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//A H

h I

Design of
Urban Space
An Inquiry into
a Socio-spatial
Process

University of Newcastle,
Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

JOHN WILEY & SONS


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Contents
otherwise, except under the terms of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 or under the terms of a
hcence issued by the Copyright Licensing Agency, 90 Tottenham Court Road, London W I P 9HE, UK,
without the permission in writing of the publisher.

Introduction
Other Wiley Editorial Offices

John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 605 Third Avenue, PART O N E PERSPECTIVES INTO U R B A N SPACE
New York, NY 10158-0012, USA
Chapter 1 Understanding Urban Space
Jacaranda Wiley Ltd, 33 Park Road, Milton,
Queensland 4064, Australia D i l e m m a s o f space 4
A b s o l u t e a n d relational s p a c e 4
John Wiley & Sons (Canada) Ltd, 22 Worcester Road,
Rexdale, Ontario M9W I L l , Canada Space and mass 7
P h y s i c a l a n d social s p a c e 10
John Wiley & Sons (Asia) Pte Ltd, 2 Clement! Loop #02-01,
M e n t a l a n d real space 12
Jin Xing Distripark, Singapore 129809
A b s t r a c t a n d differential s p a c e 16
S p a c e a n d time 20
Space and place - 23
S p a c e a n d specialization 26
Conclusion 28
Library of Congress Cataloging~in-Publication Data

Madanipour, Ali Chapter 2 Structural Frameworks of Urban Space 31


Design of Urban Space: an inquiry into a socio-spatial process /
Aii Madanipour Socio-spatial geometries of u r b a n space 31
p, cm. Natural space 35
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Created space 38
ISBN 0-471-96672-X (cloth).~ISBN 0-471-96573-8 (pbk).
1. Space (Architecture). 2. City planning—History—20th century. U r b a n f o r m and historical processes 39
3. Architecture and society—History—20th century. I. Title. T h e city as a w o r k of art 43
NA9053.S6M33 1996
7ir,4—dc20 96-21431 T h e city as a n e m b o d i m e n t of functions 45
CIP E c o l o g y o f u r b a n structure 48
T h e internal structure of the city 49

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data Urban morphology 53


Political e c o n o m y of u r b a n structure 56
A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Conclusion 60
ISBN 0-471-96672-X (cloth)
ISBN 0-471-96673-8 (paper)

Typeset in 10/12pt Palatino from the author's disks by Mackreth Media Services, Chapter 3 People in the City 63
Hemel Hempstead, Herts
Printed and bound in Great Britian by Bookcraft (Bath) Ltd. E n v i r o n m e n t a l cognition 63
This book is printed on acid-free paper responsibly manufactured from sustainable forestation, for which A b e h a v i o u r a l a p p r o a c h to s p a c e 65
at least two trees arc planted for each one used for paper production. Mapping urban images 66
Contents Contents vii

Meaning and u r b a n semiotics 69 Public s p h e r e theories 148


Perspective of everyday life 73 Public s p a c e in a s h o p p i n g mall? 150
Order and difference in urban space 75 Conclusion 153
City of strangers 78
Fear and c r i m e in urban space 80
Chapter 6 R e g u l a t i n g U r b a n Form 155
W o m e n in urban space 83
Conclusion 87 T h e state, the market and s p a c e production 155
Planning a n d design 158
PART T W O THE MAKING OF URBAN SPACE Design control 160
Design control or aesthetic control? 161
Chapter 4 U r b a n D e s i g n Process 91
Does aesthetics matter? 163
W h a t is urban design? 91 Aesthetic judgement: subjective or objective? 165
Ambiguities o f urban design 92 W h o sets the aesthetic s t a n d a r d s ? 167
Macro- or micro-scale urban design? 94 G o o d urban form 169
Urban design as visual or spatial m a n a g e m e n t ? 97 Planning d o c u m e n t s and design 171
Urban design as nice images 97 G o v e r n m e n t advice 172
Urban design as the aesthetics of the urban environment 99 D e v e l o p m e n t plans 172
Urban design as social or spatial management? 102 Design guides 174
Process or product? 104 Design briefs 175
Professional divide 107 Other experiences of design control 177
A public or private sector activity? 109 Conclusion 181
Objective-rational or subjective-irrational? 110
Urban design as a technical process 113
Chapter 7 Images of Perfection 183
Urban design as a social process 113
Urban design as a creative process 115 Utopia 185
Conclusion 117 Urban context 186
Urbanism of the metropolitan paradigm 188
Modernist urban design 188
Chapter 5 Production of t h e Built E n v i r o n m e n t 119
Post-modern urbanism 192
Urban design and the d e v e l o p m e n t process 119 Anti-urban paradigm 196
M o d e l s of the development process 122 Suburbanism 197
S u p p l y - d e m a n d models . 123 Planned anti-urbanism 200
Equilibrium models 123 Socialist anti-urbanism 200
Event-sequence models 124 Broadacre City 201
A g e n c y models 126 Micro-urbanism of the s m a l l town paradigm 201
Political e c o n o m y models 127 Garden cities 202
C a p i t a l - l a b o u r models • 127 . • N e i g h b o u r h o o d unit 204
S t r u c t u r e - a g e n c y models 128 Radburn 205
Use value and exchange value 130 Planned decentralization of London 206
Structures and agencies 132 British n e w towns 206
U r b a n development process and urban form 135 New Urbanism 209
A m o d e l of the development process 136 Conclusion 213
Impact of c h a n g e in the d e v e l o p m e n t process on urban space 137
Commodification of space a n d standardization of design 137 Chapter 8 D e s i g n of U r b a n S p a c e 215
Globalization of the d e v e l o p m e n t industry 141
Privatization of public s p a c e 144 Bibliography 223
W h a t is p u b h c space? 146 Index 237
H o w d o w e m a k e sense of a city w h e n w a l k i n g a l o n g a n y of its streets, thinking
about the complexity of w h a t w e see b e f o r e our e y e s and w o n d e r i n g about that
which lies behind the facades of the b u i l d i n g s and b e y o n d the b e n d of the street?
H o w do w e read and interpret the tangle of o v e r l a p p i n g and intertwined stories
that this collection of people, objects and e v e n t s offers? A s w e walk d o w n w h a t
seems to be an endless labyrinth, we m a y w o n d e r a b o u t c h a n g e in this u r b a n scene.
We m a y be conscious of a constant t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of this landscape, or rather
cityscape, around us, a m u t a t i o n that w e h a v e c o m e to associate with livelihood.
Without m o v e m e n t and c h a n g e , w e h a v e learnt, there is no life.
If this change seems so essential, h o w d o w e u n d e r s t a n d it and h o w d o w e relate
it to the urban society and u r b a n space? W h a t kind of c h a n g e is inevitable and
what kind of change do w e w a n t to h a p p e n ? If there are c h a n g e s that w e prefer to
take place, how do w e p r o m o t e and a c h i e v e t h e m ? H o w d o w e relate to others and
to c h a n g e s they want to see h a p p e n ? Is it possible, o r desirable, to shape and
reshape this apparently a m o r p h o u s c o m p l e x i t y a m i d the diversity of interests and
preferences? W h a t d o w e d o to prescribe c h a n g e and to i m p l e m e n t it? W h a t kinds
of processes can transform the urban e n v i r o n m e n t ? W h a t are the nature and scope
of the design of the built e n v i r o n m e n t ?
In this book, I set out to understand u r b a n design and the space it helps to shape.
As I will show, there is a need to look at space, as a c o m b i n a t i o n of people and
objects, from a variety of interconnected perspectives. I will a r g u e that this space is
best understood in the process of its creation, a n d that political, economic and
symbolic factors closely interact in s u c h a process. T h e interdisciplinary activity of
urban design is an important constituent part of this creation. T o understand urban
design we will need to u n d e r s t a n d the u r b a n space and the processes that produce
it.
This b o o k is an attempt to delineate the subject areas of u r b a n design in response
to three interlinked d e m a n d s . First, there is a d e g r e e of a m b i g u i t y and uncertainty
about the nature and s c o p e of urban d e s i g n . Its interdisciplinary nature has led to a
lack of clarity in its relationship to u r b a n p l a n n i n g , architecture and landscape
design, among a n u m b e r of disciplines that are i n v o l v e d in the design and
development of urban space.
Second, there is a g r o w t h of interest in u r b a n design. A s widely reflected in
professional journals, u r b a n design has i n c r e a s i n g l y b e e n seen by architects,
landscape architects, and planners as an i m p o r t a n t a n d exciting area for personal
X Introduction • Introduction xi

and professional development. Despite the s l o w - d o w n in p r o p e r t y development, i new interpretation and application in new circumstances. T h e approach
interest in urban design h a s g r o w n , p a r t l y d u e to a rising awareness of \ concentrates on models, and on finding themes on which variations can be m a d e .
environmental issues and concern for the q u a l i t y of urban e x p e r i e n c e , especially as j One difficulty with this approach is that the outcome can b e personal and
widely publicized debates about u r b a n e n v i r o n m e n t s h a v e attracted public | descriptive, rather than analytical and exploratory. A n o t h e r difficulty is its
attention. T h e launch of n e w p o s t g r a d u a t e p r o g r a m m e s in universities and of n e w j relationship with social practices within urban space. It tends to a s s u m e that m a n y
urban design journals are indications of this g r o w i n g attention. Yet there is a dearth ' aspects of human understanding and behaviour are relatively timeless; the
of published material on the subject. T o u n d e r s t a n d the n a t u r e of urban design, I examples are collected from throughout history, and fail to address the c h a n g e s in
there is an increasing and u r g e n t d e m a n d for m o r e analysis and d e b a t e . socially constructed forms of behaviour and environment, which vary with time
Third, and directly linked to the other t w o , there is a d e m a n d for research in • ' and place. This prescriptive concern, therefore, needs to be supported b y an
urban design. A s a practical subject matter, w h e n c o m p a r e d w i t h related a c a d e m i c | analytical one, a better understanding of the context for w h i c h norms are being
fields, urban design has not been sufficiently s u p p o r t e d b y research. As a re- ; proposed, and of the nature of the process in which urban space is m a d e and
emerging enterprise, h o w e v e r , it requires a research a g e n d a to be established, ; transformed.
which w o u l d provide it w i t h the m u c h - n e e d e d conceptual s u p p o r t . This study is A third alternative, which I have adopted in this book, is to see urban design as a
meant to offer a platform that will contribute to this agenda a n d h e l p to identify the [ socio-spatial process. It is in this arena, I have found, that the nature of urban
possibilities of further research. design can be explored. As it is rooted in political, economic and cultural processes
T h e task is being u n d e r t a k e n to b r i d g e a g a p that exists in the approaches to ; and involves a n u m b e r of agencies interacting with socio-spatial structures, urban
urban design. T h e existing literature is m o s t l y written w i t h i n the architectural design can only be understood in its socio-spatial context. F r o m this perspective,
traditions and frames of reference, h e n c e a p p r o a c h i n g n o r m a t i v e l y the physical the technical, creative and social elements of urban design all come together to
dimensions of the built e n v i r o n m e n t . T h i s h a s clearly led to a lack of mutual ; provide insight into this complex process and its products.
understanding between those e n g a g e d in social d i m e n s i o n s of space, i.e. planners, i In m y analysis of urban design and space, I have used the term "urban s p a c e " not
urban geographers and u r b a n sociologists a s well as u r b a n designers. T h e b o o k ; merely to refer to the spaces between buildings, i.e. v o i d s as distinctive from
.^ntends to address both physical and social d i m e n s i o n s of the built environment in corporeal mass: I have used the term in a broad sense, to encompass all the
I an integrated way. T h e r e f o r e , it targets all g r o u p s w h o are involved in the buildings, objects and spaces in an urban environment, as well as the people, events
! relationship between society and space. T h e a i m is to p r o v i d e information a n d and relationships within them. In this analysis, I have f o u n d a n u m b e r of key
insight into the dynamics of the design a n d d e v e l o p m e n t of u r b a n space, without ' concepts useful: the necessity of a broad approach to urban design (Lynch, 1981), of
claiming to offer a c o m p r e h e n s i v e treatment o f the subject b u t w i t h a hope to offer : seeing urban space as the space of urban regions rather than city centres (Charter of
coherent perspectives and platforms for d e b a t e . Athens, 1933, cited in Sert, 1944), and through many architectural historians, seeing
A b o o k on urban design can be written in several \vays. O n e approach is to see '] urban space in a historical context. Analyses of the treatment of space as a
urban design as a technical process, b r i n g i n g together the scientific information ; c o m m o d i t y , the notions of social space and production of space (Lefebvre,1991), the
needed in this process. Information about r o a d s t a n d a r d s , o p e n s p a c e requirements, ' relationship between political economy analysis and e v e r y d a y life perspectives
trees and plants in the u r b a n e n v i r o n m e n t , lighting, infrastructure, patterns of • (Habermas, 1987; Lefebvre, 1991) and between structures and agencies in social
access, m o d e s of transport, pedestrianization s c h e m e s , for e x a m p l e , is needed in the ; processes (Giddens,1984) have provided powerful insights into urban space and its
design of urban areas. A n u r b a n design b o o k could a s s e m b l e this information or ; transformation. The same is true of the notion of how different forms of use, and
concentrate on any o n e of these areas. T h i s is a valuable approach that has • user expectations, can create conflicts of interest in the production, exchange and
generated an abundance of material, in the f o r m o f design m a n u a l s and standards : use of the built environment (Logan & Molotch,1987).
or in the form of engineering research a n d expertise. B y following this route, •; I start by studying urban space, as the context in which urban design takes place
practical solutions for s o m e urban p r o b l e m s can b e sought. H o w e v e r , it does not ] and as the potential product of the design process. This is the subject of Part O n e ,
lead to an understanding o f the nature a n d s c o p e of the process in which this complemented b y Part T w o , which looks at the urban design process itself.
technical k n o w l e d g e is e m p l o y e d , nor to an u n d e r s t a n d i n g of its product. Part O n e analyses the ways in which we look at cities and our perceptions and
A n o t h e r approach is to see urban design a s a creative process. This approach, ' understanding of them. The key word here is our knowledge of cities: our descriptive
which has b e e n widely u s e d in architectural writing, brings together a collection of \ and analytical approaches to the city, which form the basis of our ways of designing
examples of urban space, w h e r e design h a s b e e n considered successful, and d r a w s \ the-urban space. It is subdivided into three chapters. Chapter 1 looks for a meaning
conclusions in the form of design principles. This n o r m a t i v e approach has a i of u r b a n space, searching for a concept that is not confined within disciplinary
number of advantages, as it tends to record a n d to p r o v i d e a store of good e x a m p l e s ; boundaries. It examines the dilemmas and gaps in our understanding of space, and
for designers. The selection of e x a m p l e s a n d principles takes place on the basis of ' suggests overcoming the dilemmas and bridging the gaps by concentrating on the
the accumulated w i s d o m of previous a n d c o n t e m p o r a r y generations, to b e ; process of creating urban space. Chapter 2 looks at how urban space is structured.
interpreted through the a u t h o r s ' e x p e r i e n c e a n d k n o w l e d g e , and put forward f o r : T w o main approaches to the geometry of urban space are identified: o n e that

1.
xii Introduction

concentrates on the city as an artefact and another that sees a city as spatial
relationships. These are, however, perspectives to study the city from above,
detached and objective. Chapter 3 offers another perspective, from below, looking
at everyday life. Here the issues of meaning, behaviour and difference are
discussed, as exemplified by the experiences of strangers and w o m e n in urban PART OlUE
space. Together these three chapters offer an understanding of urban space as a
socio-spatial entity that needs to be studied both objectively and subjectively, at the
intersection of space production and everyday life.
Part T w o concentrates on the urban design process as a constituent part of urban
Perspectives
space production. Following the study of our knowledge of urban space in Part
One, Part T w o is devoted to the ways in which urban space is shaped and
into Urban Space
produced. T h e key word here is the action that is taken in the urban design process:
the prescriptive approach to the creation of future urban space.
Part T w o is subdivided into four chapters. Chapter 4 tries to confront ambiguities
in the scope of urban design and to find a definition for it. Chapter 5 looks at the
relationship between urban design and the urban development process. A model of
the development process is proposed, and the changing nature of development
agencies and their impacts on urban space are examined. S o m e of these impacts,
such as the standardization of design and the privatization of space, are then briefly
discussed. Chapter 6 focuses on the relationship between urban design and the
planning system. It evaluates the question of design and aesthetic control, and
reviews the means by which the planning system, mainly in Britain, deals with
design. After examining economic and political contexts of urban design, w e turn
our attention to the images and ideas used to shape urban space. Chapter 7
discusses Utopias as a strong influence on urban design thinking. It identifies three
main trends in twentieth century urban design: urbanism, anti-urbanism, and
micro-urbanism. In urbanism, with its modernist or post-modernist tendencies, the
focus of attention is on shaping and reshaping urban space. In anti-urbanism, the
intention is to abandon urban areas and to colonize the countryside. Micro-
urbanism, as exemplified in the British new towns or the American N e w Urbanism,
has confronted and combined both urbanist and anti-urbanist tendencies. Chapter 8
brings the various elements together and offers s o m e conclusions.
CHAPTER 1

Understanding
Urban Space

The t h r e e c h a p t e r s in this part concentrate on understanding urban space as an


a g g l o m e r a t i o n of p e o p l e , objects and events. In this chapter, the concepts of space
and their relationship w i t h urban design will be explored. In Chapter 2, w e will
look at h o w this u r b a n space is structured. Chapter 3 then focuses on the people
within t h e s e structures and on h o w understanding urban space will not be
complete w i t h o u t l o o k i n g at it from b e l o w , as well as from above. Together, these
three c h a p t e r s offer an insight into urban space. Part 2 will follow this
u n d e r s t a n d i n g b y analysing urban design as one of the processes that produce this
urban s p a c e .
This c h a p t e r will focus o n space as the m a i n subject matter of urban design and a
n u m b e r o f other disciplines and professions. It will explore some of the main
a p p r o a c h e s to, a n d the d i l e m m a s associated with, the concept of space. At the risk
of o v e r s i m p l i f y i n g c o m p l e x concepts in the limited space of a chapter, 1 will search
for a m e a n i n g of space, w h i c h can be u s e d in urban design and can be shared with
other spatial arts and sciences. This chapter will look at the way various disciplines
involved in the s t u d y a n d transformation of space tend to understand it. Disciplines
such as g e o g r a p h y , planning and architecture, whose primary concern is with
space, h a v e d e v e l o p e d concepts of space from different, but inevitably interrelated,
perspectives. In their theorizations, they have often benefited from debates in
p h i l o s o p h y , p s y c h o l o g y , sociology, m a t h e m a t i c s and physics, to name a few. These
perspectives v a r y w i d e l y , including seeing space as a physical phenomenon, a
condition of m i n d , or a product of social p r o c e s s ^ A brief review of some of these
conceptualizations will serve us in a variety of ways. It will offer an awareness of
the d i m e n s i o n s of space, with keys to a better understanding of the debates about
space w i t h i n different disciplines. This will help us to position ourselves and to find
our w a y in u n d e r s t a n d i n g the intricate m a z e of urban space and the discussions
about it.
T h e s e a r c h for a m e a n i n g of space is a necessary step to take as it is crucial that
before m o v i n g into the normative realm of design, w e explore the realm of the
descripti\'e and analytical, in other w o r d s , to understand urban space before
attempting to t r a n s f o r m it. T h e highly prescriptive and practical nature of design
requires a set of i n f o r m a t i o n to be a s s e m b l e d , often too quickly due to time limits.
4 Design of Urban Space Understanding Urban Space 5

and be e m p l o y e d in a solution-finding exercise. Far too m a n y such exercises take of absolute space w a s d e v e l o p e d b y Isaac N e w t o n , w h o s a w space (and time) as
place on the basis of a s s u m p t i o n s that are in need of a critical evaluation and a more real things, as "places as well of t h e m s e l v e s as of all other t h i n g s " (quoted in
i n f o r m e d approach to the existing urban space. This is therefore an urgent task, Speake,1979: 308). S p a c e and time w e r e "containers of infinite extension or
despite theoretical and practical problems inherent in the relationship between duration". Within t h e m , the whole succession of natural events in the w o r l d find a
k n o w l e d g e a n d action, especially in an a r e n a as complex as urban space, in a definite position. T h e m o v e m e n t or r e p o s e of things, therefore, w a s really taking
process as so often mystified and potentially controversial as design. place and was not a m a t t e r of their relations to c h a n g e s of other objects
A s w e quickly find out b y a brief look at s o m e of these conceptualizations of (Speake,1979; 309). B e f o r e N e w t o n , Aristotle had described space as the container
space, there is a multiplicity of gaps and fragmentations in understanding space. of all objects (Wiener,1975; 297). T h e ancient Greeks, h o w e v e r , did not create a
T h e s e c o n c e p t s are d o m i n a t e d b y dilemmas a n d conflict of perspectives, conveying space of logical, ontological or psychological perceptions. N e i t h e r did they
the impression that space is contested in almost every sense. A framework with develop a general conception of space for geometry and geometrically oriented
w h i c h to confront these divides and to b r i d g e some of these gaps will be put analysis, as they c o n c e n t r a t e d on s p a c e in cosmology, p h y s i c s a n d theology
f o r w a r d , with the aim of m o v i n g towards a m o r e coherent understanding of space. (Bochner,1973).
It is only with such understanding that urban design as an interdisciplinary activity The relationist theories w e r e developed as a critique of the concept of absolute
can p r o m o t e a c o m m o n discourse between fragmented circles of professions and space. T h e first major opposition was that of y ? i b n i z , ^ w h o J i e l d J l i a t space_merety
disciplines (Madanipour, 1996). consisjgd in relations b e t w e e n non-spatial, mental items (Speake,1979: Smart,1988).
Leibniz s a w space as " t h e order of coexisting things, or the order of existence for all
things that are c o n t e m p o r a n e o u s " (quoted in Bochner,1973: 297). Another major
Dilemmas of space opposition was that of Kant, w h o s a w space as belonging to the subjective
constitution of the m i n d a n d not arT empirical conce^pt d e n v e d T r b m outward__
W e frequently hear a b o u t " s p a c e " , a term that w e use easily and in a variety of experiences (1993] 48--68). W e can s p e a l T o f space only from t h e " h u m a n point of
contexts. W e use it as if the meaning of the term is free from any problems and view. Beyond our subjective condition, " t h e representation of space has no meaning
contradictions, as if w e all agree what space m e a n s . Yet most would be surprised by whatsoever", as it " d o e s not represent any property of objects as things in
the multiplicity of its m e a n i n g if we monitored our own usage of the term. The themselves, nor does it represent them in their relations to each o t h e r " (1993: 52).
Oxford English Dictionary gives n o fewer than 19 meanings for the term, including a Space (and time) " c a n n o t exist in themselves, but only in u s " (1993: 61). From this
" c o n t i n u o u s expanse in w h i c h things exist a n d m o v e " , an " a m o u n t of this taken by viewpoint, therefore, " w h a t we call o u t w a r d objects, are nothing else but mere
a particular thing or available for particular p u r p o s e " , and an "interval between representations of our sensibility, w h o s e form is s p a c e " (1993: 54). Whatever the
points or objects". T h e s e m e a n i n g s reflect s o m e aspects of the term's c o m m o n nature of objects as things in themselves, our understanding is confined to our own
mode of perceiving them, which is peculiar to us. Other relationists have tried to
u n d e r s t a n d i n g as used in daily life. They also illustrate the complexity of the
preserve the reality of space (and time) b y asserting that they are merely relations
concept a n d refer to deeply rooted debates about it, which have been running for a
between physical objects and events and that, therefore, "the container is not
long time.
logically distinct from the things it is said to contain" (Speake,1979:309).

T h e theories of relativity and relationist theories of space are both opposed to the
Absolute and relational space Newtonian concept of absolute space, but, as Smart (1988) argues, it is important to
distinguish them from each other. He believes that some have been misled into
It m a y m a k e sense to start o u r search for approaches to space at the core of the thinking that the theory of relativity supports a relational theory, as the special
social sciences. H o w e v e r , despite the signs of increasing attention (e.g. theory of relativity maintains that lengths and periods of time are relative to frames
G i d d e n s , 1 9 8 4 ; Gottdicnor,1994), so far there has hardly been a strong interest in of reference. On the contrary, both special and general theories of relativity appear
s p a c e b y sociologists. T h i s is clearly reflected in the absence of the term from most to be perfectly c o m p a t i b l e with an absolute theory of space-time. Yet Albert
sociology reference b o o k s (Hoult,1969; Fairchild,1970; Mitchell,1979; Abercrombie, Einstein (1954: xiii-xv) gives us another impression. Ho contrasts the two concepts
Hill & Turner,1984; B o u d o n & Bourricaud,1989; Marshall,1994). Perhaps of relational and absolute space as, " s p a c e as positional quality of the world of
sociologists have seen the concerns about space as metaphysical, as philosophers material objects" versus " s p a c e as container of all material objects" (Figure 1.1). The
h a v e tended to do for a long time. Or perhaps it has been considered to belong to former meaning, h e maintains, is rooted in the concept of place, which w a s older
the realm of natural sciences, as shown in the theories of space in physics. Yet there and easier to grasp: material objects have a place in the world, i.e. a small portion of
is a strong link between the debates about space in philosophy and physics, where the earth's surface or a group of objects. T h e latter is a more abstract meaning,
s p a c e h a s b e e n a long-standing concern (Jammer,1954). seeing space as "unlimited in extent", framing and containing all material objects, a
T h e philosophical d e b a t e s about space in the last three centuries have b e e n concept that Einstein rejected on the basis of field theory and the concept of four-
dimensional s p a c e - t i m e .
d o m i n a t e d b y a d i c h o t o m y b e t w e e n absolute versus relational theories. The theory
6 Design of Urban Space Understanding Urban Space 7

context that focuses on the characteristics of places, a s in the e a r l y travellers'


descriptions of unfamiliar areas (Goodall,1987).
We might ask ourselves whether the d i c h o t o m y b e t w e e n absolute a n d relational
or relative space is a m e r e difference i n the w a y w e s e e t h i n g s , a d i f f e r e n c e w h i c h at
best can be treated as various aspects of a pluralist u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the w o r l d , or
at worst be left aside as a scholastic, metaphysical d e b a t e o n l y g o o d for armchair
theorists. W e might compare the d e b a t e to two w a y s of d e s c r i b i n g the same
phenomenon: a half-filled glass or a half-empty one. A f t e r all, it w a s A l b e r t Einstein
(1954) himself w h o said that both concepts of s p a c e , " a r e free creations of the
human imagination, means devised for easier c o m p r e h e n s i o n of o u r sense
experiences". But w e are quickly r e m i n d e d that m a j o r b a t t l e s h a v e b e e n fought in
natural sciences over the primacy of these two c o n c e p t s o f space. T h i s d e b a t e can be
traced to see h o w it has been p o w e r f u l e n o u g h to i n s p i r e a t r a n s f o r m a t i o n of our
built environments.

