within blocks as defined by streets, which also serve to unite the fabric of the city
* Framing activity is also an important role of the urban space: parks provide a setting for social interaction and people-watching, campuses offer a place for intellectual exchange, downtown districts provide a location for business by day and culture by night
TEXTURE & SOUND:
* Texture and sound are the most direct means of transferring information about the city to the urban user; they are the qualitative informers of the urban space
* Layers of the city are built up and revealed through the overlap and coincidence of texture and materiality: earth, foundation, structure, skin, society
* Texture and sound are particularly related in that the interplay between the two can allow for a heightening of the user's experience on multiple levels
* Sound and texture are continuously changing, adding new layers of information to the urban experience in an unbroken stream
societal. the complex webbing of similarities and differences within a specific environment
(INTERACTION) The relations between two or more objects
relationship between cars
relationship between pedestrians
relationship between car and pedestrian
relationship between buildings
relationship between buildings and people
relationship between pedestrians and climate
relationship between stationary objects and those that move
(INFORMATION) knowledge learned or perceived through observation
things that can be counted
level of activity
(INFRASTRUCTURE) the bone structure of the city
(COMMUNICATION) the way in which ideas are transferred and spread from one object to another
(POLITICAL) the way in which the city is divided
political breakdown (number of democrats vs. republicans)
police and fire departments
(ECONOMICAL) anything of or relating to finances and money
rich vs. poor
number of homeless
average amount of money spent along 1st
(ACTIVITIES) actions pertaining to the community as a whole
Habitat for Humanity
heather marissa jayeeta
People- who lives there? Who wants to live there? Influx of people and their purpose. Gentrification and how it effects inhabitants. Race, age, economic background, number of kids, etc.
Public/Private zones- spaces that may be accessed by many people and those that are restricted. Easements, city-owned property vs. private owned, renting space vs. owned space
Programs- what businesses exist? Late night or early morning motivated? Bars? Night life? High-economic or low-economic-based businesses? Residential vs. Commercial vs. city owned space.
Perception- graffiti? Perceptions of outsiders vs. insiders. Has the city ignored the area? Have roads been kept up and updated? Amount of city-based buildings and community activity centers/spaces vs. rest of the city. Income of residents. Treatment of city owned spaces.
Communication- amount of telephone lines. Internet connections. Community involvement and cohesiveness.
Communication- amount of telephone lines. Internet connections. Community involvement and cohesiveness.
We’ve generated a great deal of unnatural light in our urban environments and we now have to place more importance on natural light
In pre-modern times, light formed the definition of how long a day was
Our bodies have natural responses to sunlight and can become depressed with a lack of it
Light is considered to be a safety factor – we have a fear of the unknown, what we can’t see
Light has a lot of symbolic meaning as truth, purity, guidance (a lighthouse leading the way home)
We design in the midst of cities with consideration of blocking the sky and light
With modern climate control for urban interiors, wind has come to be more of a constraining design consideration than a factor for comfort
Green architecture still places an importance on the health of natural ventilation and energy conservation associated with wind rather than artificial climate control
Chicago – known as the windy city (which everyone assumes is due to climate, but is actually due to the “big talk” that preceded the decision for the World’s Fair of 1893 to be in Chicago)
Originally a deciding factor as to where cities should be settled (cities in
Natural relief and tourist attraction when it is located in cities (
Cooling device that is often placed artificially to provide climate relief
Can be a hugely devastating problem (hurricane/flooding in
Can be extremely dangerous and is impossible to control, but we still have a strong desire to build near it
Symbolic as purity and cleansing
Definition of space and creation of boundaries between cities, states, countries (
Means of transportation economy
Climate is a blanket term for light, wind, water, temperature
Our perceptions of a place are often based on what the climate is like
Many modern people “migrate” with the seasons” (summer homes, ski trips)
Our general idea of a place may not be based on its built environment
Natural attraction to trees and landscaping in general; it is often used as a means of determining how attractive a place is
We create unnatural green spaces within city as a break from the urban environment (
Has become more important in modern times with our concern for preservation
Has a strong spiritual and religious connotation, especially in certain cultures (Asian)
Move from rural to urban patterns of settlement has decreased our contact with animal life (some people don’t even know what a cow looks like)
People that live among animals in more vernacular settings in contrast to our urbanized obsession with pets
Importance in terms of food, cultural icons (sacredness of cows)
Our fascination with them (seen in the creation of zoos, exploiting animals for our enjoyment)
Our view of them as pests (insects, rodents)
Affects general settlement patterns because of the fertility of the ground
Shows evidence of past times (
Source of resources now (Middle Eastern countries whose economies are based solely on oil)
The earth as a source of life (Edwards Aquifer supplies