Briggs Flats : an urban design investigation : an honors thesis [(HONRS 499)]
This project began as an Urban Design Investigation for the Briggs Flats Complex in Historic Fletcher Place by Tony Costello's Spring Quarter 1984 fourth-year Design Studio. The objective was to investigate alternative strategies for the future development of Briggs Flats and the area surrounding it. This “front-end” series of studies was executed in three weeks by student groups, and was presented to the Fletcher Place and Fountain Square Investment Corporation, residents of Fletcher Place and other interested organizations.Today, one year later, this paper will attempt to look back on the project and the process which directed the investigation. The paper is organized in five major sections which correspond with the design process, or, more specifically, the process of Urban Design.Urban Design is distinguished from design because it encompasses a larger scope. It actually introduces design into all aspects of the decision making processes which give form to and regulate communities and cities. It relates the design of physical forms to the total community. Therefore, the objective of Urban Design is to produce physical forms and systems that are rational, coherent and responsive to the lifestyles and aspirations of those who use them.1The first step in the process is to recognize the problem and to define the parameters within which the final design solution must function. Within any project, there are limitations which are imposed by inherent resources. These limitations are recognized by depicting the environment and the focus of the project and then by identifying the assets and liabilities of each. The issues which are to be addressed are established through analyzing the depiction and its strength and weaknesses. The first step in the Urban Design Process is completed with determining a program for the project which evolves from the specified issues.The second step begins with addressing the issues in terms of goals and objectives for the project. Often, the objectives have been defined and are evaluated with respect to costs and benefits inclusive of the area’s social, economic, and political constraints.In the third step, many alternative strategies and design concepts are explored. These design concepts are sketched within the determined program. They are compared and evaluated and the strongest concept is chosen to be further developed. This development occurs in the fourth step, in which the design proposal is examined in three dimensions.The fifth and final step is the implementation of the design solution. Included in implementing the design are phasing and individual component programming. It is important to foresee how a project will be phased and implemented in order that an interruption does not occur causing loss of momentum. It is also important to have visual signs of continued progress to maintain sustained interest and support from the community.An urban design investigation, such as the Briggs Flats Complex, is primarily concerned with the first three steps in the process. Approximately seventy to eighty percent of the time spent on such an investigation is utilized for researching, depicting, itemizing, and for translating the organized information into attainable objectives. The remaining twenty to thirty percent of time is applied to exploring concepts and zeroing in on a strong concept. It is important to spend such a great deal of time on the preliminary research and analysis because this is what supports a strong concept. One must be able to justify the concept, have knowledge of its historical development, purport the philosophy behind it, and validate it as a concept.2When the first three steps of the design process are successfully executed, the final two steps logically follow. A considerable amount of time must be spent on the last two steps to refine the design and to make it happen, more time than was available in a three-week “font-end” urban design investigation. Therefore, this paper will chronologue all five steps but will delve into only the first three: Preliminary Research and Assessment, Goals and Objectives, and Strategies.