College of Architecture, Art, and Planning Honors Theses

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Undergraduate Honors Theses for the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning.


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Now showing 1 - 9 of 9
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    Organizing for Whole Child Education: The Role of Community Education Councils in the Movement Toward Urban Education Reform
    Smith, Ayana (2023-05-19)
    This research explores the role that community education councils have within the community schooling framework. Through conducting seven stakeholder interviews and archival data, I answer the following central research question: “How are community education councils influencing local civic and political participation within their service areas?” From this process, I find that (1) community leaders conceptualize whole-child education as contributing to initiatives that fall outside of traditional purviews of public education; (2) current and past initiatives from community education councils include supporting the improvement of low-income housing for tenants within the community, reducing food insecurity that was amplified by the Covid-19 pandemic, and building community power; and (3) community education council representatives leveraged community resources, built relationships, and tapped into their own power to organize these initiatives. These findings underscore both theoretical and practical movements toward whole-child education being spearheaded by local leadership despite decades-long political struggles around collaborative governance over NYC Public Schools. From this research, I deepen our understanding of how communities are leveraging community education councils as critical social infrastructure in the movement toward urban education reform
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    The 17th Sector: The Deathscape as Critical Infrastructure and Its Role in Emergency Preparedness and National Security
    Redmond, Elizabeth; Redmond, Elizabeth (2023-05-18)
    This paper argues for the creation of a 17th critical infrastructure sector–the Deathscape Services Sector (DSS), because of its foundational, yet obfuscated role in our country’s emergency preparedness (EP) and national security (NS). In this paper, we: (i) define the deathscape, (ii) offer a brief history of EP and NS, and note the benefits of operational consolidation, (iii) explore the foundational role the deathscape plays in EP, (iv) illustrate how deathscape actors already participate in the EP process, through the examination of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s five mission areas and explain why the deathscape is an entry point into EP for urban and regional planners, and (v) propose that to address current, and prevent further vulnerabilities, the deathscape should be designated the Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency’s 17th critical infrastructure sector.
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    Dreaming-on-Hudson: Spatial Pedagogies and Holistic Social Studies Education in Ossining, NY
    Cooks, Kellen (2023-05-18)
    The Dreaming-on-Hudson project involved developing interactive mapping activities and place-based lessons that engage students’ spatial imaginaries and root sociological concepts in place and lived experiences. These activities and lessons constitute the Dreaming-on-Hudson curriculum, which was implemented at Ossining High School in Ossining, NY within the SUNY Racism, Classism, and Sexism (SUNY Race) course during the 2022-23 school year. The curriculum was co-developed and co-taught by the author, SUNY Race teachers Samuel North and Jillian McRae, and Joyce Sharrock Cole, the Ossining Village Historian. We began with activities that mapped and explored students’ own identities and communities, and widened towards understanding how sociological phenomena manifest within the town and region. At a time when attacks against critical race theory and educational equity initiatives are at a high, the Dreaming-on-Hudson project and SUNY Race provide a model for holistic social studies education that empowers students to shape the future of their community.
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    "It Takes a Village?": Assessing Economic and Social Equity Outcomes Under Seattle's Urban Villages Policy
    Wostenholme, Lucien (2023-05-18)
    The coupling of rapid economic and population growth in urban areas around the world presents both opportunities and challenges, particularly within the realms of equity and sustainability. Over the last 50 years, the City of Seattle has witnessed this fast-paced growth firsthand; to manage it, the city implemented a novel planning policy in its 1994 comprehensive plan: the Urban Village Element. Originally designed to promote equitable and sustainable development in delineated villages, the plan has faced challenges in speeding redevelopment, spurring housing construction, and securing an equitable future for city residents. This paper centers itself around a qualitative and quantitative study of urban equity-determining factors, implementing a difference-in-differences approach to estimate the average treatment effect of Seattle’s urban villages policy on social equity relative to neighborhoods outside of villages. This paper concludes by extrapolating those findings to present-day conversations about urban densification and growth management, including the 15-Minute City.
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    Digital Perceptions: Comparing the Perceptional Difference between Public Spaces and POPS (Privately Owned Public Spaces) Through Online Reviews
    Zhang, Yucheng (2023-05-16)
    This study explores the potential of an automated process in assessing the perceived quality of public spaces using Natural Language Processing (NLP) algorithms and online reviews. Over 1900 reviews were analyzed, revealing significant differences in perceptions influenced by factors such as user groups, amenities, space management, and visibility. This study found that public plazas are more welcoming and inclusive but lacking in safety and maintenance, while POPS are viewed as uninviting due to inappropriate physical design and rude personnel. In response, the study recommends policy remedies, such as stronger community relations, better design strategies, and improved information dissemination channels. While the use of the automated social media analysis method provides advantages in terms of time and labor input, improvements in accuracy require additional skill sets and data/labor input. Researchers and policymakers should still balance efficiency and accuracy while using novel methods as there is no one-size-fits-all solution to any urban issue.
