This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Brownfield Topographies: Regenerating brownfields through topological and ecological disturbance




Smithson, Tyler

Type of Degree



Landscape Architecture


Brownfield topology is my term for the regeneration of urban brownfield sites through the disturbance of topography and site ecologies. This approach physically moves earth to generate unique arrangements of topography and disperses seeds to create microecologies. Once an initial disturbance is established, natural forces are allowed to resume in the colonization of the site. Elements that further redefine the spatial form of the site are natural forces such as erosion, sedimentation, and floral and faunal colonization. Human use of the site is also permitted to occur in unplanned ways, so that consequent uses and inhabitation will emerge over time. From this, an adaptive terrain emerges to regenerate the site. The methodology described above is an alternative approach towards the conventional methods of Brownfield regeneration. To test the theoretical ideas that have been put forward, I have chosen a Brownfield site along the Tennessee River in Chattanooga that was once home to Vulcan Materials Company. Unique components of the site are ruderal ecologies, the Vulcan structure and remnant industrial fragments. Changes in topography are intended not to erase the ruderal ecologies that have developed, but to enhance ecological conditions. Once the site has undergone the initial phases of regeneration, further elements of plantings, structures, and landscape features will be introduced to enrich the experience of the site and to reconnect it to the context.