Following urban thinkers like Marshall Berman, Mitchell Schwarzer, and McLain Clutter, this thesis investigates how advancements in transportation infrastructure and imaging technologies have radically reshaped the built environment, both in its perception and physical form. Sited in Cincinnati, OH – a city with a rich infrastructural history – Scroll Up leverages digital media to revive and collaboratively redesign a former incline railway. Like many American cities, the mid-century introduction of highways divided Cincinnati’s dense and vibrant urban fabric. This thesis combats harmful, automobile-centric development patterns by re-imaging the incline system, a historic piece of public infrastructure that once unified the city. The project locates collective desires in a combination of archival imagery, 3D-model databases, and online design sessions with locals. Vivid assemblies made from these materials refocus attention on the defunct railway in order to promote walkable neighborhoods and more inclusive lifestyles.
The redesign of the incline and its associated structures learns from the moving image. Here, “moving image” refers to the way in which the world is perceived: from a train or an airplane, through a windshield, in a movie or video game and, more recently, through the infinite scroll on a phone. The project gathers inputs from visual culture sourced from non-architects and uses framing, composition, and distortion to set those inputs in motion. By collaborating digitally, intuitively, and rapidly with others, these exercises animate the collective memory of Cincinnati through built form. Countering the forces that mobilize suburban sprawl, this thesis asks the public to scroll up towards visions of a unified city.