A solution to sprawl through public transportation

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Arts & Architecture


"As regard to the environment, the task of postmodern patience is to endure the limits of the land. This country is blessed with an extraordinarily rich and spacious continent. Our inability to live more nearly with the energy it yields and with its capacity for wastes bespeaks an impatient and immature culture." Driving down the streets you call home, through the hills you would hike and sled as a kid, by the rivers and ponds you swam and fished in; you realize that every trip made is to a place that is less and less like home. Entire ranches have been subdivided. The mom and pop stores have been replaced by corporate chains. Asphalt has been laid, lanes have been added, streets have been punched, and bridges have been erected. The open space and privacy that everyone moved there for is dwindling; the American Dream is deteriorating. Is sprawl unavoidable due to the inevitable growth our society demands or can we live and grow more efficiently, more sustainably? The desire to achieve a better life has broken down our city walls and depleted our resources. "The growth of the world population will lead to a tremendous demand for space, not only for buildings but also for farmland and areas reserved for nature." Even highway systems can't seem to outpace suburbia. "Why has a higher standard of living somehow failed to result in a better quality of life?" A considerable amount of architecture and the majority of land planning revolves around the concept of the automobile. "Too many architects are becoming proponents of sprawl and the one-size-fits-all mentality that is strangling the earth." In rural Montana, people build where they can drive; if one cannot drive there, someone will cut a road or build a bridge. In urban Montana, zoning has tied people to their cars due to its demand that different uses be divided throughout a given city. "People say they do not want to live near where they work, but that they would like to work near where they live." What if we could uproot where people live, work, shop, exercise, and gather; rearrange their locations; then realign them in a community that enables a proficient life, with less pollution, traffic, stress, and resources used? Obviously, this isn’t feasible due to cost and the chaos of displacement. This thesis is intended to analyze the way we live, build, and move from place to place while destroying the reason why we live where we do. This thesis will dissect transportation issues broadly in the United States and specific to the Missoula Valley and ultimately argue for the position of Missoula implementing a new model for the way it moves and grows. If realized, this process of rewiring will result in a series of incremental changes that have the ability to create a prototypical status for Missoula amongst other Montana and Northwestern cites that is unprecedented with regards to transportation as a solution to sprawl.




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