The Architecture of Waste: Creating New Avenues for Public Engagement with Trash

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The relationship between industry, waste, and urbanism is one fraught with problems across the United States and in particular American cities. The interrelated nature of these systems of flows is in critical need of re-evaluation.

This thesis critiques the system of Municipal Solid Waste Management as it currently exists in American cities as a necessary yet undesirable ‘invisible infrastructure’. Industry and waste environments have been pushed to the periphery of urban environments, severing the relationship between the urban environment we inhabit and the one that is required to support the way we live. The flow of garbage from cities of high density to landscapes of waste has created a model of valuing waste as a linear system that separates input from output.

This thesis aims to investigate ways that industry, waste, and urban ecologies can work to reinforce one another. The goal of this thesis is to repair the physical and mental separation of waste and public activity through architecture. This thesis will propose ways to tie urban waste infrastructure and public amenities together through the merging of architecture and landscape to create new avenues for public engagement with waste processes.