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    Mechanisms for Local Broadband Delivery: A Case Study
    Guo, Yixiao Edward (2023-05-15)
    The COVID-19 pandemic exposed America’s stark inequality in broadband access. Struggling as a result of previous policy and market failures, local municipalities across the country are taking matters into their own hands and exploring various ways to provide crucial broadband infrastructure, particularly to the unserved and underserved population. This project explores case studies in Texas, Minnesota, and California to identify the key factors leading to community efforts to expand broadband access. Overall, this thesis finds that the development and engagement of community resources, the presence of active agents, a project’s positive impact, and the opportunities created by the pandemic stimulated local broadband development. Interestingly, these cases show that the initial lack of community resources need not impede local broadband infrastructure expansion if community actors collaborate to promote collective impact. Implications for federal and state policy include enhanced and flexible support for community actors while preferencing the national ISPs less.
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    Does Microtransit Perform Well in the U.S.? An Evaluation of Technology-Enabled Demand-Response Transit
    Wang, Zhiyue (2023-05-13)
    This paper explores emerging microtransit pilot programs in the United States, which represent a technological upgrade of traditional demand-response transit (DRT) in the hope of appealing to more rider groups. Published data and interviews with agency planners show that microtransit in the U.S. adopt two major service models, On-Demand Transit (ODT) and Ridehail (RH). ODT services are a modern version of dial-a-ride transit, most of which are operated with in-house labor of the transit agency or by existing bus service contractors. In contrast, RH services resemble rideshare products of transportation networking companies (TNCs) and are mostly outsourced. Data show that microtransit costs more per trip than the average fixed-route bus for all pilot studies and labor contracting structure is the most important factor in cost-effectiveness. Successful microtransit does provide quality transit access but are unlikely to achieve significant mode shift or environmental benefits.
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    Sound of Water
    Dlabal, Matej (2020-05-27)
    With an aim to create temporary musical events or gatherings, this thesis attempts to put in question the experience of a musical performance from not only the point of view of the audience, but the performer as well. With water as the driving element around which this train of thought is developed, an experiential enhancement of an existing trail in the Finger Lakes region takes shape. Three interventions distributed alongside the trail of Taughannock State Park create an alternative experience where the sound of water takes center stage on its own, or paired with a musical performance that is forced to respond or counter, and overall have a relationship with the surrounding sounds and acoustics. The following collection are the audio and video files that are part of this thesis. The thesis book, available at the Cornell Fine Arts Library, contains QR codes, that link to specific audio and video files.
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    Neighbors Building Neighborhoods: A Critical Look at Citizen Participation in Rochester
    Kooi, Adeline Min Fen (2006-10-07T17:22:42Z)
    In the last several decades, there has been a shift away from the central planning model in America. Reactions from the grassroots have emerged as citizens strive to address urban needs independently of planning bodies. However, many would argue that this is not the answer either.
    Planning at the level of urban administration currently coexists in tension with planning at the grassroots level. Planning from the top is attempting to be more attentive to needs in the neighborhoods, as citizens have begun to acquire the energy and resources to lobby for change. Oftentimes, government-grassroots partnerships are forged to exploit the capacities of both entities in planning endeavors. However, this leads to the question of how this tension creates opportunities for improvements of social conditions, whether it contributes to the larger vision of enlarging the political capacity of a society, and which is the appropriate body to make a plan and implement it.
    A government-grassroots partnership was attempted in the City of Rochester, through the Neighbors Building Neighborhoods (NBN) program. The year 2006 marks the 13th year of the program. After 13 years of negotiations, consultation, community meetings, conflict, and lobbying, numerous milestones have been achieved. Through NBN, hundreds of neighborhood projects have come to fruition, while many others have broken ground. These projects include physical improvements, beautification projects, the construction of new schools and stores, better public services, and increased public safety measures. NBN also received awards for its successful neighborhood revitalization efforts, and is recognized as a model of best practices.
    Many people in Rochester are happy with the achievements made through NBN. However, some believe that the process can be further modified for greater success. The recent election of a new mayor into the Rochester City administration has resulted in some uncertainty in the future of NBN ? will the process continue as it, be modified, or go down in history as a pet project of the previous administration? This thesis examines the NBN process to: 1. document the NBN process in Rochester an example of government-initiated grassroots-planning action that other city planning organizations can refer to; 2. place the era of NBN in the context of Rochester's history as a city of citizen action; and 3. explore NBN as Rochester's solution to the problem of the appropriate bodies to make a plan and implement it.