These past several weeks I've been busy researching and writing two papers for my Transprotation Planning class that I am taking with Dr. Ralph Buehler. I will soon write a post that overlooks the impact of this research and how it will affect my thesis project.
Much of what I am learning are the non-architectrual aspects of transit systems. This area has a range of topics from budgets and financing to social perceptions of transit. Many of these topics seem too concrete and disheartening to wishful dreamers like many young architects (myself included), but they are necessary in order to have a working and viable system.
The first paper discusses the history of transit in the U.S. and looks at the modes of transit. It examines how cities affect transit and how transit affects cities. Cities play a major role in the evolution of transit, and conversely, transit plays a major role in the evolution of cities. This cause-effect cycle is what has shaped America’s urban transit landscape as well as our cities.
The second paper, which I am currently writing, examines the riders of transit. It focuses on riders' views and attitudes towards transit systems and how we can learn from other countries (Germany) to get more riders using our transit.
Additionally, I will be going to NYC this weekend! I plan on riding much public transportation there (NYC and metro area accounts for up to 1/3 of all transit in the U.S.!) as well as exploring the new Highline park. The park is a great example of re appropriating urban elements for new uses and reshaping the image of a city. I hope to apply the lessons of the Highline to Pittsbugh.