An Examination of Typological Variation in Susquehanna Riverfront Towns Public

As physical manifestations of culture and society, the typological form of towns can provide clues to less tangible factors associated with their development. While the dynamic nature of river-community relationships makes them inherently complex, a better understanding of the physical interface between town and stream can provide insight into design and planning that is responsive to a region's cultural landscapes. Largely shaped by its streams, the Susquehanna River Basin (the Basin) provides an opportunity to study how riverfront town typologies have developed. In particular, this study aims to examine how responses to a shared regional context have differentially influenced these physical relationships. In its initial phase, a research framework was developed to guide the selection of case studies from riverfront towns throughout the Basin. This framework emphasized the important historic roles of county seats and was developed through a quantitative analysis of factors thought to contribute to their growth. A number of variables, including transportation infrastructure, institutions of higher education, and flood recurrence rates, were examined. A subsequent qualitative examination of riverfront town typologies that utilized mapping exercises, historical map/document review, and first-hand observation was then conducted. This latter process was extremely important to the interpretation of the previous quantitative results through the development of generalizable riverfront town typologies. Ultimately, the combination of quantitative and qualitative analytical processes aided in understanding the influence of the region's extensive stream network and provided insights into how waterfront design and planning initiatives might proceed within the region.

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