Space and mass

The absence of the term space from the sociology r e f e r e n c e b o o k s m a y seem


understandable, considering the a b s e n c e of interest in s p a c e o n t h e part of the
sociologists. But its absence from architectural r e f e r e n c e b o o k s (Hat]'e,1963; Harris
and Lever,1966, 1993; Y a r w o o d , 1 9 8 5 ; P e v s n e r , F l e m i n g & H o n o u r , 1 9 9 1 ; Sharp,1991;
Curl,1992) is quite noticeable. T h e o n l y exception I c o u l d find w a s an old text,
which defined space as "the area at the corner o f a t u r n i n g s t a i r " (Sturgis,1989,
originally published in 1 9 0 1 - 2 ) . This s e e m s to b e s u r p r i s i n g in a discipline where
space is considered b y m a n y of its distinguished m e m b e r s as its e s s e n c e (Zevi,1957;
Giedion,1967; Tschumi,1990). O n e o b v i o u s explanation f o r such a d r a m a t i c absence
F i g u r e 1.1. Is space the container of all the objects we see or is it the positional quality of could be that architects' conception and use of the t e r m space are so clear and
these objects? {Cannes, France) universally accepted a m o n g them that n o need h a s b e e n felt to e x p l a i n a taken-for-
granted term. This simple explanation, h o w e v e r , fades a w a y w h e n we learn that the
T h e distinctions in philosophy a n d physics between absolute a n d relationist term is relatively n e w , in the context of the long h i s t o r y of architecture, and that it
theories can also be f o u n d in geography, even if not always specifically referred to has become a controversial concept in recent d e c a d e s . P e r h a p s it is not in the
(Clark,1985; Small & Witherick,1986). In geography, however, there is a tendency to dictionaries and encyclopaedias that w e should e x p e c t to find a definition of the
u s e t h e term relative space for w h a t philosophy calls relational space, perhaps d u e concept of space in architecture.
to the influence of the theory of relativity. According to J. Blaut (1961), the absolute Tschumi (1990:13) reminds us that there are two a p p r o a c h e s to defining space: the
conceptions of space refer to "a distinct, physical and eminently real or empirical first is "to make space distinct", a n o r m a t i v e dimension in which art and architecture
entity in itself". A generation later, these meanings are still echoed in the definition are concerned; the second is "to state the precise n a t u r e of s p a c e " , a descriptive
of the concept. For e x a m p l e , absolute space has been defined as "clearly distinct, dimension that is the concern of philosophy, m a t h e m a t i c s and physics. It is, of
real, and objective s p a c e " ( M a y h e w & Penny,1992). A b s o l u t e space, o r "contextual course, the enclosure of space, rather than space itself, w h i c h is the focus of attention.
s p a c e " is "a dimension which focuses on the characteristics of things in terms of Bruno Zevi (1957) sees space as the essence of architecture: " T h e f a c a d e s a n d walls of
their concentration a n d dispersion". It is this aspect of space that can be traced back a house, church or palace, no matter h o w beautiful they m a y b e , are only the
to the early map~inakers and their concern with precise measurement of locational container, the box formed by the walls; the content is the internal s p a c e " (1957: 24).
relationships, continued in the contemporary geographer's interest in spatial This is a concept that is still widely accepted. A c c o r d i n g to Van der Laan (1983), for
analysis (Goodall,1987). In contrast, the relative conceptions refer to space as example, architectural space comes into being by t h e e r e c t i o n of two walls, creating a
" m e r e l y a relation b e t w e e n events or an aspect of events, and thus b o u n d to time new s p a c e i n between them, which is separated from t h e natural space a r o u n d them.
and process" (BIaut,1961). It is "perceived b y a person or society" ( M a y h e w & Zevi (1957) follows the s a m e definition for u r b a n s p a c e , w h e r e streets, squares,
P e n n y , 1992). Relative, or " c r e a t e d " s p a c e is perceptual and socially produced, a parks, playgrounds and gardens are all " v o i d s " that h a v e b e e n limited or defined to
Understanding Urban Space 9
8 Design of Urban Space

The concept of architectural space, as "something préexistent and u n l i m i t e d " , "a


create a n _ e n c l o s e d j p a c e . _ " S i n c e e v e r y architectural v o l u m e , every structure of
positive entity within ivhich the traditional categories of tectonic form and surface
walls, constitutes a b o u n d a r y , a p a u s e in the continuity of space, it is clear that
occurred" (Colquhoun, 1989: 225) was probably first formulated b y August
every building functions in the creation o f t w o kinds of space: its internal space,
Schmarsow at the end of the nineteenth century. Ever since this influential
completely defined b y the building itself, and its external or urban space, defined
definition, which is strictly phenomenological and psychological, t h e ideas of
b y that building and the others a r o u n d i t " (Zevi, 1957: 30) (Figure 1.2). In the
continuity, transparency and indeterminacy have been given n e w values
creation of urban space, h o w e v e r , other objects are involved; objects that are not
(Colquhoun,1989: 225).
often identified as architecture, such as bridges, obelisks, fountains, triumphal
The emergence of the idea of space coincided w i t h the first m o v e m e n t of
arches, groups of frees, and the f a c a d e s of buildings. T h e central role that these
modernist architecture, art nouveau (Van de Ven,1993). T o the m o d e r n i s t s , the
objects play is the w a y t h e y enclose^ s p a c e and define it in n e w w a y s . For Zevi,
concept of space, the relations between interlocking spaces, b e c a m e accepted as the
therefore, the essence of architecture " d o e s not lie in the material limitation placed
essence of architecture. Sigfried Giedion (1967) was o n e of the most influential
on spatial freedom, but in the w a y s p a c e is organized into meaningful form through
advocates of m o d e r n i s m and of the concept of space as the essence of architecture.
this process of limitation" (quoted in Scruton,1979: 4 3 ) . T o define space in
He identified three stages in the conception of space throughout the history of
architecture, therefore, m e a n s " t o d e t e r m i n e b o u n d a r i e s " within " a uniformly
architecture. In the first stage, as exemplified in ancient Egypt, S u m e r and Greece,
extended material to be m o d e l l e d in v a r i o u s w a y s " (Tschumi,1990: 1 3 - 1 4 ) .
architectural space was created by the interplay of volumes, paying less attention to
the interior space. In the second stage, which began in the middle of the R o m a n
period, architectural space was synonymous with the hollowed-out space of the
interior. The third stage started at the beginning of the twentieth century with the
abolition of the single view of perspective, which brought about an optical
revolution. T h e profound consequences of this development on our perception of
the architectural and urban space were the appreciation of the " s p a c e - e m a n a t i n g
qualities of free-standing buildings", and finding an affinity with the first, ancient
stage of space conception (Giedion, 1967: Iv-lvi).
This notion of " a n abstract undifferentiated space", however, c a m e u n d e r attack
by the post-modern urban criticism (Colquhoun,1989: 225). Seeing space as "a
uniformly extended 'material' that can be 'modelled' in different w a y s " was
criticized as "naively realistic" (Norberg-Schulz,1971: 12). Critics s a w the limitless,
abstract space as a main feature of the modernist city with its tendency to blow
apart the perceptible urban space. It had become a habit of thought in the modern
city to conceive buildings as "simple-shaped volumes, floating in a sea of ill-formed
space" (Alexander et al.,1987; 67).
The concept of space has been questioned since the 1970s by p o s t - m o d e r n i s t s ,
who have s h o w n a renewed interest in corporeal m a s s and its m e a n i n g s (Van de
Ven,1993). This reflects the long-lasting dilemma b e t w e e n mass and v o i d , between
empirical and conceptual, between real and abstract. It is a d i l e m m a b e t w e e n
physical space, w h i c h can be understood immediately by the senses, a n d mental
space, which n e e d s to be interpreted intellectually. A n example of this challenge to
abstraction is Scruton (1979: 4 3 - 5 2 ) , w h o criticizes the concept of architectural
space on the g r o u n d s that it fails to give an account of all that is interesting in
buildings. In St P a u l ' s , for example, w e can speak a b o u t the " s p a t i a l " grandeur,
but there are also "deliberate and impressive effects of light and s h a d e , of
ornament, texture and m o u l d i n g " . Scruton b e h e y e s that the experience_ of
architecture and its " s p a t i a l " eiïects depends on significant details arid a r g u e s that
F i g u r e 1.2. "Since every arcliitectural volume, every structure of walls, constitutes a the reduction of the effects to space is a misrepresentation of the entire n a t u r e of
boundary, a pause in the continuity of space, it is clear that every building functions in the our experience. H e goes as far as suggesting that the concept of s p a c e " c a n b e
creation of t w o kinds of space: its internal space, completely defined by the building itself, and eliminated from most critical writings which make use of it without any real
its external or urban space, defined by that building and the others around it." (Zevi, 1957: 30). detriment to their m e a n i n g " (Scruton, 1979: 4 8 ^ 9 ) . Despite these criticisms, the
(Turin, Italy)
10 Design of Urban Space
Understanding Urban Space 11

concept of space as the essence of architecture remains p o w e r f u l , and the question city as an epiphenomenon of social functions, resulting in a particular kind of urban
of the relationship b e t w e e n container and contained, b e t w e e n mass a n d s p a c e , an space". In doing so, he takes side with the post-modern critics w h o tend to
o p e n one. dissociate the physical and social space, by concentrating on the f o r m e r as " a n
But what are we to think of this dilemma between m a s s and void in dealing with autonomous formal system" (Colquhoun, 1989: 224).
urban space? Is it not an exaggerated dichotomy in which no one wins? A s w e walk^ T h e relationship between physical and social space, i.e. b e t w e e n form and
in the streets, d o we merely see the people, buildings, pavements, bridges, traffic function in modernist architectural language, has been one of the key t h e m e s of the
lights, signs, etc., and their relationships? Or are we walking in a space that exists post-modern challenge to modernism. The modernist formula, " f o r m follows
independent of these material objects? Does it not m a k e sense to say that in our function", related the social and physical space in a r a t i e r _ _ s i m p l i s t i c _ a n d
walking in the street w e have both a spatial experience, in which enclosures are d e t e r m i n i i t i c ' w a y (Figure 1.3). T h e post-modern' challenge, in contrast, has
different from open spaces and streets are different from squares, and an experience attempted to disengage this relationship and to concentrate on the physical space.
of the material objects which shape or condition this space? W e could argue, then, However, neither the narrow linear way that social and physical spaces were
that mass and void are interrelated and, in our experience, interdependent. After combined in modernist architecture and planning, nor the political escapism
all, o u r interpretation of our environment draws upon o u r sensory impressions as associated with a post-modernist disregard of social space, can b e maintained in a
well as our more formal abstractions. But is this experience sufficient to explain the socially concerned approach to urban environment. In the m e a n t i m e , the divorce
c o m p l e x relationship between human beings, who are agents of transforming space, between physical and social space has widened the gap between architecture and
a n d space and the material objects within it, i.e. the relationship between social and social sciences with their different conceptions of space.
physical space?

Physical and social space


C o l q u h o u n (1989: 223) defines the term urban space in two senses: social space
and^biult space. T h e social space is "the spatial implications of social institutions"
a n d is studied b y sociologists and geographers. This is a viewpoint that tends to
see the physical characteristics of the built environment a s " e p i p h e n o m e n a l " . T h e
built space, on the other hand, focuses on the physical space, "its m o r p h o l o g y , the
w a y it affects our perceptions, the way it is used, and the meanings it can elicit",
w h i c h is the concern of architects. "This v i e w " , C o l q u h o u n maintains, "is subject
to t w o a p p r o a c h e s — t h a t which sees forms as independent of functions, a n d that
w h i c h .sees functions as determining forms". It is in this interconnection of
function and form that the latter perspective tends to approach that of the
g e o g r a p h e r and sociologist. Unlike them, however, " t h e architect is a l w a y s finally
interested in the forms, however these may be thought to be g e n e r a t e d "
( C o l q u h o u n , 1989: 224).
A n example o f this interest in form is the work of R o b Krier (1979a), w h o begins
with an attempt not to introduce new definitions of space but "to bring its original
meaning back into currency" (1979a: 15), a meaning on which, to avoid value
judgement, no aesthetic criteria are imposed. He therefore identifies urban space as
the "external s p a c e " , "all types of space between buildings in towns and other
localities". This is a purely physical space, which is "geometrically b o u n d e d by a
variety of elevations". His analysis of urban space is therefore confined to a
m o r p h o l o g y , enumerating the basic elements of urban space, street and square, and
its basic forms, square, circle and triangle, with a number of possible variations and
combinations.
Colquhoun reasserts the conventional distinction between physical and social
F i g u r e 1.3. The changing function of the buildings over time shows the complexity of the
space by reliance on the role of social functions. H e criticizes the modernist relationship between social and physical space. Designed and built for Fiat car production,
tendency "to take a historicist and relativist view of architecture and to regard the Lingotto is now used for exhibitions and cultural events. {Turin, Italy)
12 Design of Urban Space Understanding Urban Space í 13

Tschumi (1990). Following the Surrealist author Georges Bataille, Tschumi


M e n t a l and real space concentrates on the relationship of concepts and experience in the n o r m a t i v e realm
of architectural theory. He identifies this relationship as the main p a r a d o x of
Another manifestation of the debate between absokite and relational s p a c e is the
architecture. T h e conceptual approach is visualized b y a pyramid, " t h i s ultimate
one b e t w e e n mental a n d real s p a c e concepts. In this debate, real s p a c e , as
model of r e a s o n " (Figure 1.4). In order to state the nature of space, architecture
understood through the senses, is differentiated from h u m a n b e i n g s ' intellectual
becomes dematcrialized, a theoretical concern, in which the modernist avant-garde
interpretations of the world, which create a mental construct.
felt free to act. In this way, the "domination of idea over matter" is eiisured by a
A representation of the dilemma of mental versus real space is m a d e b y B e r n a r d
rational, theoretical approach to understanding and transforming space.

F i g u r e 1.5. Inside the labyrinth, our understanding of space is through immediate


experience. We cannot have an overview of the space beyond. {Isfahan, Iran)

Against this theoretical approach, there is a sensory approach to space. From this
perspective, our experience of space is "a sensuous event". This involves
m o v e m e n t , a m o v e m e n t that creates "a kaleidoscope of changing impressions, of
F i g u r e 1.4. A pyramid is an "ultimate model of reason", transforming space through a
theoretical approach and a rational geometry. {Louvre Museum, Paris, France) transitions b e t w e e n o n e spatial sensation and another" (Porter & G o o d m a n , 1 9 8 8 : 6).
14 Design of Urban Space Understanding Urban Space t 15

Tschumi uses the i m a g e of a labyrinth to represent this experience of space from It appears that this perspective reduces both architectural and cinematic
within (Figure 1.5). F r o m this viewpoint, "space is real, for it seems to affect my experiences to visual experiences, abandoning, in Rattenbury's words, "the last
senses long before m y reason" (Tschumi,1990: 20). This view, that "seeing comes lingering attempt to explore the objective existentialism of the b u i l d i n g " (1994: 36).
before w o r d s " , had b e e n known by Surrealists: " T h e child looks and recognizes As Mallet-Stevens p u t it, "Real life is entirely different, the house is m a d e to live
before it can s p e a k " (Berger,1972: 7). This gap can b e traced in another sense in that, [in], it should first respond to our n e e d s " (quoted in Vidler,1993: 5 6 ) . It is
"It is seeing which establishes our place in the surrounding w o r l d " . Yet there is an important to p r e s e r v e the distance between the imaginary world of film (and by
unsettled relationship between what w e see and what w e know: "Each evening we extension video a n d the cyberspace of computer i m a g e s ) , and the real space of
see the sun set. W e know that the earth is turning a w a y from it. Yet the knowledge, architecture. This is in the face of the trend in which "buildings and their spatial
the explanatioTv, n e v e r quite fits the s i g h t " (Berger, 1972). This gap between words sequences are d e s i g n e d more as illustrations of implied m o v e m e n t s , or worse, as
and seeing, b e t w e e n reason and senses, was vividly portrayed by the Surrealist literal fabrications of the c o m p u t e r ' s eye v i e w " (Vidler,1993: 56). H o w e v e r the gap
painter Magrite in his paintings such as The Key of Dreams. between these t w o spatial arts, as D e a r (1994) argues, can be bridged through the
Within T s c h u m i ' s labyrinth, with its ambiguities and dark corners, we cannot socio-spatial dialectic that the spatial science of geography offers. T h i s can be
have an overview of the space around us. T h e only w a y to relate to it is through achieved b y understanding the shared purpose of architecture and film, i.e. "to
immediate experience of space with the help of our senses, an empirical forge new t i m e - s p a c e relationships", and that they share in " d i s t a n c i n g " , i.e. the
understanding of real space. Therefore, the paradox of architecture, according to distance b e t w e e n the observer and the observed and between the author and the
Tschumi, is the "impossibility of questioning the nature of space and at the same representation, a l l o w i n g the difference to be explored and recognized (Dear, 1994:
time making or experiencing a real s p a c e " . It is a paradox between rationalist and 13-14).
empiricist approaches to space. A s he puts it, " W e cannot experience and think that Sack (1980) a r g u e d , within a geographical frame of reference, that discussions
we experience"; it then follows that, " t h e concept of space is not in s p a c e " (Tschumi, about the duality between ideal and real space should be broadened to encompass
1990: 27). The only w a y out of this d i l e m m a , he maintains, is to shift the concept of the differences in our understanding of space. The meanings of space are differenj^
architecture t o w a r d s the building development process, as exemplified b y the work because our p e r c e p t i o n ^ a n d ^ s c r i p i i o n i a i i h e ] ^ ! ^ a m o n g things
of Henri Lefebvre. In this way, the philosophical gap between ideal space, which is are~aifferent in different situati concepts of space, he sees
an outcome of mental processes, and real space, which is produced b y social praxis, both the absolute and relational aspects of space as its obje(rtTve~meanlngs,
can be bridged. S p a c e is created in a historical process that produces and conditions distinctive from subjective approaches to space. His broadened outlook includes the
both ideal and real aspects of space. Yet Tschumi hesitates to go along this route to aesthetic, the child's view, the practical, the mythical-magical, and the societal
bridge the gap. Instead, he prefers to treat physical space and the events and views of space. T o explore the interrelationship of these conceptions, he relies on
functions within it separately. T h e r e is a disjimction between these two, between two sets of distinctions to build u p a general framework: distinction between
physical and social space, which he s e e m s eager to retain. objective and subjective and b e t w e e n substance and space. He then identifies two
A n interesting e x a m p l e of the relationship b e t w e e n mental and real space can broad patterns: o n e in which these distinctions occur (sophisticated-fragmented)
b e found in architecture and film, t w o spatial arts w h o s e often asymmetrical and one in w h i c h they are absent (unsophisticated-fused), signifying their
relationship ( D e a r , 1 9 9 4 ) has been w i d e l y discussed (Vidler,1993; Toy,1994). What differences in their different use of symbols.
:5 generally held to link them is that, " T h e actual experience of architectural space Soja (1989:123) is not convinced by Sack's approach to space, which he classifies
by an observer w i t h i n that space h a s m a n y similarities to the v i e w e r ' s perception as neo-Kantian, a n d criticizes it as divorced from materialized social realities. Soja
of a chosen s e q u e n c e within a f i l m " ( T o y , ! 9 9 4 : 7 ) . W h e r e a s the former invites the identifies two c o n c e p t s of space: the first is the physical space of material nature,
observer to participate in its spatial narration, the latter's narrator tells "spatial under which he (wrongly) classifies the classical debates about absolute versus
stories" ( 0 ' H e r l i h y , 1 9 9 4 : 9 0 ) . It is in this transition, f r o m m o v e m e n t in real space relative theories (Soja, 1989: 120). T h e second concept (which is indeed the
to m o v e m e n t in i m a g i n a r y space, that Eisenstein, writing in the late 1930s, relational c o n c e p t ) is the mental space of cognition and representation, which
identified architecture as the film's ancestor. H e m a p p e d the t w o contrasting includes the a t t e m p t s to explore the personal meaning and symboUc contents of
p a t h s of the " s p a t i a l e y e " : the " c i n e m a t i c " , w h e r e there are "diverse impressions mental m a p s and landscape i m a g e r y . He then, following Lefebvre, introduces a
passing in front of an i m m o b i l e s p e c t a t o r " ; and the "architectural", where "the third concept of social space and a r g u e s that one of the most formidable challenges
spectator m o v e d t h r o u g h a series of carefully d i s p o s e d p h e n o m e n a which he to c o n t e m p o r a r y social theory is to define the interconnections of these three
absorbed in o r d e r with his visual s e n s e " (quoted in Vidler,1993: 5 6 ) . It is this spaces.
proximity that h a s inspired designers such as Jean Nouvel, for whom Soja's analysis, similar to T s c h u m i ' s (1990) and partly Dear's (1994), draws upon
" A r c h i t e c t u r e exists, like c i n e m a , in the d i m e n s i o n s of time and m o v e m e n t . One the powerful analysis of social space by the philosopher Henri Lefebvre, whose
conceives a n d r e a d s a b u i l d i n g in t e r m s of s e q u e n c e s . T o erect a building is to work, as outlined in his major w o r k The Production of Space (1991), has influenced
predict and seek effects of contrast and linkage through which one passes" both modernist and post-modernist interpretations. While Lefebvre offers us ways
(quoted in R a t t e n b u r y , 1 9 9 4 : 3 5 ) . of bridging the g a p between mental and real space, however, he introduces another
16 Design of Urban Space Understanding Urban Space 17

d i l e m m a : between differential and abstract s p a c ^ a dilemma that lies at the heart commodification, w h i c h is f u n d a m e n t a l to the analysis of capitalist order, is
of the post-modernism versus modernism debate. extended to space to entangle the physical m i l i e u in the productive s y s t e m of
capitalism as a w h o l e . H e further a r g u e d that the organization of e n v i r o n m e n t and
society, and t h e l a y o u t j 3 f J a w r L S _ a n d . r e g i o n s , . a r , e J l l d j p e r ^ the production of
Abstract and differential space space a n d its role in the r e p r o d u c t i o n of the s o c i o - e c o n o m i c forrruition. David
Harvey (1982, 1985a^b)~FoIIows L e f e b v r e By e l a b o r a t i n g on this commodification
Lefebvre's starting point is the gap between mental a n d real space. H e criticizes the process, outlining t h e contradictions w i t h i n the p r i m a r y circuit of capital, w h e r e the
trend in modern epistemology, and its predecessors in philosophical thought, capitalist p r o d u c t i o n process takes place. H e r e the drive to create surplus value by
w h i c h see space as a " m e n t a l thing" or a "mental p l a c e " . H e directs his criticism competing capitalists leads to o v e r - a c c u m u l a t i o n . T h i s b e c o m e s manifest in the
especially towards semiology, the systematic study of signs, which is " a n over-production o f c o m m o d i t i e s , w i t h falling prices a n d surpluses o f labour and
incomplete body of k n o w l e d g e " : capital. Trying to o v e r c o m e the contradictions, these extra resources are switched
into a s e c o n d a r y circuit o f capital, w h e r e i n v e s t m e n t is m a d e in the built
Wlien codes worked up from literary texts are applied to spaces—to urban spaces, say—we environment, creating a w h o l e physical l a n d s c a p e for the p u r p o s e s o f production,
remain, as may easily be sfiown, on the purely descriptive level. Any attempt to use such codes as circulation, e x c h a n g e a n d c o n s u m p t i o n . T h e r e is also a switch o f flows to the
means of deciphering social space must surely reduce that space itself to the status of a message, tertiary circuit o f capital w h e r e i n v e s t m e n t is channelled to research and
and the inhabiting of it to the status of a reading. This is to evade both history and practice."
development a n d to i m p r o v e m e n t o f t h e l a b o u r force. H o w e v e r , the switch is
(Lefebvre, 1991: 7)
cyclical, d u e to the cyclical nature o f o v e r - a c c u m u l a t i o n , a n d t e m p o r a r y , d u e to the
crisis rising f r o m o v e r - i n v e s t m e n t i n t h e built e n v i r o n m e n t . T h e implications of
In its original context o f linguistics and literary theory, this criticism h a s been
these contradictions for the s p a c e s created u n d e r capitalism are, therefore,
similarly raised against semiology, or semiotics, which coincides and overlaps with
devaluation o f structures to b e p u t to u s e later a n d t h e destruction of the existing
structuralism. F o r structuralists, as Eagleton (1983: 109) puts it, "there w a s no
landscapes to o p e n u p fresh r o o m for a c c u m u l a t i o n .
question of relating t h e w o r k to the realities of which it treated, or to the conditions
w h i c h produced it, or to the actual readers w h o studied it, since the founding Lefebvre identifies a triad o f p e r c e i v e d , c o n c e i v e d a n d lived spaces a s the "three
gesture of structuralism h a d been to bracket off such realities". Structuralism held moments of social s p a c e " , w h i c h h a v e dialectical interrelationships (Lefebvre, 1991:
that "Reality w a s not reflected b y language but produced b y i t " (1983: 108), a n d as 3 8 ^ 0 ) . T h e first m o m e n t is spatial practice, w h i c h refers to the w a y space is
such, it was "hair-raisingly unhistorical" (1983: 109). organized a n d u s e d . U n d e r n e o c a p i t a l i s m , spatial practice " e m b o d i e s a close
Lefebvre's a i m w a s to confront this shortcoming b y contextualizing semiology, association, w i t h i n perceived space, b e t w e e n d a i l y reality (daily routine) a n d urban
on t h e o n e h a n d , a n d b y introducing subjectivity into the political a n d economic reality (the routes a n d n e t w o r k s w h i c h link u p the places set aside for work,
understanding, on the other: in other words, b y integrating mental space into its 'private' life a n d l e i s u r e ) " . T h e s e c o n d m o m e n t is representations of space, which
social a n d physical contexts. H e argues that these dimensions of space—mental, refers to the " c o n c e p t u a l i z e d space, t h e s p a c e o f scientists, planners, urbanists,
physical a n d social—should not b e kept separate, and sets out to formulate a technocratic s u b d i v i d e r s a n d social e n g i n e e r s " . T h i s is " t h e d o m i n a n t space in a n y
" u n i t a r y t h e o r y " of space. A "unitary t h e o r y " that brought together the physical society", tending " t o w a r d s a s y s t e m o f verbal ( a n d therefore intellectually worked
space of nature, the mental space of logical and formal abstractions, a n d the out) signs". T h e third m o m e n t is that o f representational space, " s p a c e as directly
practico-sensory realm o f social space. In his attempt, h e was partly inspired b y the lived through its associated i m a g e s a n d s y m b o l s , a n d h e n c e the space o f
search in physics for unity, where space, time and energy are interlinked; a n d b y 'inhabitants' a n d ' u s e r s ' " , a s p a c e u n d e r s t o o d through non-verbal means.
Surrealists, w h o h a d b e e n searching for a junction between the inner and the outer Representational s p a c e is " t h e d o m i n a t e d — a n d h e n c e passively e x p e r i e n c e d —
w o r l d s of h u m a n beings. space", overlapping physical space a n d m a k i n g s y m b o l i c use of its objects. Lefebvre
T o bridge the traditional duality between real a n d mental space, Lefebvre argues that these three m o m e n t s s h o u l d b e i n t e r c o n n e c t e d , as w a s the case in the
introduces the concept of social space, the space of social life, of social and spatial Western t o w n s f r o m the Italian R e n a i s s a n c e t o t h e nineteenth century (Figure 1.6).
practice. H e then uses the Hegelian notion of production to arrive at a unitary The historical s p a c e of the city, h o w e v e r , w a s t a k e n over b y the abstract space, " t h e
theory of space. Social space, he argues, is a social product. Every society, and m o d e space of bourgeoisie a n d of c a p i t a l i s m " (Lefebvre, 1 9 9 1 : 57), which a p p r o a c h e d the
of production, produces its o w n space. It is only through such understanding that natural, historical a n d religio-political sphere negatively. T h e p r e d o m i n a n c e of
the duality between mental and real space can be confronted. It is this production abstract space m e a n s "that the place o f social s p a c e a s a whole has b e e n usurped b y
process that should b e the object of interest, rather than things in space, although a part of that s p a c e " (Lefebvre, 1 9 9 1 : 5 2 ) . T o confront this, a n e w space, a
b o t h process and product are inseparable. "differential s p a c e " , will need to e m e r g e , " b e c a u s e , inasmuch as abstract space
tends towards h o m o g e n e i t y , t o w a r d s the e l i m i n a t i o n .of..existing differences..oj
T h e concept of the production of space has a central role in Lefebvre's thinking,
pecTilianties,^^^ a n e w space cannot be_ born^ (produced) unless it accentuates
" s p a c e as a social a n d political product, space as a product that one buys a n d sells"
differences" (Lefebvre," 1991)."
(quoted in Bürgel et al.,1987 : 2 9 - 3 0 ) . It w a s based on the notion that
18 Design of Urban Space Understanding Urban Space 19

