Efficiency Are Efficient Environments Efficient

In urban design we seek efficient environments. How efficient should the layout of the public realm be? In terms of what? It is difficult to muster an argument for inefficiency on any dimension, but inefficiencies on one may result in benefits on another. In urban designing efficiency has often been seen in terms of ease of traffic movement, ease of access, ease of servicing and ease in phasing construction at a low cost. Such a view does not take into consideration the informal networks of communication that keep a functioning city or neighbourhood alive.

If one considers the range of design variables of concern in something like the way they are shown in Figure 1.6 then it is clear that any design is likely to be more efficient in meeting the demands on some dimensions than others. Streets designed for rapid high-volume traffic movement and with no kerb parking are inefficient and unpleasant for pedestrians. Efficient weather protection for pedestrians in Kyoto may not well display the aesthetic expression in the fa├žades of buildings that it cuts across (see Figure 11.4). Much urban design involves a trade-off between effectiveness in meeting one design objective and another.

An efficient design today may not be so in the future. The design goal is thus to allow for change, to create urban designs that are robust, whose parts are easy to change. Short-term inefficiencies may prove to be long-run efficiencies. Elements of urban form, buildings in particular, should be able to be adapted or removed with relative ease. Row houses for instance, have proven to be easy to

change, tenements more difficult and megastructures even more so. Factory buildings have been converted to many uses. The Ghirardelli Square and Clarke Quay are examples. Nowadays, many first generation suburban shopping malls (i.e. those built in the 1950s and 1960s) are being converted to a variety of other uses. They were efficient in serving their original purposes and they have proven to afford much in the way of conversions. Many will, however, be demolished. Bielefeld University (see Chapter 7) is operating very efficiently now in terms of movement patterns but how easy will it be to change without destroying its central idea. Urban designers need to recognize what efficiencies are necessary to support the way a city works and for whom they are necessary and for whom not. We need to think about how our work can be demolished!

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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