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Infection-Free Landscape: Adaptable Urban Open Space Design During And After The Covid-19 Pandemic, Weirong Luo 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Infection-Free Landscape: Adaptable Urban Open Space Design During And After The Covid-19 Pandemic, Weirong Luo

Masters Theses

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has profoundly impacted the public perception, usage, and behaviors of urban open spaces. During the past three years, spatial measures to reduce the transmission of infection such as quarantine and social distancing have resulted in people’s isolation and reduction of daily physical interaction with others. Urban open spaces, including streets, squares, and parks, are outdoor urban spaces open for public access and recreation. From Frederick Law Olmsted’s design of New York’s Central Park to Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago, the United States has a long history of planning and designing the urban environment for better …


Design In Support Of Playfulness, Seung Hwan Oh 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Design In Support Of Playfulness, Seung Hwan Oh

Masters Theses

Playful environments can be conceived as landscapes able to support an individual’s internal sense of playfulness and its external manifestation. These environments cultivate a sense of place where recreational, therapeutic, and educational resources are merged based on the conviction that nature is a positive influence.

This project explores how outdoor spaces encompass the built and natural world, convey a sense of connection to spatial ephemera and phenomena, and ultimately how space can become spaces for individuals. The project explores the notion of playfulness and the meaning it may acquire for design within landscape architecture. The study aims to positively contribute …


Anti-Gentrification: Reconnect Chinatown Through Culture Practice, Xianzhongge Liu (Allen) 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Anti-Gentrification: Reconnect Chinatown Through Culture Practice, Xianzhongge Liu (Allen)

Masters Theses

This thesis focuses on the study of Chinatown in North America. Similar to the migration of other ethnic groups or cultures to North America, Chinatown originated as Chinese and East Asian migrants were excluded from mainstream American culture. Chinatowns became urban enclaves for Chinese people who speak the same language as well as share the same culture and food. However, in many cities in North America, development pressures have led to the gentrification of Chinatowns, resulting in a decrease in the number of Asian residents in Chinatown and a homogenization of the community. After understanding the historical development and gentrification …


Living With Fire, Mohan Wang 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Living With Fire, Mohan Wang

Masters Theses

For decades, landscape architects have been working with water, proposing vocabularies like sponge parks, rain gardens, emergent shorelines, and hydrologic urbanism. Surviving with water is common sense. However, there is not enough landscape design research and practice when it comes to another destructive natural force - fire. The new normal is that people are being exposed to more frequent and catastrophic wildfires and the burn-on-burn phenomenon is becoming common. With climate change and sprawling land-use patterns that increase the wildland-urban interface, a greater number of communities are having to adapt to living with fire. Landscape architects are in need to …


Landscape Of Resistance: Reimagining Public Space For A Vibrant Socio-Political Life, Ziyu Wang 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Landscape Of Resistance: Reimagining Public Space For A Vibrant Socio-Political Life, Ziyu Wang

Masters Theses

This thesis aims to investigate the relationship between the public space and protest events from a spatial point of view. It will employ selected concepts from phenomenological and spatial theories to evaluate how the protest is affected by built environment and subsequently propose how the public space can be adapted to create a more vibrant social-political life.


Cross Border Conservation - China - North Korea Border, Ziyu Zhou 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Cross Border Conservation - China - North Korea Border, Ziyu Zhou

Masters Theses

Earth today faces an accelerated species extinction problem because of human presence, which is 1,000 to 10,000 times higher than the natural extinction rates. Over 27.8% of species are threatened (IUCN). An increased extinction rate will cause the ecosystem to lose its balance and break the shield for most species, including human beings. (Wilson, 2017) Conservation is one of the most important methods to save species; conserving in transboundary areas will increase efficiency. These areas are untouched and protected, forming a new biodiversity paradise. The Transboundary conservation project would benefit the ecology aspect and social, cultural, and political. This thesis …


Sensory Resilience In Urban Walkingscapes: Space Making Strategies For Streetside Public Systems In Neuro- Inclusive City Visions, Yingying Wang 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Sensory Resilience In Urban Walkingscapes: Space Making Strategies For Streetside Public Systems In Neuro- Inclusive City Visions, Yingying Wang

Masters Theses

The thesis asks spatial designers of the public realm to pay attention to sensory profiles and related issues in contemporary urban contexts: sensory overstimulation, lack of safety, security, accessibility in public, absence of clarity, and legibility in the navigating system. These features have characterized rigid and homogeneous representations of and solutions for existing public spaces, mostly developed with a lack of knowledge of humans’ diverse sensory needs in different environments. They fail to offer users – especially neuro-minority groups – alternative ways to interact with the public sphere.

