Academic Year: 2017
Demystifying the Campus Master Planning Process
New Normals and Narratives of Nothing: Affect and Planning
This project centers around a recognition that cities, fundamentally, are sites of identity. Embedded in place at all times, we are constantly in states of becoming, being formed by our surroundings and interactions and forming others in return. This becoming is one that is situated in affect. When urban planners intervene in space, we are fundamentally intervening in identity, and in processes of affective connection. With this in mind, this project uncovers how affect operates within processes of urban planning, specifically in the context of urban change and displacement. This project asks how this understanding can then be used to better imagine a planning processes founded in the affective dimension. Through an initial engagement with projects responding to processes of urban change, development, and displacement in Seattle, I find a dichotomy between planning practice, and projects from artists, activists, and residents pushing back against displacement. Artist, resident, and activist-led projects seem to be situated in the affective dimension, whereas planning practice is not. This dichotomy is significant, as it creates a climate where people and planners operate in opposition with one another. It creates a gap between the reality of lived experience of place, and decision making processes that, in many ways, govern these spaces. In engaging with narratives within projects pushing back against displacement, and with the urban planning process, I analyze why this gap exists. This project aims to lessen this gap, imagining a planning process that is fundamentally situated within the affective dimension.
Humans of Street Music: Telling the Stories of Public Performance
Though people of Seattle get to see street music all around them, many will never get to know the origins or stories that bring those musicians to the street. My project unearthed these experiences to humanize the performances, to share the stories of buskers with my communities, and to foster a deeper appreciation for this unique form of public art.
What Makes Art Honest?
Throughout history, there has seemed to be an indelible drive in the human race to put forth artistic expressions derived from self and external influence of all kinds. When a proclamation is put forward by an artist through their work, a facet of the piece arises that is crucial but often overlooked: the honesty of the creation. As an artist myself, I have been captivated by this seemingly pivotal feature in art, and how other artists interact with honesty when creating. Seeing this, the question that I have explicated for my senior project is what makes art honest? To answer this, I have interviewed twelve artists in my community regarding what they believe makes art honest. The individuals I have interviewed practice various mediums of art. I performed the interview in a semi-structured format to allow for open-ended discourse. The takeaways from these interviews were snippets of inspirational dialogue, as well as photos of the artist’s work. My end goal was a three-part product. The first was an assemblage of the findings from the interviews into this zine: a proclamation of individual expression through a self-published compilation of artistic mediums. The second product was a personal proclamation of the knowledge I have gathered concerning artistic honesty throughout the project: a musical EP that I have written, edited, and will record. The first release can be found at https://peytonwhalen.bandcamp.com/. The third product is a full script of the interviews performed, which is located on this website. Through the execution of this project, I have hoped to create something inspiring for not only myself, but for any audience lending an ear—something that makes them think critically about honesty not only in art, but in all arenas of life.
Pop-Up Bazaar: A Celebration of Love, Art & Progress
distance themselves from the exercise. Based on survey results, this reaction is primarily attributed to a lack of understanding or familiarity with the topic. Comfort and a willingness to participate begins with a familiarity of that topic and currently the planning realm and student realm are very disconnected. In response, this past year I have dedicated myself to discovering better ways to reach out to students, along with understanding
The Effect of Transit Subsidies on Employee Transit Utilization in Smartcard Data
This research aims to understand how Commute Trip Reduction (CTR) transit subsidy programs, when controlling for various built environment variables and the structure of the transit network, impact the number of trips individual employees of large employers in the Central Puget Sound region take commuting from their worksite. This transit utilization is measured using the ORCA fare card records over two nine week periods in 2015 and 2016. Manipulating monetary costs is a known method of transportation demand management. Earlier preliminary research has suggested that these transit subsidies do have a signicant impact on transit utilization. However, results in the wider literature suggest that transit utilization was operationalized in a way—defined on the level of an individual card without accounting for the existence of people who never take transit—that may have altered the infence of control variables. Indeed, some of the results were counterintuitive. In this research I attempt to avoid this by focusing solely on trips of employees of large employers to and from their worksites. This allows me to deduce how many employees are not utilizing transit and add them to the dataset. I then create a regression tree model that predicts the number of trips taken to and from an employer worksite on an individual card. The features of the model include subsidy values associated with each card, the closeness centrality of the stops around worksites weighted for travel time and headways— a measure designed to reflect the quality of transit service to that employer site—and the existence of employer provided parking. I find that higher centrality of worksites and higher pass subsidies both increase transit utilization while the existence of parking provided by the employer, whether free or paid, depresses transit utilization.
Community Building in the Digital Age
With the advent of the 21st century, studying abroad has become a common practice. The increase in the number of study abroad opportunities has resulted in a growing number of Chinese students studying in American colleges and universities. Although some students encounter language and cultural barriers when they first move to the United States, the use of new technologies such as the Chinese social media application, “WeChat”, allows Chinese students to become more united and comfortable in an alien environment. My project explores how Chinese international undergraduates use WeChat to build communities and aid in their problem solving. For this reason, examining the significance of Chinese international students’ barriers, community building, and the WeChat technology are crucial for the purpose of this project. The research methods consist of three stages: interviewing Chinese international students and educators; conducting a thematic and narrative analysis of the interview data; and using sources from literature review to explain the findings. My research results show that WeChat functions such as “Meeting people nearby” and “Group chat” can enhance the community building experience. This allows Chinese international students to eliminate various barriers, including the ability to find the sources they need to solve their problems and answer their questions. On the other side, WeChat can be a distraction or lead to ethical issues such as cheating, pornography and Internet scams. The final product consists of a report and a list of recommendations for WeChat uses amongst Chinese international undergraduates, which may maximize the benefits of WeChat for them.
Planting the Seed: A Workshop for Students to Explore Environmental Careers
With climate change being among the biggest problems humanity faces, it is essential that youth are encouraged to pursue careers to combat it. In this project, I conduct a workshop that allows students to explore environmental careers. The workshops were conducted at a local high school to students ranging from freshman to senior status and included information about the range of environmental careers, majors in the College of the Environment at UW, an activity which allowed students to brainstorm the range of careers, and a discussion about what skills and experiences are useful to pursue those careers. After conducting the workshops, I found that students are more interested in pursuing an environmental career and more knowledgeable about the skills and experiences that will prepare them for one. Increasing an interest in students to pursue a career in the environmental field is valuable because fighting climate change is a complex task that requires the efforts, skills and knowledge of as many people as possible.
Re/Imagining Summit Ave: Reclaiming the Right-of-Way
As Seattle continues to grow and densify, it is critical to consider the importance of green space in the urban environment. Green space is essential to the our built spaces because it provides environmental, human health and wellness, and economic benefits. We must reconsider how we define green space and include it in the design of our future cityscapes in the way we do sidewalks and roadways. Green space has long been isolated to areas designated for aesthetic uses such as parks and gardens. The core of Seattle has already become densely urbanized, therefore it is vital to design our streets more creatively if we want to add more green space. A significant amount of space in the public realm is covered in asphalt, reserved exclusively for automobiles. Redesigning our streets to take advantage of areas where there is unused asphalt could be an innovative method for adding green space in Seattle. The 1700 block of Summit Ave. in the Capitol Hill neighborhood is a particularly wide street with an excess of unused asphalt. Through community outreach I found that the residents of Summit Ave. would like to see a street redesign to remove a sections of asphalt to be replaced with a small area of green space. Using research about the benefits of green space in the public realm combined with community input, I have constructed a robust proposal for a redesign of the 1700 block of Summit Ave