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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION

Definition of Urban Design:


lack of a universal/ cross-cultural definition;.

each age
and culture has produced its own definition based on its own
expectations and possibilities (Robert Beckley, 1979)

1.

that part of town planning or architecture that determines the


order and form of the city with special emphasis on aesthetics
(Frederick Gutheim, 1963).

2. organization of space, time, and communication/meaning (Amos


Rapoport, 1977).

Organization of space: for different purposes and according to


different rules that reflect the needs, values, and desires of the
groups or individuals

Organization of Time: .tempos and rhythms of human


activity past versus future or linear versus cyclic;
organization of communication: a way of controlling
interaction its nature, direction, rate, e.t.c.who
communicates with who, when, where, and how..how the
built environment and social organization are linked and
related..social logic of space.
organization of meaning: ..communicative and symbolic
properties of space through signs, materials, colours,
forms, landscaping e.t.c
3. the complex inter-relationship between all the elements of the
built and unbuilt space in towns and cities (Creed & Roberts,
1998)

4. the art of making places for


peopleabout public realm
(SA Urban Design Charter)
..what differentiates place from
space?
5. combination of tailored processes
and creative responses aimed at
enhancing the general appeal and
functioning of urban areas (ibid)
Urban design creates a framework for
our lives,We feel and experience
urban design every day.Design
brings order and relation into human
surroundingsit is the production
of cities by people for people

Thus, urban design is BOTH a means and an end-state!

Interdisciplinary nature of urban design


Urban Design integrates the processes and expertise of many
related disciplines including art, architecture, landscaping, the
social sciences, economics, planning, engineering, and transport.
Notwithstanding, successful designs are actually determined by
the public at-large rather than academia!.
Below: Urban design works originating from engineering,
architectural studies, and landscape science

Urban Planning - Urban Design - Architecture Axis


The relationship is historical:
In the 1960s, planning and architecture were split
(Gosling & maitland, 1984:7)
Planning concentrated on land use patterns and
socio-economic issues (macro)
Architecture concentrated on the design of
buildings (micro)
There emerged a responsibility gap where design
of public space was concerned
Urban design came in to bridge this gap

Is There Need for Urban Design?


.Arguments for and against Urban design
Arguments Against:
-

Today the city is more shaped by economic /


entrepreneurial forces than planning and design forces.
(communications & transport technology and markets)

Cities have in the past developed incrementally and


without master designs, with very good results; when
such designs were developed in the 1960s things went
dramatically wrong!

- The city form is never finite, but always changing. Design


tends to freeze form and structure hence prevent the city
from adapting to changing socio-economic changes.

Arguments For:
- There is a significant interrelationship
between form and function of a city;
thus,
- It is immoral for urban development to
be left to chance it must be controlled through planning
and design frameworks to ensure the city works well, is peoplefriendly, and has positive environmental impact

- The enterprise culture, with its laissez-

faire attitude of the 1980s and 1990s led


to more amorphous growth and
remodeling of many cities, hence the
erosion of quality of urban space

Arguments For (contd):


- Many of the problems of cities are actually the
result of their inadequacy: structure and form,
their distribution of population, their land use
patterns and transport systems all of which are
interdependent.
- Economic forces must operate for rather than
against the citytheir manifestation in the
physical, spatial, structural, and land use terms
must be guided into forms that enhance the
citys quality and identity as a place for people.

Why is Urban Design Needed?


Design can help enhance a citys
advantages: physical needs of citizens; safety,
security and protection; an environment free of
pollution, noise, accidents, and crime; a conducive
social environment ..a sense of community; an
appropriate image and prestige; creativity and selfexpression in neighbourhoods; aesthetically
pleasantness as a place of culture and a work of art.

Design can help diminish a citys


disadvantages: containment of size &
population; the obligation to travel; social stratification

Rationale for Urban Design


Any part of the city has a form and the
assemblage of such parts generates a unique
urban form and structure
Any part of a city is designable, and so is the
assemblage of these parts to form streets,
squares, urban fabric, munuments, skylines e.t.c
Even the incremental town forms evolve on the
basis of commonly understood and accepted
patternsurban design offers a framework.
Today, many non-local forces are shaping the
city; thus rules and patterns need to be introduced
in the form of development and design frameworks
founded on a citys particular history, culture,
location, e.t.c so as to safeguard its identity.

