The Issues

The basic urban design question is always 'What makes a good city?' The question is asked at both a global and at a detailed level. 'Who should decide?' 'Once decisions are made, who should be responsible for implementing them?' 'Is a good city the product of a whole set of individual decisions largely uncoordinated, or does one attempt to coordinate them?' 'What are the opportunity costs for working one way or another?'

Secondly, 'How far should the controlling authority (public or private) go in defining the specification of ends and means?' The corollary is 'What are the limits, if any, to the rights of individual developers and their architects to build what they want, where they want, and how they want?' 'What is in the public interest?' 'What is the public interest?' It has been notoriously difficult to define. It is represented in democracies by the stands that politicians take but they are hardly disinterested parties. Presumably, the goal is to design for the welfare of all concerned but, at best, any design product should represent the interests of particular parties without harming the interests of others. What is in the public interest will always be a bone of contention.

Thirdly, although in an age of fiscal pragmatism one might argue that it is the primary issue, is the concern for return on capital invested. In capitalist societies, property developers (private or public) take the lead or have to be coerced into building the city piece-by-piece. One of the objectives of urban design is indeed to ensure fiscal responsibility. Another is to develop carrots and sticks through incentives and penalties for developing cities in particular ways: to create specific facilities in specific locations.

Fourthly, how is development to be phased? 'Where does one begin?' 'How disrupted will the lives of those who inhabit the first phase be as the project moves into another phase of construction?' 'Whose responsibility is it to ensure that those people's lives are disrupted as little as possible?'

The goal of this book is to show through case studies how architects, landscape architects and city planners have addressed these issues in urban design projects of various types. Having done so it will be possible at the end of the book (in Chapter 11) to return to this discussion and ask the questions: 'What concerns have really been addressed in the urban designs of the past 50 years as represented in this book?' and then 'What will the issues be in the future?' Many of them will continue to be the ones that we have addressed in the past and are addressing now. Some will be a surprise.

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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