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Title:More than an eyesore: redefining urban wastelands through an integrated natural systematic design approach
Author(s):Barr, Elizabeth Leigh
Advisor(s):Sullivan, William C.; Henson, Jessica M
Contributor(s):Ginsburg, Rebecca
Department / Program:Landscape Architecture
Discipline:Landscape Architecture
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Remedial Design
Landfill Design
Abstract:At its best, landscape architecture serves as the reconciliation between human activity and nature. As global populations rise and cities sprawl, seemingly vacant space within cities has become potentially valuable land. What once was considered the fringe or the outskirts has been engulfed by urbanization and surrounded by neighborhoods. Furthermore, as technologies and industry advance, former industrial landscapes become obsolete and abandoned, leaving a decaying fixture of the past behind. To what extent can we use the theories, knowledge, and procedures of Landscape Architecture to address these conditions? This thesis reconsiders a network of sites that have been deeply marred by more than a century of coal mining, industry and urbanization. In-depth investigations of four landfills along the Vermilion River in Danville, Illinois were conducted in order to develop long term community plans, as well as a site design using twenty-first century design strategies. Landscapes of waste often threaten public health, violate environmental laws and social justice values and are directly linked to depressed economies. Because many of the environmental and community impacts of contaminated sites are unprecedented, insufficient policies and regulatory measures have been established to adequately protect ongoing ecological and human health and wellbeing. This thesis compares the layers of human impact found on each site, beginning with the discovery of coal and moving to their present condition. Comprehensive understanding of each drosscape’s history of utility shed an enlightening perspective on the opportunity to design healthy, productive landscapes as the next layer of human intervention. By using current scientific knowledge, in situ, closed loop design solutions are proposed and strategically arranged on site. Specific design components and resolutions are illustrated and explained in the design chapter of this document. It was discovered that current knowledge supports the implementation of integrated natural systems as a means to treat leachate and remediate postindustrial conditions. Thereby creating safer, healthier landscapes while alleviating the large economic burden that chemical treatment and monitoring of hazardous sites impose on future generations. Precedents of design and scientific research are also presented to further demonstrate an understanding of current remedial applications being used by practitioners in the field. Places such as vacant lots, industrial yards and landfills are often overlooked and devoid of readily apparent value. This thesis proposes that it is the landscape architect’s responsibility to re-imagine the possibilities such urban voids provide by putting knowledge into action. This shift in perspective encourages us to reexamine places considered marginal, useless or dangerous for human use in order to reevaluate our current design practices, standards and principles.
Issue Date:2015-06-23
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Elizabeth Barr
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-29
Date Deposited:August 201

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