Types and Typology

A type, as understood here, is a construct of a product or a process that serves as a generic model of a way of thinking. There are many books in architecture on building types: schools, hospitals and houses. Design professional use them because they bring attention to the commonality of form requirements resulting from the purposes a building serves primarily in housing human activities, efficiently and in comfort. The concept of type has also, but less often, been applied to the aesthetic qualities of buildings.

Architects also design types to be emulated in solving categories of problems. Historically, the Unité d'Habitation was developed by Le Corbusier to be a type to be reproduced across the world (see Chapter 6). More recently, the pedestrian pocket has been promoted as a way to deal with problems of transportation and quality of life issues in residential area design (see Calthorpe, 1993). Contemporaneously the New Urbanist paradigm proposes an approach to design to be emulated (Staff of New Urban News, 2001). In all-of-a-piece design the buildings required to meet the specifications of a master plan are often identified by type (use, mass, aesthetic character). Here a type is concerned with the communality between cases, or examples, of urban designs. There are many ways of looking at types of urban design. The goal here is to make some sense of them by placing them in categories - by developing a typology of projects.

The word 'typology' is ambiguous. In its purest sense it refers to the study and theory of types and of classification systems. Here typology refers to a classification system. A good one is simple but powerful. It must be easy to use and cover all the types of concern with clarity. It has the least number of variables that can explain phenomena. It must enable a person to understand the constancies that lie behind specific examples.

Categorization helps us to organize our thoughts. One simple way is to distinguish among the various product types generally subsumed under the rubric 'urban design' and, more importantly, procedural types. The former deals with the products of urban design work and the latter the processes by which they are implemented. It is the latter, as argued in Chapter 2, that really gets to the heart of urban designers' activities.

In a diverse field it is inevitable that types of activity overlap and are not necessarily easy to categorize. Is a building such as the Unité d'Habitation, a vertical neighbourhood, a work of urban design or a work of architecture? Or both? It was part of a broader plan for the city of the future (Le Corbusier, 1953). The investment in individual buildings so that they act as catalysts for urban development is both a policy issue and a concern for buildings as urban design. As a result, the idea of buildings as catalysts for urban development appears in two chapters in this book: under the rubric of 'The Products of Architecture and the Nature of Urban Design' (see Chapter 6) and 'Plug-in Urban Design' (see Chapter 10). The ambiguities in any categorization can be disturbing but have to be tolerated. As the field of urban design develops so no doubt will the precision of the categorization of its types.

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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