Special Issue "Designing Spaces for City Living"

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A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 January 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Sharon E. Sutton

Department of Architecture, University of Washington, 208P Gould Hall Box 355720, Seattle, WA 98197-5720, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1 206 383 6052
Interests: social justice; youth; participation; segregation; placemaking; socially conscious design; community assets; community-university partnerships

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue will offer a timely, interdisciplinary perspective on the theory and practice of designing socially just, intergenerational urban space. It will not only explore the age-old problem of urbanization in light of such current challenges as growing income inequality, climate change, globalization, and unprecedented urbanization, it will also present strategies for addressing those challenges through research, practice, and policy making. One set of papers will focus upon the inequalities that arise from place-based discriminatory practices, including inequitable allocation of resources and hegemonic belief systems. These papers might investigate how spatial policies and practices alienate low-income communities of color, while reinforcing negative stereotypes of the demographic characteristics of these communities. Another set of papers will focus upon placemaking strategies that help low-income adults and youth shape more equitable surroundings. These papers might present best practices in engaging marginalized communities in transforming their surroundings, while also building their own capacities as citizens.

Dr. Sharon E. Sutton
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Buildings is an international peer-reviewed Open Access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 300 CHF (Swiss Francs). English correction and/or formatting fees of 250 CHF (Swiss Francs) will be charged in certain cases for those articles accepted for publication that require extensive additional formatting and/or English corrections.

Keywords

  • social justice
  • youth
  • participation
  • segregation
  • placemaking
  • socially conscious design
  • community assets
  • community-university partnerships

