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Taylor, Ian
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The proliferation of the automobile as a personal environment and the construction of freeways in the North American urban landscape during the mid to late 20th century are often blamed for noise and air pollution, the sprawling homogeneous metropolis, the erosion of the neighbourhoods, streets and communities, and a generally destructive quality of life. The construction of Seattle’s I-5 freeway during the 1950s was successful in creating and expanding commuter accessibility for Seattle’s drivers. But in the process it created a border, severing urban communities from one another at a localized level. OnRamp, seeks to reconnect the communities of Capitol Hill and Eastlake through an urban trail design. The intention is to incorporate this trail design into Seattle’s existing historic City Parks system to create a continuous chain of navigable open space in which to wander. The importance of urban freeways in our contemporary cities are often overshadowed by the physical and cultural separations they have created in the urban landscape. When considering freeways, we should resist the impulse to associate them with the ills of society. They are a product of a cultural fascination with prosperity, mobility, privacy and the pastoral. They represent a collective will to create a more satisfactory way of life. They are relics of the past; sculptural artefacts that inform us of where we have been and where we are going. The purpose of OnRamp is to demonstrate how the distinct ecologies of urban freeways and the residual space surrounding them can be creatively entwined with the structure of the city.
Freeways, Residual