The Design Dimension of Comprehensive Planning for Existing Cities

Comprehensive planning attempts to deal simultaneously with economic, social, and physical development and design policies. Sometimes the quality of the built environment is a concern but at other times, particularly in eras or localities of slow economic growth, it is peripheral. What becomes important then is development at any cost, provided it brings in jobs and/or increases in the tax base of the cash-strapped municipality. In such circumstances even the most basic of environmental concerns - pollution, traffic problems and the degradation of the natural world - are shelved in the name of progress. Design quality is seen as a minor issue; it is perceived to be concerned only with urban cosmetics and not with life - not with behaviour settings.

Physical planning has very much focused on the distribution of land uses and transportation concerns (ideally in an interrelated manner) and, until recently, certainly with the segregation of activities so that polluting and annoying uses are kept out of residential areas. Much planning legislation began with concerns for public health and safety by insisting that buildings and neighbourhoods be designed to provide at least a minimum standard of public open space and sunlight and ventilation to habitable rooms. These concerns together with efficiency in transportation and the elimination of air and water pollution remain important in city planning and in urban design, but they are not the only matters that require attention in making good cities.

Urban design concerns within city planning reflect the state of public policies towards planned intervention in the development process. At times there are calls for more control over what is being built and how it is built and at others there are calls for less control and greater freedom for private actions. Economic conservatives see design controls as a deterrent to economic growth while socialist politicians see design quality as an elitist concern. Interestingly enough many large-scale property developers recognize both the financial benefits derived from rich, high-quality design and that purchasers are making increasingly discerning choices. Sometimes developers form their own private regulations to control the quality of the public realm created by sub-developers. They take on the quasi-public role described in Chapter 1.

In many places the public is demanding a greater role in deciding the future directions in which their cities should go. The diversity of its views has led to many architects, in particular, taking the position that all design concerns are arbitrary and subjective and that their personal beliefs are as good as those of anybody else. The development of the theoretical body of knowledge about the interaction of people and the environment has, however, led to the recognition that serious questions about goals and means can be discussed intelligently within public forums.

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