Preliminary Note on Urban Design

It is 50 years since the term, 'urban design', was first used and probably three decades since it came into widespread usage. It is now difficult, if not impossible, to identify the actual sources of the term. A conference on urban design was held at Harvard University in 1956 under the leadership ofJose Luis Sert and the first education programmes in urban design were initiated before the end of the decade at Harvard University and the University of Pennsylvania. These programmes had antecedents in the civic design programmes that had worldwide impacts such as those at the University of Liverpool and the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris.

Urban design, as we know it today, has developed in response to the limitations of the philosophies and design paradigms, rationalist and empiricist, of the modern movement in architecture and city planning (see Chapter 1). Somewhat ironically, it developed in response to the very types of design paradigms -generic design approaches that are regarded as exemplars of good practice - that Sert advocated. The types of criticism received by architects involved in the Garden Cities movement and those using the Rationalist approaches to urban design of Continental Europe (as applied throughout the world) drove many city planners away from a concern with the physical character of cities and many architects away from dealing with problems with a social nature. Those architects who maintained their interest in social concerns and four-dimensional physical design were inspired to do better by the criticism ofJane Jacobs (1961), in particular, but also the reflections of architects such as Brent Brolin (1976) and Peter Blake (1977).

There were three points to the criticism of the way urban design was carried out under the aegis of the Modernists. They were: (1) that the models of people, human behaviour and the way people experience the environment used by designers were simplistic; (2) that the person-environment relationship was poorly understood and, as a consequence, (3) the paradigms and theory on which many large-scale urban development projects were based were inadequate for their purpose. Few critics would claim that we have succeeded in fully responding to the criticism but there have been many very well-received urban design projects around the world. Much can be learnt from them. Much can also be learnt from those that have been regarded as failures. Both types are included in this book.

There are many definitions of urban design. Going back 50 years to the very origins of the term 'urban design' serves us well. In 1955, Clarence Stein said urban design 'is the art of relating STRUCTURES to one another and to their NATURAL SETTING to serve CONTEMPORARY LIVING' (Stein, 1955). Implicit in this statement is a concern in meeting public interest needs in the design of the public realm of human settlements. The statement is also so general that few will dispute it. A range of work that has attempted to follow Clarence Stein's dictum is included in this book. The purpose is to understand the resources, intellectual and financial upon which specific projects have drawn. To adequately achieve this end some sort of classification system is, however, needed if other than a haphazard set of observations is to be made.

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.

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