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Culture conflict and the phenomena of appropriated space (the 5th approximation)
Brown, Keith L.

2011, MARCH, University of Cincinnati, Design, Architecture, Art and Planning: Architecture.

This thesis examines a particular phenomenon of urban conflict, specifically when it’s in response to the appropriation of a space. The definition of appropriation as it relates to this thesis is; to take possession of, or make use of exclusively for oneself, often without permission. Examples of this has manifest in many forms and scales. Although I refer too many, there is one occurrence I’ve given particular attention too, a local eminent domain battle in Norwood, Ohio. A shift in State Supreme Court rulings on the use of Eminent Domain has sparked legal battles across the nation. In many states it is now legal for a city to use the power of eminent domain, cease your property and turn it over to a private developer. This shift in law has reignited a national debate regarding land use. How do we balance the boundaries of private land ownership and an individual right, versus what is deemed as the communal greater good? How do we define the term “greater good” and when should Eminent Domain be used in order to achieve it? This is one example of many emerging spatial conflict which have direct planning and architectural consequences.

Ultimately, this led to questioning the traditional ideology of architecture as being purely a service profession. For the most part, the inherent allegiance of this traditional role has kept architects out of the fight. But shouldn’t the architect, who is generally viewed as the keeper of the built environment, respond in the vast emerging scenarios of spatial conflict?


In modern society, it is the artist who has established a tradition of response in reaction to conflict. Therefore I have focused on four roles that the artist has employed as a means of provocation. Specifically, the roles of Instigator, Saboteur, Mediator and Documenter, are used to inspire a series of responses to different aspects of spatial conflict. The intent is not aimed at providing answers but rather provoking more questions regarding these four roles as a means of generating architectural response. In many scenarios the tensions that exist between opposing parties over space are ripe opportunities to propose new spatial relationships. In other scenarios the response is an intentional attempt to heighten tensions, in certain occasions resolution occurs through the elevation of conflict.


The process of collage is used throughout the thesis as an underlying antagonistic medium. Collage is used because the act of collage making requires one to take an object out of its original context, place it in a new one - thus appropriating it, creating new tensions, relationships and readings. This document should be critiqued as an example of the principals discussed within.

George Bible, MCiv.Eng (Committee Chair)
Aarati Kanekar, PhD (Committee Chair)
289 p.

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Brown, K. (2011). Culture conflict and the phenomena of appropriated space (the 5th approximation). (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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Brown, Keith. "Culture conflict and the phenomena of appropriated space (the 5th approximation)." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. University of Cincinnati, 2011. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 27 Mar 2015.

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Brown, Keith "Culture conflict and the phenomena of appropriated space (the 5th approximation)." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. University of Cincinnati, 2011. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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