Networked Urbanism

design thinking initiatives for a better urban life

Design critics: Belinda Tato and Jose Luis Vallejo, principals of Ecosistema Urbano

The contemporary Urban neighborhood of houses in the United States still reflects a collection of individual who are connected as a community in how they use there space. The house offers the ability to personalize the exterior space of your home in, is often more connected to neighborhood associations, and is integrated amongst other houses. The apartment complex however often lacks the same amenities afforded home owners. Apartments often lack opportunities for tenants to socialize. This creates a situation where many people live close together without awareness of one another. A connected community helps to promote participation in neighborhood decisions, encourages good mental health, and supports safer spaces. (more…)

In preparation for throwing our community engagement event, we created a draft of a flyer which we would give to each resident in the Brigadoon inviting them to attend and contribute ideas and food.


It has been necessary to maintain flexibility in our process and continually reevaluate our method as new obstacles arise. This event may or may not happen as planned as time constraints and property owner concerns make it less feasible.

This past week we dug deep into developing and defining the community engagement process we think applies to our apartment type graphically. We created a pamphlet to bring to local businesses who we thought might want to contribute to our efforts:

Brigadoon Pamphlet1_Page_1

Apartment type and city wide locations further identified:

midterm pages

In entering into design we asked two main questions.

• How do we address the problems of this type?
• How do we do this while maintaining identity and discouraging displacement?

We put together a questionnaire to ask the residents about their space. The feedback we got was valuable and the tenants gave us a lot more information than expected. The designs presented are informed by the feedback from the residents of Brigadoon and how they currently use their space.


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We are addressing the issue of a lack of community space and neighborhood identity in many urban living environments.

The Type:

We started by defining 4 major factors present in an apartment typology we are looking at that negate social interaction between community members.
• The site being cut off from a larger neighborhood by having only businesses in your surrounding area.
• The site being adjacent to a busy street and having the main exit face onto that street, which makes the community isolated.
• The lack of shared community space.
• A lack of usable space outside the entryway to homes that could act as social medium between the home and the rest of the community.

We choose to confront this typology through designing specifically with the residents of the Brigadoon Apartment complex in the Cully neighborhood of NE Portland.




In graduate school, I want to delve deeper into good design of space and structures which hold and serve the human body and soul. I am a native Portlander with very strong ties to the city and the people in it. I will use architecture and design to serve them and make their lives more meaningful and perhaps better by showing them their connection to the people and place they are are a part of.

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