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URBAN DESIGN

UNIT 3
THEORISING AND READING URBAN SPACE
Contents:

• Ideas of Imageability and townscape: Cullen, Lynch- place and genius loci- collective
memory historic reading of the city and its artefacts: Rossi- social aspects of urban
space: life on streets and between buildings, gender and class, Jane Jacobs, William
Whyte
Thomas Gordon Kevin A. Lynch(jan Aldo Rossi(May Jane Jacob William H. whyte
Cullen (9 August 7,1918-april 25,1984) 3,1931-4september May 4- Oct 1,1917-Jan
1914 - 11 August 1997) 1916,april25,2006 12,1999
1994)

Was an Was an American Was an italian Was an american – Was an american


influential Urban planner & architect and canadian urbanist,
English architect author designer who journalist,author,& organizational
and urban accompolished the activist best known analyst,journalist&
designer who He is known for his unusual feat of for her influence people-watcher
was a key work on the achieving on urban
motivator in perceptual form of international studies,sociology
the Townscape urban environments recognition in and economics “The social life of
movement. He is and was an early distinct small urban
best known for proponent of mental areas:theory, “Death and life of spaces.”
the mapping. drawing, Great American
book Townscape, architecture & cities”
first published in “Image of the city” product design.
1961
“Architecture of
the city”
Gordon Cullen

Serial Vision:
Gordon Cullen (1961) conceived the concept of “serial Vision”

He said:
Urban experience is one of a series of revelations, with delight and
interest being stimulated by contrasts.
1.Concerning OPTICS.

Let us suppose that we are walking through a town: here is a straight road off which is a
courtyard, at the far side of which another street leads out and bends slightly before
reaching a monument. Not very unusual. We take this path and our first view is that of
the street.

Upon turning into the courtyard the new view is revealed instantaneously at the point of
turning, and this view remains with us whilst we walk across the courtyard. Leaving the
courtyard we enter the further street.

Again a new view is suddenly revealed although we are travelling at a uniform speed.
Finally as the road bends the monument swings into view.

