Liminal Urban Spaces Addressing Temporal Urban Vacancy through Strategic Intervention Typologies
St. John, Nathan Andrew
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Liminal Urban Spaces formulates a new angle on the unseen resource of residential vacancy in our cities. Vacancy can be part of a healthy urban cycle, making way for new uses in the space that promote healthy progress. In the city of Buffalo, NY vacant homes may sit disused for years before the city eventually demolishes the property. In this time, the unused homes become visual indicators of neighborhood decline and have the tendency to produce additional vacancy through upticks in local crime rates and downturn in adjacent property values. These demolitions should be viewed as a last resort, as they are a broad brush approach to an extremely contextual issue. There are cases where demolition is the only viable option such as in cases of arson or severe structural damage in order to preserve public safety. However, the value of these properties lie in their temporal nature. The homes in Buffalo that are being demolished as a resultant of disuse, neglect, and decay have often been there for many years and are sometimes physical cornerstones of the neighborhood. Therefore, special design approaches should be made in order to give these properties a function post-occupancy. Liminal Urban Spaces sets forth a series of explorations that investigate the potential for synergistic relationships between vacant home that exist in different temporal frames. Through a series of physical interventions, we explore the temporal thresholds within the relationship and push to explore the limits of interaction between two vacant homes to explore where the relationship is beneficial and where it can become toxic.