THESIS: City Familiaris: A Study in Domesticating Infrastructures
A Study in Domesticating Infrastructures
Problems associated with hyper density in Canada are fairly new, but they often create innate conflicts for all those who dwell in the afflicted areas. CityPlace, in Toronto is one such place. The project is the largest master-planned community within Toronto and is also densest neighbourhood in the city. The model for its development is known as Vancouverism and the podium – tower is the essential building block of this style. The main goal of this type is livable high-density which is achieved through a created criteria and template for design. The resulting developments tend to meet the “requirements” needed and there are associated benefits, but due to their compliance a homogeny is created. This homogeny was passed down to the residents that inhabit these buildings. The great majority of residents are young, urban professionals. The problem created is that this particular group of people are also prone to bringing a being that was not considered in the design and does not fit within the homogeny created, the dog.
Dogs are abundant residents of these neighbourhoods and they easily show the problems associated with this type of development because their presence magnifies the inadequacy of the environment created. The neighbourhood lacks public spaces and accommodation; as a result it lacks community. This means that few feel the need to take responsibility for the neighbourhood and instead of understanding the problem, blame is often given to the dogs which are perceived as the problem. Considering this thesis’s estimated number of 2900 dogs within CityPlace and adjacent areas this problem is a very large one.
The intention of this thesis is to alter the flawed environment (CityPlace) by lifting away some of its deep-seated rigidity to make it more open to the other which in this case is the dog. When CityPlace was being designed there was no indication of the dog population that would reside there. No accommodation was planned for the disorder they may cause or the pressures that they would place on the finite, available green public space. This resulted in conflicts over the problems they caused. Since there was inadequate preparation, stop gap methods such as signage were implemented. As these failed tensions continued to rise and the presence of the dog and its associated by-products are now one of the most hotly contested issues within CityPlace and neighbourhoods like it.
The proposed thesis is designed to alleviate these problems through accommodation for the other. This lessens the rigidity imposed on the neighbourhood to make it more accepting to dogs and humans. This is achieved through integration into the existing neighbourhood that takes advantage of all the underused or under-planned territories. Accommodation does not impede upon the community, but instead makes it better. It also allows for the spreading out of design interventions which has the added benefit of diffusing the intensity of use. Not only will this reduce conflict, but it will allow for the design to become multipurpose. This will all be done in an effort to provide better accommodation for the dog while increasing benefits to all other parties involved.
Val Rynnimeri, University of Waterloo
Mona El-Khafif, University of Waterloo
Lisa Rapoport, PLANT Architect Inc.
The Defence Examination will take place:
Thursday January 12, 2017