Of the thesis entitled: Opportunity in Absence: Activating Vacant Space in The Temporary City
Vacant land is both ubiquitous and diverse and both a problem and a resource... 2
Bottom-up activism presents the opportunity to act quickly and empower citizens to contrast and complement the top-down, long-term policy strategies. Community initiatives that engage the public can play a role in developing social capital and civic identity. In a year of experimental work with BRIDGE (a student-led nonprofit initiative), a model program was developed to activate the vacant spaces on Main Street in Cambridge. These community activities, within the city’s waiting lands, illustrate a translation of theoretical principles and tactics to transform vacant spaces. Informed from the evolving temporary programs, a mobile architecture is proposed to activate empty spaces, bridging from short- to mid-term occupancy, while creating a unique identity with the ability to adapt as users’ needs and desires change.
Conceived to occupy absent space, the proposed mobile architecture is designed as a portable, reconfigurable toolkit that can aggregate and disperse to support different spatial programs. Filling a void in the core, the space for production experimentation and community initiatives creates a temporary public asset from the city’s unused private capital. Building partnerships at the street level, the work aims to create discernible change within the limitations of the community by capitalizing on its strengths, while developing social capital and organizational capacity between citizens, nonprofits and public-private institutions. The absent space in the city presents an opportunity to prototype mobile architecture and new programs, transforming unused vacant space for productive community building.
2 Ann O’M. Bowman and Michael A. Pagano, Terra Incognita: Vacant land and urban strategies (Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2004), 1
The examining committee is as follows:
Mona El Khafif, University of Waterloo
Rod Regier, City of Kitchener
The committee has been approved as authorized by the Graduate Studies Committee.
The Defence Examination will take place:
Friday September 11, 2015
BRIDGE Centre for Architecture + Design – 35/37 Main Street
A copy of the thesis is available for perusal in ARC 2106A.
35/37 Main Street
Cambridge, ON N1R 1V6