bureaucratization. B y widening the s c o p e of reason, h e argues for a rationally


constructed, c o m m u n i c a t i v e action b e t w e e n individuals, w h i c h enables everyday
life to resist such penetration. A c c o r d i n g to G i d d e n s (1984), the d i c h o t o m y
between structures and individuals is the central p r o b l e m of social theory, as
reflected in functionalism and structuralism on the o n e h a n d , and h e r m e n e u t i c s
and the various forms of interpretive sociology on the other. A s h e rightly
observes, h o w e v e r , the difference b e t w e e n the t w o v i e w s can be e x a g g e r a t e d
(Giddens, 1989: 7 0 4 - 5 ) . He argues (Giddens, 1984) that social structures, as
recursively organized sets of rules a n d resources, refer to structural properties of
social systems. T h e structures, w h o s e transmutation or continuity leads to
reproduction of social systems, are not external to individuals a n d exert
constraining as well as enabling p o w e r s upon them. T h e r e is a process of " d o u b l e
involvement" of individuals and institutions: " w e create society at the s a m e time
as we are created b y it" (Giddens, 1 9 8 2 : 1 4 ) .
Urban sociologist Mark Gottdiener (1994), following Lefebvre, argues that
reconciling political economy with everyday life c o m p e n s a t e s for the shortcomings
of the two predominant approaches to urban analysis, h u m a n ecology and political
economy. H u m a n ecology appreciates the role of locations in social interaction, but
theoretically does not develop this role and approaches social processes by
adopting one-dimensional and technologically deterministic explanations. Political
economy, on the other hand, offers a better understanding of the social processes
that produce urban space, but is limited in that it treats space as a container of
economic activities and ignores the importance of spatial relations. U r b a n socio-
semiotics (Gottdiener & Lagopoulos,1986) is o n e interpretation of this
reconciliation: relating semiotics to a concrete context through social processes. An
example is to see h o w successfully shopping malls h a v e translated commercial
interests into new^urten^Torms (Gcjtfd^^ of
F i g u r e 1 . 6 . Lefebvre argued that before the twentieth century, the ways in which space was urbahism (1994) thus brings together three aspects of the semiotics of place: the way
perceived, conceived and lived were interconnected. {Oxford, UK) environments are understood, through mental m a p p i n g and urban socio-semiotic
analysis^Jhe p a t t e r n s j ) f j ) ^ ^
L e f e b v r e ' s first t a s k , therefore, is to b r i n g together objective and subjective and its associated sociaLnetsmaiks.—
u n d e r s t a n d i n g s of s p a c e by tracing t h e m botli back to the process in which space A second, but closely linked with the first, task in Lefebvre's project is to argue
is p r o d u c e d . H e q u e s t i o n s the vaHdity of a n y u n d e r s t a n d i n g of space that is not for differential space, for the "right to be different" (1991: 64). Difference in the city
r o o t e d in the p o h t i c a l e c o n o m y of its production. At the s a m e time, to strike a is as old as the city itself, as it was k n o w n from the ancient times that, in Aristotle's
b a l a n c e w i t h the p o l i t i c a l e c o n o m y of space production, h e resorts to everyday life, words, " A city is composed of different men; similar people cannot bring a city into
a " p e r s p e c t i v e " that, as Maffesoli (1989a,b) explains, is set to address the existence" (quoted in Sennett,1994: 13). Especially since the nineteenth century and
s u b j e c t i v e , and i n t e r s u b j e c t i v e , aspects of social life, w h i c h have been undermined the unprecedented growth of cities, the issue of difference and diversity has become
b y the traditional e m p h a s i s of social sciences on objective understanding. A s such, a central feature of urban life. In his theory of urbanism, for example, Louis Wirth
it is a critical r e s p o n s e to the "crisis of totalizing classical sociologies" (1964: 69) saw heterogeneity, along with population size and density, as a
( B o v o n e , 1 9 8 9 : 4 2 ) , a n d b r i n g s into attention the i m p o r t a n c e of meaning and determining feature of the city. E m p h a s i s on heterogeneity of urban life is evident
d i f f e r e n c e in s o c i a l inquiry. A n u m b e r of a p p r o a c h e s h a v e attempted to in the discussions about strangers in the city, which have occupied a prominent
i n c o r p o r a t e the e v e r y d a y life p e r s p e c t i v e into the w i d e r perspectives of social place in sociological inquiries, to the extent that city life has been seen as a world of
p r o c e s s e s , as e x e m p l i f i e d b y Alfred S c h u t z (1970), w h o b r o u g h t together sociology strangers (Karp, Stone & Yoels,1991).
a n d p h e n o m e n o l o g y , a n d J ü r g e n H a b e r m a s (1987), w h o outlined the relationship There is no simple, deterministic relationship b e t w e e n social, psychological and
b e t w e e n s y s t e m s a n d lifeworld. H a b e r m a s , for e x a m p l e , separates everyday life physical dimensions of space. T h e overarching formula of the modern movements
f r o m the s y s t e m s of m o n e y a n d p o w e r , stressing that these systems tend to in architecture, " f o r m follows function", attempted to show such a direct
penetrate and colonize everyday life through monetarization and deterministic relation. According to this normative formula, the social dimension of
20 Design of Urban Space
Understanding Urban Space 21

space, its functions, should determine its physical form. T h e attempt to integrate the the objects could b e seen simultaneously from several points of \'iew. In this
social and physical dimensions of space, or in other w o r d s to contextualize the approach, the Cubists introduced a principle that, a c c o r d i n g to G i e d i o n (1967: 4 3 6 ) ,
physical space into h u m a n practices, is an important step in our understanding of is "intimately b o u n d u p with m o d e r n life — s i m u l t a n e i t y " . T h e F u t u r i s t s also
s p a c e . W e cannot identify our e n v i r o n m e n t as an unrelated collection of material attempted to enlarge the conventional optical vision b y i n t r o d u c i n g j n o v e m e n t _ i n ^
objects, as exemplified in the tendency to equate cities with their buildings. O n the their-paintings-and^archttectural d r a w i n g s ; ' a ^ b e s r ' s K o w n in A n t o n i o S a n t ' E l i a ' s
other hand, we cannot understand our space as merely a container of social projcctTor h i i "Città N u o v a " , in which high-rise a p a r t m e n t s are c o n n e c t e d by
relations without a physical dimension. In their attempts to introduce space into various means of movement at different levels (Figure 1.7). T h i s w a s an i m a g e
social theory, some geographers s e e m to have moved towards a concept of non- vividly portrayed later in Fritz L a n g ' s film Metropolis. C i n e m a , as " t h e m o d e r n i s t art
physical, mental space, which is merely a by-product of social relations, and which of space par excellence", offered an exciting opportunity for i n c o r p o r a t ì n g t i m e into
w e can understand only through verbal means, denying the non-verbal forms of space (Vidler,1993; 4 6 ) . As early a s 1912, Abel G a n c e w a s f a s c i n a t e d b y "that
understanding with which we relate to our space. At any point in time, our admirable synthesis of the m o v e m e n t of space and t i m e " (quoted in V i d l e r , 1993),
conceptualization of space will need to focus on both its physical and social which was made possible by film. In 1920, Scheffauer w r o t e of " t h i s p h o t o g r a p h i c
dimensions. The physical space that w e perceive, create and use is embedded in our c o s m o s " giving birth to a fourth dimension; " S p a c e — hitherto c o n s i d e r e d and
daily practices and it is through charting the process of its making that we can treated as something dead and static, a mere inert screen or f r a m e , o f t e n of n o m o r e
understand this environment. Inherent in the notion of making is the relationship of significance than the painted balustrade-background at the village p h o t o g r a p h e r ' s
space with time. — has been smitten into life, into m o v e m e n t and c o n s c i o u s e x p r e s s i o n " ( q u o t e d in
Vid!er,1993; 4 6 - 4 7 ) .

Space and time


T h e w a y that we use w o r d s and expressions that describe space (e.g. short or long,
thereafter, always and before) in order to indicate periods of time shows that space
w a s probably an object of consciousness before time (jammer,1954: 3 - 4 ) . In the
English language, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the term " s p a c e " has
had, at least since around 1300, both temporal and spatial meanings. Until the
m
beginning of this century, these two senses of the word had always been separately
conceptualized. Space and time were, however, both dominated by one c o m m o n
paradigm; "the mathematical linear c o n t i n u u m " (Bochner,1973: 301).
Ever since the development of the special and general theories of relativity, the
separate concepts of space and time h a v e increasingly been approached as a
combined concept of s p a c e - t i m e (Smart,1988). According to Hermann Minkowski,
w h o suggested the concept in 1908, s p a c e - t i m e is a four-dimensional continuum,
w h i c h unites the three dimensions of space with one of time (Winn, 1975; 297).
Every object, therefore, must not only have length, width and height, but also
duration in time. Albert Einstein, w h o incorporated this concept into his special
theory of relativity, contended that, as opposed to the Newtonian theory, a
separation of space and time in an absolute w a y is not possible, but is relative to a
choice of a coordinate system. " T h e universe of four dimensions includes space
with all of its events and objects as well as time with its changes and m o t i o n s "
(Winn,1975; 297).
There were parallels to this conception of s p a c e - t i m e in art and architecture, by
concentrating on movement within space. T h e Cubists, for example, used the concept
of the fourth dimension by moving round their objects, rather than trying to
represent them from a static viewpoint. T h e y offered a n e w conception of space by
enlarging the way space is perceived. By breaking from the Renaissance
perspective, which presented objects in three dimensions, the Cubists added a
F i g u r e 1.7. An early example of integrating high-rise buildings and movement at different
fourth dimension of time. They v i e w e d objects relatively, dissecting them so that levels in urban space, offering a new experience of space and time. (Chicago, USA)
22 Design of Urban Space Understanding Urban Space 23

T h e s e appreciations of movement, as a representation of the f o u r t h ciimension, between this interpretation in social and aesthetic understanding and that of the
were to be used in the f a m o u s Charter of Athens in 1933. H e r e m o v e m e n t is seen as theory of relativity. In the latter, the space and time become interdependent at scales
o n e of the main four functions of the m o d e r n city (Sert,1944); o n e that, as w e h a v e .md speeds beyond our limited scope and slow pace of daily experience and beyond
n o w experienced, was most instrumental in the transformation o f the built our even slower social and historical processes. The w a y we can meaningfully
environment during the past 50 years. T o free the m o v e m e n t p a t t e r n s w i t h i n the introduce the fourth dimension of time into space is by concentrating on the process
city and to break with the Renaissance optical perspective, the m o d e r n i s t s a i m e d to of its evolution and change. FoUo^ving the way space has been niade and transformed
abolish the urban streets. " T o d a y w e m u s t deal with the city f r o m a n e w aspect, allow us to add a fourth dimension to our spatial understanding. On the one
dictated by the advent of the automobile, based on technical c o n s i d e r a t i o n s , and hand, we will need to study space in the context of the political and economic
belonging to the artistic vision born out of our period — s p a c e - t i m e " ( G i e d i o n , 1967; processes that have produced it. On the other hand, by seeing space as an outcome of,
822). T h e outcome was high-rise buildings set within m o v e m e n t n e t w o r k s , allowing < and a contributor to, the daily practices that constitute social relations, we can
people to experience space while m o v i n g around the buildings. broaden our spatial understanding to incorporate the fourth dimension. The lived
The dramatic transformation that this viewpoint brought to the cities has been experience of space is one in which time is inherent. The question to ask is whether
criticized by a generation of post-modern commentators. Trancik (1986), for example, there are any fixities in this dynamic conception of space.
referred to the vast open spaces thus created as "lost s p a c e s " . There w e r e attempts to
introduce movement into our understanding of space without a call for radical
transformation of space, as exemplified b y Gordon CuUen's "serial v i s i o n " (1971). Space and place
Furthermore, there are those who have not been convinced that the four-dimensional
notion of space can have any scientific basis in, or usefulness for, architectural design Whereas space is seen as an open, abstract expanse, place is part of space that is
(Cowan,1973; Scruton,1979). After all, as Sack (1980) reminds us, at the geographical occupied b y a p e r s o n or a thing and is endowed with meaning and value
(and architectural) scale, physical space is still seen as the familiar three-dimensional (Goodall,1987; M a y h e w & Penny,1992). It is the interaction of people with this
space of Euclidean geometry. This is in line with a s i m u l t a n e o u s u s e of the immediate e n v i r o n m e n t that gives it characteristics distinct from those of the
Newtonian, absolute space and the relative space-time in various branches of surrounding areas (Clark,1985). Place is a centre of "felt v a l u e " , associated with
scientific inquiry according to their area of involvement (Bochner,1973). security and stability, where biological needs are met. This is in contrast to the
Yet the space-time concept, in which the duration in time is i n c l u d e d , and the openness and f r e e d o m of the undifferentiated space. 2f^gaceJs_aUowingjiMm:ilient
dynamism that this fourth dimension brings to space, continues to b e attractive to to occur, place p r o v i d e s a pause. H o w e v e r , despite this contrast between place and
architects (Van de Ven,1993) and to geographers (Massey,1994) alike. A " r e d i s c o v e r y " space, between security and freedom,' the meanings of the two concepts often
of the concept of space-time may be attributed to the denial of s o m e social scientists merge, requiring each other for their definition, as " w e are attached to the one and
of the relevance of space in social processes. In the nineteenth century, a century long for the o t h e r " (Tuan,1977; 3 - 6 ) .
obsessed with history, "space was treated as the dead, the fixed, the undialectical, the The notion of place as an enclosed particular space with fixed identities and
i m m o b i l e " (Foucault, quoted in Soja,1989;10, as if himself quoting Scheffauer). meanings has b e e n challenged as lacking dynamism. It is through social
Reasserting the role of space in social theory remains one of the main preoccupations relationships and not the qualities of a piece of land that places are defined. "The
of the contemporary period. Foucault, with his well-known "spatialized thinking" reality of a p l a c e " , therefore, "is always open, making its deterniination an
(Flynn,1994), intended to prove the fundamental importance of space in " a n y form of inherently social p r o c e s s " (Logan & Molotch,1987: 47). Critics have stressed that
c o m m u n a l life" and "any exercise of p o w e r " (FoucauIt,1993:168). By seeing space as a associated with the staticJiaturc^o£.place,iirejittentjcm
social product, as "constituted out of relations", the spatial b e c o m e s social relations reactÌ9na]5IjDÌiHc^(Harvey,19^^ Massey (1994) argues that the nationalist,
"stretched out". There is, however, a d y n a m i s m in social relations, w h i c h needs to be regionalist and localist claims to exclusive places, and those who identify places as
extended to spatial analysis. It is here that the concept of s p a c e - t i m e is employed to "sites of nostalgia", as well as the critics of locaUty studies in geography, are all
allow such dynamism to be introduced into socio-spatial relations. A s Soja points out, resting their cases on a static view of place. They all conceptualize place as timeless
we should not intend "to replace historicism with an equally s u b s u m p t i v e spatialism, and b o u n d e d , with a singular, fixed and unproblematic, authentic identity. Massey,
but to achieve a more appropriate trialectical balance in which neither spatiality, however, a r g u e s that if the d y n a m i s m of the concept of space-time is employed,
historicity, nor sociality is interpretively privileged a priori" (1993: 115). T h e central place can be u n d e r s t o o d as open a n d porous. Place becomes a moment in the
argument in the approach to space therefore b e c o m e s to conceptualize space network of ever-changing social relations at all scales. T h e identity of a place is a
integrally with time (Massey,1994: 2). particular mix of social relations, hence always becoming "luifixed, contested and
There is no doubt that this interpretation can be as appealing to us t o d a y as it was multiple". T h e particularity of a place, she maintains, is "constructed not by placing
to the avant-garde artists at the beginning of this century. W e m a y h a v e a different boimdaries around it and defining its identity through counterposition to the other
outlook now, but we are equally fascinated by the freshness of the extraordinary w'hich lies b e y o n d , but precisely (in part) through the specificity of the mix of Knks
perspectives that it opens up. Yet w e will have to b e aware of the distinctions and interconnections to that "beyond'" (Massey, 1994: 5).
24 Design of Urban Space Understanding Urban Space 25

F i g u r e 1.9. The slow process of change in the peripheral regions means a more stable
relationship between people and space and more fixed identities. {Zavareh, Iran)

Conflict and contrast often find forms of manifestation other than a rapid c h a n g e
F i g u r e 1.8. The centre of a world city is often a fast-moving place, with a multiplicity of
of socio-spatial identities. Here a place may have a more fixed, but far from
identities and a potential for plurality. {Paris, France) dead, meaning. T h e slow pace of change here means a slower pace of identity
change and a m o r e coherent set of relations between social and physical space.
This m a y mean a perpetuation of various forms of exploitation and inequality. This
Conceptualization of place as a contested space with multiple identities offers a
is w h y a nostalgic view of this apparent socio-spatial coherence needs to be
d y n a m i s m in our understanding of places. It allows us to grasp the diversity and
balanced with a critical stance towards its component parts, to prevent a simplistic,
difference of particular spaces within themselves a n d in relation to their larger
static view of a given circumstance. O n the other h a n d , as Herman (1982) has
contexts. It s h o w s h o w to contextualize, without fixing, the characteristics of a
skilfully shown, socio-spatial d y n a m i s m , resulting from the dislocation and ever-
place. Richard Sennett (1995: 15) convincingly argues that "Place-making based on
shifting configurations of the modernization processes, can be painful and
exclusion, s a m e n e s s , or nostalgia is socially poisonous, and psychologically
disruptive.
u s e l e s s " , and asks for the u s e o f " m o r e diverse, denser, impersonal human
c o n t a c t s " in place-making. There are, however, limits to the fluidity and flexibility There is little d o u b t that à dynamic conception of place would more realistically
that this m o d e l offers. Its d y n a m i s m can be limited w h e n the variety of speed of represent the multiplicity of social practices and identities. There w o u l d be,
c h a n g e in various locations around the world is studied. T h e centre of a world city however, fixities at a n y point in time, as change takes place over time in relation to
is often a fast-moving place, with a multiplicity of identities and a potential for the existing frames of reference. These are frames that would inevitably change but
plurality and therefore fragmentation of social relations. This befits a large not all at once. T h e identities of places, therefore, will be defined and redefined
concentration of people and the headquarters of political and economic decision- constantly in relation to constant changes in historical time. This conceptualization
m a k e r s (Figure 1.8). T h e same, h o w e v e r , cannot be said about the remote villages explains why individuals are capable of making decisions in spite of their constant
o f peripheral countries, w h e r e people and places h a v e hardly been touched by change of circumstances.
m o d e r n technology and b y commodification processes (Figure 1.9). Here the speed W e should also b e aware of the difficulties in conceptualizing place as a
of change is slower and the dialectical d y n a m i s m of the metropolis is absent. decentred locality. Following the arguments that see the human subject as
26 Design of Urban Space Understanding Urban Space 27

decentred, as a site for the interaction of external currents, place m a y b e seen as one in the balance of interest in physical and social space has been a significant feature
such decentred site. H u m a n beings a n d places can b o t h b e seen a s sites for the in the d e v e l o p m e n t of human geography. N o w , it s e e m s , space, as well as Hme, is
interaction of diverse social processes. This approach s e e m s to r e d u c e t h e physical treated by s o m e geographers as an all-embracing concept, an almost invisible
and social dimensions of space (and of human beings) to a d i s c o u r s e at an dimension to w h i c h n o overt reference needs to b e made: "Given that everything
intellectual level, w h e r e our k n o w l e d g e is achieved b y abstract p r o c e s s e s and e.xists in space as well as time, there is no m o r e reason to doubt that it has a
discourses, rather than concentrating o n the lived experiences. A r g u i n g against .-eographical d i m e n s i o n " ( D i a m o n d , quoted in Richards,1995). However, Johnston
basing knowledge on linguistics, Lefebvre draws our attention to t h e connection argues that to p r o m o t e the study of place, which is central to geography, the
between the abstract body, which is simply understood as "a m e d i a t i o n b e t w e e n fragmentation of the discipline must be restrained in order to bring specialists
'subject' and 'object'", and another b o d y , " a practical a n d fleshy b o d y c o n c e i v e d of together (Johnston,1991: 253).
a totality complete with spatial qualities (symmetries, a s y m m e t r i e s ) a n d energetic The evolution of architecture has also seen the development of a gap between
properties (discharges, economies, w a s t e ) " (Lefebvre,1991: 6 1 ) . A l t h o u g h it is social and physical space. Designers look at space to shape it, tending to be practical
potentially misleading to compare h u m a n agency w i t h space, a s i m i l a r argimient and normative in their study of space. F o r e x a m p l e . Porter & G o o d m a n (1988; 6-7)
might apply to place, where a physical stock exists w i t h all its s o c i a l a n d spatial begin their introductory text to design with a brief description of the way our senses
qualities and which, despite its o p e n n e s s to constant change, reasserts its material perceive the space around us. This is immediately followed by an example of how
totality and interconnections at any m o m e n t in time. W h e n v i e w e d in its social space is being manipulated in oriental gardens in relation to our sensory
context and through its production process, space c a n h a v e multiple identities a n d | experiences. A n o t h e r example is C o l q u h o u n (1989), w h o sets out to outline the
yet be embedded in particular circumstances. twentieth century concepts of urban space. In explaining these concepts, however,
the narrative concentrates on w h a t the designers h a v e wished the city space to be,
rather than analysing the results of urban transformation. This is especially
Space and specialization apparent w h e n post-modern criticisms are introduced. In design writing,
knowledge a n d practice are tightly related, so that at times they are used
In social sciences, there has been a process of structuration of disciplines in the post- interchangeably a n d difficult to distinguish.
war period. It evolved from w h e n " m a n y w i n d o w s [were] looking out o n the same S T h e architects of the modern m o v e m e n t approached cities in a rather coherent
landscape" to when " T h e social sciences cut u p the l a n d s c a p e and f o u n d a series of and c o m p r e h e n s i v e way. These designers saw their space as an integrated one, in
different aspects — shapes of w i n d o w s and kinds of lighting — to g a z e at their
specific segment". This, although exciting at the beginning, led to rigidities and
parochiaUsm, where "Paradigms b e c a m e narrow-vision looking g l a s s e s w h i c h miss
a wide range of p h e n o m e n a " (Dahrendorf,1995: 5 - 7 , 1 2 ) . T h e same d e v e l o p m e n t can
be traced in spatial arts and sciences, w h e r e specialization has c a u s e d a collapse of ^
communication and restricted visions.
T h e disciplines involved in the study of space h a v e witnessed a g r o w i n g gap
between their interests in physical and social dimensions of space, a g a p that has
made it increasingly more difficult for cross-disciplinary c o m m u n i c a t i o n . T h e
general process of evolution of geography, for e x a m p l e , has seen t h e separation of
h u m a n geography from physical geography. Associated with this -ividening gap has
been an increased emphasis on cognitive and social space, as distinct f r o m physical
space. Interest in the physical characteristics of the built e n v i r o n m e n t , w h i c h was
expressed in early regional geography and urban m o r p h o l o g y , h a s diminished
sharply (Johnston,1991). Closely related to this loss of interest in p h y s i c a l space,
there has been a rising enthusiasm for studying the relations b e t w e e n social
processes and space. For many sub-areas of human geography, interest in physical
space remains minimal. In " n e w " cultural geography, as M c D o w e l l (1994) notes, a
revival of interest in the study of landscape is a major trend, as e x e m p l i f i e d by the
work of Dennis Cosgrove (Cosgrove,1984,1985; C o s g r o v e & D a n i e l s , 1 9 8 8 ; C o s g r o v e
& Duncan,1994). An equally important, parallel trend in cultural g e o g r a p h y ,
influenced by Raymond Williams and Stuart Hall, has been a c o n c e n t r a t i o n on F i g u r e 1.10. The failure of earlier solutions for social problems led the architects to withdraw
social relations, rather than on physical space and its representations. T h i s change from social concerns. (Tyne & Wear, UK) (Photograph by Stuart Cameron)
28 Design of Urban Space Understanding Urban Space • 29

