Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2020

Degree Type

Undergraduate Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Architecture



Committee Chair/First Advisor

Edwin Akins II


For too long, the relationship between the natural and built environment have been ignored, resulting in a disconnect between humanity, nature, and architecture. Can enforcing this relationship change the way we think about urban design and resiliency? Like ecology, cities act much like an ecosystem, going through four phases; exploitation, conservation, release, and reorganization. Over a slow period, these resources are conserved and protected rather than used for innovation. In the case of a disturbance, the vulnerability of the system at this point leads to eventual collapse and release of resources. Finally, as a result of this release, the system can reorient itself along a pathway toward a new phase of exploitation and regrowth. Together, these phases are known as the adaptive cycle, an ecological resilience model developed by two ecologists at the University of British Columbia, C.S Holling and C.J. Walters.

This work seeks to prove the adaptive cycle can be a holistic model for cities to establish architectural and urban strategies that increase city resiliency. A new method for analyzing city systems through the adaptive cycle can be a holistic way to prolong resiliency by, increasing density, diversifying industry, encouraging organizational autonomy, embracing all cultures, and generating new ideas.

This thesis focuses on a second-tier Rust-Belt city, Utica, New York located about an hour North-West of the capital, Albany.

This thesis seeks to apply the adaptive cycle model to Utica by targeting specific nodes within the urban context to place Utica on a positive trajectory of resiliency.