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Urban Blue Space and “The Project of the Century”: Doing Justice on the Seattle Waterfront and for Local Residents
Buildings 2014, 4(4), 764-784; doi:10.3390/buildings4040764
Received: 12 April 2014 / Revised: 23 September 2014 / Accepted: 24 September 2014 / Published: 20 October 2014
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Abstract
Urban blue space is increasingly embraced by cities as a specific and valuable genre of public space, valued for its economic, symbolic and experiential place attributes and essential to sustainable urban development. This article takes up the concept of urban blue space from
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Urban blue space is increasingly embraced by cities as a specific and valuable genre of public space, valued for its economic, symbolic and experiential place attributes and essential to sustainable urban development. This article takes up the concept of urban blue space from a design perspective, extending and exploring it through a critical social science lens. Using the reconfiguration and redesign of the central Seattle waterfront as a case example, the idea of “doing justice” is enlisted to examine not just the design opportunities and formal characteristics of the site, but also the patterns of privilege, access and regional socio-ecological equity that are raised through its redesign. After situating the extraordinary design opportunity presented by this iconic urban blue space, and the imperative to do justice to the waterfront’s physical situation, the article presents the site from four additional and discrete perspectives: economic justice, environmental justice, social justice and tribal justice. By thus foregrounding the urban political ecology of the waterfront, the article demonstrates that the most important challenge of the site’s redevelopment is not technological, financial or administrative, although these are real, and significant challenges, but rather, the need to construct a place that works to counter established patterns of local and regional injustice. In Seattle as in other coastal port cities, urban blue space is a shared public and environmental good, with unique and demanding governance responsibilities for its conceptualization and sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Designing Spaces for City Living)
Open AccessArticle Detroit Works Long-Term Planning Project: Engagement Strategies for Blending Community and Technical Expertise
Buildings 2014, 4(4), 711-736; doi:10.3390/buildings4040711
Received: 12 February 2014 / Revised: 24 September 2014 / Accepted: 25 September 2014 / Published: 16 October 2014
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Abstract
In January 2013, civic leaders, community stakeholders, and residents came together to release Detroit Future City: 2012 Detroit Strategic Framework Plan, a guiding blueprint for transforming Detroit from its current state of population loss and excessive vacancy into a model for the
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In January 2013, civic leaders, community stakeholders, and residents came together to release Detroit Future City: 2012 Detroit Strategic Framework Plan, a guiding blueprint for transforming Detroit from its current state of population loss and excessive vacancy into a model for the reinvention of post-industrial American cities. Three years prior, the U.S. Census had reported that the city had lost 24% of its population over the last decade and had experienced a 20% increase in vacant and abandoned property, bringing total vacancy to roughly the size of Manhattan. In addition to physical and economic challenges, Detroiters had also acknowledged significant barriers to effective civic engagement. Foremost among these barriers were a profound sense of immobilization, planning fatigue, and a general perception of cynicism about planning and engagement efforts. These challenges were compounded by historic racial dynamics and tension. This case study elaborates on the comprehensive and innovative civic engagement executed in a citywide planning process called the Detroit Works Project, which took place from late 2010 through late 2012. For the citywide planning process to be successful and sustainable, civic leaders and project funders committed to a planning initiative that would be different from previous efforts, in large part because the “owners” of the process would be diverse and inclusive across all community sectors. The case study, written by three of the key consultants from the project, describes four key civic engagement strategies deployed in the creation of the strategic framework: (1) addressing profound challenges of culture, race, and politics by deliberately building trust; (2) elevating community expertise by fostering a sense of ownership of the process; (3) blending technical and community expertise; and (4) viewing civic engagement as an ongoing two-way conversation rather than a series of large-scale episodic events. This article elaborates on important lessons that other communities might learn from Detroit’s planning initiative in relation to these strategies. It concludes with a brief summary of the results and implications of the civic engagement process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Designing Spaces for City Living)
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Open AccessArticle Fourth World Theory: The Evolution of . . .
Buildings 2014, 4(2), 155-194; doi:10.3390/buildings4020155
Received: 21 January 2014 / Revised: 13 March 2014 / Accepted: 22 April 2014 / Published: 21 May 2014
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Abstract
Fourth World theory is a methodology for examining and developing greater understanding of the extent of the distress and abandonment commonly found in the cores of American cities resulting from de-industrialization, historic segregation and discrimination patterns, suburban sprawl, erosion of a viable tax
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Fourth World theory is a methodology for examining and developing greater understanding of the extent of the distress and abandonment commonly found in the cores of American cities resulting from de-industrialization, historic segregation and discrimination patterns, suburban sprawl, erosion of a viable tax base, racism, inability to embrace the concept of desegregation and civil rights legislation, fear, despair, crumbling infrastructure systems, disinvestment in urban school systems, and environmental justice issues. This article uses the analytical lens of Fourth World theory to examine how such structural and cultural forces contributed to the severely distressed conditions now found in the city of Gary, Indiana. Tracking its one-hundred-year history, from its founding as an industrial town through its post-industrial decline occurring during the city’s first African-American mayor’s five terms in office, the methodology clearly demonstrates how the social construction of race has systematically undermined every aspect of Gary’s overall quality of life. To illustrate that this city is not an anomaly but rather reflects a typical pattern of disparity and uneven development arising from racist practices, Gary is compared to other cities of similar size and also to the much larger Detroit. The article triangulates academic literature, news media archives, and an oral history provided by the mayor to show how Gary evolved from being a model industrial city to a cauldron of racial disparity. The paper concludes by arguing that continued absence of reflection on the nation’s historical racialization of place threatens not just impoverished communities of color, but also the sustainability of the entire nation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Designing Spaces for City Living)
Open AccessArticle Access to Parks for Youth as an Environmental Justice Issue: Access Inequalities and Possible Solutions
Buildings 2014, 4(2), 69-94; doi:10.3390/buildings4020069
Received: 17 January 2014 / Revised: 2 April 2014 / Accepted: 2 April 2014 / Published: 14 April 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (3557 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although repeated contact with nature helps foster mental and physical health among young people, their contact with nature has been diminishing over the last few decades. Also, low-income and ethnic minority children have even less contact with nature than white middle-income children. In
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Although repeated contact with nature helps foster mental and physical health among young people, their contact with nature has been diminishing over the last few decades. Also, low-income and ethnic minority children have even less contact with nature than white middle-income children. In this study, we compared accessibility to play in parks for young people from different income and racial backgrounds in Denver, Colorado. Park access for children and youth was measured using a geographic information system (GIS). Each neighborhood was classified according to income level, residential density, and distance from downtown; and then each park was classified based on formal and informal play, and level of intimacy. Comparisons between neighborhoods show that that low-income neighborhoods have the lowest access and high-income neighborhoods have the highest access to parks, and that differences are even higher for parks with play amenities and high levels of intimacy. To overcome this issue, the paper proposes a framework for action to improve access to parks for low-income children and youth and to help planners, decision makers and advocacy groups prioritize park investments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Designing Spaces for City Living)
Open AccessArticle A City for All Citizens: Integrating Children and Youth from Marginalized Populations into City Planning
Buildings 2013, 3(3), 482-505; doi:10.3390/buildings3030482
Received: 17 May 2013 / Revised: 9 July 2013 / Accepted: 12 July 2013 / Published: 23 July 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1941 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Socially just, intergenerational urban spaces should not only accommodate children and adolescents, but engage them as participants in the planning and design of welcoming spaces. With this goal, city agencies in Boulder, Colorado, the Boulder Valley School District, the Children, Youth and Environments
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Socially just, intergenerational urban spaces should not only accommodate children and adolescents, but engage them as participants in the planning and design of welcoming spaces. With this goal, city agencies in Boulder, Colorado, the Boulder Valley School District, the Children, Youth and Environments Center at the University of Colorado, and a number of community organizations have been working in partnership to integrate young people’s ideas and concerns into the redesign of parks and civic areas and the identification of issues for city planning. Underlying their work is a commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and children’s rights to active citizenship from a young age. This paper describes approaches used to engage with young people and methods of participation, and reflects on lessons learned about how to most effectively involve youth from underrepresented populations and embed diverse youth voices into the culture of city planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Designing Spaces for City Living)
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