its various scales a n d with its physical and social dimensions. They designed understand space and relate to it? Does it exist b e y o n d our cognition or is it
b u i l d i n g s , and objects inside them and landscapes around them, hoping, rather conditioned by it? D o w e relate to it by our reason or our senses? Is space a
optimistically, that shaping space w o u l d lead to the creation of a better society. collection of things and people, a container for them, or are they e m b e d d e d in it? Is
Despite their e m p h a s i s on the physical fabric of the city, they were similarly it representing o p e n n e s s or fixity? Do we understand and transform space
c o n c e r n e d with its social conditions. A s evident in the Charter of Athens, it was the individually or socially? H o w do w e relate space and time? In our response to these
social problems of the cities that urged them to seek planned action (Sert, 1944). The questions, we find ourselves divided between rationalism and empiricism, between
exhaustion of the m o d e r n m o v e m e n t , however, led to the abandonment of the materialism and idealism, between objective and subjective understanding,
social dimensions of space, leaving the architects concentrating on the built form between reason and emotion, between theory and practice, between uniformity and
(Figure 1.10). By the 1980s, the design professions had largely lost their interest in diversity, and b e t w e e n order and disorder. In this sense, space could be seen as an
the social dimensions of built form. In their withdrawal from social engagement abstract substitute for the world around us, for what we generally m e a n b y our
a n d concern with formalism, m u c h of architecture b e c a m e , in the words of Allan built and natural environments.
J a c o b s and Donald Appleyard (1987: 114), " a narcissistic pursuit, a chic component So what is the space of urban design, amid these dilemmas and fragmentations in
of high art consumer culture, increasingly remote from most people's everyday the conceptions of space? Which side of these dilemmas should we identify with if
lives". we are engaged in designing and shaping urban spaces? It is possible to leave these
T h e disciplinary fragmentation and specialization that followed the integrated gaps and fragmentations as they h a v e developed and as we find them. W e could
approach of the m o d e r n m o v e m e n t needed an increasing multiplicity of .1 listen to a word of w i s d o m that w a r n s us against generalization tendencies: "the
professionals to be involved in shaping the environment. This created and enlarged concept of space is so ubiquitous, and is reached by so m a n y avenues and channels,
a divide between architecture and other disciplines. Fragmentation of this kind can that it would be stifling and sterile to force upon it metaphysically a single logical
be seen as a positive development, as it allows a deeper understanding of each sub- schema, which, even if acceptable today, might b e c o m e unsuitable t o m o r r o w "
area in the transformation of the built environment. Reacting against specialization (Bochner,1973: 3 0 0 ) . In this case, w e will have to seek a pragmatic notion of space,
m a y b e , as M o o r e (1992: x) suggests, " a romantic absurdity". On the other hand, one that would be suitable for our immediate task of urban space design. In doing
fragmentation potentially leaves large conceptual gaps between these sub-areas. so, we may h a v e to either use a very narrow, practical conception of space, leaving
U r b a n sociologists, urban geographers, planners, architects, engineers, landscape other conceptions aside as irrelevant to our specialist interests, or have to live with
designers and interior designers, a m o n g others, find themselves with different and, the fragmentation and divide in the concepts of space, especially when dealing with
at times, contradictory concepts of the space they intend to understand and complex problems of urban space, and risk loss or disorientation.
transform. T h e compartmentalized specialists feel at ease within the precincts of Yet we are a w a r e s o m e h o w , at least instinctively, that we cannot afford to remain
their o w n territories, protected from outside intrusions by the walls of jargon, in a cocoon of our o w n or of our discipline, profession or tribe. From across our
exclusive academic circles and protective professional institutions. Communities of differences, w e n e e d to communicate and to arrive at a mutually understandable
interest and understanding that develop in this manner help a further narrative. T o b e trapped in difference and not see the common threads that link
fragmentation of approach to overarching concepts such as space. Inevitably, human beings will deprive us from creating a better social and physical
tension arises w h e n a not only necessary but vital link is being sought across these environment. It is therefore not only possible but also necessary to try to find a
divides. The d i l e m m a of dealing with space here is whether to accept the more unified approach to space. This does not need to be necessarily building up a
conventional borders of specialists and to act within them, with or without the grand narrative, disregarding the g a p s and conflicts, arrived at a priori and imposed
collaboration of other specialists in teams, or to m o v e across the boundaries to on a diverse range of concrete situations. A unified concept of space could be
benefit f r o m the multiplicity of ideas and approaches to space. If it is possible to arrived at by realizing that m a n y aspects of the dilemmas of space are exaggerated
a r g u e that a unitary concept of space could be encouraged, then these various fields and can be b r i d g e d , as we have s h o w n in this chapter. W e are a w a r e of the
of interest can be linked conceptually but approached independently. differences that exist in urban space and in our approaches to it. So w e m a y not
arrive at a completely unitary concept of space, as Lefebvre would have wished. Yet
we know that to h a v e an "objective" grasp of the difference, w e will have to
negotiate constantly with our social and physical environments in our everyday
Conclusion
experiences. It is b y concentrating on this process of daily Ufe, at its intersection
w'ith the political e c o n o m y of urban development, through which space is made
T h e d i l e m m a s of space appear to lie in the way w e relate to it: the w a y we
and remade, that w e can expect to m o v e towards a wider, more d y n a m i c platform
i m d e r s t a n d , and therefore transform, it. The debates between absolute and
of understanding.
relational space, the dilemma b e t w e e n physical and social space, between real and
mental space, b e t w e e n space and mass, between function and form, between It is only in a fragmented, static concept of space that we see social processes as
abstract and differential space, b e t w e e n space and place, between space and time, separate from the physical and mental space. If, however, physical and mental
can all be seen as indicators of a series of open philosophical questions: how d o we spaces are both socially produced, then both are subject to the process of production
30 Design of Urban Space

of space. They are, b y definition, the c o m p o n e n t parts of a more c o m p r e h e n s i v e


conception of space; a physical space that is produced b y complex bureaucratic and
financial systems of a development process and is u s e d and attributed with
m e a n i n g through everyday life. There will be no need to use the conventional
dualities of physical versus mental or physical versus social space. A m o r e unified
CHAPTER 2
approach can see space as the objective, physical s p a c e with its social and
psychological dimensions. It will be an integrated concept in which the w a y s
societies perceive, create and use space are addressed simultaneously. This concept
of space will be the most direct approach to offset the limitations of the
Structural F r a m e w o r k s
dematerialized conceptions of space b y offering a social and psychological context
for the material space.
of U r b a n Space
This conceptualization, however, will not be complete without taking the
dimension of time into account. By analysing the social processes involved in the
m a k i n g of space and place, the element of time will be integrated into our
understanding. The conception of space arrived at in this w a y is dynamic; space at
all its possible scales, from global space to the micro space of daily routines, are all In Chapter 1 w e searched for a m e a n i n g of space, arguing that to understand the
constantly changing yet e m b e d d e d in their social context, allowing multiple but space of the city, w e need to g r a s p its three aspects (physical, social and symbolic)
interrelated identities. It is this d y n a m i c conception of space that w o u l d allow in an integrated w a y and in the p r o c e s s of space production. In this chapter, we will
design with change and for change while e m b e d d e d in concrete social and physical look at h o w w e u n d e r s t a n d the structure of urban s p a c e , with its social and physical
contexts. It is with such a dynamic conception of space that charges against urban geometries. T h i s s t u d y of the structures of urban space will be complemented in
design can be challenged: charges that see it as a reactionary set of activities, Chapter 3 b y a n inquiry into the w a y h u m a n agency interrelates with these
seeking only visual improvement of small urban places and aiming at aestheticizing structures. Part T w o will seek to understand the formation of urban space, b y
social processes and political concern in urban d e v e l o p m e n t processes. W i t h this analysing the political e c o n o m y of space production and the aesthetic and symbolic
conception, w e can h o p e to arrive at a c o m m o n platform in understanding urban notions of s p a c e m a k i n g .
space, one that could link various g r o u p s w h o are interested and involved in In our s e a r c h for structural patterns of differentiation in urban space, w e look for
explanation, interpretation and transformation of space, allowing them to enter into ways to u n d e r s t a n d cities a n d their form, and to gain an awareness of the urban
a dialogue. socio-spatial c o n t e x t and its d y n a m i c s of change. W e concentrate on approaches to
the u n d e r s t a n d i n g of urban s p a c e structure. T h e city is a socio-spatial context to
In our search for a concept of space, we h a v e concluded that an understanding of
which w e can e n t e r as individuals or groups and interact with it to use or change it.
u r b a n space will need to take into account its physical, social and symbolic
The interaction b e t w e e n urban planners and designers with urban residents and
dimensions simultaneously. In the next two chapters, we will expand on these
urban space l a r g e l y influences the form of this context.
themes and will explore h o w w e can m o v e towards such understanding.
W e start b y searching for a definition of urban form, followed by two
perspectives i n t o u r b a n structure: o n e that sees it as a collection of buildings and
artefacts, and the o t h e r that sees it as a site for social relationships. It will be argued
that our p i c t u r e of urban structure will only m a k e sense w h e n a socio-spatial
perspective e m e r g e s to replace these two disjointed views.

Socio-spatial geometries of urban space

The term " u r b a n f o r m " has been defined from m a n y different points of view.
Reviewing t h e literature in search of an explicit definition. Bourne (1982; 29)
recounted that h e had encountered an " i m m e n s e diversity and frustrating
inconsistency" in the way researchers use terms such as urban form and spatial
structure. O n e r e a s o n for this diversity is that urban form has been studied by a
variety of d i s c i p l i n e s , each following a variety of different approaches to its
understanding w i t h different definitions and conceptual frameworks. After
32 Design of Urban Space
Structural Frameworks of Urban Space 33

a t t e m p t i n g to ciefine urban form, w e will review the approaches to urban space and
their interactions as expressed by the built environment which accommodates
f o r m in urban architecture and urban geography, disciplines that have contributed them".
to the development of urban planning and design. Criticizing the attempts that equate urban spatial structure with physical
U r b a n form h a s b e e n equated with the term " t o w n s c a p e " , developed by arrangement of land use. Bourne (1982) tries to elaborate on the definitions of virban
S m a i l e s (1955) as the u r b a n equivalent of landscape, comprising the visible forms form and urban spatial structure to allow for both spatial and aspatial dimensions
of the built-up a r e a s . Its three m a i n c o m p o n e n t s are street plan or layout, of the city. Relying on the systems theory, Bourne defines urban form as the spatial
architectural style of buildings and their design, and land use (Herbert & T h o m a s , pattern or " a r r a n g e m e n t " of individual elements within a city system. These
1 9 8 2 ) . Ever since, a l o n g the s a m e lines, the geometry of each of these component elements include built environment, buildings and land uses, as well as social
p a r t s , or s o m e of their m o r e detailed aspects, has b e e n defined as urban form. A groups, economic activities and public institutions. Through interactions, these
v a r i a t i o n on this t h e m e with m o r e sensitivity to detail is the work of Shirvani individual elements are integrated into functional entities or subsystems. The
( 1 9 8 5 ) . In search of the d o m a i n o f u r b a n design, h e identifies the physical elements patterns of b e h a v i o u r and interaction within subsystems, when overlaid on urban
of u r b a n f o r m as l a n d use, b u i l d i n g f o r m and massing, circulation and parking, form and combined with a set of organizational rules that link the subsystems into a
o p e n space, pedestrian ways, activity support, and signage. Interest has also been city system, constitute the urban spatial structure.
s h o w n in larger-scale c o m b i n a t i o n s of these c o m p o n e n t parts and their functional Each of the stated definitions seems to refer to one or more aspects of a
roles. multifaceted p h e n o m e n o n . I n d e e d , the diversity in the definitions of urban form
T h e architectural interest often concentrates on the physical fabric of the city stems mainly from the fact that urban fabric is both a physical and a social artefact
a n d its aesthetic a n d functional d i m e n s i o n s . T h e city is an act of will, a w o r k of art (Harvey,1985a: 226). A s G o t t m a n n (1978) interprets, the built environment is a
m a d e u p of t w o e l e m e n t s o f t h e architecture of m o v e m e n t and the architecture o f "hardware" in w h i c h the socio-economic system w o r k s as " s o f t w a r e " . Interpreting
r e p o s e (Bacon,1975: 3 2 2 ) . S o m e a u t h o r s urge u s to define urban form in two the relationship between people and the built environment in this w a y m a y be too
d i m e n s i o n s , in t e r m s of its physical extent, street pattern and different areas; and mechanistic, as they interact in a variety of ways. Nevertheless, any s t u d y of urban
a l s o in three d i m e n s i o n s , in its sculptural expression of different heights and form should address these t w o interrelated dimensions or, if focused on certain
s h a p e s ( L o w n d e s & M u r r a y , 1 9 8 8 ) a n d its skyline ( H e d m a n & Jaszewski,1985). aspects of form, be able to locate the focus with due considerations towards these
M o r p h o l o g i c a l e l e m e n t s of u r b a n s p a c e are identified as streets and squares (R. two major dimensions.
K r i e r , 1 9 7 9 a , b ) , b l o c k s (L. K r i e r , 1 9 7 8 ) , w h i c h h a v e b e e n geometrically typified, Physically, u r b a n fabric might b e seen as a grouping of built spatial units. Here
q u a r t e r s (Ungers et al.,1978; L. K r i e r , 1 9 7 9 ) , and other forms of urban division the study of form can, at different scales and in both two and three dimensions,
(Kostof, 1992). In architectural history, urban f o r m s of the past are studied refer to single buildings, blocks, urban quarters, and the whole urban fabric as the
t h r o u g h their m o r p h o l o g i c a l c o m p o n e n t parts such a s castles and m a n o r s , walls combination of these physical c o m p o n e n t parts. It is also possible to focus on the
a n d gates, streets a n d circulation s p a c e s , market-places, churches, and the mass of space between these parts w h e n studying the pattern of streets and squares.
g e n e r a l town b u i l d i n g s (Morris,1979; M u t h e s i u s , 1 9 8 2 ; Lloyd,1992). Attempts to The social dimension of urban form deals with the spatial arrangement and
c o m b i n e this m o r p h o l o g i c a l interest w i t h a functional dimension can b e seen in interrelationship of the characteristics of the people who build, use and value the
R e e k i e (1972), for e x a m p l e , for w h o m the town consists of buildings and other urban fabric. H e r e the study of urban form refers to the w a y t h e urbanités,
structures, open a n d enclosed spaces, and vehicular and pedestrian circulations. individually or in groups, relate to each other in space.
T h e s e are a r r a n g e d in the central core, a n d in residential, industrial and recreation Social and physical dimensions of urban form have a dynamic relationship.
areas. Physical fabric is produced and conditioned b y different social procedures. At the
A n o t h e r , mainly geographical, strand stresses the land use as the fundamental same time, the form of urban space, once built, can exert influence u p o n the way
constituent o f u r b a n form, a n d takes on a functionalist interpretation of urban these procedures recur. ^
space. Scargill (1979) defines the form of cities on t w o distinct scales. There is the O n these bases, it is possible t o envisage urban form as the geometry of a socio-
f o r m that the e l e m e n t s of the city's physical fabric take: dwellings and the more spatial continuum (Figure 2.1). In this continuum, individual elements, with both
specialized structures in which retail, office and manufacturing functions are physical and social dimensions, are combined progressively through their
h o u s e d . There is also the form that "assemblages of structures" take, which leads to interrelationships shaping c o m p l e x combinations. In other words, the city as a
another, more limited, definition of urban form as, " t h e juxtaposition of land use whole might be seen as formed by a spectrum of structures at various scales down
z o n e s in an urban area, regarded as the response to variety in accessibility" to the level of a single element. At all levels, physical and social dimensions of the
(Clark,1985: 667). Rogers (1971: 210) defines the theory of urban spatial structure as structures are interwoven, though distinguishable and modifiable in the degree and
b e i n g concerned w i t h the disposition of human socio-economic activities in urban the extent of their linkage. A study of urban form therefore refers to the way
areas, with the goals of discovering, explaining and ultimately predicting physical entities, singly or in a group, are produced and used, their spatial
regularities that exist in people's adaptation to city space. For Brotchie et al. (1985: arrangements, and their interrelationships, and also how monetary and symbolic
5), urban form is " t h e pattern of residential and non-residential urban activities and values are attributed to them.
Structural Frameworks of Urban Space 35
34 Design of Urban Space

with the d e s i g n a n d c o n s t r u c t i o n of single b u i l d i n g s , extended its s c o p e to cover


whole cities. T h o u g h different in their subject matter, these t w o lines of
in\'estigation of u r b a n f o r m h a v e f o u n d their o v e r l a p in the prescriptive fields of
urban p l a n n i n g a n d u r b a n d e s i g n .
Despite this v i c i n i t y , their different a p p r o a c h e s to the u n d e r s t a n d i n g of urban
phenomena, a s r e f l e c t e d in their different areas of interest, h a v e k e p t them apart,
leaving a l a r g e g a p in b e t w e e n . W h e r e a s u r b a n architecture tends to see the city as
a physical e n t i t y , u r b a n g e o g r a p h y , along with u r b a n sociology, h a s shifted its
focus m o r e o n t o t h e p e o p l e w h o live inside this fabric. In this w a y , urban
-geography c o n c e n t r a t e s on t h e s t u d y of urban spatial structure rather than the
study of the u r b a n fabric, w h i c h is the d o m a i n of u r b a n architecture. A n attempt
to link t h e m h a s b e e n m a d e b y u r b a n m o r p h o l o g y w h i c h has c o m b i n e d elements
of both. A m o r e s y s t e m a t i c a p p r o a c h to link, a n d to benefit f r o m , the insights
offered b y t h e s e d i s c i p l i n e s is, a s a l r e a d y discussed, to concentrate o n the process
of making t h e c i t y . T h i s p r o c e s s inevitably starts f r o m the physical space of
nature.

Natural space
The physical e n v i r o n m e n t of n a t u r e is the m a i n c o m p o n e n t part of u r b a n space,
the first c o n t e x t in w h i c h the b u i l t e n v i r o n m e n t takes shape. T h e recognition of the
impact of n a t u r e o n p h y s i c a l a n d social qualities of u r b a n space, h o w e v e r , should
not be m i s t a k e n f o r e n v i r o n m e n t a l d e t e r m i n i s m , w h o s e tenet w a s to stress "that
the e n v i r o n m e n t c o n t r o l s the c o u r s e of h u m a n a c t i o n " ( L e w t h w a i t e , quoted in
Johnston, G r e g o r y & S m i t h , 1 9 8 6 : 1 3 1 ) . It is e v i d e n t that s o m e qualities of urban
environment a r e t h e o u t c o m e s of a n interaction b e t w e e n h u m a n action and the
physical s p a c e o f n a t u r e . B y i n t e r a c t i n g w i t h this natural space t h r o u g h time,
social p r o c e s s e s c r e a t e the h u m a n s p a c e . T h e particular features of h u m a n space
are thus l a r g e l y d e t e r m i n e d t h r o u g h this interaction b e t w e e n particularities of the
natural s p a c e a n d t h e social characteristics of the p e o p l e w h o h a v e occupied and
transformed it.
The i n t e r a c t i o n b e t w e e n h u m a n societies a n d their environments can influence
urban s p a c e in t w o d i f f e r e n t w a y s : o n the o n e h a n d , natural space h a s an impact
on physical a n d s o c i a l qualities of h u m a n space. O n the other h a n d , human
societies h a v e a f f e c t e d n a t u r e b y the d e v e l o p m e n t of u r b a n space.
T h e i m p a c t o f n a t u r e o n p h y s i c a l qualities of urban space can be seen
F i g u r e 2.1. Urban form is the geometry of a socio-spatial continuum. {Dublin, Ireland) throughout t h e h i s t o r y of cities. Especially in the case of the early human
settlements a n d a g r a r i a n societies, b u t also in the n e w e r cities of the industrial era,
urban f o r m h a s b e e n l a r g e l y i n f l u e n c e d , a m o n g other factors, b y climate,
A p p r o a c h e s to t h e s t u d y of urban f o r m h a v e been as varied as the a p p r o a c h e s
topography, w a t e r r e s o u r c e s a n d agricultural l a n d . C o m p a r i s o n s between
to its definition. Y e t it is possible to identify two basic explanatory a p p r o a c h e s
settlements in m o u n t a i n s a n d o n flat plains, b e t w e e n those in hot and cold
w i t h i n the f r a m e w o r k s of the disciplines of g e o g r a p h y and architecture. The
climates, a n d b e t w e e n t h o s e a l o n g the r i v e r b a n k s and on p i e d m o n t s w o u l d show
d i f f e r e n c e b e t w e e n the descriptive nature of the former and the prescriptive
how the built f o r m c a n b e d i f f e r e n t according to the conditions of the natural
n a t u r e of the latter is m i n i m i z e d w h e n they focus on the urban p h e n o m e n a .
setting.
G e o g r a p h y , w h i c h h a d started b y describing the p h e n o m e n a on the earth's
s u r f a c e , narrowed d o w n to the level of intra-urban studies in the field of u r b a n This d i v e r s i t y o f p h y s i c a l f o r m a n d n a t u r a l q u a h t i e s have in return influenced
g e o g r a p h y . O n the other h a n d , architecture, which initially was mainly c o n c e r n e d the social q u a l i t i e s of u r b a n s p a c e . In the historical process of creating cities.
36 Design of Urban Space Structural Frameworl<s of Urban Spac 37

Figure 2.2. Castles on hilltops are the best examples of the control of topography by the
powerful. (Warkworth, Northumberland, UK)
Figure 2 . 3 . Even when reliance on underground water streams has disappeared, the social
geography continues to be influenced by topography. {Tehran, Iran)
these c o n d i t i o n s h a v e often b e e n e m p l o y e d , s y m b o l i c a l l y and practically, to I
institute d i f f e r e n c e a n d s e g r e g a t i o n . F o r e x a m p l e , t o p o g r a p h y is a specific tool
frequently u s e d t h r o u g h o u t h i s t o r y to express spiritual and temporal p o w e r surrounding K a b u l , A f g h a n i s t a n . H e i g h t , in s o m e cases, can be an obstacle, a
(Figure 2 . 2 ) . In t h e ancient M e s o p o t a m i a , the n a t u r a l and artificial raised barrier to accessibility, m a r g i n a l i z i n g s o m e g r o u p s from urban services and
p l a t f o r m s w e r e u s e d to h o u s e citadels, the seats of the rulers and at times priests. opportunities.
In G r e e c e , the h i l l t o p s , w h i c h w e r e t h e sites of the prehistoric settlements, w e r e Natural s p a c e exerts a n o t h e r influence o n urban space as a c o n s e q u e n c e of
d e v o t e d to the g o d s , o v e r l o o k i n g the life of the city f r o m their temples. Higher human interaction. Since v e r y e a r l y times, transformation of the biophysical
points in t o w n s w e r e f a v o u r e d b y the better-off a n d the powerful for reasons of environment b y h u m a n societies h a s occurred in two distinctive ways: deliberate,
safety and s e c u r i t y a s well as for the quality of e n v i r o n m e n t . In the M i d d l e East which we call " e n v i r o n m e n t a l m a n a g e m e n t " today, and accidental, n o w called
and Central A s i a , w h e r e v e r the d e v e l o p m e n t of q a n a t s had made the p i e d m o n t s "environmental i m p a c t " . T h e k e y p h a s e s in this process included the
habitable, the w e a l t h i e r g r o u p s t e n d e d to o c c u p y the higher ground, w h e r e they development of the ability to m a n a g e fire, w h i c h allowed h u m a n societies to
c o u l d ^ a v e t h e b e s t a c c e s s to fresh w a t e r from u n d e r g r o u n d streams, as w a s the change the f o r m and c o m p o s i t i o n o f m a n y e c o s y s t e m s . Another k e y stage was
case in H e r a t . E v e n w h e n n e w t e c h n o l o g i e s h a v e permitted more flexibility in acquiring the ability to d o m e s t i c a t e plants and a n i m a l s , which, since 3 0 0 0 BC, led
u r b a n s t r u c t u r e , t h e old distinctions h a v e c o n t i n u e d . A n example is the city of to the d e v e l o p m e n t of c o m p a c t cities as concentrations of material and energy,
T e h r a n , w h e r e t h e h i g h e r - i n c o m e g r o u p s live o n h i g h e r grounds even w h e n the which had to b e largely b r o u g h t in f r o m outside their boundaries, a n d waste, all
water s u p p l y is n o l o n g e r d e p e n d e n t o n wells a n d u n d e r g r o u n d s t r e a m s (Figure of which altered the e n v i r o n m e n t o f the city a n d its surroundings. T h e s e
2.3). transformations of the e n v i r o n m e n t h a v e intensified since the use o f fossil fuels
T h e o c c u p a t i o n of strategic p o i n t s in urban l a n d s c a p e by powerful institutions enabled the d e v e l o p m e n t of large u r b a n areas. In addition to noticeable alterations
and individuals h a s continued to this d a y , as exemplified by the hilltops in parts to the lower a t m o s p h e r e , the l a n d s u r f a c e a n d the aquatic and ecological systems
of California, w h e r e the wealthier g r o u p s live in large residences, at a relatively have been a l m o s t totally t r a n s f o r m e d b y m o d e r n cities. By reaching out for
s a f e d i s t a n c e f r o m o t h e r u r b a n a r e a s w i t h higher c r i m e rates and atmospheric resources and depositing their w a s t e , urban areas are major agents of
pollution. A h i l l t o p location, h o w e v e r , is not a l w a y s associated with p o w e r and environmental c h a n g e both w i t h i n their b o u n d a r i e s a n d well b e y o n d ( S i m m o n s ,
wealth, as can b e s e e n b y the hilltop s h a n t y towns of S o u t h America and the hills 1989).
38 Design of Urban Space Structural Frameworks of Urban Space 39

to the short w a l k in the city, a brief look at many of our institutions, daily activities
Created Space
and beliefs w o u l d reveal their historical roots.
Transforming the natural space, and overlaid upon it, are layers of created Generations of p e o p l e have m a d e a n d remade numerous sets of ideas, practices and
environments and social forms, accumulated through time, all together making the artefacts, some fading away within a short time while others outlive their creators.
urban space. The city is therefore a socio-spatial phenomenon with an inherent, but Every new generation abandons some part of its socio-spatial inheritance and
visible, temporal dimension. It is a "product of time" (Mumford,1940: 4 ) , a "historical maintains some other parts. Bv this they ensure a permanent but dynamic coexistence
creation" (Benevolo,1980; 5), the "embodiment of history" (01sen,1986) and hence of different social and spatial forms, from different modes of production and
itself a "historical p r o c e s s " (Blumenfeld,1982:51). institutions to daily routines, cultural habits and physical fabrics of the cities. This
The historicity of urban fabric can be illustrated by a short walk in any old city coexistence would not imply that the present is a prisoner of the past, as each new
anywhere in the world, where buildings and street patterns of various past periods generation transforms and interprets, a n d therefore recreates, its inheritance in its own
stand side by side (Figure 2.4). Even newer cities have an inherent historicity: their image. On the contrary, it allows the city a degree of freedom so that, as M u m f o r d put
creation is rooted in historical processes and concepts; and their relative durability it, "By the diversity of its H m p - s t n i r t i i r e s ^ J l i p _ r i t y ^ j n parj escapes t h e tyranny nf a
could promise the beginning of future historical significance through the single present, a n d ^ t h e m o n o t o n y ^ F â ^ in r e p e a t a g o n l y j i ^ i n g l e
accumulation of populations and material artefacts. bcafh^ard in the p a s t " ( M u m f o r d , 1 9 4 0 : 4).
The city's social forms are also historical creations, as cities and the people who In this way w F m a y acqliire a^sëïTsëôf the historicity of the city. But h o w can we
build and use them are both "embodiments of the past" (Moholy-Nagy,1968:11). The understand this historical city with its complex socio-spatial layers? Perhaps we should
multitude of layers, which are produced over long periods of time to constitute the seek our answer from the historians of urban space to see if they could unpack these
cities of today, are formed not only of artefacts but also of ideas and practices. Similar layers and explain them one b y one. Urban historians, architectural historians and
historical geographers claim an uiiderstanding of the constitution and evolution of urban
form. We therefore concentrate o u r attention on approaches to urban form in search of
explanations for the complexities of urban space and the way it has been structured.

