Tom Arleo

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-2016




green initiative, architecture, metropolitan, neighborhood, low density, customization, housing




Architectural History and Criticism | Cultural Resource Management and Policy Analysis | Urban, Community and Regional Planning


By adjusting the texture of now declined early 20th Century outer-urban neighborhoods to adopt low density blocks, new zoning and its resultant architecture can produce an intricate spatial fabric that mediates between individual customization and collective suburban image essential to American detached dwelling. Overlapping functions, spaces, and surfaces offer a new cohesion necessary for developing physically and socially tight-knit communities in a thinning, object-made fabric.

This thesis rethinks suburban practices at the scale of the house, lot, and block, in order to speak directly to issues of building autonomy, non-spatial surface and volume conventions, and residential-program-only zoning. Creating the scheme for a new garden suburb typology is achieved by codifying the nature of informal blotting, urban farming, and residential artist movements; designing at multiple scales through residential fabric and zoning guidelines; and re-imagining the detached bungalow house.

Grixdale, a vacancy-plagued neighborhood in Detroit, is assigned to become a Green Residential Zone in accordance with Detroit Future City’s 50-Year Detroit Land Use Plan. Designing this urban neighborhood as a model for this new zoning region enables this project to alleviate problems of physical and social blight, underutilized space, and lack of community engagement in a city projected to begin growing in population starting after 20302. This project strives to act as a concrete and detailed precedent for other declining post-industrial urban neighborhoods facing comparable residential issues.


local input

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