So What Then is Urban Design

The case studies included in this volume show the breadth of urban design work. The field is concerned with specific design products varying in type from new towns, to precincts of cities, to elements of city infrastructure. The size of urban design endeavours has varied considerably over the past 50 years. Brasilia is a national capital, Pariser Platz is a square, and Trudeslund consists of a group of houses. It is always concerned with the three- and preferably the four-dimensional world. Procedurally, urban design is concerned with four types of projects: total, all-of-a-piece, piece-by-piece and plug-in urban design. Substantively and procedurally urban design is thus concerned primarily with design policies and designing at the project level in order to intentionally shape the city.

Urban design concerns and activities clearly overlap those of other fields. It should do so. It does and should overlap city-planning endeavours concerned with broad policies about the distribution of activities in space and the linkages between them. Urban design products are produced under that umbrella and create it. Similarly, urban design does and should overlap civil engineering in ensuring the buildability of large-scale elements of infrastructure. It does and should overlap landscape architecture in its concern for the detailing of the space between buildings and in designing for sustainable futures. It does and should overlap architecture in its concerns for how buildings front and make, behav-iourally and symbolically, the public realm.

The city is a collage of overlapping precincts, places and linkages (Rowe and Koetter, 1978). How should these elements be designed and organized? Should they be clearly differentiated or merged? These questions deal with broad policy concerns. The position taken here is that it is through political channels that communal decisions should be made, and it is the responsibility of politicians to set directions as representatives of those who elected them. Design professionals have to possess the competence to inform both politicians and the public about future possibilities, to challenge political assumptions, and to follow ideas through. They need stamina and considerable tenacity of purpose if they are to succeed.

A coherent city is not simply a haphazard collage. It is one of distinct and varied paths, districts, landmarks, edges and nodes. Kevin Lynch identified these elements as giving legibility to cities (Lynch, 1960). His research has held up well under considerable scrutiny since it was conducted 40 years ago. Edges are not as important as he thought they are; nodes are probably more important. Clear edges do give clarity to the boundaries of districts, or precincts. The projects in many of the case studies included here are bounded islands of development. Being also integrated into their surroundings would probably be a good idea. Battery Park City clearly has edges to it making it a unit, but on the landward side it is also clearly linked to the Lower Manhattan by streets patterns and view corridors. Urban design is particularly concerned with, in Lynch's terms, districts and paths. Good districts will almost certainly contain nodes and landmarks. They may be well defined with edges but it is the core area that matters most.

Urban design is thus project based, dealing with the public realm of human settlements and the buildings or landscape elements that define it. Specific projects take a number of forms depending on the type of process they involve, the type of product they are and the intellectual paradigm within which they are designed. The range of concern of urban designers is clearly broad and the project types varied, in terms of both procedures and products, as the case studies show. The questions are: 'If it can be defined in terms of its areas of concern, is there a body of knowledge that is unique to doing urban design well - in putting together projects?' and thus 'Is it a discipline in its own right or simply a field of professional design work?'

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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