The Scope of Urban Design

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					      The Scope of Urban Design
From Historical, Professional, and Policy
Context….. Why?
 to provide a framework for exploring the meaning
and scope of urban design in contemporary
planning and urban development
Central Argument: UD is neither big architecture
nor limited to urban landscape issues. It does not
operate solely at the interface between planning
and architecture.
UD is a problem-solving activity with applications
to spatial decision-making at all scales of urban
       Urban Design Definition
UD: at its broadest, UD is about the form of
cities. We may regard it as that element in
the planning process that is concerned
with finding an appropriate physical
framework for human activities in cities.
Urban form may be viewed in two or three
dimensions, depending on the scale or
level of resolution at which the design
process is operating.
     The Scope of Urban Design
The need for UD as a discipline has arisen
as a result of the fundamental cultural,
political, social and economic changes.
Other issues include the impact of
environmental issues and quality of life on
the nature of the city and how urban form
can best be adapted to our current and
future needs.
It has proved difficult to provide a simple,
commonly accepted definition of the scope
of UD
Origins of Recent Urban Design Theory
Urban Planning was introduce to place a
growing body of theory and practice in
suitably general geographical context.
Urban: was a description of what had
become a culture and life style rather than
a particular geographical territory.
Urban Planning could comfortably
accommodate city, town and suburb, no
matter how these were administratively
defined or physically constituted.
Origins of Recent Urban Design Theory
Paul Sprieregaen Urban Design: the Architecture of Towns and
Cities was published in 1965 …… The conventions of urban
planning at this time favored rigidly-defined, functionally-zoned
urban development.

This was influenced by the International Modern Architectural
Congress (CIAM) set up in 1920s in Europe by Le Corbusier,
Walter Gropius & others.
Some of their ideas a wholesale renewal of the contemporary
city through zoned, single-use high-rise developments.

At the same time, organic view of urban form, originating in the
English Garden City movement, was being developed in the
United States by Olmsted, Mumford, Perry and others. This
suggested a regional model of the city, decentralized, low-
density and more suburban in character, hierarchically
organized on the basis of semi-autonomous community-
based neighborhood units or “super-blocks”
Origins of Recent Urban Design Theory
In the United States in 1960s, the
economist Jan Jacobs published her
powerful critique of modern town planning
in The Death and Life of Great
American Cities, bringing the attention
to the complexities of land use
arrangements, and high-density living
in traditional city blocks and the
shared activities of the traditional city
street in a new light.
Origins of Recent Urban Design Theory
Defectors from CIAM formed Team X in
1953 exploring new low- and medium rise,
high density interwoven urban structures
that would allow opportunities for social
exchange and encounter that the
international style excluded. This laid the
theoretical basis for an approach to urban
renewal which emphasized vehicular and
pedestrian separation
Origins of Recent Urban Design Theory
In the 1950s, Kevin Lynch at MIT began to devise
new techniques for analyzing and representing
the perceptual structure of cities His work, The
Image of City, 1964 helped give rise to a new
science of human perception and behavior in
the city.
Later, Scott Brown and Robert Venturi 
published their book Complexity and
Contradiction in Architecture questioned the
International style and advocated the catholic
(conservative) approach to the use of
architectural styles and symbolism
Origins of Recent Urban Design Theory
Ideas of a morphological approach to UD was explored by
Colin Rowe of Cornell University and others in Europe. The
basic idea was to maintain and restore the traditional
19th century street pattern and form of urban block,
street square, without constraining the contemporary
architectural expression of new building additions.

Aldo Rossi’s the Architecture of the City, 1989 introduce
the notion of the collective memory of the city with
urban form as a repository of culture from generations
past and from generations to come.
Rob Krier in his book Urban Space, 1984 sought to
catalogue all possible forms of urban space generated
from the geometric fundamentals of circle, square, and