The core of urban design work Part

procedures and products

Specifying what falls within and without the core of urban design work will raise the ire of a number of city planners, landscape architects and architects. Each profession has a broader view of its own work than the view of its work held by people outside it. In order to understand what urban design is in comparison to those activities and products described in Part 2 it is necessary to identify a particular set of processes and products as being the heart of urban design. The position taken here is that those people, architects mainly, whose work in the 1960s and 1970s defined the field 'almost got it right'.

The core of urban design work is defined here primarily in terms of common processes of design and administration. There is a significant intellectual similarity between varieties of products generated by the same generic method within a specific design paradigm. True, it is possible to cut the cake in another direction. An organization based on product types would allow the impacts of differences in methodological approaches to be explicated. It would not, however, show the thought processes, similar though they may be, that differentiate urban design from the traditional practices and views of city planning, landscape architecture and architecture.

Urban design, as stated in Chapter 1, is fundamentally concerned with the design of the three-dimensional qualities of the public realm of human settlements, taking into consideration the fourth dimension - time. Time is a consideration in urban design in many ways. It is both a factor in the way an urban design is experienced and in its relationship to its cultural context at different moments in its history. Some of the projects described in this part of the book have been hailed a great success at one moment and as a failure at another only to be regarded as a success at a third time.

Time is also a factor in the evolution of an urban design project. Many of the schemes included here evolved as perceptions of the nature of the problem being addressed changed in response to shifts in their political and economic contexts. There were five clearly different proposals for the Barbican site (see Chapter 7) and at least six distinct designs were produced for Battery Park City during its 30-year evolution, each based on a contemporary urban design paradigm (see Chapter 8).

Buildings and their context also change from the moment a job is said to be have been completed. The climate and patterns of use - indeed sometimes love -take their toll so projects need to be renovated or demolished. Two of the schemes described here - Pruitt-Igoe in St Louis and Paternoster Square were demolished largely because what is now perceived to have been the wrong paradigm was employed as the basis of their designs. Paternoster Square has since been rebuilt. The first of these projects is described in Chapter 7 and the second in Chapter 8.

In Chapter 2, I described four types of urban design - total, all-of-a-piece, piece-by-piece and plug-in - based on the way a vision for a city or precinct is implemented. A brief recapitulation is in place here to set the framework for this part of the book. The term 'total urban design' implies that the whole scheme is carried out under one auspice and by one hand even if it is a communal hand. Examples are described in Chapter 7. 'All-of-a-piece urban design' is the type described in the statement by Lord Llewellyn-Davies that opens Chapter 1 of this book. It involves creating a vision for a city or one of its precincts and capturing that image in a conceptual design. The conceptual design is then divided into parcels of land each of which is developed and designed by different people in accordance with a set of design guidelines, or directives. A number of such projects are presented in 'Chapter 8: All-of-a-piece urban design'. The two chapters also cover a wide variety of product types that employ a wide variety of paradigmatic approaches. The processes and products described in Chapters 7 and 8 were the traditional core of urban design work.

Saying that 'piece-by-piece urban design' falls within the core of urban design endeavour is more controversial because it does not involve specific physical design projects but rather the design of policies that promote the development of certain building and urban types within specific precincts, of a city. Piece-by-piece urban design involves the use of zoning and other planning instruments to achieve urban outcomes without using site-specific design guidelines or directives. The procedures employed are described in Chapter 9.

The fourth type of urban design that falls within the core of urban design is plug-in urban design. It does deal with specific design projects. It focuses primarily but not entirely, on the design of links between places. Infrastructure elements can also include facilities such as schools, libraries and other public services. The public policy concern is with their catalytic effect. Infrastructure design as urban design is discussed in Chapter 10. Much infrastructure design, however, falls outside the realm of direct urban design interests and is either city planning or civil engineering. It could be argued that the concerns of civil engineering, as much as the other environmental design disciplines, can overlap those of urban design. That discussion is dealt with briefly in 'Chapter 12: Afterthoughts: Urban design - field or discipline and profession?'.

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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