This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Submerge: Urban Surface Adaptations




Hines, Carlton

Type of Degree



Landscape Architecture


Impervious surfaces are an ever increasing phenomenon throughout the world. They crop up at the local scale and proliferate into a global phenomenon that exponentially imperils natural systems. Their increasing presence offers a unique opportunity for designers to develop new surface strategies that can improve social, economic, and ecological conditions within local communities. This thesis employs a subterranean surface strategy, carving out subgrade rooms eight feet beneath a parking lot’s surface, where nature and culture are not divided, allowing for cohabitation within a democratic space. The exploration occurs through several test iterations using various representational methods, including hand drafting, sketching, 3-D models, plans, sections, and perspectives. Strategies used are descriptive through observation, experimental through research by design, and deductive using case studies. The goal of this thesis is to show how impervious surfaces can be designed or re-designed to have a positive economic, social and ecological impact on a specific geographic area. Social impacts include emphasizing the high cultural value of parking lots, creating a user-friendly atmosphere and areas offering multiple uses that cater to various types of users throughout the seasons. Economic impacts include increasing overall use of the parking lot, providing a driver for dining and retail facilities on site, and building physical armatures that have the ability to spur future development for neighborhood growth. Ecological impacts include reducing stormwater flow, increasing groundwater infiltration, and reducing non-point source pollution.