Community greenways : integrating trail and town in Meyersdale, Pennsylvania

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Johnson, Michael V.
Cairns, Malcolm D.
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Thesis (B.L.A.)
College of Architecture and Planning
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Many of our commuities are deteriorating. The places in which we live are lacking character and commitment to healthy lifestyles. Our lives revolve around a fast-paced society dependant upon the automobile. Luckily, the design solutions for many of these troubling contemporary issues can be found in the greenway design principles introduced by some of the earliest and most well known landscape architects in this country. It is the job of designers to improve the health of our society through quality recreation design, and it is at the community level that a collaborative team of professionals can make the greatest impact on human lives.This project re-evaluates and re-defines the diverse roles of landscape architects in designing multiple types of greenways as transportation routes, sources of community identity, and places of healing. Greenway design has been implicit to landscape architecture since the inception of the profession over 100 years ago. Frederick Law Olmstead first introduced the term in his master plan for the campus at Cal-Berkley, and through his design for the Emerald Necklace. Olmstead's theories on greenways as healing environments have been improved upon on different levels by Ebenezer Howard's greenbelt plan at the community level, and by Benton MacKaye's conceptual plan for the Appalachian Trail at the regional scale. Contemporary designers have further evolved the greenway ideal in the reclamation of old rail beds for adaptive reuse as pedestrian corridors.This study applied the historical background and relevant theory on greenway design to a specific "trail town" community in the borough of Meyersdale, Pennsylvania that will serve as a prototype for other similar communities along abandoned rail beds. The plan focuses on an uncompleted piece of the Allegheny Greenway Trail connecting Pittsburgh to Washington D.C., and running through Meyersdale. In addition, the design solution takes into account recreation and transportation plans for the community and its tourists in order to provide the framework for the beginnings of a healthy community. The master plan will serve as a case study to be applied to similar communities across the country, setting new precedents for greenway design, and inspiring community members to a new appreciation of their own community.