The study researches the reasons for such approaches while investigating the relationships …


Offshore Speculation: Generative Ethics For Submerged Lands, Leigh Miller 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Offshore Speculation: Generative Ethics For Submerged Lands, Leigh Miller

Masters Theses

Where is the line between land and sea? As the United States begins to extend renewable energy infrastructures offshore, it will fundamentally blur the boundary between submerged and visible lands. In communities unfamiliar with landscapes of extraction and generation, the realities of this emerging industry will challenge notions of ownership, aesthetic values, and environmental ethics.

Offshore Speculation opens a dialogue between the discipline of landscape architecture and the spatial politics that support the nation’s transition away from fossil fuels. Reimagining the sea as a new urban territory on submerged land allows honest interrogation of the land-sea binary. Because landscape architects …


Zoopolis: Repurpose Urban Infrastructure To Welcome Invisible Neighbors, Yu Xiao 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Zoopolis: Repurpose Urban Infrastructure To Welcome Invisible Neighbors, Yu Xiao

Masters Theses

Humans take a dominant role in shaping the world to fit what is best for us, while claiming vast cities and our territories. However, shrinking natural habitats together with availability of resources and shelter have attracted abundant wildlife to cities. These animal species have adjusted their habits to adapt to the urban environments and to avoid direct contact with humans, becoming invisible inhabitants in the city. Despite their initial harmonious coexistence, in recent decades, increasing wildlife sightings – often causing conflict or panic – bring those liminal animals to public attention. This situation encourages us to reframe how cities could …


City Of Intelligent Soil: Systematic Approach Towards Urban Soil Mutualism, Yuting Chen 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

City Of Intelligent Soil: Systematic Approach Towards Urban Soil Mutualism, Yuting Chen

Masters Theses

Starting with identifying ‘Urban Soil Blindness’, which refers to the fact that people in cities tend to lose their awareness and connection with soil, this thesis focuses on developing a nexus of mycorrhizal, urban soil, plant system and urbanites. Soil is not just a simple substance for plants to root in. As a main responsive medium and the breeding bed for microorganisms and their transmission, soil brings the resilient yet vulnerable world of mankind and the vibrant and vigorous microbial world to each other in an infinite intimacy. As a lens, soil allows us to unfold the world of microbiome …


X-Era: Adaptation To The Future Uncertainty With Sustainable Indigenous Wisdom, Ruoyuan Chen 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

X-Era: Adaptation To The Future Uncertainty With Sustainable Indigenous Wisdom, Ruoyuan Chen

Masters Theses

Due to human impacts on earth’s geology and ecosystem, the future of this planet and our society is uncertain. To navigate this uncertainty, it is urgent that we understand and explore new strategies to adapt to this unknown future. Over the millennia, indigenous communities around the world have developed advanced and nuanced ways to adapt to living in harsh environments. X is commonly used in science to refer to a variable that can change or be changed. Therefore, the thesis project – X-Era, aims to learn from the sustainability of traditional ecological knowledge to help inform how we may adapt …


Emotional Experience: An Exploration Of Reestablishing The Connection With Nature Through Novel Street Tree Planning In Providence, Ri, Xiuyan Qin 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Emotional Experience: An Exploration Of Reestablishing The Connection With Nature Through Novel Street Tree Planning In Providence, Ri, Xiuyan Qin

Masters Theses

This thesis explores the causes of the unprecedented disconnection of humans from nature experienced in modern society. To improve this disconnect, this proposal seeks to place the street tree at the intersection of nature and culture through urban installations that intensify urban sensory experiences. By strengthening human sensory perception, promoting stewardship through diverse participatory planting plans, enabling urban ‘foraging,’ creating community-led and household maintenance regimes, the street tree installations will increase public health outcomes and create environmental agency within the public realm. I sincerely believe that the ultimate mission of landscape architecture lies in encouraging a healthy, poetic, and joyful …


Regenerating The Ground: Using Regenerative Agricultural Practices To Increase Urban Food Production And Restore The Health Of Soils, Yuxiao Liao 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Regenerating The Ground: Using Regenerative Agricultural Practices To Increase Urban Food Production And Restore The Health Of Soils, Yuxiao Liao

Masters Theses

New England is blessed with a mosaic of productive agricultural landscapes. These agricultural landscapes also sustain valuable wildlife habitats, provide flood control and act as an enormous carbon sink. Farmland in New England declined significantly in the 20th century as agricultural land was abandoned and developed into urban and suburban sprawl. In 1930 there were about 14 billion acres of farmland, by 2017, there were only 4 billion acres left. New England lost almost 70% of farmland in the past 80 years. John Dobberstein has claimed that due to our current development and agricultural practices, there are only 60 harvests …


Urban Vine: Reimagine The Scaffolding As A Repair Opportunity To Transform The Ecosystem, Shuyi Guan 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Urban Vine: Reimagine The Scaffolding As A Repair Opportunity To Transform The Ecosystem, Shuyi Guan

Masters Theses

Scaffolding has been used as a tool to remove, construct, or repair city infrastructure. It can also be conceived as a metaphor for city development and its continuing renovation. Scaffolding in New York City has become an urban problem because it is structurally unsafe, and the darkness it brings to the street is a perceived threat to the sidewalk commons. It makes the sidewalk become a negative space in between the building and the street and the street edge is less identifiable. These negative experiences cause walking on the street to be less comfortable.