Criteria for Urban Design:


What may dictate an urban design undertaking?

Appeal (how places look.)


Function (how places work);
Quality of urban areas; (ambience)
Community well-being: Vitality;
safety;

Criteria (contd)
Environmental stress
Behavioural support
Identity
Diversity
Legibility
Meaning/communication
Development
Perceptual engagements
Regeneration
Constraints

Role of urban design


1. Description:
character of
place

2. Imagination/Clarification
legibility of function/form

The use of imagery/iconic


design (Sondica airport);
different materials and
fabrics for different
circulation areas, use of
pedestrian/street furniture,
and signage.

3. Negotiation: among conflicting


interests; space contestation

4. Visualization: scenarios-building;
simulation; foresight

5. Correction/ reconstruction:
defects/malfunctions; destruction (hazards: fires, earthquakes,
flooding, tsunamis, hurricanes, erosion,/landslides, glaciers e.t.c

6. Mitigation:
e.g disaster preparedness, crime prevention

7. Prescription: Show the way out


of situations- sprawl, land use conflict, pollution e.t.c

8. Prowess: celebration of civic


excellence (high-cost projects)

Objectives of Urban Design


There is often considerable overlap
between objectives and they are
mutually re-enforcing; they include:
Aesthetics: Strong Visual Impact
Development: New Investment. Employment
opportunities
Functional Efficiency
Improved Environmental conditions
Safety (ref. Safer Cities Program; CEPTED)
Guardianship and Space standards
Technical Solutions to unique problems

Cultural Identity and symbolism


Community Integration
Character: A place with its own identity
Continuity and Enclosure:
A place where public and private spaces are clearly
distinguished
Quality of the Public Realm:
A place with attractive and successful outdoor areas
Ease of Movement:
A place that is easy to get to and move through
Adaptability
A place that can change easily
Legibility
A place that has a clear image and is easy to understand
Diversity
A place with variety and choice

Levels/Scale of Urban design:


Macro: City-wide Meso: Zone/District/Fragment Micro: Object

Elements and Materials of Urban


Design
1. Space Frame: Space and its definition;
enclosure; built (+ve) versus unbuilt (-ve); skyscape;
landform

2. Elements of form: Point, Line, plane

3. Urban Functions:
Living; Working; Leisure; Mobility; Administration

4. Urban Fabric:
Texture; water, vegetation; furniture; light e.t.c

5. Environmental Factors:
precipitation; temperatures; humidity; wind; lighting
e.t.c

Meaning and Means of Urban


Design
Meaning: creation of a common worlda public realmthe
sphere of freedom and equalitypluralism!
a.
b.

Public space as a physical and formal construct


Public institution as a political-economic construct

Means: of creating public spatial qualities


a.

Spatial and formal means: squares, streets, and buildings as


places of public domain.

b.

Political-economic means: promote a Geography and structure


of public/Civic life, thus a free/democratic community, ..with
structures, limits, and controls...(paradox!)

ABILITIES AND ACTIVITIES OF URBAN


DESIGNERS
Analysis: An audit of the characteristics of a site to give a
sense of place

Collaboration: the need for urban designers to work with


others, including with local communities

Policy Formulation: required to deal with the breadth of


urban design issues and activities

Design Generation: Building, landscape and


engineering design, site planning, master planning,
framework design, illustrative design, and visioning

Implementation: attention to how plans and proposals


could be implemented requires a capacity for initiative,
innovation, creativity, negotiation, collaboration, and
management.

Typical Urban Design Problems/Issues


Area policy
New Settlements
Rehabilitation, redevelopment, and
conservation
Lines of movement
Commercial centres and central
districts
Special Areas
Large natural and man-made features
Special Systems

Definitive Principles of Urban Design


Urban design as political statement
Urban design as technique
Urban design as mediation
Urban design as private display
Urban design as public presence
Urban design as theatre
Urban design as guardian of urban
standards

Link Between Urban Design and


Site Planning
Urban design will enable the systematic
identification and definition of sites
Urban design will enable the informed and
clear identification and/or selection of wider
priorities about the site
Urban design will enable good
interpretation and use of existing features
and operational forces