Resident Involvement in the Landscape Architectural Redesign of Public Housing: Creating Opportunities for a Sense of Ownership, Control, and Efficacy through a Participatory Design Process
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Sharon H. Dendy
Wendy Jacobson, Chairperson
Department of Landscape Architecture
Public housing provides affordable housing for low-income families. However, the physical and social conditions have deteriorated since its inception, resulting in housing environments that are isolated and disconnected from surrounding neighborhoods and often plagued by crime and violence. This study explores opportunities for enhancing residents' sense of ownership, control, and efficacy through the redesign of outdoor spaces at the Fulton public housing development in Richmond, VA.
Residents participated in a design process that produced a Conceptual Landscape Master Plan based on their preferences, and a set of guidelines and recommendations for the implementation and maintenance of the proposed external spaces of the Master Plan.
The study presents design objectives and criteria addressing public-private spatial delineations, public space, pedestrian and vehicular circulation, development image, and safety considerations. These objectives and criteria were used to evaluate design options and to generate two design concepts from which the residents selected appropriate design solutions for their housing development. The study concludes with the presentation of a preferred Conceptual Landscape Master Plan. The plan presents a hierarchy of public-to-private spaces, clear delineations of semi-public and semi-private spaces, and the location of active and passive public recreational spaces. It also addresses the legibility of pedestrian and vehicular access, circulation, and parking, as well as safety issues such as natural surveillance, access control, and territoriality.
The participatory process guided the redesign of the Fulton public housing site, and also provided an understanding of the underlying social conditions that significantly impact the residents and their use of space. The preferred landscape design reflects the residents' needs, concerns, and wishes, and creates opportunities to foster interaction and involvement among the residents and the surrounding communities.
- Masters Theses