Designing the Infrastructure to be Plugged Into

Designing the basic infrastructure - streets, a reticulated water supply system, sewers, electricity and communication systems - is very much the basis for urban development. It can lead development. La Défense in Paris could be included here as an example of a precinct with a multi-layered infrastructure layout into which new commercial buildings have been plugged. The same principle applies to most World's Fairs although in their case everything is done in a great hurry. The infrastructure is built and the individual exhibitors then plug their buildings into it. The example included here is Expo '92 in Seville.

Similarly, on a much vaster scale, suburban housing developments throughout the world consist of the infrastructure (roads, sewers, water and electric supply) being built by a property developer, public or private, and the plots sold off to individual owners to develop as they wish although many such developments are total urban designs (as is Raleigh Park described in Chapter 7) but others are all-of-a-piece urban designs in which the designs of individual houses are heavily controlled by design guidelines (e.g. as in Seaside, Florida, described in Chapter 8). In many developments the freedom of design allotted to individual owners is considerable.

Building, or purchasing, a house is the major investment decision of countless families and their design decisions are very much tempered by their perception of what can be sold easily if necessary. The house designs thus tend to be conservative and similar to what is being built elsewhere in the neighbourhood. In areas inhabited by the nouveau riche where individual display is an important aspect of status, there tends to be much greater idiosyncrasy in design. Unity, if achieved at all, is obtained through diversity. Standard suburban developments cater to the needs of the middle- and upper-income groups in a society (see Figure 10.18). Sites-and-services cater to low-income populations in third world countries.

In the sites-and-services approach to the creation of housing for the very poor, a new precinct is provided with roads and streetlights, sewers, and a reticulated water system. Each site is provided with connections to the sewerage system and a water tap. In some cases, where the clients have greater resources, the site may be supplied with a latrine and a multipurpose community room. The householders then build their houses themselves plugging them into the infrastructure

Figure 10.18 The suburban environment. (a) Sedgwick County, Kansas and (b) Salt Lake City, Kolkata.

Figure 10.18 The suburban environment. (a) Sedgwick County, Kansas and (b) Salt Lake City, Kolkata.

provided. The approach was pioneered in Africa and Latin America but has also been widely used in India. The example included here, Aranya Township in India, had much more thought than usual put into its design. In sites-and-serv-ices projects, the houses are literally built by the owners themselves although skilled craftspeople often assist. For wealthy people, in contrast, the division of labour is sharply defined. Contractors build their houses.

Middle income and wealthy people have the purchasing power to make the choices that fit their own needs, as they perceive them. Yet questions are being asked as to whether the market place is providing a sufficient diversity of neighbourhood types to give people a real choice. Most plug-in residential neighbourhood designs are highly conservative in nature and not responsive to the emerging demographic characteristics of the population or the needs of the people who are not actually doing the purchasing. For instance, the journey to school on foot independently by children is seldom a topic of consideration nor are the needs of the fragile elderly. The neighbourhood design types tend to be standard subdivisions. If they can be sold they are regarded as good.

The sites-and-services approach has had mixed successes. It works when the areas selected for development are close to jobs and it works when the projects are not heavily subsidized by the public sector. If a site is distant from jobs nobody wants to live there and if heavily subsidized the cash-strapped poor are likely to sell their plots at market rates to higher-income groups in order to obtain cash in hand.

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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