Just because I love making this page load slowly – and because I can’t help but post anything I crank out of my computer, this is a map of pure pedestrian activity, I’ve shown here. It’s a rather aesthetic image, I think. Below the fold is the same image against all pedestrian spaces, to make it clear where people actually are.
Continue reading ➞ Reno Park Update 091226: Just Activity
So neighborhoods. The issue of neighborhoods is not a small issue here at цarьchitect, so I want to explore how the nominal neighborhoods in DC, are relatively arbitrary. Whereas Cleveland Park is a coherent collection of period houses clustered around the summer home of our favorite philandering and mustachioed head of state. The same is relatively true of Chevy Chase. But other areas, such as AU Park or Tobago lack legible borders, character, nodes, or strong community sentiment. With these flaws in mind, I asked the internet where neighborhoods began and ended. For example, Wikipedia:
As you can see, there are some flaws to this map – some areas aren’t exactly stuck into boxes and others are claimed by two neighborhoods. Moreover, Tenleytown has, maybe, 100 residents and its borders rest, like the ANCs, along corridors where there is precisely the most activity, along Wisconsin. It also perpetuates the myth that there is a neighborhood called “Wakefield.” The name is a myth created by realtors, and you will not find anyone who actually calls it that, except perhaps some serpent or monster who wishes only to deceive you. . Clearly, it’s totally unsatisfactory. So, based on an informal poll and my own views, I’ve revised it:
Continue reading ➞ Reno Park Update 091206: Bad Names
In the last two updates, I showed that the disconnect between physical and social boundaries complicates any analysis of the spatial architecture of the Tenleytown-Tobago area. Of course, it’s worth looking at the vehicular perception of space.
Continue reading ➞ Reno Park Update 091028: Driver’s Perception
This is what the average street looks like in Tobago. 30 foot setback, grass, buildings.
This is a part of the Nolli Plan. It’s a famous figure-ground drawing of Rome by a man of the same name that makes a visual comparison between structures and open space. There had been many drawings of Rome before, but Nolli’s particular drawing innovates on the others by showing the ground floor interior spaces or courtyards as part of the white space. It revealed columns and arcades, relating architecture to the urban form.
Continue reading ➞ Reno Park Update 091017: Nolli Fails
So what is the relationship between zoning and buildings? (Again colors are off!)
Continue reading ➞ Reno Park Update 091005B: Zoning
So, property and school districts are both legal structures that have strong effects on the perception of space and the organization of social networks. But generally, the legal structure that affects the commercial and economic growth of spaces is zoning.
Zoning, quickly, is a Progressive-era policy from the early 1900s that dictates what uses can or cannot exist on a certain piece of property or in a general area. The Modern Movement picked up the concept as a way of guaranteeing a healthy city, as did the Garden City and Regional Planning movements. Generally, its effects have been good – like keeping smelting plants away from residences. But it’s also led to unhealthy homogeneity and a commuter culture that was less prominent before governments began micromanaging the fabric of cities.
This is one of the wonkier posts, but it’s important to understand what has been planned for the area.
Continue reading ➞ Reno Park Update 091005A: Zoning Definitions
So, in addition to the visible boundaries of the city, there are the invisible ones, ones that are really only legible to a bureaucracy, but have significant effects on the lives of residents. Because it affects individuals so young and even effects the parents, where someone goes to school seriously alters the social geography of cities. They decide where the majority of socialization occurs: in one school, in another school; in private schools, in public schools; in classrooms or in breakfast nooks.
When I was a wee little Flannie, attending Murch and carousing about my block, I had neighbors across the street whom I hardly knew. Why? They went to Janney. We met and played outside occasionally, but by 3rd grade, we both had already formed our social lives, and that was it. Our parents were likewise divided; they knew each other, but that was it. My street was the boundary between two schools and there was a palpable difference between the facing blocks.
In the Reno-Tenleytown-Tobago area, there are seven schools that provide Nursery school through Twelfth Grade education. Obviously, there’s also American University, but that’s not as relevant since its students are not shaped as much by boundaries and divisions. There are also any number of private and parochial schools students could attend, three of which are in the area, but with a minivan or a Volvo, you too can idle your car outside your child’s school. So let’s just do the public schools.
Continue reading ➞ Reno Park Update 091004A: Schools
Now, the final part of contemporary research: pedestrian areas.
There are three kinds of areas: unprogrammed spaces like plazas, sidewalks, and walkways, spaces for programmed activities, and then mixed-traffic areas like alleys.
Continue reading ➞ Reno Park Update 091003: Walkspace
After some awesome long nights, the map of buildings is ready. This was a major hurdle in the project, so expect a slew of posts over the next few days. All I have left are the pedestrian paths, before it’s all analysis and design. So:
This is a figure-ground drawing of all the buildings, by use. Keep reading for breakdowns by use.
Continue reading ➞ Reno Park Update 090827: Uses
Ok, so for the second set of transportation analysis, I’ve compared transit accessibility to lot areas. Even without buildings, it’s possible to get a sense of the transit-accessible public space here. Areas that are lighter have more transit options. Again, Tenleytown is a hub of activity, where the blocks around the circle and the Metro stop are major transfer points that get a lot of street traffic.
So, Chevy Chase isn’t really the most transit-accessible place in the world. Even if I had used a 1/4 mile radius for buses, there would have been a dark spot there. Also, note that the commercial strip between Fessenden and Ellicott streets is in the 1/2 mile radius overlap between Tenleytown and Friendship Heights, which may contribute to its success, in spite of being somewhat isolated by the hill to the south. Read on for a breakdown of plans.
Continue reading ➞ Reno Park Update 090804B: Transit Fade