The significance of all this is that although the pedestrian walks through the town at a
uniform speed, the scenery of towns is often revealed in a series of jerks or revelations.
This we call SERIAL VISION.
Examine what this means. Our original aim is to manipulate the elements of the town so
that an impact on the emotions is achieved. A long straight road has little impact
because the initial view is soon digested and becomes monotonous. The human mind
reacts to a contrast, to the difference between things, and when two pictures (the street
and the courtyard) are in the mind at the same time, a vivid contrast is felt and the town
becomes visible in a deeper sense. It comes alive through the drama of juxtaposition.
Unless this happens the town will slip past us featureless and inert. There is a further
observation to be made concerning Serial Vision. Although from a scientific or
commercial point of view the town may be a unity, from our optical viewpoint we have
split it into two elements: the existing view and the emerging view. In the normal way this
is an accidental chain of events and whatever significance may arise out of the linking of
views will be fortuitous. Suppose, however, that we take over this linking as a branch of
the art of relationship; then we are finding a tool with which human imagination can
begin to mould the city into a coherent drama. The process of manipulation has begun to
turn the blind facts into a taut emotional situation.
2. Concerning PLACE. This second point is concerned with our reactions to the position
of our body in its environment. This is as simple as it appears to be. It means, for
instance, that when you go into a room you utter to yourself the unspoken words ‘I am
outside IT, I am entering IT, I am in the middle of IT’ . At this level of consciousness we
are dealing with a range of experience stemming from the major impacts of exposure
and enclosure (which if taken to their morbid extremes result in the symptoms of
agoraphobia and claustrophobia). Place a man on the edge of a 500-ft. cliff and he will
have a very lively sense of position, put him at the end of a deep cave and he will react to
the fact of enclosure.
Since it is an instinctive and continuous habit of the body to relate itself to the
environment, this sense of position cannot be ignored; it becomes a factor in the design
of the environment (just as an additional source of light must be reckoned with by a
photographer, however annoying it may be). I would go further and say that it should be
exploited.
Arising out of this sense of identity or sympathy with the environment, this feeling
of a person in street or square that he is in IT or entering IT or leaving IT, we
discover that no sooner do we postulate a HERE than automatically we must create
a THERE, for you cannot have one without the other.
Some of the greatest towns cape effects are created by a skillful relationship
between the two.
An example in India:
The approach from the Central Vista to the Rashtrapathi Bhawan in New Delhi.
There is an open-ended courtyard composed of the two Secretariat buildings and,
at the end, the Rashtrapathi Bhawan. All this is raised above normal ground level
and the approach is by a ramp. At the top of the ramp and in front of the axis
building is a tall screen of railings. This is the setting. Travelling through it from the
Central Vista we see the two Secretariats in full, but the Rashtrapathi Bhawan is
partially hidden by the ramp; only its upper part is visible. This effect of truncation
serves to isolate and make remote. The building is withheld. We are Here and it is
There. As we climb the ramp the Rashtrapathi Bhawan is gradually revealed, the
mystery culminates in fulfilment as it becomes immediate to us, standing on the
same floor. But at this point the railing, the wrought iron screen, is inserted; which
again creates a form of Here and There by means of the screened vista.
3. Concerning CONTENT.
Examination of the fabric of towns is done: colour, texture, scale, style, character,
personality and uniqueness. Accepting the fact that most towns are of old foundation,
their fabric will show evidence of differing periods in its architectural styles and also in
the various accidents of layout. Many towns do so display this mixture of styles,
materials and scales.
Yet there exists at the back of our minds a feeling that could we only start again we
would get rid of this hotchpotch and make all new and fine and perfect. We would
create an orderly scene with straight roads and with buildings that conformed in
height and style. Given a free hand that is what we might do … create symmetry,
balance, perfection and conformity. After all, that is the popular conception of the
purpose of town planning.
Conformity, from the point of view of the planner, is difficult to avoid but to avoid it
deliberately, by creating artificial diversions, is surely worse than the original boredom.
Here, for instance, is a programme to rehouse 5,000 people. They are all treated the
same, they get the same kind of house. How can one differentiate? Yet if we start from
a much wider point of view we will see that tropical housing differs from temperate
zone housing, that buildings in a brick country differ from buildings in a stone country,
that religion and social manners vary the buildings. And as the field of observation
narrows, so our sensitivity to the local gods must grow sharper. There is too much
insensitivity in the building of towns, too much reliance on the tank and the armoured
car where the telescopic rifle is wanted.
Statistics are abstracts: when they are plucked out of the completeness of life and
converted into plans and the plans into buildings they will be lifeless. The result will
be a three-dimensional diagram in which people are asked to live. In trying to
colonize such a wasteland, to translate it from an environment for walking stomachs
into a home for human beings, the difficulty lay in finding the point of application,
in finding the gateway into the castle.
We discovered three gateways, that of motion, that of position and that of content.
By the exercise of vision it became apparent that motion was not one simple,
measurable progression useful in planning, it was in fact two things, the Existing and
the Revealed view.
We discovered that the human being is constantly aware of his position in the
environment, that he feels the need for a sense of place and that this sense of
identity is coupled with an awareness of elsewhere.
Conformity killed, whereas the agreement to differ gave life. In this way the void of
statistics, of the diagram city, has been split into two parts, whether they be those
of Serial Vision, Here and There or This and That. All that remains is to join them
together into a new pattern created by the warmth and power and vitality of
human imagination so that we build the home of man.
PIONEERS OF TOWN
PLANNING
KEVIN LYNCH
ABSTRACT

“There seems to be a public image of any given city which is the overlap of

many individual images. Or perhaps there is a series of public images, each

held by some significant number of citizens. Such group images are necessary

if an individual is to operate successfully within his environment and to

cooperate with his fellows. Each individual picture is unique. with some content

that is rarely or never communicated, yet it approximates the public image,


Kevin A. Lynch
which, in different environments, is more or less compelling, more or less

embracing.”
INTRODUCTION
• Kevin Andrew Lynch was born on 7th Jan 1918 & died on
25th April 1984.

• He was an American urban planner & author.

• He is best known for his work on mental mapping & on


perceptual form of urban environments.

• His famous book The Image of the City which he


published in 1960 is very famous among his works.

• He was a disciple of FLW before he studied city


planning, & spend his academic career at the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, teaching there.

• He practice site planning and urban design


CONCEPT OF MENTAL
MAPPING
A mental map is a person's point-of-view
perception of their area of interaction.

A person’s perception of the world is known as


mental map, it’s an individual’s own map of
their known world.

The image which the user form in his mind


about the architectural and urban components
of the city and their places so he can direct his
motion through the city after that.
CONCEPT OF MENTAL
MAPPING
Mental maps of an individual
can be investigated by:

Asking for directions to a


landmark or other location.

Asking someone to draw a


sketch map of an area or
describe that area.

Asking a person to name as


many places as possible in
short period of time.
CONCEPT OF MENTAL
MAPPING
 Mental image properties :

The overall mental image of an urban


environment will be:

1. Partial : not covering the whole city

2.Simplified : omitting a great deal of


information

3. Unique : each individual has his/her own

4.Distorted : not necessary has real distance or


direction.
ABOUT THE BOOK : IMAGE
OF THE CITY
“This book is about the look of cities, and whether this
look is of any importance, and whether it can be
changed”.

 The book is the result of a five-year study


of Boston, Jersey City and Los Angeles on how
observers take in information of the city, and use it to
make mental maps.

Lynch's conclusion was that people formed mental


maps of their surroundings consisting of five basic
elements.

The book looks at three American cities: Boston, Jersey


City, and Los Angeles.
ABOUT THE BOOK : IMAGE
OF THE CITY
In the first section, new concepts of
legibility and Imageability are presented to
lay the theoretical foundation of the entire
book.

Followed by that, Lynch introduced three


American cities as examples to reveal his
outcomes of field reconnaissance, and then
made comparisons between each other.

In the third section, five elements and their


interrelationships are summarized from
previous researches which act as the core
content of the book.
ABOUT THE BOOK : IMAGE
OF THE CITY
In Lynch’s view, image can be
explained as “a picture especially in
the mind”, a sentimental combination
between objective city image and
subjective human thoughts.
The productions of environment
images are influenced by a two-way
process between the observer and the
observed.
The observer, with great adaptability
and in the light of his own purposes,
selects, organizes, and endows with
THEORY - FIVE POINTS
• Kevin Lynch found that there are five basic elements which people
use to
construct t heir mental image of a city:

 Pathways
 Districts
 Edges
 Landmarks
 Nodes
1. PATHWAYS
These are the streets, sidewalks, trails, canals, railroads and other channels in which
people travel;

 They arrange space and movement between space

Paths are the channels along which the observer moves. They may be streets,
walkways, transit lines, canals, railroads.
1. PATHWAYS
1. PATHWAYS
Why paths are important elements in the city image?
1. Concentration of uses

2. Containing significant
buildings and facades
1. PATHWAYS
Why paths are
important
elements in the
city image?

3. paths are the


most important
elements in
people’s images :

•other elements
are arranged and
along them.

•Unclear paths =
unclear city
2. EDGES
 Boundaries;

 They can be either Real or Perceived;

 These are walls, buildings, and shorelines, curbstone, streets, overpasses, etc.

Edges are linear elements that form boundaries between areas or linear breaks in
continuity (e.g. shores, railway cuts, walls).
2. EDGES
2. EDGES
The strongest edges are continuous in form, and often impenetrable to cross movement.
2. EDGES
The strongest edges are continuous in form, and often impenetrable to cross movement.

Manmade edges

Natural edges
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN
PATH & EDGE
Edges : Paths :
Prevent motion in specific direction Direct the motion to specific direction
3. DISTRICTS
Medium to large areas that are two-
dimensional;

 An individual enters into and out of


these areas;
 Districts are the one with common
identifying characteristics,which the
observer mentally enters "inside of," and
which are recognizable as
3. DISTRICTS
3. DISTRICTS
Are the medium to large parts of the city
which share the same characteristics
Style - spatial form, topography- colors,
texture, urban fabric
3. DISTRICTS
Districts may have Clear edges, or soft
uncertain ones gradually fading away
into surrounding areas.
4. NODES
 Large areas you can enter, serve as the foci of the city, neighborhood, district, etc.;

 Offers the person in them multiple perspectives of the other core elements.
4. NODES
 Nodes are points, the strategic spots in a city into which an observer can enter, and
which are the intensive foci to and from which he is travelling..

They may be primarily junctions or concentrations.


4. NODES
Strategic points in the city
that:

• the user can enter it

• be directed to many
destinations

• it can be gathering places


or intersection of paths, or
places for activities
5. LANDMARKS
 Points of reference person cannot enter into;

 These are buildings, signs, stores, mountains, public art;

 Mobile Points (such as Sun) can be used as well.


5. LANDMARKS
Landmarks are another type of point-reference, but in this case the observer does not
enter within them, they are external. They are usually a rather simply defined physical
object: building, sign, store, or mountain.
5. LANDMARKS
A physical element with unique and special
visual features that has a "point-specific”
location, and can be identified from the
distance.
5. LANDMARK

What makes landmark a land


mark?

Clarity of general form Singularity: “one in the context”

Difference in form, shape & height from Contrast with the surroundings
surroundings
5. LANDMARKS

Uniqueness nature
THREE CITIES ON THIS
CONCEPT
Three Cities
The image of the cities Boston, Jersey Cities and Los Angeles derived from the consensus of v
interviews and sketch maps.

Boston
THREE CITIES ON THIS
CONCEPT

Jersey City
THREE CITIES ON THIS
CONCEPT

Los Angeles
BOSTON MENTAL MAP IN
DETAIL
THUS IMAGE OF THE CITY

None of lynch’s elements exits in isolation :

all combine to provide the overall image:

• Districts are structures with nodes

• Edges define Districts

• Paths introduction to Districts

• Nodes sprinkled by landmarks ….

• Nodes emphasizes the connection between paths

All combine to provide the overall image of the


city
CONCLUSION & WHAT
PURPOSE IT SERVED
 Preventing feeling lost

 Helping make the city feel like “home”

So it is important to understand how people think and form their mental impression
about the city and the common themes they share to help designers to design urban
environment in a clear manner for users
Design of spaces
by William W whyte
Content page
• About the Author
• The street life project
• Project methodology
• How cities use economic incentives?
• The problem and start of the project
• Effect of demography on the use of spaces
• What attracts people in parks ?
• Seating
• Pedestrian and activity zoning
• Accessibility
• Relevance to the city of Doha
• Doha Public Parks
• List of References
About the Author William W Whyte
• (October 1, 1917 — January 12, 1999)
• American urbanist, organizational analyst,
journalist and people-watcher
• He is considered the mentor for Project
for Public Spaces because of his seminal
work in the study of human behavior in
urban settings
• While working with the New York City
Planning Commission in 1969, Whyte
began to wonder how newly planned city
spaces were actually working out –
something that no one had previously
researched. This curiosity led to the Street
Life Project, a pioneering study of
pedestrian behavior and city dynamics.

He always believed that the greatest lesson the city


has to offer us is the idea that we are all in it
together, for better or for worse, and we have to
make it work.
About the Author William W Whyte
• For sixteen years William Whyte walked the streets of
New York and other major cities. With a group of young
observers, camera and notebook in hand, he conducted
pioneering studies of street life, pedestrian behavior, and
city dynamics.
• Whyte and his team trained Super 8 cameras on plazas,
streets, playgrounds, and other small urban spaces and
simply watched, via time-lapse photography, what people
actually did.
• What they found led to changes in the way we view the
social settings of cities.

City: Rediscovering the Center is the result of that research, a humane, often amusing view of
what is staggeringly obvious about the urban environment but seemingly invisible to those
responsible for planning it.
The street life project
• Produced exceptional study of How people used urban spaces
• Provided set of urban design guidelines for New York and have
been used in many other cities
Project Methodology
• An Excellent example of how to do an urban research

