The Nature of the Design Process

Models of design were introduced in Chapter 2. The process is full of ups and downs, backtracking and leaping ahead as, particularly, the all-of-a-piece urban designs included here show. Urban design process deals with 'wicked' issues -those that cannot be grasped with total comprehensive understanding. Problems and opportunities can never be perceived with total clarity; we can never identify all the issues of importance in a particular situation let alone deal with them. What the future holds for us is unknown although we can make sensible predictions about the future if we have sound empirical knowledge. This knowledge is, however, based on the present. The role of the urban designer is to provide ideas, bring attention to pitfalls and provide advice about the future.

The major initial decision from the designer's viewpoint in any design process is whether to get involved or not. Many decisions will already have been made before a designer is sought; a preliminary brief will, for instance, have been designed (see Figure 2.6). The decision to get involved will depend on how much the designer needs the work, and how much confidence he or she has in being able to do the job and how interested he or she is in doing it. Albert Mayer withdrew from designing Chandigarh because of a lack of interest in the scheme after the death of his colleague Mathew Nowicki. Le Corbusier was the replacement.

From the perception of a problem the process moves on to one of establishing goals and specific objectives, the design of a development programme based on the objectives, the exploration of potential solutions and the creation of implementation techniques. These techniques differ if one is dealing with a total, all-of-a-piece design or a piece-by-piece design. In the first case as in Brasilia the question is: 'How will we get the design built?' In the latter two cases it is: 'How will we get them to get it built?' What incentives, controls and guidelines are necessary to put in place to achieve desired results?

The way the exploration of potential solutions takes place depends on one's philosophical stance. Rationalists would argue that it should be based on pure reasoning, while Empiricists would be looking at precedents as the basis for identifying the issues and generating a design. In either case all the stakeholders will be making predictions about the outcomes of any proposals. Urban designing requires the continuous making of assumptions about the future - predictions about how a design will work if implemented, predictions about the nature of the future context in which the design has to work, predictions about the resources available, predictions about who is important and who not. Who is it that makes decisions?

Consider the design changes made in the evolution of Paternoster Square or Battery Park City! The process is value laden every step of the way based on images of personal and public interests. The concern here is not with all the issues raised by the experiences, implicit and explicit, in the case studies presented here, but rather with a subset of issues central to them. The first issue has to do with the role of the urban designer, the second with the role of information and how it is obtained and used, the third with the nature of creativity, and the last with how we think about the future. They all involve recurrent questions.

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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