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Genus Loci of Tucson




A network of existential spaces defines Tucson.  The physical diagram of Tucson shows the city is organized around natural and artificial systems.  At a Landscape level or macro scale, the city of Tucson is enclosed by a periphery of mountain ranges.  From here we have derived a number of ways to place setting.  One of the most influential systems is circulation.  The freeways, network of streets, and the railroad have contributed significantly to the plan of Tucson.   

I have identified some of the major elements that have defined Tucson.  A-Mountain or Sentinel peak is a cultural landmark, perhaps due to its true nature of its origins.  The Santa Cruz River and the Rillito River are elements that divide naturally and the freeway is simply a  detrimental  gesture to the the downtown fabric.   The University of Arizona is a domain within the city grid.  This domain is a true amenity to the city.   As far as social hierarchy, the university discriminates…meaning people have to have a certain gpa to be in this community.  Adjacent to this is neighborhoods, which do not require a decent “gpa” but administer their own domain or vicinity with the urban fabric.

C.  This is a physical diagram of the land near River Road and Rillito River.  Since land is a commodity, the area north of the river is very costly compared to the land south of the river.  With this comes social hierarchy. The landforms dominant however we continue to expand into its locality at whatever price.  In this case the wealthy will enjoy the natural desert surrounding with an elevated view of the city.

Since Tucson's historical roots are based on many settlements other than the majority, some of these existing settlements or cultures continue to exist in areas now considered historic domains, or cultural places.   Some examples include San Xavier Del Bac, The Presidio, and the Barrio Historic Neighborhood.   Since the Presidio was a gathering place or fortified garrison, it evolved into what is the downtown for the City of Tucson.  The functions are basically the same even after a century…meaning the presidio served as the governing authority of the area at that time and today most of the city's functions operate from downtown.