Growth in population and suburban subdivision sprawl has left our cities burdened with ever increasing urban footprints that hinder our ability to live sustainably. Subdivisions create low density developments that are only accessible by the automobile and far from places of work or retail. The desire to live in a single family dwelling in a safe suburban setting makes it attractive, yet unsustainable to continue building this way. There is a dichotomy between suburban living and higher density mixed-used developments. The Dalhousie community exemplifies the suburban single family subdivision that is increasingly unsustainable yet attractive to live in. Is it possible to rethink suburbia and increase the density of the population while maintaining the character of the neighbourhood?
Re-Programming Territories is a proposal for Dalhousie and many other communities that resemble it. This prototype laneway infill attempts to re-program laneway garage space and foster a new alternative urban habitation grafted onto the existing laneway infrastructure without interrupting existing residences. The design strategy calls for the compensation and annexation of whole lengths of laneway to infill and add to the suburban fabric, increasing the density to approximately fifteen units/hectares. What was a monolithic empty back alley, becomes activated with occupation.
Pedestrian laneway activation is accomplished through the addition of enclosed public green corridors which are both a greenhouse and circulation spine for the residents where urban farming occurs year-round and lush vegetation warms the coldest winter days. This corridor is accessible to the whole community and operates as a year-round pedestrian promenade. It acts as a mitigating inbetween space for the laneway and existing houses. Existing houses now look onto a glazed year-round greenspace instead of monolithic garages. Activation is happening both in the green corridor and outside on the lane. Residents balconies overlook the public spaces and lane. Both laneway residents and existing residents share the same carports in the lane. The size and layout of the units will attract new demographics to Dalhousie to live in the lane. Units are designed to be a modular compact design perfect for bachelors, students, low income, and small families that are more inclined to use the community shuttle system. At the end of each block live-work and commercial unit anchor the lane to provide valuable services to the community within walking distance.
Status: School Project
Location: Calgary, AB, CA