Urban f o r m a n d historical processes

The role of architectural h i s t o r i a n s , according to Girouard (1992: 1 1 - 1 2 ) , is to


interpret b u i l d i n g s a n d m a k e t h e s e interpretations accessible to others. Introducing
his methodology, G i r o u a r d states that: "I w o r k on an ad hoc basis: o n e subject leads
to another; i d e a s , t h e m e s o r h y p o t h e s e s occur to m e , and I follow them up.
Sometimes they l e a d m e into w i d e r fields than just architecture, s o m e t i m e s a w a y
from architecture a l t o g e t h e r , b u t it is from b u i l d i n g s that I start, a n d to buildings
that I return". I h e tjuestion, ho\s'ever, r e m a i n s as to which buildings to choose to
interpret. N i c h o l a s P e v s n e r ( 1 9 6 3 ) offers a formula h e had used to distinguish
between b u i l d i n g s a n d a r c h i t e c t u r e : " N e a r l y everything that encloses space on a
scale sufficient for a h u m a n b e i n g to m o v e is a building; the term architecture
applies only to b u i l d i n g s d e s i g n e d w i t h a view to aesthetic a p p e a l " . In this way, " A
bicycle shed is a building; Lincoln Cathedral is a piece of architecture"
(Pevsner,1963: 15). T h e p r o c e s s of selection and interpretation of buildings m a y lead
to an illumination of artistic s t y l e s a n d aesthetic trends. It offers us a k n o w l e d g e of
the m o n u m e n t s a n d other i m p o r t a n t buildings of the past. Flowever, it fails to
address the cities in their totality. P e r h a p s this is w h y Kenneth F r a m p t o n feels
obliged to a p o l o g i z e to " a l a r g e n u m b e r of small to medium craft practitioners
throughout the w o r l d " , w h o s e w o r k h e h a d not included in his history of modern
architecture ( F r a m p t o n , 1 9 9 2 ; 7 ) . In o u r quest for understanding cities, w e must ask
whether c o n c e n t r a t i n g on b u i l d i n g s , or on w o r k s of architecture, is sufficient. To
Figure 2.4. Old and new stand side by side, even in the cities of the "new world" understand cities, it f o l l o w s , w e will need to consider architecture as all the
{Columbus, Ohio, USA) component p a r t s o f the built e n v i r o n m e n t (Roth,1993; Gorst,1995) (Figure 2.5).
Structural Frameworks of Urban Space 41
Design of Urban Space

and the subsequent rise in population in each p e r i o d . T h e c h a n g e in physical


environment, which is influenced b y all other aspects of civilization a n d in turn
influences them itself, and the w a y c h a n g e s are h i n d e r e d b y the m o n u m e n t s of the
past and hastened b y the buildings of the m o d e r n era are subjects of s t u d y . Morris
(1979) aims to s t u d y the most significant e x a m p l e s of u r b a n form, t h r o u g h their
morphological c o m p o n e n t parts, a n d to establish the factors w i t h great
determining effects on urban form, especially the "politics of p l a n n i n g " . The
planned versus organic growth m o d e l s of urban d e v e l o p m e n t , w h i c h formed a
major line of a r g u m e n t against m o d e r n i s t p l a n n i n g in the 1970s (Vance,1977;
Morris,1979), are taken up and e x p a n d e d b y K o s t o f (1992) in his a c c o u n t of the
relationship b e t w e e n historical processes and urban form. He identifies three
processes that lead to urban c h a n g e . T w o of these processes are forceful and
sudden: the natural and h u m a n disasters such as earthquakes, fires a n d wars.
Another example w o u l d be the large-scale intervention of the authorities in urban
development, w h i c h h e calls H a u s s m a n n i z a t i o n , referring to Baron H a u s s m a n n ' s
redevelopment of Paris in the nineteenth century. T h e third category is the
incremental change, where a city is transformed through thousands of small-scale
alterations and adjustments.
There have b e e n other attempts of this kind to i n t r o d u c e overriding principles
and processes determining urban form, as exemplified by M u m f o r d (1975), who
views the cities o f all times a s expressions o f v a r i o u s c o m b i n a t i o n s of two
principles: accumulation and c o n q u e s t (Tilly,1984). A n o t h e r version of this
approach might b e that of Eisenstadt and S h a c h a r (1987) w h o identify two
processes, concentration and centrality, at w o r k in the formation of the cities and
urban systems. T h e city is seen as a mosaic, each part of which is the o u t c o m e of
different environmental orientations, and w h o s e concrete form is influenced by
these orientations in different c o m b i n a t i o n s (Cohen,1976; Eisenstadt &
F i g u r e 2.5. To understand urban space, we need to consider architecture as all the
Shachar,1987). For Gottmann (1978), the city, as a social and political
component parts of the built environment. {Salmmbe, UK) phenomenon, exists with the c o n c u r r e n c e of three c o m p o n e n t s : a large n u m b e r of
people, their built environment, and a combination of models of life. H e argues
that the life and form of the cities are directly and indirectly affected b y the forces
T h e relationship o f historical processes with u r b a n f o r m is one of the k e y debatr that modify the society, categorized traditionally u n d e r four titles: demographic
a m o n g historians. O n e line of a r g u m e n t , as represented by Watkins (1978,1980) for . forces, economic forces, the impact of technological c h a n g e , and cultural variation.
e x a m p l e , m a i n t a i n s that it is futile to try to relate individual works of art to their | Scargill (1979) envisages the processes that s h a p e the city in t w o principal
c o n t e m p o r a r y political, e c o n o m i c and cultural conditions. These works, it is argued, categories: the historical processes, focusing on the impact of the former patterns
c a n b e best u n d e r s t o o d in connection with their concrete situations and with the I of land ownership on the growth of the city; and the political processes, involving
artist w h o created t h e m , a n d at the most general level, in the context of an aesthetic || the role of politicians and planners. A c c o r d i n g to R a v e t z (1980: 13), h o w e v e r , the
tradition or m o v e m e n t . A counter-argument is put forward by those w h o cannot stress is on "the ideas or deliberate policy and design . . . the technology (building)
d i s r e g a r d the r e l a t i o n s h i p of artistic styles with their contemporary political forms, . . . and the influence of cities as m e c h a n i s m s for the control of s o m e people by
s o c i a l institutions, e c o n o m i c practice and ideological convictions (01sen,1986). As other g r o u p s " . W e can n o w see clearly h o w these interpretations of the w a y cities
" a n o n v e r b a l f o r m of c o m m u n i c a t i o n " , architecture is "a mute record of the culture have taken shape tend to e m p h a s i z e s o m e factors and u n d e r m i n e others. If we see
that p r o d u c e d i t " , a n d can b e " r e a d " in the s a m e w a y that written history and urban space as a physical space with social and psychological dimensions, our
literature are r e a d (Roth,1993: 3 ) . It becomes, therefore, possible to deal with analysis of the processes that s h a p e d it will therefore need to account for these
identifying the architectural styles and the development of various urban forms in dimensions.
historical p e r i o d s w i t h an attempt to explain the relation between societal processes
a n d these d e v e l o p m e n t s (Vance,1977; Morris,1979; Benevolo,1980). Another trend in historical analysis of the city sees it as a "natural" p h e n o m e n o n ,
comparing its historical transformation to the biological evolution of the natural
B e n e v o l o (1980: 5—6) tries to explain the d e v e l o p m e n t of cities on t h e basis of the
world. The city as a natural p h e n o m e n o n , a concept which Tafuri (1980) traces back
" m a j o r c l i a n g e s in p r o d u c t i v e organization that h a v e transformed e v e r y d a y life",
42 Design of Urban Space Structural Frameworks of Urban Space 43

to the century of E n h g h t e n m e n t and the development of capitalism, is reflected in a [ these d i m e n s i o n s s i m u l t a n e o u s l y will be useful in o u r u n d e r s t a n d i n g of urban
number of design approaches. Ecological methods w e r e applied in which the city : | space.
was understood as a form that is derived from "geological and biological evolution, ' In this way, b y considering that u r b a n fabric is t h e o u t c o m e of a historic process
existing as a sum of natural processes and adapted by m a n " (Mcfiarg,1969: 175). of development, it will be p o s s i b l e to establish l i n k s between f o r m and general
T h e historic d e v e l o p m e n t of the city is also perceived as a sequence of cultural societal processes b y focusing on this d e v e l o p m e n t process. T h e d e v e l o p m e n t
adaptations that reflect in the city plan and its constituent buildings both process, as the social process t h r o u g h w h i c h u r b a n fabric is p r o d u c e d , finds a
individually and in groups. Alexander et al. (1987: 13) identify a shared feature central i m p o r t a n c e in the s t u d y of the built form. It is through tracing this process
between the old t o w n s and "all growing organisms", which is a "self-determined, that the course o f the d e v e l o p m e n t of a p a r t i c u l a r urban f o r m a n d hence its
inward-governing, growing w h o l e n e s s " . For Smith (1977), the city of the past has rationale a n d its d e t e r m i n a n t s c a n b e identified. R e s e a r c h e r s of u r b a n form, along
evolved according to universal principles in which growth is the result of with those i n v o l v e d in the c o n s e r v a t i o n a n d d e v e l o p m e n t of the city, are thus
transactions b e t w e e n organism and environment on the basis of a fixed rule. O n e of required, as J a c o b s (1985: 137) p r o p o s e s , to k n o w h o w cities h a v e g r o w n and
the main problems with this comparison between urban transformation and developed physically and h o w this h a s been r e l a t e d to their social a n d e c o n o m i c
biological evolution is their different time-scales, w h e r e changes in the former are history. This, h o w e v e r , is a n o t i o n that the d e s i g n approach, d u e to its specific
short term and involve human beings whose behaviour does not necessarily follow concentration o n physical d i m e n s i o n s of u r b a n fabric, h a s not sufficiently
the physical laws of nature — laws that govern the very long-term, evolutionary developed. In o r d e r to find c o n c e p t u a l f r a m e w o r k s that address the development
process of the latter. 'j process as a social process, other a p p r o a c h e s to u r b a n form, from u r b a n geography
Different b r a n c h e s of the historical approach h a v e tended to study the and urban sociology, should also b e t a k e n into c o n s i d e r a t i o n .
m o r p h o l o g y of cities or their parts to provide a w a r e n e s s , criticism or practical |l
advice. S o m e p r o v i d e a critical f r a m e w o r k for understanding and evaluating the
present or the past a p p r o a c h e s to urban form. Tafuri, for e x a m p l e , explains the The city as a w o r k of art
d e v e l o p m e n t of u r b a n form and architectural styles through the d e v e l o p m e n t of
capitalism (Tafuri,1980: 178). T h e r e f o r e , m o d e r n architecture is regarded as an The architectural approach to t h e s t u d y of u r b a n f o r m might c o n v e n i e n t l y be called
attempt to resolve the imbalances, contradictions and retardations that characterize the " d e s i g n " a p p r o a c h (Eisenstadt & S h a c h a r , 1 9 8 7 ) , a s it is essenfially normative. It
the capitalist reorganization of the w o r l d market and productive d e v e l o p m e n t . The deals with the plan of the city, t h e v a r i o u s c o m p o n e n t parts of u r b a n space, and
appreciation of the collective m e m o r y through the m o n u m e n t s of the past their functional a n d aesthetic a s p e c t s . T w o s t r a n d s in the studies of u r b a n form in
(Rossi,1982), and t h e identification of the pre-industrial urban e l e m e n t s of the architecture can b e identified: t h o s e w i t h a s t r o n g prescriptive content, which are
street, the square a n d the quarter, form a basis on which the re-integration of often carried out b y designers to a n a l y s e u r b a n s p a c e in order to transform it; a n d
public realm contributes to the struggle against capitalism (L. Krier,1979; R. Krier, the work of architectural historians w h o s e s t u d y of t h e urban forms of the past is
1979a,b; GosHng & Maitland, 1984). Others aim to u s e historical studies to provide more descriptive a n d has often o n l y an indirect relationship to design practice. Both
advice for future policies concerning urban f o r m , such as preservation and approaches, h o w e v e r , mainly s e e k to explain u r b a n form w i t h an ultimately
conservation, or design guidance (e.g. Moughtin,1991a,b). Lessons of the past are practical aim of b e i n g an aid to the d e s i g n p r o c e s s , a n d hence their dividing line can
studied to offer guideUnes for the future. T h e question that is then raised is which be blurred.
period and w h i c h context offers the best examples for today. F o r example, for Another dividing line, w h i c h can b e m o r e clearly distinguished, is between the
Westfall (1991: 2 8 6 ) , "Renaissance theory and practice provided all that one ought way the functional and aesthetic a s p e c t s of the city arc a p p r o a c h e d . D u e to the
to k n o w to design cities, although the form that theory and practice takes today is presence of aesthetic aspects in architectural c o n c e r n s , the city in s o m e of the
different b e c a u s e current circumstances surrounding building in cities is different". - designers' analyses tends to be e x p l a i n e d t h r o u g h a set of subjective values. The city
As against views of this nature, Attoe and L o g a n argue that European urban is seen as a " d r a m a t i c event in the e n v i r o n m e n t " , a gathering of p e o p l e w h o create
design theories are not sufficient for addressing A m e r i c a n urban context. For them, "a collective s u r p l u s of e n j o y m e n t " and a g a t h e r i n g of b u i l d i n g s that can
" M u c h recent urban development in the United States has b e e n based on a collectively give visual pleasure ( C u l l e n , 1 9 7 1 : 7 - 8 ) . T h e purpose of this gathering in
pragmatic picking and choosing among European theories and precedents", to the city is to offer pleasure and p s y c h o l o g i c a l welfare instead of stultification
which they object (1989: xi). (Smith, 1977: 2 6 1 ) . T h e city is a w o r k of art ( B a c o n , 1 9 7 5 ; 01sen,1986), it "fosters art
Whatever their differences, these approaches s e e m to share the notion of the j and is a r t " ( M u m f o r d , 1 9 4 0 : 4 8 0 ) . T h e city is seen as an architectural, and therefore
historicity of urban fabric. This notion has been developed out of the belief that an artistic, creation.
since cities are built over long periods of time, any approach to urban form should Architecture c l a i m s superiority o v e r other f o r m s of visual art. P e v s n e r (1963)
take account of this historical evolution (Flealey & Madanipour,1993). However, it maintains that w h a t distinguishes architecture f r o m other arts such as painting and
should be noted that since urban fabric has social, physical and symbolic sculpture is its spatial quality. B u t it also i n c o r p o r a t e s elements of these art forms
dimensions, only those views of historical evolution of urban form that address and therefore is the most c o m p r e h e n s i v e of visual arts. H e also believes in the social
Design of Urban Space Structural Frameworks of Urban Space 45
44

In Britain, a strong concern for an artistic interpretation of the city can b e found in
the Townscape movement. This tradition, whose origins k n o w n as Picturesque go
back to the eighteenth century, occupied the centre of architectural debates during
the two decades that followed the S e c o n d World W a r (Banham,1968). T h e editorial
board of the Architectural Review, w h o were a m o n g the major a d v o c a t e s of the
Picturesque, saw architecture and planning as essentially visual arts. Distinguished
figures such as Nicholas Pevsner endorsed visual planning as the only suitable
approach to the city, which is in line with English traditions. N e w Brutalism, the
British version of modernist architecture, was criticized by the T o w n s c a p e
movement as lacking aesthetic and emotional dimensions (Bandini,1992). It
therefore studied the historical evolution of cities as a concern for preservation and
conservation against the threats of modernist r e d e v e l o p m e n t ( S h a r p , ! 9 6 8 ) .
Gordon CuUen's influential analysis of urban space was a major w o r k in the
Townscape movement. Its main claim was that it had "assisted in charting the
structure of the subjective world" (Cullen,1971:194). T o d o this, he concentrates on
our personal and emotional reactions to the environment. W e acquire these responses
by the "faculty of sight", as the environment is apprehended "almost entirely through
vision" (Cullen,1971:8). He then introduces his serial vision technique, in which he
recreates a walk in the environment, recording the existing and emerging views of a
moving observer. These are to be complemented with an understanding of our
reactions to the position of our bodies in our environment, an awareness of space,
and its mood and character. Another dimension to our emotional reactions to the
environment is our awareness of the contents of a place, i.e. the urban fabric with its
colour, texture, scale, style, character, personality and uniqueness. T h e environment
is created either by means of c o m m o n sense principles of health, amenity,
convenience and privacy: objective values which CuUen sees as thriving and not in
need of investigation. The environment can also be created through the subjective
values of its occupants, an aspect about which he is concerned and finds the situation
"disturbing". With an understanding of the sights of the city, he reasserts, w e can
begin to manipulate it, to "mould the city into a coherent d r a m a " (Cullen,! 971:9).
The reduction of urban experience to only o n e of its aspects, the visual
experience, h o w e v e r , can hardly satisfy us in our search for an analysis that entails
a use of more than one sense. W e h a v e been searching for a combination of verbal
and non-verbal means of communication. As Bandini (1992), following Ferrai,
mentions, the methodological grounds of the w h o l e of the Picturesque and
Townscape enterprise were ambiguous and questionable. They lacked an interest in
urban scale concepts and forms, and w e r e largely perceived to b e involved in the
F i g u r e 2.6. The city as "the largest work of art possible". {Florence, Italy) manipulation of the elements b f ' landscape and streetscape for environmental
improvement.

superiority of architecture over other forms of visual and plastic art, as w e are
surrounded b y architecture, u n a b l e to avoid b u i l d i n g s and "the subtle but The city as an embodiment of functions
penetrating effects of their c h a r a c t e r " (Pevsner,1963: 16). As w e live in the
environments s h a p e d b y h u m a n artifice, architecture becomes " t h e unavoidable The Townscape approach to the city was a critique of an earlier attempt to
a r t " (Roth,1993). A s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d conclusion from this equation of city with its understand urban space objectively through its functions. The latter had been
architecture is t h e n that the city is interpreted as " t h e largest work of art possible" developed in the inter-war period b y a group of avant-garde intellectuals who
(01sen,1986; 4) ( F i g u r e 2.6). made up C I A M , the International Congress for M o d e r n Architecture. Their famous
Structural Frameworks of Urban Space 47
Design of Urban Spac0

prescriptions of the Charter h a v e b e e n i m p l e m e n t e d t h r o u g h o u t the w o r l d . This


modernist vision in creating better cities and the n a r r o w n e s s of its functionalist
analytical f r a m e w o r k , h o w e v e r , w e r e w i d e l y q u e s t i o n e d b y a g e n e r a t i o n of
commentators.
This is reflected in a major d i c h o t o m y that d o m i n a t e d the architectural debates
during the 1970s a n d 1980s: the contrast b e t w e e n m o d e r n i s m , the established post-
war approach to design, and p o s t - m o d e r n i s m , w h i c h e m e r g e d as a reaction to it
(Jencks,1973, 1992). This contrast h a s deeply a f f e c t e d the w a y u r b a n form and
phenomena have been explained. T h e m o d e r n i s t a p p r o a c h to h i s t o r y w a s to
develop an evaluation and a critique of the past w i t h w h i c h to establish m o d e r n
solutions as an achievement of the age ( G i b b e r d , 1 9 5 9 ; G i e d i o n , 1 9 6 7 ; Le
Corbusier,1971). T h e urban form of the past w a s s t u d i e d to p r o v e its inability to
cope with the requirements of the m o d e r n civilization ( S e r t , 1 9 4 4 ) , or to offer lessons
for modern d e v e l o p m e n t s ( M o h o l y - N a g y , 1 9 6 8 ) .
As a reaction to this, the p o s t - m o d e r n i s t historical a n a l y s i s w a s c o n c e r n e d with
urban forms of the past for d e v e l o p i n g a critique o f t h e m o d e r n i s t d e v e l o p m e n t s
and propositions for the future. T h e r e w a s a r e v i v a l of interest in an approach
developed by Sitte (1945, originally p u b l i s h e d in 1 8 8 9 ) . Sitte w a n t e d to extract
"universal principles out of the array of specific e x a m p l e s that old cities p r e s e n t "
(Collins &L ColIins,1986; 64). It had b e e n criticized b y m o d e r n i s t c o m m e n t a t o r s as
breaking from the time (Giedion,1967), returning to m e d i e v a l v a l u e s a n d to the
praising of aesthetics, w h i c h w a s u n a c c e p t a b l e in " a n a g e of m o t o r - c a r s " (Le
Corbusier, 1971). W i t h the revival of interest in old cities, " t h e traditional syntax of
the cities" w a s appreciated, since it h a d b e e n d e v e l o p e d o v e r millennia and w a s
entirely sensitive to a wide r a n g e of p s y c h o l o g i c a l n e e d s a n d aspirations
(Smith,1977). This form of faith in traditional cities, h o w e v e r , h a s b e e n open to
criticism on g r o u n d s that it reinforces its a r g u m e n t " w i t h all the nostalgia and
F i g u r e 2 . 7 . Following the motto, "form follows function", modernist design gave priority to
the way space is produced and used, rather than how it looked. {Dublin, Ireland) authority which this view of the past can p r o v i d e " ( G o s l i n g & M a i t l a n d , 1984: 29),
and that it can b e anachronistic w i t h its lack of a t t e n t i o n to the social f o r m s and
m o t t o , " f o r m follows function", m e a n t to subordinate the aesthetics of environment urban dynamics of today.
to its functions (Figure 2.7). T o find solutions for urban problems of the time, which | Both Morris (1979) and V a n c e ( 1 9 7 7 ) , in their historical research, focus on the
t h e y s a w as increasing congestion, spreading blight and intensifying chaos, they contrasting categories of towns that have been d e \ e l o p e d o n a " p l a n n e d " or
d e v e l o p e d a f r a m e w o r k that w o u l d enable them to analyse and compare the living "preconceived" basis as against the " o r g a n i c g r o w t h " . T h i s v i e w e x p r e s s e s a debate
conditions in contemporary cities. A c c o r d i n g to this analytical framework, which on the role of planning in the d e v e l o p m e n t of u r b a n areas. It is similar to the
t h e y used in undertaking case studies of 33 major urban areas, cities w e r e sites of contrast between " b l u e p r i n t " and " p r o c e s s " p r i n c i p l e s of d e s i g n identified by
four elementary functions; dwelling, work (or production), recreation and Bourne (1982), or to " u t o p i a n " as o p p o s e d to " n a t u r a l " (Gosling & M a i t l a n d , 1 9 8 4 ) .
transportation (Sert,1944). Their findings were then e m p l o y e d in the production of a It is manifest in t h e ' contrast b e t w e e n " m o d e r n i t y " a n d " t r a d i t i o n " , b e t w e e n
t o w n planning chart in 1933, k n o w n as the Charter of Athens, in which they "revolution" and " e v o l u t i o n " i(Smith,1977), b e t w e e n centralized authority and the
suggested w a y s of reorganizing these functions hoping for a better fulfilment of the people, and b e t w e e n laws and m a s t e r plans with p i e c e m e a l g r o w t h ( A l e x a n d e r et
al., 1987). Other aspects of this d i c h o t o m y are the d i f f e r e n c e in the scale and the
cultural role of cities.
scope: the universal plan as against specific \vorking details (Collins &
T h e strength of the Charter lay partly in its integrated approach to urban
ColIins,1986), and in the battle a g a i n s t and for the r e v i v a l of aesthetics (Scruton,
p h e n o m e n a . It insisted that t o w n s and cities cannot b e studied out of their regional
1 9 8 3 , 1 9 7 9 ) . These are the lines of a r g u m e i i t of p o s t - m o d e r n i s m against m o d e r n i s m
context that constitutes their natural limits and environments. A city is part of a
that were criticized for their stress o n " t e c h n o l o g y , authoritarian u t o p i a n i s m , and
g e o g r a p h i c , eccmomic, social, cultural and political unit, a regional unit upon
mega-scale t h i n k i n g " (Collins & C o l l i n s , 1 9 8 6 : 125).
w l i i c h its d e v e l o p m e n t d e p e n d s and in which t o w n a n d country m e r g e into one
This dichotomy has its c o u n t e r p a r t in social p h i l o s o p h y , as exemplified in the
a n o t h e r . Since then, these functional d i m e n s i o n s of urban structure h a v e been
discussions of H a b e r m a s and L y o t a r d ( D e w s , 1 9 8 6 ) . T h e transition from high-
w i d e l y studied, accumulating a vast literature o n urban studies, and the
48 Design of Urban Space Structural Frameworks of Urban Space 49 \