Cities are in continuous transformation, both …


Slow Down: Investigating How Pop-Up Installations Transform Multi-Use Space, Yuanrui Wang 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Slow Down: Investigating How Pop-Up Installations Transform Multi-Use Space, Yuanrui Wang

Masters Theses

According to a study from the 1990s by Richard Wiseman, pedestrians’ walking speeds in a city provide a reliable measure of the pace of life in that city. If people’s walking speeds in a city are fast, their life rhythm will be relatively fast. People in fast-moving cities have more pressure and have higher rates of coronary heart disease.

Because cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death globally, to get a more healthy life, we all need to slow down and lower the risk of stress. Pop-up spaces are a commonly used method by designers to create a …


Agricultural Landscape As Cultural Practice : Through The Lens Of Rice Farming, Yumeng Yan 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Agricultural Landscape As Cultural Practice : Through The Lens Of Rice Farming, Yumeng Yan

Masters Theses

The thesis departs from the understanding of landscape as a cultural practice – an idea that has been thoroughly discussed over the last three decades, namely by Gary Snyder in the influential book of essays, “Tawny Grammar” – to research rice farming landscapes in the geographical contexts of Africa, Asia, and America. By studying the methods and infrastructural systems involved in rice production that developed independently in Asia and Africa – where they were less affected by capitalist frameworks and dualistic ideas that exclude farming from landscape architecture – the thesis seeks a more nuanced intersection of different models of …


One Land / One Ocean: Reactivate Coastal Commons In Urban Territory, Chengie Zhang 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

One Land / One Ocean: Reactivate Coastal Commons In Urban Territory, Chengie Zhang

Masters Theses

We all live in the same common -– the ocean common, sharing various common pool resources. With industrialization coming after capitalism, the resource regime is shifting and developing. The Blue Revolution and industrial aquaculture stand out as a strategy to efficiently gain resources to meet the population growth and the resource demands. However, it will reveal another form of cultural exploitation. People in the global south will become a labor resource for the global north and increase extreme coastal poverty brought by the depletion of mangroves for land and industrial places. In this book, I want to discuss the possibility …


The Future Of The High Plains Aquifer: Addressing Potential Desertification In The Great Plains, Hongfei Zuo 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

The Future Of The High Plains Aquifer: Addressing Potential Desertification In The Great Plains, Hongfei Zuo

Masters Theses

The past century of extractive pumping of underground water coupled with climate change and extreme weather since the 1950s led to great unpredictability and uncertainty about the future of the landscapes of the high plains. The High Plains, or Ogallala Aquifer, has significantly declined as water continues to be pumped to irrigate crops. Reports and scientists estimate that the aquifer will dry in 30 years. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s is an example of a man-made catastrophe that resulted from the mismanagement of the agricultural landscape. The Shelterbelt Project, proposed as part of the New Deal in 1935, did …


Trash Matters: Material Strategies For Prolonging The Life Of Single-Use Plastic, Zixin Li 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Trash Matters: Material Strategies For Prolonging The Life Of Single-Use Plastic, Zixin Li

Masters Theses

Plastic pollution has become one of the most pressing environmental issues. Communities worldwide have addressed the importance of facing the problem of plastic pollution control and issues relevant policies to effectively reduce the use of plastic products. The sudden outbreak of Covid-19 has made the urgency of the problem less significant. Nevertheless, the use of disposable plastics to comply with public health protocols has hugely increased making plastic pollution all the more severe.

Through material experimentation, this thesis reappraises different types of single-use plastic waste and attempts to transform them into longer-lasting reused solutions. It focuses on finding alternative materials …


Farming Publics: Use Farming Practices As A Tool To De-Alienate People With Land, Sirui Wang 2022 Rhode Island School of Design

Farming Publics: Use Farming Practices As A Tool To De-Alienate People With Land, Sirui Wang

Masters Theses

Historically, farming was the primary way people interacted with the land. Colonialism, industrialization, and capitalism have made people increasingly detached and alienated from nature and the land. The return to agriculture has the potential to play an essential role in resisting the increasing monoculture of our society through re-establishing the kinship toward land. The rising public awareness of sustainability makes the market for organic food expand every year and allures capitalism to manipulate the organic market from its original purpose into their familiar realm of the conventional food system for maximum profit. The market economy, which is controlled by capitalism, …


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