Term Paper I: You will write a term paper analyzing and comparing the social, visual and morphological dimensions of a total of two specific sites in two different cities in Southern California. A total of four specific sites have been identified for this assignment. These sites are about quarter mile long by quarter mile deep in four cities—area centered around Main Street and 4th Street in Santa Ana, area centered around Main Street and Von Karman Street in Irvine, area centered around 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica, and area centered around South Coast Highway and Laguna Avenue in Laguna Beach (see attached drawings marked with proposed site areas). You can select and compare any two sites for this assignment. In the term paper, you will first present a brief introduction of the general characteristics of the cities in which these sites are located (for instance, discuss the land area of each city, population, population density, median household income, etc.). Next, you will present a critical evaluation of the social, visual and morphological dimensions of each of the two selected sites. In the last section of the assignment, you will compare the strengths and weaknesses of the two sites in terms of their social, visual, and morphological dimensions, and discuss your own experience of these two places in terms of “overall quality” of place . You will need to include figure-ground drawings and photos, as well as any available maps and drawings in this assignment. (Term paper ~1200 words plus figure-ground drawing and photos; assignment counts for total 30 points).
Grading Rubric: You have to generate figure-ground drawings (mandatory) of the two sites to illustrate their performance along the morphological dimension. Choose two sites from the four options provided towards the end of this document. Grading rubric is included below. We have included below a few examples of key concepts for each of the three dimensions discussed in the course/classes, which you can use to evaluate the two sites. You can elaborate further on each dimension in your paper.
Introduction (3 points): Brief introduction of the two cities and their general characteristics including the population, population density, land area of each city, median household income.
Visual Dimension (8 points): Discuss the visual appeal of the selected site
Buildings: Visually appealing buildings, colorful or dull and boring facades?
Streetscape: Attractive to walk? Building height to street width ratio?
Hard and soft landscaping that could support outdoor human activity
Street furniture supportive outdoor human activity such as sitting, walking?
Social dimension (8 points): Discuss people and activities
Public vs. private realm and any “third places” on site
Possibility to engage in necessary, optional, and/or social activities
Morphological dimension (8 points): Discuss the structure/form of the built environment
Overall block pattern: fine grain or coarse grain,
Building structure: large/small building footprints, relationship between buildings, streets, and open spaces: interconnected or disconnected
Conclusion (3 points): Discuss your own experience of the two sites in terms of the overall quality of place. Compare the two sites in terms of visual, social and morphological dimensions and discuss which site performs better on each dimension and provide an overall rating.