m o d e r n i s m to p o s t - m o d e r n i s m fias b e e n linked w i t h the transition f r o m high- The demand for a better understanding of the economic, political, social and
Fordism, the post-war socio-spatially centralized s y s t e m legitimized by grand cultural contexts of the city has been growing within urban g e o g r a p h y during the
narratives of progress and e m a n c i p a t i o n , to p o s t - F o r d i s m as a socio-spatially second half of the twentieth century. Before the 1950s, the traditional geographical
decentralized system w h o s e characteristic is the " e x h a u s t i o n of Utopian energies" approach mainly dealt with synthesizing separate features into a regional unity
(Habermas, in Albertsen,1988). H a r v e y (1989: 2 5 6 - 2 5 7 ) refers to m o d e r n i s m as the (Hall,1984). In addition to this regionalism, two earlier paradigms can b e identified:
Utopian p r o g r a m m e to transform s o c i e t y b y t r a n s f o r m i n g space, a p r o g r a m m e exploration and environmentalism. The latter at times reached the stage o f
w h o s e failure had linked m o d e r n i s m to capital accumulation through mass determinism, investigating the ways in which the physical environment affects the
production. M o d e r n i s m w a s r e p r e s e n t i n g corporate p o w e r , and, with the changing functioning and development of societies (Herbert & Thomas,1982). F r o m the 1950s
circumstances, p o s t - m o d e r n i s m gained ground to represent the flexible onward, the conceptual bases of urban geography experienced a rapid evolution.
accumulation of capital. New paradigms reoriented the perspectives of urban geographers, mainly resulting
O n e of the early b r a n c h e s w h i c h d e v e l o p e d as a c o u n t e r - m o v e m e n t towards in a greater regard for the philosophies of the social sciences. T h e p a c e of the
m o d e r n i s m with the a i m of h u m a n i z i n g its a p p r o a c h e s to urban form, w a s a search emergence of n e w paradigms resulted in tensions, and a situation in which no
for the image of the city and its " l e g i b i l i t y " ( L y n c h , 1 9 7 9 ) . It stimulated extensive paradigm was totally discarded (Herbert & T h o m a s , 1 9 8 2 ) , resulting in a
research on patterns of b e h a v i o u r a n d m e n t a l m a p p i n g of the cities and held a diversification of interest and focus (Johnston,1991,1993; Gregory, Martin &
strong position in the d e v e l o p m e n t of criteria for m o r p h o l o g i c a l studies and design Smith,1994).
(Bentley et al.,1985; J a c o b s & A p p l e y a r d , 1987; T i b b a l d s , 1 9 8 8 ) . Cultural imperatives T h e evolution of geographical thought during the p o s t - w a r p e r i o d h a s taken
in the development of u r b a n f o r m ( R a p o p o r t , 1 9 6 9 , 1 9 7 7 ) and symbolic meanings the form of a m a i n strand which studied urban spatial structure, a n d t w o later
attributed to the site o f a city o r a p a r t i c u l a r structure w i t h i n it (Tuan,1977; Harvey, strands w h i c h d e v e l o p e d as a critique of t h e m a i n s t r e a m . T h e s e t w o strands,
1985a; Harbison,1991), and to the allocation of different areas in the city to various behavioural studies and radical g e o g r a p h y , i n t e n d e d to d e e p e n a n d b r o a d e n the
g r o u p s (Tuan,1982), and the a l i g n m e n t of walls, gates and major road axes scope of u r b a n investigation b y paying attention to subjective and
(Wheatley, in Eisenstadt & S h a c h a r , 1 9 8 7 ) h a v e constituted major lines of political-economic considerations of urban p h e n o m e n a . T h i s pattern, associated
investigation of urban form. with the g r o w i n g social m o v e m e n t s after the late 1 9 6 0 s , s h o w s b r o a d consistency
D e s p i t e the e x t e n s i v e literature o n t h e d e s i g n a p p r o a c h , Eisenstadt a n d S h a c h a r with other social sciences and w i t h u r b a n a r c h i t e c t u r e ' s a p p r o a c h e s to the study
(1987) argue that it h a s p r o v i d e d a l m o s t n o p a r a d i g m , and that m a n y of the of urban form.
s t u d i e s in this a p p r o a c h , a i m i n g a t i d e n t i f y i n g t h e u n i q u e features o f the city
structure for a given period or p l a c e , are i d i o g r a p h i c . It s h o u l d be n o t e d , however,
that, although the a p p r o a c h m a y n o t h a v e d e v e l o p e d a coherent conceptual The internal structure of t h e city
f r a m e w o r k , it h a s g e n e r a t e d w i d e r cultural d e b a t e s . It has also p r o v i d e d a
considerable a m o u n t of i n f o r m a t i o n o n a r c h i t e c t u r e a n d urban f o r m , w i d e n i n g the The study of the internal structure of the cities started from the C h i c a g o school's
u n d e r s t a n d i n g of u r b a n d e s i g n a n d b a s i c e l e m e n t s o f the internal s t r u c t u r e of the descriptions of urban structure, generalized in three models, concentric, sector and
cities. multiple nuclei. It then developed to a combination of these models in the form of
Moreover, the relationship of m o d e r n i s m with pre-modern and post-modern social area analysis through the methodology of factorial ecology (Bourne,1982). In
schools of design and thought, a n d the attempts w h i c h have tried to put these this approach, patterns of urban land use are described on the basis of models
relationships into c h a n g i n g societal c o n t e x t s , have p r o v i d e d valuable insights to the relating location and accessibility through price m e c h a n i s m . T h e a p p r o a c h is called
d y n a m i c s of socio-spatial contexts. A n y s t u d y of u r b a n form, therefore, d u e to the "neoclassical-functional description" (Johnston,1982), "empirical-analytical"
p r e d o m i n a n c e of m o d e r n i s t t h i n k i n g in a large part of the present century (Bourne,1982) or "quantitative-theoretical" (Herbert & T h o m a s , 1982). It focused
throughout the w o r l d , will h a v e to take it into consideration. It will h a v e to address on documentation of the spatial organization of society and was strongly linked
its impact on the p r o d u c t i o n of that p a r t i c u l a r urban f o r m , along with its associated with the "quantitative revolution" (Hall,1984). W i t h "spatial a n a l y s i s " as its
societal processes, and the types of reaction to it. paradigm, it b e c a m e the dominant approach in p o s t - w a r geography (Herbert &
Thomas,1982).
The earliest classical model of the city structure, developed in 1925, suggested
Ecology of urban structure that the growth o f a city takes place concentrically. Inspired b y the study o f plant
and animal ecology. Burgess envisaged the outward growth of the city resulting
T h e ecological analysis that the C h i c a g o school of sociology proposed in the inter- from invasion and succession, providing a descriptive framework to study both the
w a r period has occupied a p r e d o m i n a n t position in social sciences ever since. spatial organization of land use in the city and its change over time, and the
U r b a n sociology's c o n c e r n with u r b a n spatial structure w a s widely influential in the relationship between population mobility and social organization (Scargill,1979;
d e v e l o p m e n t of urban geographical t h o u g h t . Herbert & Thomas,1982) (Figure 2.8).
Structural Franneworks of Urban Space 51
50 Design of Urban Space

perfect competition. T o c o m p e n s a t e for these s h o r t c o m i n g s , i m p o r t a n c e of factors


such as t o p o g r a p h y , directions of u r b a n g r o w t h , e n v i r o n m e n t a l quality and
historical factors w e r e later empirically e s t a b l i s h e d in n u m e r o u s studies
(Korcelli,1982).
In 1939, Hoyt formulated a sector m o d e l on the basis of rent levels in residential
neighbourhoods. According to h i m , the residential areas w e r e not d i s t r i b u t e d in the
form of concentric rings, but as pie-shaped sectors. "If o n e sector of t h e city first
develops as a high, m e d i u m , or l o w rental residential area, it will tend to retain that
character for long distances" as t h r o u g h the p r o c e s s of a city's g r o w t h , the sector
extends from the city centre along transportation r o u t e s (Hoyt, in N e l s o n , 1971: 79).
These two models w e r e modified b y a third, the m u l t i p l e nuclei m o d e l , w h i c h was
developed b y Harris and U l l m a n in 1945. T h e y a r g u e d that the city g r o w s around
not a single centre b u t a number of centres which are, in n u m b e r a n d specialization,
proportionate to the size of the city.
These models w e r e tested extensively in m a n y cities with n o c o n c l u s i v e results.
I The pattern of intra-urban population density, d e s c r i b e d as a n e g a t i v e exponential
decline of density w i t h distance from the city c e n t r e , w a s also a n o t h e r supportive
theory which w a s n e v e r invalidated (Korcelli,1982). T h i s has b e e n e x p l a i n e d in t w o
ways; that cities are subject to de-concentration p r o c e s s e s as a result of the passage
of time and g r o w t h in size; and that the d e - c o n c e n t r a t i o n p r o c e s s e s , linked to
certain economic, technological a n d cultural factors, are a f e a t u r e of the m o d e r n
world.
The three m o d e l s of urban structure w e r e d e v e l o p e d in a certain period in
America and often failed to b e a p p l i c a b l e to o t h e r t i m e s and p l a c e s . A s regards
their declining relevance. Berry (1971) a r g u e d that in each city a different
combination of three classic principles of u r b a n l o c a t i o n o p e r a t e : cities as the sites
of special functions; cities as the e x p r e s s i o n s of t h e layout a n d the character of
transport n e t w o r k s ; and cities as central p l a c e s . H o y t (1971) a t t e m p t e d to
summarize the effects of urbanization, of w i d e s p r e a d o w n e r s h i p a n d u s e of the
car, high-rise construction for office and residential use, and o t h e r social and
technological c h a n g e s on the distortion of the traditional p a t t e r n s . F o r Nelson
(1971), some of the most significant factors c o n t r i b u t i n g to the u r b a n structure in
American cities included rapid a n d m a s s i v e g r o w t h , a h e t e r o g e n e o u s population,
the desire for a single family d e t a c h e d h o u s e , a n d the c h a n g i n g f o r m of urban
transportation. B l u m e n f e l d (1982: 5 1 ) s a w u r b a n f o r m a result of " t h e interaction of
situation, function, and site". It also results " f r o m t h e c o n c e p t s in the m i n d s of its
citizens and from the types of s t r u c t u r e they b u i l d , b o t h d e r i v e d f r o m pre-urban
Figure 2.8. The ecological approach to urban structure explained the spatial organization roots; and from the reaction of t h e s e on situation, function, a n d site, and on
and the outward growth of the city through waves of invasion and succession by different subsequent h u m a n activity". B o u r n e (1971) called for attention to b e p a i d to the
groups. {Chicago. USA) additional effects of changes in attitudes a n d in political a n d institutional
organization.
This theory w a s supported b y u r b a n land rent theory, which assumes the centre Korcelli (1982) identifies six m a j o r a p p r o a c h e s f r o m v a r i e d a n d previously
of the city as highly desirable, a n d that, d u e to shortage of land supply, the users unrelated disciplines which h a v e c o n t r i b u t e d to the b o d y of t h e o r y on urban
will m a k e competitive bids for a site here (Alonso,1971). T h e theory w a s criticized spatial structure a n d growth. T h e s e a p p r o a c h e s are ecological c o n c e p t s from
d u e to its static-equilibrium form and the a s s u m p t i o n s which tend to simplify sociology; theories of urban l a n d f r o m e c o n o m i c s ; u r b a n p o p u l a t i o n density
reality, such as the location of all the service and e m p l o y m e n t opportunities at a models from d e m o g r a p h y ; m o d e l s of i n t r a - u r b a n f u n c t i o n a l p a t t e r n s (or spatial
single city centre, a symmetric pattern of transport costs and the condition of interaction m o d e l s ) from urban p l a n n i n g ; s e t t l e m e n t n e t w o r k (or s y s t e m ) theories;
52 Design of Urban Space Structural Franneworks of Urban Spac e 53 î

and models of spatial diffusion o n a n i n t r a - u r b a n s c a l e , both from g e o g r a p h y . The processes are identified: competition, as reflected in land market a n d territorial
theoretical u n d e r p i n n i n g s o f t h e a p p r o a c h w e r e l o c a t i o n theory, w h i c h w a s claims, which generate contradictory processes of co-operation a n d m o n o p o l y ;
previously developed in G e r m a n y a n d dealt w i t h t h e m a p p i n g o f e c o n o m i c costs socialization/stratification, as reflected in the process o f social clustering, networks
onto geographic s p a c e ; a n d t h e g r a v i t y m o d e l a n d its later m o r e sophisticated and organizations; and institutions, a s reflected in the formalized patterns and rules
derivatives. B o r r o w e d f r o m N e w t o n i a n p h y s i c s , t h e latter a r g u e d that the of behaviour.
interaction b e t w e e n a n y t w o p o i n t s o n t h e e a r t h ' s s u r f a c e would b e f o u n d to be The third set of designer principles include viewing the urban spatial structure as
directly proportionate to the size o r m a s s of t h e p l a c e a n d inversely proportionate ^ based on s o m e physical analogue, incorporating principles o f least effort,
to t h e distance b e t w e e n t h e m . F o r t h e u r b a n g e o g r a p h e r , t h e a p p l i c a t i o n of minimization o f the friction of distance, maximum entropy, allometric principles, or
location theory a n d spatial p h y s i c s r e s u l t e d in t h e s e a r c h for the u n d e r l y i n g order | biological analogies. Bourne argues that in contemporary times, a n y u r b a n area is,
in urban b e h a v i o u r in t h e f r a m e w o r k o f a social s c i e n c e . Urbanités, p r o d u c e r s or 4 to some degree, subject to all these rules of design, thus "the internal structure of
c o n s u m e r s , w e r e rational b e i n g s w i t h p u r e e c o n o m i c objectives w h o confronted ' the city mirrors a complex interplay of pressures that derive from c o m p e t i n g — i f
the "friction of d i s t a n c e " in g e o g r a p h i c a l s p a c e . T o o v e r c o m e this, they created not contradictory—attempts to 'design' a structure that fits s o m e o n e ' s image
spatial regularities, in v a r i o u s f o r m s o f u r b a n s p a c e , patterns of land u s e , a n d the • and/or interests".
distribution of inter- a n d i n t r a - u r b a n trips, that w e r e the expression of basic The extensive literature which the studies of the internal structure o f cities have
universal laws. A b s e n t f r o m this a p p r o a c h w a s a n explanation o f urban g ' provided are a rich source of theoretical and practical approaches to u r b a n form.
p h e n o m e n a w h e r e sociological, p s y c h o l o g i c a l , c u l t u r a l a n d political factors came However, any attempt to utilize these approaches will need to take into account the
in (Hall,1984). limitations inherent in their conceptual bases, as referred to earlier and a s discussed
T h e central feature of t h e q u a n t i t a t i v e a p p r o a c h to spatial analysis w a s an further in Chapter 5. The quantitative techniques, which study t h e locational
explicit philosophical position, logical p o s i t i v i s m ; a trend t o w a r d s the behaviour of individuals and their impact on determining the urban structure, will
development of g e o g r a p h y o n t h e b a s i s of a q u a n t i f i e d form o f theory such яаШ then b e o f p r i m e importance w h e n coupled with the consideration o f their
" m o d e l s " ; and s u b s e q u e n t l y tested t h r o u g h e m p i r i c a l observation (На11,1984). T h e e interactions w i t h what constrains their actions in t h e form of social structures and
description of t h e earth's s u r f a c e w a s replaced b y an attempt to search for systems.
underlying laws g o v e r n i n g t h e distribution of c e r t a i n features on t h e space of the Щ
earth. T h e explanatory m o d e l s o f t h e a p p r o a c h s t e m in part from those o f B
neoclassical e c o n o m i c s , e m p h a s i z i n g t h e price-fixing m e c h a n i s m s through | Urban morphology
competition in t h e free m a r k e t s , i n t o w h i c h t h e e x t r a costs of crossing distance are 1
introduced b y t h e g e o g r a p h e r ; a n d f r o m t h e functionalist sociology o f Talcott 1 A major trend involved in the study of urban form in urban geography is urban
Parsons with its d e m o g r a p h i c n o t i o n of s o c i a l structure (Johnston,1982). ^ morphology. T h e term morphology means " t h e science of f o r m " (Slwrter Oxf
o rd
Characteristics o f t h e post-war scientific d e v e l o p m e n t s in A m e r i c a w h i c h were È Dictionary,ì970), which studies the "shape, form, external structure or arrangement,
transferred to u r b a n g e o g r a p h y a s spatial a n a l y s i s included an e m p h a s i s o n j especially as an object of study or classification" {Supplement ot the Oxfo rd English
general trends a n d patterns a n d i n t e r p r e t i n g specifics within a theoretical matrix Щ Dictionary, 1976). It has been mainly used in biology for the study " n o t only of
instead of focusing o n the u n i q u e a n d e x c e p t i o n a l ; a n application of numerical shape a n d structure in plants,- animals a n d microorganisms, b u t also o f t h e size,
m e t h o d s to a n a l y s e data a n d s o b e c o m i n g " s c i e n t i f i c a l l y " respectable; a n d an shape, structure, and relationships of their parts". Although it is typically
apparently predictive p o w e r c a p a b l e o f b e i n g u s e d in the d e v e l o p m e n t of public contrasted with the study of functions of organisms and their parts, i.e. physiology,
policy (Herbert & T h o m a s , 1 9 8 2 ) . their separation is somewhat artificial due to t h e close interrelation of the function
A s a proposition o n the n a t u r e o f structural g r o w t h of the city. B o u r n e (1982: and structure o f organisms {The New Encyclo paedia Britannica,^984).
3 7 - 3 9 ) introduces " d e s i g n e r p r i n c i p l e s " a s a d d r e s s i n g t h e "rules, both explicit and Urban morphology is the systematic study of the form, shape, plan, structure and
implicit, that act to 'design' t h e s t r u c t u r e " of t h e city. These principles pose the functions of the built fabric of t o w n s and cities, and of the origin a n d the w a y in
essential questions o f " w h y cities a r e laid o u t t h e w a y they are? W h o then which this fabric has evolved o v e r time (Clark,1985; Small & Witherick,1986;
determines o r d e s i g n s t h e spatial f o r m o f t h e c i t y ? a n d o n w h a t criteria?" He Goodall, 1987) (Figure 2.9). Fo r Gordon (1984: 3 ) , morphology entails "plots,
identifies in the literature three sets of designer principles: blueprint, process and buildings, u s e , streets, plans, t o w n s c a p e s " . It is dealt with mostly in urban
relational principles. geography which studies spatial aspects of urban development from t w o inter-
Blueprint principles describe a p r e m e d i t a t e d p r o c e s s o f planning a n d reflect the urban and intra-urban viewpoints. In the case of the latter, "urban areas are studied
presence of a c o m p l e t e m o n o p o l y o v e r the instrviments of design. In the process in terms of their morphology, producing concepts and generalizations related to the
principles, the g r a d u a l evolution o f u r b a n structure is emphasized w h i c h has taken character and intensity of land u s e within the urban area a n d . to the spatial
place through a s e q u e n c e o f t h o u s a n d s o f events, a c t i o n s and decisions in which the interactions of o n e part of the urban area with another, i.e. internal structure a n d
parts fit together through a d a p t a t i o n , or trial a n d error. Three types of such processes" (Goodall,1987).
54 Design of Urban Space Structural Frameworks of Urban Spac 55

has focused on t o w n plan analysis and building form. A theoretical f r a m e w o r k w a s


\vorked out which described the creation of m o r p h o l o g y b y referring to " a c t o r s " in
"stages" (Gordon,1984). Whitehand a r g u e s that for a m o r e realistic p e r s p e c t i v e , it is
necessary to "set individual decision makers into a wider f r a m e w o r k of
morphogenetics, economics, property interests a n d artistic c o n s i d e r a t i o n s "
(VVhitehand,1988: 288). He s u m s u p the research questions of o n e o f the most
important lines of investigation in British urban m o r p h o l o g y in the 1 9 8 0 s a s dealing
with the location of the individuals and the firms involved in the d e v e l o p m e n t
process, their relationship with each other, a n d the i m p l i c a t i o n s of these
relationships for the change of building form. These are the questions in r e s p o n s e to
which new studies h a v e been carried out (Larkham,1986).
The social geography of the nineteenth-century cities is studied on t h e b a s i s of the
ecological theory of the Chicago school and social area analysis ( D e n n i s &
Prince,1988). T h e spatial structure of a city is reconstructed and c o m p a r e d with a
few standard types: Sjoberg's pre-industrial city. B u r g e s s ' s c o n c e n t r i c a l l y zoned
city, and Hoyt's sectors. It b e c o m e s then possible to locate the city in question
somewhere along a transition f r o m "pre-industrial" to " m o d e r n " . I n the 1970s,
when the studies w e r e still principally descriptive, the observed c h a n g e s w e r e
accounted for only b y the most general of processes such as m o d e r n i z a t i o n . But
over time, the concept of modernity has b e c o m e less unilinear and m o r e historical
through observation of modern attitudes, perceptions, political p h i l o s o p h i e s and
forms of class consciousness, together with spatial patterns (Dennis & P r i n c e , 1988).
In Germany, recent studies on u r b a n growth during the nineteenth c e n t u r y often
F i g u r e 2 . 9 . Urban morphology is the systematic study of the form, shape, plan, structure ai proceed to investigate processes a n d the agents—political, functional, social and
function of the built fabric of towns and cities, and of the origin and the way in which this fabric
economic—that lay behind such u r b a n expansion (Denecke,1988). D e t a i l e d studies
has evolved over time. {Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)
have focused on urban fragments, their m o r p h o g e n e t i c and f u n c t i o n a l change,
especially during the nineteenth a n d twentieth centuries. Individual sections of
Until the 1960s, the main concern o f urban geographers was the internal structure towns, as representatives of the w h o l e , are studied, reflecting the p r o c e s s e s that the
of the city focused on morphology, w h i c h plotted the ages and types of buildings |, town underwent. T h e researcher is thus allowed to go into detail a n d to follow
a n d identified different historical components of town plans (Dennis & 1 threads, which finally knit everything together on a m o r e general a n d theoretical
Prince,1988). Urban morphology in its most active period was emphasizing the level.
classification of subrogions within individual cities in relation with the phases of With these characteristics, is it not urban m o r p h o l o g y that s e e m s to p r o v i d e the
u r b a n growth (Herbert & T h o m a s , 1 9 8 2 ; Baker & Slater,1992). s necessary frameworks for the study of urban form? T h e extensive e m p i r i c a l studies
U r b a n morphology in the G e r m a n - s p e a k i n g world was flourishing in the inter- • of this line of enquiry have p r o d u c e d useful information about p a r t i c u l a r urban
w a r years and remained an integrated part of urban geographical research in the | landscapes and h a v e shed light on s o m e crucial relationships b e t w e e n physical
post-war period (Whitehand,1988). Architects and historians as well as geographers | space and social actors, such as that between the d e v e l o p m e n t a g e n c y ' s location
liad contributed to develop urban morphology. T h i s line of central European 'f, and the building form they produce. Nevertheless, there are s o m e b r o a d e r issues
research was introduced to Britain m a i n l y through the work of M. R. G. Conzen i which this tradition, in its highly focused, empirical research, leaves u n a d d r e s s e d .
(1960), who tried to explain the present structure of a town plan by examining its Î Despite the recent emergence of interest in the study of urban l a n d s c a p e , urban
historical development. | morphology is sdll on the margins of architecture (Bandini,1992) a n d g e o g r a p h y
In the 1960s, with the rise of interest in functional classification and the economic (Whitehand & Larkham,1992b). T h i s is w h e r e it can b e distinguished f r o m t h e m o r e
b a s e s of urban systems, urban m o r p h o l o g y was severely criticized as being mainly i critical approaches to urban l a n d s c a p e (Knox,l 9 9 2 , 1 9 9 3 ) , which try t o relate the
descriptive, lacking in good m e a s u r e m e n t techniques and faihng to develop a changes in physical space to the fundamental social change which t h e cities have
general theory, and focusing m e r e l y on the observable and the inanimate (Herbert undergone. Urban morphology tradition remains sceptical of these a t t e m p t s , as it
& Thomas,1982). Following a period of quiescence, since the 1970s there has been a believes, "Causal links b e t w e e n post-modern landscapes a n d economic
resurgence of research activity in urban m o r p h o l o g y (Whitehand, 1988,1992; restructuring h a v e still to be convincingly s h o w n " (Whitehand & L a r k h a m , 1 9 9 2 b
Slater,1990; Whitehand & Larkham,1992a). In its revived form, urban morphology 9). Although focusing on the operation of agencies w i t h i n certain structures, it doe:
56 Design of Urban Space Structural Frameworks of Urban Space 57

not seem interested in addressing the general p r o c e s s e s a n d contexts in which these approach which focuses only on statistical associations between various aspects of
operations are carried out. This i m p h e s that despite its apparent a t t e m p t s to Imk the socio-economic system and the models emphasizing individual choice; a n d in
urban form with w i d e r societal contexts, it has only concentrated on certain aspects the subjective approach which studies only the perceived world of individuals w h o
of urban form in relation to certain characteristics of t h e d e v e l o p m e n t process and ffiay well be only dimly aware of these constraints.
its agencies. The positivist claims of being objective, value-free and politically neutral w e r e
It has, however, f o u n d growing s u p p o r t a m o n g u r b a n design a n d conservation criticized as w o r k i n g to serve the existing social system and enable its survival. T h e
circles. Urban m o r p h o l o g y , as an empirical form of s t u d y a p p r o a c h e d by urban other main themes of criticism were the assumption of consensus a r r a n g e m e n t s
geographers, is considered to be offering c o n s i d e r a b l e opportunities for t h e « between conflicting and unequal social groups; the descriptive role of the
"understanding and appreciation of historical a n d morphological context" 1 quantitative a p p r o a c h and the mechanical way in which it could predict within the
(Lowndes & M u r r a y , 1988). M o r p h o l o g i c a l rules of t h u m b have b e e n proposed to prescriptions of existing orders; and the reductionism of subjective approaches.
study the urban form at three levels of basic c o m p o n e n t s : elements, a n d historical Hall (1984) identifies the role of the liberals in this approach. Their focus on the
and contemporary characteristics. H e r e the positive contribution of u r b a n design is question of " w h o got what in the contemporary c i t y " , led to the s t u d y of the
seen to confine its i d e a s to small a n d m a n a g e a b l e a r e a s such as b l o c k s , streets or, distribution of m o n e y income, and of access to private and public services, followed
buildings. This approach to u r b a n f o r m has b e e n criticized as leading to by a look at the political processes within the city to understand h o w inequalities
environmental determinism, ignoring the e c o n o m i c , political and cultural context arose. The Marxists rejected the logical positivist philosophy that the liberals and
within which buildings have b e e n p r o d u c e d . W h a t is called for are the guidelines the quantifiers s h a r e d , and adopted the view that objective knowledge of reality, as
which translate "all our understanding about the c o n t e m p o r a r y w a y s the built the product of a given socio-economic formation, can only be achieved b y
environment is p r o d u c e d , used and v a l u e d " ( H e a l e y , 1 9 8 8 : 4 ) . understanding the historical laws that govern the rise and fall of such formations.
The institutional approach a r g u e s that the m a i n determinant of locational
behaviour is p o w e r , particularly economic power, and identifies the core of
Political economy of urban structure problems facing geographers as being the structural analysis of capitalism and its
spatial manifestations (Johnston,1982). Despite the criticisms of the existence of
T h e main rival to h u m a n ecology in spatial analysis a n d social scientific inquiry has^ "hidden s t r u c t u r e s " (Scruton,1985), the value of structural approaches should b e
b e e n the political e c o n o m i c analysis. In the late 1 9 6 0 s , a wide-ranging discontent stressed as pointing towards the broader contexts within which urban spatial
with the p r e d o m i n a n t spatial analysis a p p r o a c h started to d e v e l o p . It was|| structures and social problems must be studied. Herbert and T h o m a s (1982: 41)
discovered that the complexity of spatial c h a n g e in t h e a d v a n c e d industrial societies describe structuralism as "a diffuse tendency rather than a really consistent
could no longer be explained b y the simplified m o d e l o f neoclassical theory, with its doctrine", which w a s concerned with grasping the meaning of underlying
"myopic focus on individual firms, in perfect c o m p e t i t i o n and responding blindly, structures. It was a holistic scheme which viewed patterns and processes as largely
and perfectly, to market f o r c e s " ( M a s s e y , 1 9 8 4 : 3 ) . It w a s the pattern of job losses affected b y "structural imperatives" (Herbert & Thomas,1982: 41). Points o f
and plant closures, rather than the g r o w t h of u r b a n areas, which had remained departure occur at more detailed levels of understanding, where local factors need
unexplained but obviously influential in d e t e r m i n i n g the spatial qualities and i to be considered. This has led, within the framework of structures, to the study of
"symbolic" or social values and the impacts of more localized organizations and
relationships. ^,
institutions, as well as the study of " m a n a g e r s " in the societal system (Herbert &
A major criticism of spatial analysis w a s that it did not pay attention to t h e f l
Thomas,1982). T h e r e have been attempts to integrate the different approaches as
subjectivity of the social actors. This led to research into individuals' cognition and ?
"openings" which lead to the flexibility of Marxist thought, as inspired b y the w o r k
behaviour, which will be discussed in the next c h a p t e r . Another a p p r o a c h , called
of Gramsci. A n early example of this flexibility h a s been Pickvance (1974), w h o
the institutional approach ( J o h n s t o n , 1 9 8 2 ) , " r a d i c a l " or "socially concerned''
suggests that the m o d e of production exercises a general rather than a specific effect
geography (Hall,1984), "structuralist" or "political e c o n o m y " (Herbert & Thomas,
upon the social content of spatial forms.
1982), originated from the social m o v e m e n t s of the late 1960s, and w a s a reaction to
the estabUshed spatial analysis a p p r o a c h e s . By the e a r l y 1980s, this approach had As a response to the increased awareness of the influence of social processes on
almost b e c o m e the standard geographical a p p r o a c h (Hall,1984), before being urban form, the need to relate "shapes on the ground to the shapes in s o c i e t y "
challenged in favour of a problem-solving g e o g r a p h y or one w h i c h combines (Carter & Wheatley,1979: 237) and the need to reconcile the social and physical
h u m a n and physical geography (Johnston,1991). space (Shaw,1979), focus on the relationship between pattern and the underlying
It attacks the other two a p p r o a c h e s of spatial a n a l y s i s and behaviouralism for social, economic and political processes has been stressed by social geographers
ignoring the realities of h u m a n d e c i s i o n - m a k i n g , a n d focuses on the "constraints (Pooley & Lawton,1987). During the last two decades, other social sciences, e.g.
that society as a w h o l e , and particularly certain g r o u p s within it, i m p o s e s on the sociology (Saunders,1981), political science (Agnew,1987) and urban history
behaviour of i n d i v i d u a l s " (Johnston,1982: 8 1 ) . T h e institutional constraints are (Tilly,1984), h a v e f o u n d a much greater awareness of the need for the recognition of
disregarded in both other a p p r o a c h e s : in the positivism of the quantitative the role of space in the comprehension of human behaviour. As King (1990: 1) puts
58 Design of Urban Space Structural Frameworks of Urban Space 59

