Infrastructure Design

The nature of the infrastructure is what visually distinguishes one city from another as much as the nature of its architecture. There are various ways of considering the infrastructure of cities but the most inclusive manner covers everything that is part of the public domain whether privately or publicly owned. In this view the streets and other transport facilities, the schools and public institutions, such as libraries and museums, can all be part of the infrastructure of cities.

Many of the issues involved in the design of infrastructure fall outside the scope of urban design per se, falling into one or other of the realms of city planning and civil engineering. The consequences of such decisions for the design of precincts of cities are, however, substantial because of the multiplier and side effects they create. The public concern in designing infrastructure components is not only with the services they supply but also with their catalytic effect. Clearly the location and design of roads and streets had a major effect on the twentieth century city. It will in the twenty-first too. For instance, highway development has made edge cities possible and the building of rail links and new train stations has spurred major developments around them in many cities. Bethesda in Maryland has already been cited. In London the hope has been that the new Jubilee Line of the underground system will do the same thing (Wordsearch et al., 2001). Sometimes land development and station location have followed a coordinated plan before construction begins, as in Singapore (see Chapter 10).

Figure 3.5 The University of Illinois, Chicago campus in 1970.

Often, however, it has been left to the marketplace to dictate the results after the infrastructure has been built.

There are a number of issues involved in infrastructure design that have been of direct concern in urban design. One has been the separation of pedestrian and vehicular traffic in order to provide a more congenial and safer environment. The separation can take place in horizontal or in vertical space. The former approach has been standard, with separate sidewalks being provided for pedestrians, but there have been many examples of vertical segregation too. In many places throughout the world some vehicular streets have been closed off to traffic and turned into pedestrian malls. The goal has been to attract people to use the facilities that line them. Sometimes such malls have proven to be highly successful, and at other times not (see the case of Oak Park, Illinois, in Chapter 5). These schemes have been predominantly landscape architecture projects. They continue to be built.

The separation of pedestrians and vehicular traffic vertically has been carried out in many places, again with varying degrees of success. These systems take various forms. One form is with vehicular traffic kept at ground level and pedestrian plazas and walkways built above them (e.g. La Défense, Paris; see Chapter 8), and the University of Illinois, Circle Campus, Chicago; see Figure 3.5). Another such type provides pedestrian bridges linking interior quasi-public spaces of buildings in an extended skyway pedestrian system (e.g. Minneapolis, Minnesota; see Chapter 10). Another form has pedestrians moving below vehicles. Many cities have underground networks of passages enabling pedestrians to cross from block to block without interference. They continue to be built too. They can be bright and vibrant places but often they are gloomy.

Figure 3.6 Pedestrian ways as objects in space, Battery Park City, New York in 2003.
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.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment