Transforming the Urban Landscape
Revealing Urban Waters
- Once Mill Creek flowed through West Philadelphia. Now it is
buried in a sewer, invisible to most people, but it continues to
shape landscape and life. How can the buried river be revealed
and rainwater celebrated so people feel and know the importance
of these urban waters?
Describing the Place
- Mill Creek is an inner-city neighborhood plagued by social and
environmental problems: poverty, unemployment, deteriorated
public infrastructure, derelict housing and vacant land,
subsidence and flooding over buried streams and floodplains.
Outsiders and first-time visitors tend to see only these negative
qualities. To an insider, however, the picture is not uniformly
bleak. There are islands of renewal and people with
determination, energy, and vision working together to rebuild
their community. There are bright, enthusiastic children and
dedicated teachers. How can this place be described, in context,
to highlight opportunities and resources as well as problems?
How can "expert" knowledge and "local" knowledge, together,
contribute to a deeper understanding of place and lead to new
visions for the neighborhood's future?
Landscape, Community and Education
- Sulzberger Middle School is located on and near the old
floodplain of Mill Creek. The school grounds and vacant land in
the surrounding neighborhood present an opportunity for studying
the processes of nature at work. How can a new curriculum
organized around "The Urban Watershed" integrate learning,
community development, and water resource management?
Cultivating the Urban Forest
- Most people do not think of forests when they think of West
Philadelphia, but trees growing up on vacant lots are a reminder
that forest is the natural state of this landscape. Tree-lined
streets provide many benefits besides improving the appearance of
a neighborhood. They make streets and homes cooler in summer and
may even improve air quality. How can the urban forest be
designed, planted, and managed to improve environmental quality
in the Mill Creek neighborhood?
Topography: Surface Modelling
- Dana Tomlin will conduct a week-long exercise in Surface Modelling,
starting October 9, which will explore the topography of the Mill Creek
neighborhood--a prelude to the second half of Workshop III and the next
project in studio.
Restoring and Revealing Urban Waters
- Combined sewer overflows pollute the Schuylkill River. After
every heavy rainfall, water floods the sewers, augmenting the
daily flow flushed from toilets and sinks, surpassing the
capacity of sewage treatment plants to hold and treat the mix of
raw sewage and runoff. The capacity of the Mill Creek sewer is
exceeded in heavy rainstorms; water sometimes gushes into
streets. How can above-ground stormwater detention in the Mill
Creek watershed reduce water flow in sewers after rainstorms?
What would such detention areas look like and how can they be
integrated with environmental education? This project will build
on previous projects and will be coordinated with Workshop III.
- Review, reflection, and re-presentation of the entire semester.
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Last Update: 8 January 1997