Who Leads

While good timing and good luck play a part, the case studies show that strong leadership is an essential contributor to a project's success. First of all, somebody has to see an opportunity to do something. Many of what have turned out to be urban design projects have resulted from the initiative of a single person with a strong idea. In Boston, an architect, Benjamin Thompson, recognized the redevelopment possibilities of the Faneuil Hall-Quincy Market area (see Figure 11.12). He was later involved in the Ghirardelli Square renovation. It was a journalist, William Schofield, who led the effort to create the Freedom Trail in Boston. Robert Hugman, an architect, saw the potentialities of the San Antonio River. These people were private individuals who had a 'vision of what might be' but the major drivers of urban development in capitalist countries are private corporations.

Powerful, high-ego individuals with visions of their own often lead urban design efforts. Paul Reichmann of Olympia and York disregarded the advice of his most trusted lieutenants in the pursuit of his own dream for Canary Wharf. In the case of Glendale it was a couple of public officials who possessed a vision of what that suburban downtown could be; in Singapore it was originally consultants who produced ideas but then the civil service took over.

Citizens groups have been powerful advocates for specific types of urban development. Politicians clearly play an important role. Consider the role of President Kubitschek in pushing Brasilia ahead, Nelson Rockefeller at Battery Park City and, particularly, in the development of the State University of New York, Mayor Lindsay and the work of the Urban Design Group in New York, the presidents of France in the development of La Défense and the Parc de la Villette in Paris, Zhu Rongji in Lujiazui, Pierre Mauroy in Lille and Margaret Thatcher in the promotion of Canary Wharf. Politicians were dabbling in the development of the Barbican in London every step of the way. Particularly important have been groups in the business sector in pushing for downtown renewal projects. Such groups strove hard for the San Antonio River to be revitalized and for various the Lower Manhattan schemes. They, like residential neighbourhood organizations, have also led the way in fighting to prevent urban design projects that they perceive not to be in their own interests.

The public sector has had the primary responsibility in much urban design. It has traditionally been the initiator of infrastructure development, either in shaping urban development or catching up with it. Players in the public sector have hired consultants to produce conceptual plans for precincts of cities and they have been the developer of record for many urban designs. Housing authorities have been responsible for mass housing schemes everywhere in the world. The Battery Park City Authority was a creature of the public sector as was the Senior Consultants Committee in the initiation of the Lujiazui development in Shanghai.

In the immediate future we shall no doubt see much more cooperation between public and private sectors in both initiating and carrying through urban development schemes. Almost all of the all-of-a-piece urban designs described here have been cooperative ventures. The public policy concerns and dreams about what the future should hold will continue to be important. Incentives and design controls will play a large part in urban design projects in strongly market oriented, capitalist economies. It is, however, those people who really care about cities and the quality of life that urban environments can afford who should lead. Will they? In order to do so they will have to be able to present to their worlds images of futures that capture the imagination. These people will be strong individuals; they may come from the public or the private sectors. They will not be able to do things on their own. Urban design is a collaborative art.

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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