Holyoke’s location beside the Connecticut River and within Massachusetts’ “Knowledge Corridor.” Relevant contextual assets include the nearby Springfield MRF, 12 local universities, and an extensive rail network to be refurbished for 2014’s planned Amtrak service.
Holyoke’s manufacturing model as it relates to past, current, and potential industrial symbiosis. Before the collapse of the textile industry, it and the paper industry operated together in a sort of crude, environmentally-destructive symbiosis.
Analytical perspective highlighting the sealed status of many of Holyoke's sluices. Created in Photoshop based on an actual site photo.
Active and inactive industrial sites, abandoned land and buildings, and local e-waste recycling and biofuel assets create a fertile ground for seeding with expanded industrial functions. Strategic relocations of important facilities promote efficient/sustainable transportation and stimulate symbiosis.
A new connective system links Holyoke’s paper-converting and e-waste recycling industries with the Springfield MRF and West Springfield CSX while the biogas facility forms a node among it, the waste treatment facility, and freeway on/off ramps.
Repairing and reactivating sealed raceways taps into Holyoke’s potential for greater clean energy production. Opportunities for university research and informative public recreation are created in the midst of canal infrastructure, a city-planned innovation district, and public transportation.
Strategic locations within central Holyoke are rezoned to create a better living environment for its inhabitants and to allow the connective system the flexibility to accommodate future industrial growth.
Plan created in Photoshop based on AutoCAD line work. 1" = 128' scale.
Hand-cut model illustrating the topographic realities of layering the reactivated canal and rail infrastructure with new pedestrian/cycling circulation.
Long section cut through rail lines, created in Photoshop based on hand-drafted line work. 1" = 128' scale.
Section cut through rock-climbing earth mound, basin, and rail lines, created in Photoshop based on hand-drafted line work. 1" = 16' scale.
Perspective illustrating overlap of industrial transportation infrastructure with recreational activity. Created in Photoshop based on a partial model made in SketchUp as well as some line work drawn by hand that were both overlaid atop an actual site photo.
Perspective illustrating overlap of industrial hydro-electric activity and recreational activity. Created in Photoshop based on a partial model made in SketchUp as well as some line work drawn by hand that were both overlaid atop an actual site photo.
Perspective illustrating adaptive reuse of old industrial infrastructure for recreational activity. Created in Photoshop based on a partial model made in SketchUp as well as some line work drawn by hand that were both overlaid atop an actual site photo.
This is my thesis project for the RISD MLA program, completed in the spring of 2013. The general premise is that of an economic revitalization strategy for a post-industrial city in which new industrial activity is activated via the implementation of the principles of industrial symbiosis through infrastructural changes in the urban landscape. The end goal is for the city to become a sort of non-defunct Duisburg Nord in which people are given opportunities to engage with the reindustrialized landscape and infrastructure. The test site for my thesis is Holyoke, Massachusetts and my abstract is below.
Former industrial sites were often strategically chosen because of their access and ability to exploit nearby natural resources as a source of power or as a material for use in mass production. The landscapes that hosted these developments were manipulated beyond recognition as a means to achieve maximum industrial productivity. While such activity initially provided a substantial economic base upon which urban development and employment could grow, human consideration remained narrow and short-term. The resultant processes not only wreaked havoc on their natural surroundings but also eventually collapsed under increased economic pressure, leading to widespread unemployment, increased poverty, and population decrease.
Current efforts to rehabilitate deindustrialized sites most often seek to restore the health of degraded natural systems and to sometimes preserve the infrastructural relics of industry. In some instances, these efforts provide an economic boost to their locale, but in most cases do little to offset the economic/job losses incurred by deindustrialization. Furthermore, these efforts are most often applied to discrete, infrastructurally self-contained sites such as large factories or landfills that possess clearly articulated boundaries between themselves and any surrounding urban fabric that may exist. Deindustrialized areas that consist of smaller, disparate sites that are more closely embedded within the urban fabric of a city center tend to receive less attention.
This thesis seeks to sow the seeds of economic revitalization by altering an urban landscape as a means to facilitate the development of a recreational, industrially-driven program in a city that has become depressed in the wake of substantial deindustrialization. It is predicated on the notion that not every city center hard-hit by deindustrialization will be able to reinvent itself strictly through the establishment of artist’s lofts, historic preservation parks, or social media start-ups, nor that they necessarily should be. It postulates that industrial activity is economically important, worth maintaining where it exists, and worth attempting to re-establish in a manner that is not only ecologically sensitive and economically sustainable but that also creates unique recreational opportunities for human engagement.