it, "physical and spatial urban form actually constitute as well as represent much of problem of a specific city or region: it was a deeply rooted feature o f c a p i t a l i s m . It
the social and cultural existence". -M was argued that, a s mechanisms f o r resource distribution in a capitalist e c o n o m y ,
Within the general framework o f behavioural research, a branch concentrated o n j cities were unfairly structured (Badcock,1984). T h e individual p a r t s o f t h é
the behaviour of organizations a s the main agents of spatial change. R a t h e r than t h e « landscape of capitalism, which is " a seamless g a r m e n t " , could o n l y b e u n d e r s t o o d
individual's presumed rational e c o n o m i c behaviour, w h a t needed explanation w a s j in relation to t h e dynamics of t h e w h o l e (Scott,1990: 2 1 6 ) . It creates a n d d e s t r o y s
the behaviour of the large-scale business organizations, whose turnover could b e ' urban space in its restless drive for expansion and c o m m o d i f i c a t i o n o f n e w parts o f
larger than most nation states (Dicken & Lloyd,1990). Ц life, at the expense of reorganizing the old.
The decision-making of the managers and boards of the large business
organizations h a d more impact on t h e spatial organization of a locality than the
models which attempted to explain individual choices in s free, symmetrical space.
T h e significance o f these organizations in developing an oligopolistic e c o n o m y can
he seen from a description of the industrial landscape of America, which, "would
begin with a vast plain of millions of tiny pebbles, representing all the economically
powerless, monopolistically competitive business firms. At the centre of this
enormous plain would rise a f e w hundred colossal towers, representing the
important oligopolistic corporations. These few hundred towers w o u l d b e so large
that they would make insignificant the entire plain below t h e m " (Hunt and.^
Sherman, quoted in Dicken & Lloyd,1990: 259). A similar undertaking would show
h o w the landscape o f the world e c o n o m y is d o m i n a t e d b y a n u m b e r o f giant
multinational firms, at the top of a hierarchy of smaller firms in a segmented
economy. In this landscape, the p r i m e movers o f t h e economy a n d therefore the!
main agents of spatial change c a n b e seen as these large business corporations.'
Through their location decisions a n d a whole host of other forms of investment
decision-making, organizations influence t h e geography o f economic activity. The'
location of the headquarters of large corporations is especially important as they:
constitute the control and administrative centres of these business empires. These;
tend to concentrate in large urban areas, where information is readily available and;
direct contact with other firms is easiest. The world cities such as L o n d o n and New
York a r e such centres, where t h e accumulation o f these headquarters intensifies
their influence in the economic landscape of large parts of the world. T h e location of
the headquarters in the existing concentrations of financial and political power h a s f
helped to prolong the distinctions between core and periphery in that decisions and
innovations from the centre have significant impacts o n the entire economic system. |
Also, a change in the spatial structure of a firm, w h e n the nimiber, size, function
F i g u r e 2.10. Some analysts have tried to explain the rise and fall of ec onomies and their
and geography o f a firm's activities change, can h a v e a direct influence on the local J impact on urban structure through politic al economy of industrialization and deindustrialization.
economies and their spatial characteristics. r] {Dessau, Germany)
By opening u p the analysis of location in space to the w a y l a r g e - s c a l e !
organizations are structured and h o w they behave, n e w insights w e r e introduced »
into an earlier, narrower realm of inquiry. Yet this perspective was itself not broad i The new spatial division of labour therefore represents h o w activities in different
enough in that it failed to address the larger social and economic contexts in which places find new sets of relations, new spatial patterns of social organization, n e w
they operated. T h e task n o w w a s to link the geography of industry and ' dimensions of inequality a n d n e w relations o f d o m i n a n c e a n d d e p e n d e n c e
employment to t h e wider, underlying structures of society (Massey,1984) (F igure t (Massey,1984). Analysis of the division o f labour, with its c o m p l e x p a t t e r n s a n d
2.10). The inequality of employment in various regions demanded an investigation dynamics, offers a key to the understanding of the e m e r g e n c e of u r b a n p r o c e s s e s . It
of spatial organization of the social relations of capitalist production, rather than analyses t h e forces which govern t h e internal a n d external organization o f u r b a n
mapping the distribution of jobs. It w a s the change in spatial structures of economies, forces which mobilize citizens to b e deployed in p r o d u c t i v e w o r k . T h e
production that h a d caused a c h a n g e in the e c o n o m i c landscape o f Britain and process of industrialization, therefore, can explain t h e d y n a m i c s o f this p r o c e s s o f
m a n y other industrialized economies. This change w a s more than an accidental agglomeration in urban areas and the form it takes (Scott,1990).
60 Design of Urban Space Structural Frameworks of Urban Space 61

In the industrialization process, the specialization of industrial establishments space of material objects according to the w a y we use it now. Hence, w e adopt a
creates a dense w e b of interlinkages b e t w e e n t h e s e e s t a b l i s h m e n t s , giving shape to spatial classification, arriving at a land-use organization of space. T h e r e are areas in
an interconnected complex of industries which tend to locate n e a r o n e another to cities where land uses tend to mix, as in the city centres, and areas where single
keep the cost of their externalized transactions d o w n . T h e l o c a l i z e d production uses prevail, as in the suburban housing estates. In addition to the patterns of use,
complexes come into being as a result of the e x p a n s i o n of the social division of we can look at the intensity of use in urban space. T h e general picture s e e m s to be a
labour and the increased size of the market, together with the i n n o v a t i o n process, more intense u s e of space in the city centres, where it overlaps with the mixture of
industrial diversification and locational activity. A n interlocking n e t w o r k of uses, and a diminishing density towards the outskirts of urban core in the suburbs,
activities evolves w h e n a number of these c o m p l e x e s a n d their satellite peripheries, where single use is the predominant feature. Attached to this familiar urban
all with their associated communities of workers, c o m e together to f o r m an urban structure are n e w agglomerations in the suburbs and exurbs, where the land uses
area (Scott,1990). This perspective offers an insight into the m a k i n g of urban form ^ which w e r e characteristics of the city centres, such as office and retailing, h a v e
b y giving an account of the production processes w h i c h g o v e r n the growth and created n e w b u t disperse landscapes. In this sense we can see urban space as
decline of older industrial cities. Yet it fails to a n s w e r w h y n e w u r b a n forms are metropolitan space, at a regional scale, and the diversity and complexity which
shaped as they are. A n obvious e x a m p l e is O r a n g e C o u n t y , w h e r e S c o t t ' s analysis is . occurs throughout a large urban area. The relationship between these various areas,
limited to the "self-evident o b s e r v a t i o n " that the d e v e l o p m e n t o f a high technology • as physically exemplified b y transport networks, gives us another v i e w to urban
complex in O r a n g e C o u n t y relies o n the initial d r i v e b y fecieral d e f e n c e and space structure, w h e r e spines and nodes in the movement patterns are primary elements
contracting (Scott,1990; 202). O r a n g e C o u n t y ' s m o n u m e n t a l industrial growth in a in the constitution of urban structure. W e can also see how urban space was
very low-density u r b a n sprawl w i t h o u t a n y visible t o w n c e n t r e c o m p l e x has been produced by u r b a n development processes and by the construction industry. In this
described as an entirely new pattern of u r b a n f o r m ( S o r k i n , 1 9 9 2 ) , and as the way our understanding of the w a y urban space is structured will correspond to the
archetype of post-modern urbanism (Dear,1995). Yet the analysis of patterns of its production, rather than consumption.
industrialization on its own seems to be hardly sufficient to e x p l a i n w h y its space We can also see the city as an agglomeration of people. W e can look for what
h a s been structured in this u n p r e c e d e n t e d w a y . brought t h e m together in the first place and the forms that this congregation has
Political e c o n o m y analysis offers valuable insights into the w o r k i n g s of the social taken. For e x a m p l e , we m a y look at the industrialization and its impact on
processes and structures. It is an integrative a p p r o a c h w h i c h g o e s b e y o n d the urbanization, w h e r e industrial production processes attracted workers, giving rise
confines of politics or economics in explaining social phenomena to large agglomerations. T h e urban space is therefore structured b y capital and
(Dahrendorf,1995). H o w e v e r , it is restricted in that it o f t e n u n d e r m i n e s the labour markets a n d the d y n a m i c s of organization and reorganization of production,
importance of cultural factors in socio-spatial analysis. A s it h a s b e e n stressed in a by the rise and agglomeration of units of production. Putting these relationships in
number of branches of h u m a n i t i e s and social sciences, e.g. cultural studies the wider context of the world economy and the role an urban area plays in the
(Williams,1981), urban sociology (Gottdiener,1994) and social philosophy world system gives us another dimension. Here we see how the m o v e m e n t of
(Lefebvre,1991), that the study of political e c o n o m y will not b e c o m p l e t e without a capital and labour, and the g o o d s and services they produce, across the world can
study of the related cultural factors. In other w o r d s , agencies are a s important as the restructure cities in new w a y s . W e can also look at the patterns of consumption in
structures which frame their action ( G i d d e n s , 1 9 8 4 ) . the city space. T h e w a y social classes relate to each other becomes a criterion to find
out how urban space is structured. The way housing areas are organized and their
relationships give us a picture of urban structure from another angle. Another way
to understand urban space is in terms of the public-private relationships, which
Conclusion structure the u r b a n space by allowing some people to have access to s o m e places
and activities w h i l e constraining access to others.
As nodes of h u m a n societies, u r b a n areas are a g g l o m e r a t i o n s of people and
material objects. A n agglomeration of this kind, a n d the s p a c e it occupies and W e can look at urban space in terms of the people's different patterns of creating
reshapes, can be seen from a variety of angles. W e can see the city a s a collection of a diversity of places and neighbourhoods, where rich and poor are separated from
artefacts: buildings and our material possessions therein. T h e w a y this urban space each other through land and property market mechanisms. We can see how this
is structured is therefore u n d e r s t o o d to be a m a t t e r of classifying these material spatial segregation has taken different social and spatial forms. It is also possible to
objects into meaningful groups a n d exploring o u r relationships w i t h them. For look at h o w cities are structured along the lines of ethnicity, gender and age, where
example, w e can see urban space a s a created, as distinctive f r o m natural, space, specific areas are, out of choice or desperation, identified with this diversity.
and see h o w it relates to the natural processes w i t h i n and w i t h o u t it. W e can Alternatively, w e can see urban space from the viewpoint of individuals who, in
concentrate on it as the built e n v i r o n m e n t , classifying b u i l d i n g f o r m s and street their subjective capacity, understand cities differently. In this way, we could arrive
patterns according to their ages a n d styles: a t e m p o r a l classification of urban space, at as many understandings of urban space as there are individuals, or could see
which gives us a sense of h o w u r b a n space is structured historically and how its how broad cultural patterns e m e r g e out of a seemingly infinite variety.
current character is affected by this historical evolution. W e can classify the urban It has not b e e n intended here to produce an exhaustive list of all possible ways of
62 Design of Urban Space

understanding urban structure. W e m a y find it convenient to classify these into


those which focus on the environment and those which focus on the people within

CHAPTERS
it, set within larger physical and social environments. Y e t it is important to know
that at all levels, the two foci and their contexts are closely intertwined. Various
approaches to urban space may h a v e different e m p h a s e s , which often a l l o w s them |
to explore oiie of the many aspects of a multi faceted p h e n o m e n o n . In our '
understanding of urban space and the way it is structured, however, w e will need
to overlay these different insights to get a clearer p i c t u r e of the city w e intend to ,
deal with. Each holder of these viewpoints seems to b e convinced that w h a t they
People in t h e Cit^
are showing us is the best way the urban p h e n o m e n o n c a n be u n d e r s t o o d . Yet we .
will have to realize that only a combination of social a n d physical d i m e n s i o n s of
space, of objects and people, will offer us a balanced v i e w of the structures of urban
space, despite the complexity that such a combined v i e w asks for. A socio-spatial j
This chapter investigates m e a n i n g and behaviour in urban space. It starts by
viewpoint, in which these two dimensions with their complexities are intermeshed, •
looking at the w a y the patterns of meaning and b e h a v i o u r define u r b a n space at its
will allow us to see h o w spatial structures express the social formations a s well as •
different scales, a n d how these interact with structural d i m e n s i o n s o f the city's
affecting them. T h i s picture, however, will not be c o m p l e t e without realizing that I
physical and social space. This leads on to a discussion of differences, of people and
the way w e understand structures of urban life a n d space will need to be
their life patterns, in urban space. W e address the complexity of e v e r y d a y life,
complemented w i t h another layer of awareness. W h a t is n e e d e d is an^
which stands against the notions of order as advocated bv urban planners a n d
understanding of the small-scale, unstructured d i m e n s i o n s of h u m a n behaviour
designers.
within cities and the w a y symbolic interaction with u r b a n space e n d o w s it with
W e have already looked at the w a y urban space and structure are u n d e r s t o o d
meaning.! from the more abstract, intellectual viewpoints. W e discovered that there are two
perspectives f r o m which to analyse the urban space to find out h o w it is structured;
one that concentrates on people and the other on buildings and objects. Both,
however, w e r e views from above. In this chapter, w e leave these abstract levels of
urban structures and concentrate on the everyday life in the city. It is at this level
that the diversity and spontaneity of life can be observed. It is also at this level that
the patterns of behaviour in the city can be analysed in relation to the symbolic
processes, m e a n i n g of the environment, and the relationship of individuals with
others in public places and with their environments.

Environmental cognition

As individuals, w h a t do we k n o w about the socio-spatial world a r o u n d us? M o o r e


(1983) believed that finding an a n s w e r to this question, i.e. finding the contents of
people's cognitive representations of large-scale environments, is an impossible
task. Instead, h e suggested we concentrate on the differences b e t w e e n individuals
and groups of people in their environmental knowing. After all, the basic
assumption of research on environmental cognition has been that different people
interpret their environments differently, according to their b a c k g r o u n d and
experience. A c c o r d i n g to this basic assumption, " T h e r e is no o n e ' e n v i r o n m e n t ' —
rather, 'environment' is a mental construct" (Moore,1983; 22), and its nature is
understood b y h u m a n s not directly but through a complicated process of
interpretation.
Fundamental to this interpretive process, M o o r e maintained, are s o m e basic
images that inform the cognitive maps and linguistic conceptions of the city. These
People in the City 65
64 Design of Urban Space

can be broadly divided into those which see the city as a site of o p p o r t u n i t y and remembering. Cycling and active car driving come next. At the last stage, in which no
interaction, and those which see it as a place of deprivation and alienation. active contact is made with the environment, is the experience of passive passengers in
Literature shows a body of research on the variety of w a y s in which individuals a car or on public transport. As research has shown, the latter group are least able to
differ and the impact of this difference on their environmental cognition. "People remember their routes and to draw a coherent map of the urban road system they use.
seem to differ not only in terms of what and how much they k n o w but also in terms of The relationship between children and their environment (Ward,1978) and the
the way they organize what they- know, and they change over time in clear way they acquire information about the envirohment has been extensively studied,
developmental stages" (Moore, 1983: 28). Individual differences, therefore, can be to see h o w and in w h a t ways human beings develop their environmental
found in relation to ethnicity, age, gender, lifestyle, length of residence in an area, and awareness. Although s o m e have argued that age has no notable impact on
travel mode within the city, all affecting the way environment is perceived. For environmental awareness, Piaget's influential views on children's development
example, research has shown that m e n ' s image of the city is more composite whereas maintain that they grow through stages in which their development of intellectual
women's image of their immediate surroundings is more detailed and they define a abilities parallels changes in their relationship to space. The mapping accuracy of
larger territory as their home area than men do (Moore,1983). Another study of a individuals develops in distinct stages, from "action-in-space", w h e n they are able
housing project, whose inhabitants were predominantly poor African Americans, to handle "'egocentric' spatial relations based on self"; to "perception-of-space",
showed that the residents' view of their environment was far m o r e restricted and when they can deal with "'objective' spatial relations based on objects"; and finally
confined than that of the white population who lived around them. This w a s found to to " c o n c e p t i o n - a b o u t - s p a c e " , when "'abstract' spatial relations based o n
be the outcome of an anxiety of moving beyond the racially mixed areas into white coordinates" are understood (Walmsley,1988; 19).
neighbourhoods (LaGory & Pipkin,1981). Environmental cognition will vary
depending on the mode of travel (Figure 3.1). Walking is m o r e intimate to the
environment and therefore allows a more articulated process of interpretation and A behavioural approach to space
In the late 1960s, as a counter-movement to the quantitative methods of research, a
general shift occurred t o w a r d s a much more individually oriented, small-scale
approach to urban studies (Hall,1984). The approach attacked the quantitative
approach as being mechanistic, aggregative, "dehumanizing", failing to separate
fact from v a l u e , and reducing place and space to abstract geometries in which the
human b e i n g is a "pallid entrepreneurial figure" (Ley in Herbert & Thomas,1982:
34). T h e " b l a c k b o x " n o w b e c o m e s the subject of study and the role of h u m a n
values of s p a c e are re-asserted. Location theory is no more a series of equations
which w e i g h cost and distance. It was advocated that the strictly rational and
economic assumptions should give way to h o w thoughts, images and impressions
affected action and behaviour (Moore,1983). It was argued that the "environment in
the h e a d " is important because "it is the subjective environment which influences
b e h a v i o u r " (Rapoport, 1980) (Figure 3.2).
The behavioural approach increasingly accepted the broad frameworks of
p h e n o m e n o l o g y as defined b y Husserl, who argued that the world could only b e
understood through a k n o w l e d g e of the attitudes and intentions which motivated
human b e h a v i o u r . A proposed narrower concept focuses on the ideas and beliefs
that lie b e h i n d human action and argues that behaviour must be understood
through the m i n d of the " a c t o r " at the point in time and space in which it occurs
(Herbert & T h o m a s , 1 9 8 2 ) .
Behavioural studies are identified more as a critique rather than a precise
methodology with a cohesive structure (Herbert & Thomas,1982). It has been seen as
"insufficiently complex" to be used as a method of inquiry into modern sociefies
(Habermas,1987: 375). T w o intellectual developments resulted which did not produce
major traditions, although they did prove interesting. In the first one, individual
behaviour, a n d individual perceptions as a key to that behaviour, were stressed. This
Figure 3.1. There is a dose relationship between the mode of travel in urban space and
was reflected in the work on mental mapping of individuals and groups (Hall,1984).
environmental cognition. {Frejus, Frar)ce)
66 Design of Urban Space People in the City 67

The technique of mental m a p p i n g became widely known w h e n Kevin Lynch


used it in his serhinal work The Image of the City (1979). H e w a s c o n c e r n e d with the
visual quality of the American city through citizens' mental images of their cities.
Inhabitants of three cities, Boston, Jersey City and L o s Angeles, were a s k e d to evoke
their images of their physical environment by descriptions and sketches and b y
performing imaginary trips in their cities. The o u t c o m e of the research was that,
with reference to physical forms, images of the city can be classified into paths,
edges, districts, n o d e s and landmarks. Paths, such as streets, w a l k w a y s , canals and
railways, are m o v e m e n t channels and form the predominant e l e m e n t s in people's
image of the city. Lynch believed that other elements relate to, and are organized
around, paths. Edges, such as shores, edges of development, walls, etc., are the
boundaries of areas. Districts are the sections o f the city and are mentally
recognized as having some identifiable character. N o d e s are the focal points in the
patterns of development, such as junctions or squares and street corners. Another
type of focal point in the city are physical objects such as buildings, signs,
mountains, etc., w h i c h w e k n o w a s landmarks. L y n c h concluded that creating
environments with "apparent clarity or 'legibiUty' of the cityscape" (Lynch,1979: 2)

Figure 3.2. Rather than rational economic assumptions, behavioural research concentrated
on how the subjective environment influences behaviour. (Liverpool, UK)

In this strand, sophisticated quantitative techniques are used to analyse large data
sets collected from individual respondents. The stress in the second development was
on the cognition of the individual as a guide to his or her culture. The concern is more
with a verbal, instead of quantitative, presentation of the ways in which people
experience the world around them (]ohnston,1982). Although little empirical research
was carried out, it led to a rediscovery of regional geography, interpreted in terms of
individuals' perceptions of time and space. This was a phenomcnological approach in
which the researcher, to avoid the imposed conceptual strait-jacket of the positivist
thinkers, needed to get inside the individual actor (Hall,1984).

M a p p i n g urban images
T o understand h o w we come to know our environment, research has focused on the
w a y w e r e m e m b e r our environments. The main technique used to capture this is
m e n t a l mapping, i.e. uncovering the mental image of the environment which Figure 3.3. Landmarks act as mental anchor points in our mental maps of urban
individuals develop and use in their behaviour in the city. environment. {Isfahan, Iran)
^ ç r , Ci- .jroan Space People in the City 69

>''5S » ce 3 main concern. Therefore, cities in which t h e s e five elements w e r e clearU Later d e v e l o p m e n t s in environmental cognition research have shown a move
.eçcier, offered more visual pleasure, emotional security, and a h e i g h t e n e d potential towards accepting s o m e of the social dimensions of difference in understanding the
ce^tr. snd intensity of human experience. environment. T h e s e studies and others have s h o w n how conceptions of space are
xesesrch by others (e.g. Golledge,1978), however, h a s s h o w n that i n d i v i d u a l s first different for different people, b o t h in objective and concrete terms and in subjective
-fisr-tjrxations, including landmarks, which act as m e n t a l anchor p o i n t s (Figure and symbolic t e r m s . What is seen b y one person as a "slum" is considered by
- - - --'=>• then learn Hnks between locations, which correspond to L y n c h ' s paths, , another as an " u r b a n village". Despite these differences, however, there are
="C r.r,aîly the areas surrounding groups of locations. Other r e s e a r c h e r s have ' consistencies w i t h i n socio-economic and cultural groups which make them sharply
=f.ovm that we remember our daily physical e n v i r o n m e n t s in gross t e r m s . Rather | distinctive from other groups (Moore,1983). The existence of such differences shows
P^y^ng attention to subtle design factors, w e recall environments first in terms * clearly that environmental cognition is essentially a social product, as it is learnt b y
« v/hat we and others do there, i.e. " u s e significance", a setting for acti\'ities which I individuals and is shaped and conditioned by their social environment. In other
f " - r^'sonally meaningful for us. T h e n w e remember w h e r e they are, i.e. visibility, : words, the mental m a p s of individuals largely d e p e n d on their real or perceived
ir-C5t:on and siting considerations. At the last stage w e recall what they l o o k like, i.e. i place in social a n d economic hierarchies.
physical form and the detailed architectural considerations s u c h a s contour, dj
^Fiape, size, etc. Furthermore, w e s e e m to r e m e m b e r objects in o u r e n v i r o n m e n t
rsore easily if we attach a Unguistic term to them rather than an architectural form j Meaning and urban semiotics
or deteil CMoore,! 983). f
LvTich's five elements of urban images have been w i d e l y used in u r b a n design to 2 Another, c o m p l e t e l y different, approach to the meaning of environment has been to
construct more ' l e g i b l e " environments, as exemplified b y a v a r i e t y o f design 1 concentrate on the role of objects, events and appearances, which send messages to
r^r.dcooks and projects actually implemented. It is possible, h o w e v e r , t o a r g u e that ^ us to convey m e a n i n g . At the heart of this approach lies the concept of sign. In our
tKis approach is another attempt to i m p o s e some form of imaginary o r d e r onto the ^ relationship to t h e environment around us, we take appearances as signs of other
orbsn fabric. This is especially valid for the concept of districts, w h i c h h a s been I things: a light i n s i d e a house at night is a sign of the house being used, of the
t^s<bd to create subdivisions in urban space. This s h o w s a similarity w i t h crime ' presence of life there. This, h o w e v e r , is an interpretation which may not be shared
prevention measures that promote raising barriers a n d gating n e i g h b o u r h o o d s , i by another p e r s o n in another f r a m e of mind or in another social and cultural
Both subdivisions— for legibility o r for s e c u r i t y — present t h e d a n g e r of 1 context. T h e s t u d y of signs, or semiotics has three basic elements: (1) the sign, which
CKmtegration of urban space into fragmented, exclusive entities, c r e a t i n g new :' is the light in this case; (2) the referent, or that which it refers t o — the presence of
social and spatial barriers and failing to address the interface b e t w e e n s t r a n g e r s and humans in the h o u s e in our e x a m p l e ; and (3) the user of the sign (Sless,1986;
inhabitants. Fiske,1990). Semiotics, as Sless (1986) put it, is " a point of view, a vantage point
LvTich's technique is limited in that it reduces the understanding of signification from which w e survey our w o r l d " , used when w e ask how we understand and
in urban environment to "a perceptual knowledge o f physical f o r m " ( G o t t d i e n e r & communicate w i t h the world a r o u n d us.
L8g<-4X3ulos,1986: 7). His emphasis o n the five e l e m e n t s of paths, n o d e s , edges, According to Alfred Schutz (1970), following Husserl, the concrete form of marks,
dwtricts and landmarks m a y have led to a better, m o r e informed u r b a n design. indications, signs and symbols a p p e a r s as things to b e seen, sounds to be heard, etc.
- '^-V- elements, however, imply the use of e n v i r o n m e n t only t h r o u g h m o v e m e n t . They must therefore be something physical, which w e can perceive with our senses.
L«irut (quoted in Gottdiener & Lagopoulos,1986), for example, sees this w a y of At the s a m e t i m e , however, Schutz maintains that the physical form of signs and
analysing human behaviour as being no different f r o m analysing the b e h a v i o u r of symbols, etc., is rather accidental. These physical appearances are not marks, but
animals in a maze: both are adapting to their e n v i r o n m e n t . In contrast, h e believes, | "merely a potential vehicle of meaning. Whatever shape it takes, a physical
urban residents h a v e a more active role in the production and use of u r b a n fabric by ' appearance b e c o m e s à mark or sign solely by virtue of the meaning some human, or
feng involved in urban practices. group of h u m a n s , attaches to it. T h e r e are no marks or signs as such, but only marks
Thîs clearly indicates h o w m e n t a l m a p p i n g is limited in s c o p e . It stresses or signs for s o m e b o d y " (Wagner, 1970: 19).
urbanités' perception of their e n v i r o n m e n t , w h e r e a s p e o p l e ' s c o n c e p t i o n of urban There are t w o m a i n traditions in semiotics: that which is associated with the
environment is f o r m e d of a functionalist element, o n the basis of w h a t they do American philosopher Charles Peirce, and the other with the Swiss linguist
there, and a s y m b o l i c element. F u r t h e r m o r e , the m e a n i n g of e n v i r o n m e n t is Ferdinand de Saussure. Peirce s a w a sign as standing for something, its object,
s^AJght inside individuals, m i n d s , depicting an i m a g i n a r y picture o f t h e city. It creating in the m i n d of s o m e b o d y another, perhaps a more developed, sign, which
therefore tends to i g n o r e that such a picture is s o c i a l l y p r o d u c e d a n d its nature, he called an interprétant (Fiske,1990).
a representation of social p r o c e s s e s , is i d e o l o g i c a l . T h e m e n t a l m a p p i n g Rather than this concern for the sign and its relation to objects, Saussure was
rt-v^-arch, however, is u n w i l h n g to a c c e p t this i d e o l o g i c a l nature a n d to recognize preoccupied with signs themselves. H e saw language as a system of signs and held
that even its p r i m a r y data are " a n i d e o l o g i c a l p r o d u c t " ( G o t t d i e n e r & that a sign consisted of a signifier and a signified. T h e physical appearance of the
I^gopoulos,1986: 11). sign that w e perceive with our senses is a signifier and the mental concept or
70 ;es.ga o: Urban Space
People in the City 71

