Affect and Interaction on Atlanta's Beltline
Type of Degreethesis
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This project addresses homogenous infrastructural design. The research suggests that a reevaluation of infrastructure based on a close attention to its social and physical conditions can enable new approaches to its design. Specifi cally, it looks at the BeltLine, an upcoming light rail system that will connect historic neighborhoods, parks, and other transportation hubs within and around the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. It assumes that around the BeltLine, design and construction will revolve solely around the guidelines of necessary criteria set up by the city’s transportation department. This research seeks to satisfy these criteria as well as identify and analyze what the existing conditions are at an unused site slated for through-passage by the BeltLine. Results of this analysis show that there are fragile and unique environments within the site, including human and nonhuman migrant colonies, an urban field used for the practice of tagging, and materials that have been allowed to weather with rust patterns, stains, and cracks and fragmentation. This project is based on the proposition that not only are such marginalized and undervalued spaces within a city crucial, but they do not have to be erased in favor of a rolled out piece of infrastructure. The BeltLine, instead, can be brought into this site in such a way that the ecologies are highlighted and privileged, the surfaces embraced, and the materials actively used in the design process. In this way, urban infrastructure does not have to be homogenous, inefficiently utilized, and removed from a given site situation.