— Interesting Reads —

Posted: January 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Select a city from the drop-down menu beneath the “Interesting Reads” tab (above) to view our growing collection of interesting articles.

  • What is the role of commerce and human connection in shaping the processes that encourage cities to thrive in the aftermath of economic, political, or natural destruction?
  • Does having experienced a state of near destruction make a city think about changes in the built environment differently?
  • How can neighborhoods and buildings and spaces be designed such that the edge between public and private, indoor and outdoor, commercial and civic, is softened or made softer and more porous, inviting people from outside in to the spaces and making people inside feel connected to what is outside?
  • What are the civic and community values that lead to spaces such as these?
  • Are there identifiable patterns that successfully soft and porous buildings exhibit?
  • What are the elements that cause people to pause and spend time in spaces – (e.g. for coffee, reflection, solitude, breath) and regain a sense of humanity?
  • Are there identifiable patterns in successful ground planes (i.e. new and not just older (pre-auto) neighborhoods)?
  • What public and private processes support successful ground plane patterns?
  • Changing the process can we change the outcome and make better spaces?
  • How does the ownership (both in the legal and non legal sense of the word) of the ground plane impact how it is designed and how it evolves?

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Deconstruction to Reconstruction: Exploring Success Patterns in Connection and Commerce

This year, our Fellows are exploring the role of commerce as a catalyst to human connection in urban communities amidst economic, political, and natural destruction.  Through travel, observation, interviews, and local discussions around commerce as an experience fostering positive social experience, the Fellows seek to build an understanding of the conscious and unconscious patterns that foster urban vibrancy; specifically thriving communities, even amidst adversity.  With the addition of Eric Becker, the award winning documentary filmmaker to the Fellows Program, the observed patterns are to revealed in a unique form of visual storytelling around human connection and commerce.

This year’s Fellows group will be traveling to cities both in Eastern Europe and the U.S. that have re-defined and/or retained their culture while displaying inherent resilience amidst destruction.  Travel destinations include cities within Germany and Poland, with a capstone visit to Detroit.

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Videos

Posted: December 20, 2012 in Uncategorized

Fellows Gabriel Grant and Lisa Picard, as well as Salon participants Kyle Gaffney and Barbara Swift, are featured in the following videos, all produced by director Eric Becker:

Placemaking & Seattle  |   http://vimeo.com/53098694

Skanska’s Stone 34   |  http://vimeo.com/45798710

_______________________________________________________________________________________________

The 2012 | 2013 Runstad Affiliate Fellows will be hosting a Salon event on the evening of December 5, 2012 at 5:30 pm. SkB Architects has generously offered to host our event at their office in Belltown (2333 3rd Avenue, Seattle WA 98121).

The Fellows are investigating human connection and commerce, and we are focusing our discussion on the Belltown neighborhood and community.  To kick off our discussions, we are hosting an intimate salon event to explore how our environments can better provide human connection AND commerce.  For this one evening, we seek a very dynamic, multidisciplinary group of 10-12 people from all intellectual pursuits to explore this topic with us.  We have an extraordinarily talented and interesting group from a variety of backgrounds lined up to explore how our cities and buildings can better create opportunities for human connection and successful commerce.  We don’t know the exact journey for the evening, but we know the terrain; examine human connection, needs and patterns, processes that conflict, constrain, amplify and enhance our urban environments.  We plan to explore inspiration, feeling and the urban landscape to find synergies between commerce and connection.  We believe the process of co-creation, as promoted in a salon-style event, is the very product necessary to create the envisioned product: connection fostering commerce fostering connection.  The salon process will be used as an opening discussion for what the Fellows group will explore for the rest of the academic year, culminating into context that can be shared with the collective, greater Seattle community.

Thank you to the following individuals who have agreed to share their insight with us and participate in this event:

And a special thanks to our generous host and event moderator, Kyle Gaffney, SkB Architects

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Initial Topic of Study

Posted: October 15, 2012 in Themes and Questions

Initial Topic of Study: Understanding Successful Ground Plane Patterns

Modern urban human beings know and feel “place” by the ground floor of a building.  As described by Jan Gehl in his book Cities for People, “our horizontal field of vision means that when we are walking along building facades, only the ground floors can offer us interest and intensity.   If the ground floor facades are rich in variation and detail, our city walks will be equally rich in experience.”  This edge is where buildings meet the city and either enhance or subtract from their environments and communities.  We can feel the difference between an interesting and inviting ground plane space that is rich in character detail and one that is bland, boring and inactive.  However, despite this intuitive understanding of successful ground planes, developed over the thousands of years in which humans have been living in cities, many responsible for creating our cities neglect the ground plane and citizens are left with uninspiring buildings that reduce the amount of activity on the street and consequently detract from city life.

The Fellows team will begin their year-long project by focusing on the following questions:

  • How can buildings and spaces be designed such that the edge between public and private, indoor and outdoor, commercial and civic, is softened or made softer and more porous, inviting people from outside in to the spaces and making people inside feel connected to what is outside?  Are there identifiable patterns that successfully soft and porous buildings exhibit?  What are the elements that cause people to pause and spend time in spaces – (e.g. for coffee, reflection, solitude, breath) and regain a sense of humanity?
  • How can the perceived risk of developing a richer ground plane be actually shown to reduce market and exit risk to the developer?
  • Are there identifiable patterns in successful ground planes (i.e. new and not just older (pre-auto) neighborhoods)?
  • Are these spaces and buildings more valuable than generic spaces (long term, short term)?  Put another way, does well designed retail space generate more income than those with less attention?
  • How does the changing nature of retail (more e-tailing, smaller brick and mortar presence, more experience focused, etc.) affect current and future retail spaces?  How does this shape development and land use planning?
  • What public and private processes support successful ground plane patterns?  Changing the process can we change the outcome and make better spaces?  Ask different questions and different answers surface (what questions are developers and designers of successful spaces asking versus those of other spaces?)  What are the alternative futures that can be imagined?
  • How does the ownership (both in the legal and non legal sense of the word) of the ground plane impact how it is designed and how it evolves?

______________________________________________________________________________________________

Welcome

Posted: October 1, 2012 in Uncategorized

Welcome to the blog site for the 2012 | 2013 Runstad Affiliate Fellows.  It is here where we will post our findings relevant to our topic of study.  We will be posting regularly about our research, discoveries in conversation, projects, and travel related to our overarching themes.

The Runstad Affiliate Fellows Program, sponsored by the University of Washington Runstad Center for Real Estate Studies, gathers thought leaders from industry, faculty from the College of Built Environment, and top students pursuing a Master of Science in Real Estate for an 8-month program to examine real estate issues in the built environment.  The goals of the Affiliate Fellows program are to foster deeper interactions between the students, academic community and the business community, to provide mentorship to students, and to explore and advance new ideas relevant to the Northwest real estate community.

 

________________________________________________________________________________________________