Regrowing Community by Reappropriating Built History: Adaptive Reuse of the Hahne's Department Store in Newark, NJ.
Bryant, Michelle Alixanne
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Newark, New Jersey has endured large scale depopulation from 1930 through to 2000. Today the urban core of this city suffers from great social and cultural segregation between residents and daytime visiting populations who work in the city. To be reclaimed as a residential zone, the downtown core needs spaces that foster community interaction and growth. An opportunely sited, mixed-use community centre that encourages spontaneous encounters by cross-programming spaces and events could provide a safe place for residents to start reasserting neighbourhood ownership. By reclaiming the historically important, yet long empty, Hahne and Co. department store, the centre would acknowledge the homegrown success and decline of Newark’s past while turning the building into a supporting structure for the community to use in building a new future together. This thesis explores issues of adaptive re-use, programmatic diversity, community centre design and urban renewal.