The Use of Geographic Information System for the Adaptive Reuse of Historical Sites: A Study of the Durham Belt Line Trail
The Durham Belt Line, created in the 1800s, has since evolved in the 21st century into an adaptive reuse project. This thesis uses the trail as a model of adaptive reuse to highlight the value of incorporating GIS to understand a community in its historical context. This thesis first reviews and summarizes the evolution of urban redevelopment theory and practice, then presents relevant studies of adaptive reuse including New York City’s High Line and Greensboro’s Downtown Greenway. Following the cases studies, this thesis briefly explores the history of Durham and then discusses a digital trail of the Durham Belt Line Trail that reflects a comprehensive narrative of the past, present, and future of the city with the use of ESRI’s ArcGIS and StoryMap to present qualitative and quantitative socio-cultural information about Durham. This parallel digital trail offers the opportunity to explore the trail online and will assist users in making connections that are not visible when experiencing the physical space of the trail.
The Durham Belt Line Trail is an adaptive reuse project with advantages and disadvantages. Thorough understanding of adaptive reuse as an urban development strategy is necessary to address the threats of abandoning Durham’s history and losing or fragmenting its well-established community in the process of physical transformation. Thus, Durham’s historical ties to tobacco and the present interests of the Durham community are investigated here, and Durham’s future is envisioned as one that can integrate awareness of the past and present communities into a vision for the future. By spatially integrating historical and contemporary narratives spatially, the GIS project of this thesis visualizes Durham’s transition into a digital city.
Digital Cultural Heritage
Durham Belt Line Trail
Geographic Information System (GIS)
Parallel Digital Trail
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