Title page for ETD etd-05102006-164933

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Thompson, Julia
URN etd-05102006-164933
Title A Sense of Time, A Sense of Self: The 'Lived Perspective' of the Walk
Degree Master of Landscape Architecture
Department Landscape Architecture
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Katen, Brian F. Committee Chair
Emmons, Paul F. Committee Member
Yglesias, Caren L. Committee Member
  • phenomenology
  • perception
  • walk
  • representation
Date of Defense 2006-03-21
Availability unrestricted
Much of the walking that we do in our daily lives is dull, but sometimes, unexpectedly, it can be revelatory. During these moments, through what phenomenologist Maurice Merleau-Ponty calls the “lived perspective” of walking, we experience a merging of our inner and outer worlds and achieve greater self-awareness.

Although most of our experience in the landscape is through movement, we rarely design for such spaces. Using the hypothesis that terrorist threats and an aging infrastructure may lead to the rerouting of the CSX Railway south of Washington, D.C., shutting down the existing line, I propose to convert the CSX Railway bridge that crosses the Anacostia River in Southeast Washington to an open public space. While other portions of the track may be demolished and returned to the wide avenues envisioned by L’Enfant or renovated as trolley tracks, the CSX bridge could be renovated to provide a link between the neighborhood of Capitol Hill and the Anacostia River through a pedestrian walkway.

The methodology I use to explore this thesis is two-fold. I study several environments, from site-specific artworks to monuments to large urban parks. I also study fields that explore the experiential nature of perception such as art and philosophy, and use the freedom of expression that drawing allows as a tool to inform the design of spaces that can enable us to experience a state in which our mind, body, and vision are intertwined.

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