Case studies current and future issues in urban design

The urban designs, landscapes and buildings described in the case studies presented in this book have, with a few exceptions, been remarkably successful. The people who visit, use or live in them generally enjoy the results. They have been thoughtful responses to the concerns they address as their clients, property developers and designers have perceived the issues to be. None are whimsical, highly egotistical statements, although many have strongly opinionated designers behind them. A couple of them were misguided; in retrospect many have incurred opportunity costs - they could have been done better. They have all been carefully conceived and executed within the limitations of the resources, intellectual and financial, available at the time of their creation. Yet all have aspects that might be regarded, to put it gently, as poorly considered. Much can be learnt from them all.

The first lesson is that there is no single 'best practice' in urban design. All urban designs deal with a number of issues that are generic, or universal, in nature, but also concerns that are highly specific. Sorting out the complexities of a case and what is important and what is less so for whom is always difficult and arduous. The easiest way to deal with them is to assume that they do not exist -to ignore them and plough ahead. All the case studies presented here address some issues more thoroughly than others.

How well does the marketplace, as represented by property developers and their architects, respond to changes taking place in the world? It has certainly been slow in responding to changes in household types. Where it has responded it has been to the top end of the economic scale (e.g. the Canadian company Bosa Development Corporation in designing for the young affluent singles market in its developments in San Diego in the late 1990s and early 2000s; see Figure 11.1). By all reports, it has succeeded in meeting the needs of that highly mobile segment of the population very well. There are, however, many people whose needs are not being met by the marketplace and many issues that the marketplace is reluctant to address. Only two of the case studies included here - Pruitt-Igoe (see Chapter 7) and Aranya township (see Chapter 10), address the problems of the poor. The former is generally regarded as a failure in both public policy and architectural design terms while the latter is deemed to be successful. Both relied

on public funding. Would incentives and controls offered by governments encourage developers to address the problems of the poor?

Politicians have become reluctant to disturb the functioning of the property market. When urban design projects, whether total or all-of-a-piece, are carried out by private developers, the necessity to remain solvent makes them stick to what they know how to develop. Often they have to stick out their necks because the future is unknown. Sometimes those necks get chopped. Olympia and York, for instance, had considerable cash-flow problems in developing Canary Wharf in London. Nevertheless, property developers' goals are to maximize profit and minimize the potential of making a financial loss. Public sector developers are also concerned with a return, financial or social, on their investments. Many of the case studies covered in this book (e.g. Raleigh Park, Canary Wharf, Paternoster Square, etc.) have been private sector developer driven and the urban design qualities have been a direct response to perceptions of who the potential purchasers of real estate would be and what they value. Others, however, have stemmed from public sector initiatives (Gujarat State Fertilizer Corporation (GSFC) Township, Lujiazui, Euralille, etc.).

All of the cases covered here have involved some level of control over how the market operates in order to fulfil some public good. Raleigh Park had to acknowledge zoning and fire safety regulations and to design for flood control as demanded by public authorities (see Figure 11.2). The critics of any intervention in the development process beyond this level of dealing with public health and safety feel that in the long run, the marketplace will make individual property developers and their architects respond to the excesses of everybody doing 'their own thing'. The debate reflects the broader political debate between those who believe that markets work while incentives and controls do not and those who believe that the market does poorly in dealing with many public interest concerns. The growth in urban design has, strangely, been a result of both political attitudes! It has been a response to the substantive concerns of both economic conservatives and interventionists.

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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