Integral Architecture: Social Infrastructure for a Gentrifying Neighbourhood
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We are in a transition period in the growth of American cities. The urban is re-centralizing, rejuvenating old downtowns, and gentrifying previously neglected inner city neighbourhoods. In Canada, gentrification has been pushed under the banner of social mixicity, associated with the Canadian cultural values of diversity and inclusion. However, often times the process of gentrification results in exclusion and segregation, polarizing neighbourhoods and fragmenting communities. Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES), home to one of Canada's largest populations of low-income, homeless, and hard-to-house, is currently being pressured by a growing housing market. Gentrification of this area, guided by development policies from the city, will bring a fine grained social mix to the neighbourhood. This thesis looks at how architecture can provide connection points in such a polarized landscape. It imagines a new DTES as an integrated and participatory neighbourhood fostered by these new spaces of sharing and mutual engagement for all publics.