•Observation •Gender
•Checking against hypothesis, previously set •Couples or in groups
•Filming •Where did they sit ?
•analyzing the films (Time-lapse videos) •Interviewing people :
•Creating circulation pattern from dawn to •Where they worked ?
dusk •How frequent they used the
•Charting how people used the spaces plaza?
•Taking notes during different times during the •What did they thought of it ?
day / all over the year
How cities use economic
incentives ?
• There is a strong market for additional office spaces in the central
businesses districts of many cities
• Zoning ordinances set limits on height and bulk of office buildings
• Permission to build more office space than zoning allows is worth
money for developers
• New York city awarded developers “Density Bonuses” allowing
them to build more office space if the private developers agreed
to provide park and plaza space at the street level
• While some developers worked hard to design attractive parks and
plazas, others just wanted to build something that would get them
the density bonus
The problem and start of the project
• On most plazas there were few people
• In the middle of the lunch hour on a beautiful day the number of
people sitting on plazas averaged four per thousand square feet of
space – an extraordinarily low figure for so dense a center
Effect of demography on the use of spaces

• A good new space builds a new constituency, it gets people into


new habits and encourage them to use new paths
• The best-used places tend to have higher than average proportion
of women
What attracts people in parks ? (FACTORS)

• Major avenues, attractive side views, close to bus stations,


1. Location pedestrian sidewalks huge flow

• Wasn’t a major factor in concluding popularity of plazas


2. Sun & aesthetics

3. Amount of space • Not a major factor as well , refer to graphs


and its shape

• Whatever were the attractions, it will never induce people to


4. Seating area use the space if there’s no spaces to sit
What attracts people in parks ?
Amount of space Location

Retrieved from “The city: rediscovering the center” book


Seating
• Integral seating
The basic kind of seating built into place such as steps and ledges
• Sitting height
• Benches
• Chairs
1. Integral seating
Railing placed to hit your back !

Horizontal metal strip with


saw-tooth points
Jagged rock set into concrete
2. Sitting height
• Thanks to slopes , ledges usually have
different height
• Conclusion showed that people will sit at
any height ranges from 30 cm to 90 cm ,
specified in the zoning (considering
different age groups)
• Human backside dimension , Ledges to be
double-side used
3. Benches
• Most often fitted in modular
forms, spaced equidistant from
one another, that looks pleasant
in plan view
• How benches fill-up ?
• First arrival takes the first end,
second arrival takes end of
another benches, the subsequent
arrivals will take any end spots
that are vacant
1

4. Movable Chairs
2
• The possibility of choice is
important as much as the exercise
for it
• Moving for shade or for privacy
• Grass, for picnicking, napping or
sun-bathing and psychological 3
benefits

4
Pedestrian and activity zoning

• Old NYs’ zoning codes called for


“Pedestrian circulation areas”
away from “activity areas”
• Sunken and elevated plazas tend to
attract low flow of people > new
code called for 3 feet difference
• More east the flow between the
street and the plaza the more easy
people will go to sit
Accessibility
• Handicapped facilities , Drinking-Water fountains
• Back rests for seats
Relevance to city of Doha, Qatar
Public outdoors parks and plazas observation of types of seating and activities

MIA park movable chairs and view to


Barzan Olympic Park ledges and wooden benches Fixed chairs and tables at Al-Ruwais Park
Westbay towers

Benches at the
pathways and at
the nodes of
passages at
different parks
Parks for a comfortable weather day, benches with no shading canopies at Al Khesah Occasions Square at the right and the green carpet park
“Al-Bossat AL-Akhdar” to the left, what makes them special is the large space of green grass with little paved walkways passing through

Abu Dhalouf Park provides Beach, barbeque and a boat Al-Morona and Al-Moroub parks are attracting male visitors. Activities
ride as well as shading canopies without fixed seating such as football playing and workers usually taking nab during rest times
Colorful circular fixed seats oriented to have a full view of Benches at Park 65 works as waiting area, park is more of urban
different parts of the park playground to different age groups

Al-Rumiela park, benches to the back of the water feature Benches at Onaiza Park, shaded by trees, not considering the
looking towards stalls and shops back side & not comfortable for waiting for so long ideal for quick
chats
The Huwaila Four park & Dahl El-Hamam parks

Benches looking to each other more for friends and family gatherings
Fixed benches at corners and meeting points

Fixed seating area under canopies, zoning for privacy Theatre fixed space for family events