Yes, a decadent sounding name that, when contemplated is easily deciphered to mean, how an urban area adapts and maintains it's vibrancy through the years.
Last term I started doing research with Professor Howard Davis, on this particular subject, and will continue looking at this through this semester and perhaps beyond. I hope to keep this forum updated with our findings/results.
The project is focusing on a snapshot of a very specific area that lyes just outside the downtown area, near a large portion of residential homes, and on a major E/W arterial connection. There is a good amount of history in the area and was one of the first neighborhoods to develop in the SE Portland area, so over 50% of the structures in the sample were built before 1920. It also lies on an historic street car line that has since been removed and is directly adjacent to the oldest cemetery in town.
While all these things are quite interesting, we are still grasping at what the research should be trying to uncover. We have pretty extensive data on building types, usage, ages, units, location, etc, but, what I think is tough to figure out is where there may be a correlation and causality to with these things. In the spirit of Jane Jacob's, we have undoubtedly observed that the diversity of the area is quite extensive regarding use and type, and this alone could lend itself to being a successful example. There are though, things that could be better. While the building stock is diverse, there are also larger holes in the urban fabric, and while many previously single family homes have been converted to office space, and mix use buildings, it doesn't necessarily lend itself to a vibrant street scape.
I plan to use his place as a sounding board for my thoughts. Many of these things may not make sense and I will have to show more pictorial context for people to understand what I'm talking about, but I have found that just typing a stream of thought has led to observations, and thoughts you may not have uncovered before. I've also become really interested in this fellow Steven Johnson, (anyone that listens to radioLAB has heard of him) and his thoughts about innovation and emergence. I just picked up his book and hopefully will have some time to read through it this semester.