2:.e&ing to which it refers is a signified. The signified, or meaning, is shared by all


"rr.ce v.-ho speak the same language. The relationship between signifier and
i iT.ried, therefore, is a matter of cultural convention, and therefore there is no
'i^^rstantial" relationship between the two. The meaning of each sign is determined
-,r,h- by its difference from other signs. The meaning of the word " c a t " , for example,
:- r.:r determined in itself but by being different from " c a p " or " c a d " or "bat"

i -.is systematic study of sign, which was closely associated with structuralism as
:be study of structures and their underlying laws, w a s later used in contexts other
i'z- linguistics. AH objects and activities could be seen as a text, as a system of
ITS, which could b e analysed and understood in a new light. A s this approach
' not stress the relationship between the sign and the object, the text b e c a m e an
i'-tonomous object, detached from its surroundings. In the w o r d s of Terry
îîi-Ieton, "You do not need to go outside the poem, to what you k n o w of suns and
moons, to explain them; they explain and define each other." (1983: 9 4 ) . Meaning
V'-as developed on the basis of the shared means of communication, the language
cr a group of people, rather than originating in their minds first and then
arbculated in the form of tongues and scripts. In other words, "Reality was not
r^r'écted by language but produced b y it" (Eagleton,1983: 108). M e a n i n g therefore
-riçriated outside the human subject, as language predates any living human

Tb.e advances of structuralism included a démystification of the arts and


bterature and an exploration of the way meaning is constructed not as a private
experience but as an outcome of identifiable processes of signification. Its major j
problem, however, w a s its tendency to detach the text from both the h u m a n subject j
and from the real object. What w e see in a text is a system of underlying rules and 1
structures, rather than concrete actors, objects and situations. ;
.-.nother critique of structuralism questioned its concept of a clear, identifiable F i g u r e 3.4. Objects, events and appearances can be analysed as signs sending messages and
conveying meanings. These messages, however, may refer to fantasies, themselves signs of other
relationship between the component parts of the sign: the signifier referred to the things. {Disneyland, Los Angeles, USA)
iigr.ii-ied. Post-structuralism argued that there is no such clear relation between the
The signified, or the meaning, to which a signifier is referring, is yet another
- i>-i;rier. This means that there is a flexible and endless chain, or rather web, of
socially constructed, symbolic meaning for urban form (Pipkin,!983). Nevertheless,
' ifiers that we go through in search of a meaning. Meaning becomes undecidable
it is limited in that it creates a symbolic system which is autonomous from the
.'. e follow such a w e b of signs (Figure 3.4). reality that it symbolizes. It tends to reduce social action to a language and social
Architectural semiotics used the linguistic model extensively, partly based on the | relations to a communicative system, leaving it unable to address the constant
much debated idea of seeing architecture as a language. Attempts w e r e therefore ' change of urban s p a c e (Castells,1977). Lefebvre (1991: 5 - 7 ) rightly maintained that
made to use the basic concepts of semiotics— sign, signifier and s i g n i f i e d — in the application of semiotics to urban space becomes a merely descriptive enterprise.
s'alysing urban form. For example, architectural codes and their transformation Space is thus reduced to a " m e s s a g e " , and in " r e a d i n g " it we evade history and
---re discussed, as was the nature of meaning in architecture and its functional or practice. In describing space, this m a y provide "inventories of what exists in space,
non-functional basis (Broadbent et al.,1980). Despite their useful insights into the or even generate a discourse on s p a c e " , but it "cannot ever give rise to a knowledge of
study of meaning of environment, architectural semiotics were limited in their space". Furthermore, this leads to a mental realm detached from the reality of space
tendency to cluster together different types of people. All, from finance capitalist with its physical and social dimensions.
and real estate developers to the working class and teenage graffiti sprayers, could
To compensate for the shortcomings of semiotics, Gottdiener and Lagopoulos
be seen as the s a m e group of citizens, ignoring the w a y social stratification affected
(1986) suggest the adoption of an urban socio-semiotic approach. Socio-semiotics
their conception of the city (Gottdiener & LagopouIos,1986).
attempts to relate semiotics to a concrete context through social processes.
As against the cognitive research, which is based on the private understanding of
Semiotics in this w a y is put in the context o f material conditions of everyday life,
Sne environment b y individuals, urban semiotics has the advantage of offering a
where space is produced. They argue that semiotic systems are not produced by
People in the City 73
72 u€s.Gn of Urban Space i

•4
tvs'O c o m p o n e n t p a r t s of a sign, signifier or expression and signified or content, each
~t~.£eives and are rooted in non-semiotic processes of social, political and
into two l e v e l s o f form and substance. The resulting four levels of a sign, therefore,
ecor.omic practices of society. T o a d d an analytical dimension to t h e descriptive
stand in such a relationship (Gottdiener,1986).
:iarure of semiotics, they suggest adding a new layer to urban s i g n s — one that
A s o c i o - s e m i o t i c s analysis of an urban sign w o u l d therefore be based on a
r c T c r s to the substance behind their form. According to Gottdiener a n d Lagopoulos,
collection of o b s e r v a t i o n a l data o n both the substance (focusing on describing the
other semioticians' analysis of urban sign is only b a s e d on the f o r m a l components
material u r b a n s p a c e ) and the form (focusing on specific spatial elements as vehicles
; f a sign. They argue that there is a substance b e y o n d the form, w h i c h relates the
of signification) of the expression. It is at the same time based on cultural research
rcnr. to non-semiotic elements of its social context. Therefore, they b r e a k d o w n the *
which d o c u m e n t s the form and substance of the content. In this way, the core of the
socio-semiotics a p p r o a c h is its concentration on "differences among semiotic
systems d u e to a n d explained by differences in the social position of the
corresponding social a g e n t s " , w i t h their different ideologies influencing the
production a n d c o n s u m p t i o n of u r b a n space (Gottdiener &c Lagopoulas,1986; 19).
An e x a m p l e of a socio-semiotic analysis of an u r b a n sign can b e seen by h o w
successfully s h o p p i n g malls h a v e translated c o m m e r c i a l interests into new urban
forms (Gottdiener,1986;1994) (Figure 3.5). The signs and symbols which refer to
dense s h o p p i n g districts of urban centres have been used in a low-density suburban
location in an introverted design, with blank external facades surrounded b y
parking. A w h o l e series of familiar logos, themed areas and food courts convey the
meaning of a p l a c e with shopping and related supporting activities. In this way, the
intended m e a n i n g of m a n y n e w developments such as theme parks, n e w
n e i g h b o u r h o o d s a n d gentrified districts can b e unravelled.
This a n a l y s i s a n d the m e n t a l - m a p p i n g analysis s h o w how symbolic processes
affect our b e h a v i o u r in urban environments. To elaborate these symbolic processes,
Gottdiener ( 1 9 9 4 ) brings together three aspects of the semiotics of place to offer a
new theory of u r b a n i s m . T h e w a y environments are understood, through mental
mapping a n d u r b a n socio-semiotic analysis, the patterns of behaviour in pubhc
places, and the s e n s e of c o m m u n i t y and its associated social networks are the three
component p a r t s of this new t h e o r y of urbanism.

ij Perspective of everyday life


The way social sciences and humanities tend to understand urban environment is
often b y s e e k i n g to find out h o w society and space are structured. They try hard to
see the city f r o m above, in abstraction, and hence tend to see it in terms of its
physical a n d social structures. In parallel with this, urban planners and designers
think of w a y s of structuring the city so as to turn it into a manageable collection of
orderly c o m p o n e n t parts. Both in our u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the city and in our
prescriptions for it, w e aspire to see order and to g i v e order to the complex array of
objects and e v e n t s that w e c o m e across in the city (Figure 3.6). An alternative w a y
of seeing the city, however, is to l e a v e this abstract, theoretical position and to look
at daily life, w i t h its spontaneity, difference and disorder. This alternative view will
add n e w d i m e n s i o n s to our understanding of u r b a n space by acknowledging the
different g r o u p s a n d life forms that can only develop in the city.
The e v e r y d a y life perspective is a view from below, which "makes reality
visible", o f f e r i n g " n e w insights and possibilities for transcending the artificial g a p
Figure 3.5. Shopping malls exemplify how signs can be successfully manipulated to create
between p r o d u c t i o n and reproduction and to see the existence as a whole" (The
' & / / urban forms and meanings. {Dublin, Ireland)
74 Design of Urban Spac^ People in the City 75

It is clear that urban space and our interaction with it cannot be fully understood
without an account of the diversity of urban life. This involves an account of the
difference o f life patterns and the w a y this is translated into the m e a n i n g that w e
ascribe to our urban environments. It is at the same time clear that this perspective,
by concentrating on details, is unable to address the material conditions and the
overarching processes which affect this difference in patterns of urban life and
meaning.
A number of approaches rightly attempt to put the sensitivity of observation of
everyday life into-wider perspectives of social processes. Anthony G i d d e n s (1984),
for example, stresses the importance of both structure and agency in social
processes. J ü r g e n Habermas (1987) gives this realist viewpoint a normative
dimension. H e separates the everyday life from the systems of m o n e y and power,
stressing that these systems tend to penetrate and colonize everyday life through
monetarization and bureaucratization. After an attempt to widen the scope of
reason, he argues for a rationally constructed, communicative action between
individuals w h i c h enables the everyday life to resist this penetration.
Mark Gottdiener (1994), following Henri Lefebvre (1991), tries to bring a unified
understanding to urban analysis. H e introduces a socio-spatial approach to urban
analysis, in w h i c h he emphasizes the symbolic processes within the context of
political a n d e c o n o m i c forces w h i c h shape urban structures. T h i s approach, h e
argues, c o m p e n s a t e s for the shortcomings of the t w o predominant approaches to
urban analysis, political economy and human ecology. Human ecology appreciates
the role of locations in social interaction, but theoretically does not develop this role
and approaches social processes b y adopting one-dimensional and technologically
deterministic explanations. Political economy, on the other hand, offers a better
understanding o f social processes w h i c h make a n d r e m a k e the city, but is limited in
that it treats space as a container of economic activities and ignores the importance
of spatial relations.
Figure 3.6. Only looking fronn above offers a limited understanding of social and spatial'
'elationships. {Paris, France) i

Research Group for the N e w E v e r y d a y Life,1991:13). T h e sociology of everyday life j Order and difference in urban space
brings together a range of "micro-perspectives". These include symbolic
interactionism, dramaturgy, phenomenology, ethnomethodology and existential The battle b e t w e e n modernist and post-modernist thinking partly dwelt upon the
sociology. This diversity and absence of systematic integration between its subfields ' dichotomy b e t w e e n order and disorder (Madanipour,1995a,b), a dichotomy which
make it a difficult task to offer a brief outline of its focus and scope (Adler, Adler & ^ can be traced b a c k to the ancient Greeks, as exemplified by the tension between
Fontana,1987: 2 1 7 ) . The theme of everyday life, as Maffesoli (1989a) asserts,! Plato and Aristotle, between reason and the senses as the source of our
involves putting the social p h e n o m e n a in a certain perspective, and as such cannot be^ understanding of the world. It w a s also reflected in the ancient G r e e k s ' cities.
taken as referring to a specific content. This approach has three basic requirements: Whereas Athens was a diverse city with a disordered geometry, Hippodamus, who
that the researcher takes the position of a participant, rather than a detached was k n o w n as the father of town planning, put forward his famous plan for
observer; that it takes account of experience, with all the feelings and emotions Miletus, a rational layout of streets and urban blocks, envisaging a carefully
associated with it; and that it questions the validity of political-economic analysis as planned socio-spatial structure. A similar contrast can be seen between the overall
sufficiently explaining the social life. This perspective is set to address the disorder of R o m e and the camp towns around the Roman empire (Morris,1979;
subjective, a n d the intersubjective, aspects of social life which have been Benovolo,1980). Such attempts to impose geometrical order onto the disordered
undermined b y the traditional emphasis of social sciences on objective growth of t o w n s and cities can be followed throughout history in the design and
understanding (Maffesoli,1989b). A s such, it is a critical response to the "crisis of development of n e w settlements. Such desire for the domination of reason is as
totalizing classical sociologies" (Bovone,1989: 42), and brings into attention the evident in Miletus of the fifth century BC, as in the British N e w Towns two
importance of meaning and difference in social inquiry. millennia later. From the Enlightenment period on, this desire has been
76 Design of Urban Space People in the City 77

accompanied by an aspiration for liuman emancipation through the imposition of


o r d e r and reason.
Inevitably, there have always been critical reactions towards such a stance by
those who have questioned the validity of reason as a sufficient tool m
understanding and managing the w o r l d , and those w h o have doubted the outcome ' j
of rationalistic endeavours. Such criticism is represented by Michel Foucault, for '
example, who maintained that, rather than rejecting the reason, we should critically ^
evaluate it: "I think the central issue of philosophy and critical thought since the j
eighteenth century has always been, still is, and will, I hope, remain the question; I
What is this Reason that we use? W h a t are its historical effects? W h a t are its limits, J
and what are its d a n g e r s ? " (Foucault,1993; 165). It was o n the basis of the rationality s
of social Darwinism that racism and N a z i s m developed. In the planning and design ^
of cities, the approach of modernism was based on the use of reason, to rationalize J
urban spatial structure; and its outcome, as we know n o w , was partly displacement, 1
disruption to lives and communities, and loss of built environment ( B e r m a n , 1 9 8 2 ; ^
Harvey,1985a,b). Critics of rationalism, therefore, invite us to look at o u r ; !
environments through different glasses.
In his analysis of Los Angeles, D e a r (1995) introduces three ways of reading thisM
city: one in which Los Angeles is seen as constituting four basic ecologies of beach ^
cities, foothills, plains and freeways (Banham,1973); another which sees the city as ^
essentially structured b y its b o u l e v a r d s (Suisman,1989); and a third which'^
illustrates the city as a decentred and decentralized agglomeration of fragmented •
t h e m e parks (Soja,1989). Dear argues that all these three are studies of the city
looking at it with a detached voyeuristic gaze from the top, offering inherently
modernist representations of the city. W h a t he invites u s to be armed with is a post- ,
modernist sensibility, concentrating on the extremely finely grained i
microgeography of the city, and discovering that there is no c o m m o n narrative, no i
Figure 3.7. Views from above tend to reduce urban space to an abstraction. {Cincinnati, USA)
single reality to the city. ^
In this w a y of reading the city. Dear is drawing upon Michel d e Certeu's
invitation to concentrate on everyday life, as opposed to abstract visualizations of footsteps of p e o p l e w h o m o v e a r o u n d the city. A n abstract representation of this
the city. An example of this abstraction, one that is not unfamiliar to planners and movement, h o w e v e r , s u c h a s t h e s u r v e y s w h o s e thick and thin lines show the
urban designers, is what do Ccrteu (1993) describes when looking at Manhattan volume of p e d e s t r i a n flow, cannot replace the reality of movement, "the act itself of
from the 110th floor of the World T r a d e Center. A s w e look down on it to see its passing b y " (de C e r t e u , 1 9 9 3 : 157), which can b e walking, wandering or window
" w h o l e " , the gigantic mass of the city becomes immobilized before o u r eyes; we shopping. In this m o v e m e n t and in response to the names of urban places, people
totalize this h u m a n context, as if it w e r e a picture (Figure 3.7). De Certeu invites us invent stories a n d attribute m e a n i n g to spaces they enter, meanings that challenge
to leave this abstract position, in w h i c h we only " s e e " things, to go d o w n to the
the alienated a n d sterilized c h a r a c t e r o f the city.
street level, where daily life is practised. Here, walking in the street provides us an
The walkers in the city, representing spontaneity and a challenge to the
elementary form of experienceing the city. Walkers are those, "whose b o d i e s follow
established o r d e r , are best exemplified b y the mid-nineteenth century flaneurs
the thicks and thins of an urban 'text' they write without being able to read it". The
(strollers, loiterers) of Paris. Their m a i n interest w a s the microscale aspects of street
complexity of lives and movements in the city creates paths that elude legibility,
life, rather than the official public city that Baron H a u s s m a n n and Napoleon III had
stories without author or spectator, and "practices that are foreign to the
created ( W i I s o n , 1 9 9 1 ) . T h e t h e m e of t h e m o v e m e n t o f people in cities is taken up by
'geometrical' or 'geographical' space of visual, panoptic, or theoretical
Sennett (1994), w h o reasserts the importance of the spatial relations of human
construction" (de Certeu,1993; 154). A "migrational" or " m e t a p h o r i c a l " notion of
bodies in the w a y they see, hear, touch and relate to each other. T h e dilemma of the
the city is therefore put in front of the orderly clarity of the planned city. What we
city, h o w e v e r , is that the individuals move around freely without a physical
enter here is the lived space of everyday practices, as distinctive from a
awareness of o t h e r h u m a n b e i n g s . T h e r e is " a divide between inner, subjective
programmed and regulated field of operation.
experience a n d o u t e r , physical life", \vhich has caused the "reduction and
T o find out about the lived space of everyday practices, de Certeu traces the trivialization of t h e city as a stage of Ufe" (Sennett,1993: xii). T h e speed of
74 Design of Urban Space People in the City 75

It is clear that urban space and our interaction with it cannot be fully understood
without an account of the diversity of urban life. This involves an account of the
difference o f life patterns and the w a y this is translated into the m e a n i n g that we
ascribe to our urban environments. It is at the s a m e time clear that this perspective,
by concentrating on details, is unable to address the material conditions and the
overarching processes which affect this difference in patterns of urban life and
meaning.
A number of approaches rightly attempt to put the sensitivity of observation of
everyday life into-wider perspectives of social processes. Anthony G i d d e n s (1984),
for example, stresses the importance of both structure and agency in social
processes. Jürgen Habermas (1987) gives this realist viewpoint a normative
dimension. H e separates the everyday life from the systems of m o n e y and power,
stressing that these systems tend to penetrate and colonize everyday life through
monetarization and bureaucratization. After an attempt to widen the scope of
reason, he argues for a rationally constructed, communicative action between
individuals which enables the everyday life to resist this penetration.
Mark Gottdiener (1994), following Henri Lefebvre (1991), tries to bring a unified
understanding to urban analysis. H e introduces a socio-spatial approach to urban
analysis, in which he emphasizes the symbolic processes within the context of
political and e c o n o m i c forces which shape urban structures. This approach, h e
argues, c o m p e n s a t e s for the shortcomings of the t w o predominant approaches to
urban analysis, political economy and human ecology. Human ecology appreciates
the role of locations in social interaction, but theoretically does not develop this role
and approaches social processes b y adopting one-dimensional and technologically
deterministic explanations. Political economy, on the other hand, offers a better
understanding o f social processes which make and r e m a k e the city, but is limited in
that it treats space as a container of economic activities and ignores the importance
F i g u r e 3.6. Only lookin above offers a limited understanding of social and spatial of spatial relations.
relationships. {Pahs, France)

Research G r o u p for the N e w Everyday Life,f 991; 13). T h e sociology of everyday lift Order and difference in urban space
brings together a range of "micro-perspectives". These include symbolic
interactionism, dramaturgy, phenomenology, ethnomethodology and existential 4 The battle b e t w e e n modernist and post-modernist thinking partly dwelt upon the
sociology. This diversity and absence of systematic integration between its subfields 5 dichotomy b e t w e e n order and disorder (Madanipour,1995a,b), a dichotomy which
make it a difficult task to offer a brief outline of its focus and scope (Adler, Adler & | can be traced b a c k to the ancient Greeks, as exemplified by the tension between
Fontana,1987; 217). The theme of everyday life, as Maffesoli (1989a) asserts,; Plato and Aristotle, between reason and the senses as the source of our
involves putting the social p h e n o m e n a in a certain perspective, and as such cannot be i understanding of the world. It w a s also reflected in the ancient G r e e k s ' cities.
taken as referring to a specific content. This approach has three basic requirements: ? Whereas A t h e n s was a diverse city with a disordered geometry, Hippodamus, who
that the researcher takes the position of a participant, rather than a detached . was k n o w n as the father of town planning, put forward his famous plan for
observer; that it takes account of experience, with all the feelings and emotions Miletus, a rational layout of streets and urban blocks, envisaging a carefully
associated with it; and that it questions the validity of political-economic analysis as planned socio-spatial structure. A similar contrast can be seen between the overall
sufficiently explaining the social life. This perspective is set to address the disorder of R o m e and the c a m p towns around the Roman empire (Morris,1979;
subjective, and the intersubjective, aspects of social life which have been Benevolo,1980). Such attempts to impose geometrical order onto the disordered
undermined b y the traditional emphasis of social sciences on objective growth of t o w n s and cities can be followed throughout history in the design and
understanding (Maffesoli,1989b). A s such, it is a critical response to the "crisis of development of n e w settlements. Such desire for the domination of reason is as
totalizing classical sociologies" (Bovone,1989: 4 2 ) , and brings into attention the evident in Miletus of the fifth century BC, as in the British N e w T o w n s two
importance of meaning and difference in social inquiry. millennia later. From the Enlightenment period on, this desire has been
76 Design of Urban Space People in the City 77

accompanied by an aspiration for biuman emancipation through the imposition of a;


order and reason. I
Inevitably, there have always b e e n critical reactions towards such a stance by i
those who h a v e questioned the validity of reason as a sufficient tool m
understanding and managing the w o r l d , and those w h o have doubted the outcome :
of rationalistic endeavours. Such criticism is represented by Michel Foucault, for
e x a m p l e , w h o maintained that, rather than rejecting the reason, we should critically j
evaluate it; "I think the central issue of philosophy and critical thought since the
eighteenth century has always been, still is, and will, I hope, remain the question:
What is this Reason that we use? W h a t are its historical effects? W h a t are its limits,
and what are its d a n g e r s ? " (Foucault,1993:165). It w a s on the basis of the rationality
of social Darwinism that racism and N a z i s m developed. In the planning a n d design $
of cities, the approach of modernism was based on the use of reason, to rationalize 1
urban spatial structure; and its outcome, as we k n o w n o w , was partly displacement,
disruption to lives and communities, and loss of built environment (Berman,19h2;
Harvey,1985a,b). Critics of rationalism, therefore, invite us to look at our
environments through different glasses.
In his analysis of Los Angeles, D e a r (1995) introduces three ways of reading this
city: one in which Los Angeles is seen as constituting four basic ecologies of beach
cities, foothills, plains and freeways (Banham,1973); another which sees t h e city as
essentially structured by its boulevards (Suisman,1989); and a third which
illustrates the city as a decentred and decentralized agglomeration of fragmented
t h e m e parks (Soja,1989). Dear argues that all these three are studies of the city
looking at it with a detached voyeuristic gaze from the top, offering inherently..|
modernist representations of the city. W h a t he invites us to be armed with is a post- i
modernist sensibility, concentrating on the extremely finely grained |
microgeography of the city, and discovering that there is no c o m m o n narrative, no J
single reality to the city. ^ F i g u r e 3.7. Views from above tend to reduce urban space to an abstraction. {Cincinnati, USA)

In this w a y of reading the city. Dear is drawing upon Michel de Certeu's


invitation to concentrate on everyday Ufe, as opposed to abstract visualizations of ^ footsteps of p e o p l e w h o m o v e a r o u n d the city. A n abstract representation of this
the city. An example of this abstraction, one that is not unfamiliar to planners and ,< movement, h o w e v e r , such a s t h e surveys w h o s e thick and thin lines show the
urban designers, is what de Certeu (1993) describes when looking at Manhattan volume of p e d e s t r i a n flow, c a n n o t replace the reality of movement, " t h e act itself of
from the 110th floor of the World T r a d e Center. A s w e look d o w n on it to see its passing b y " (de C e r t e u , 1 9 9 3 ; 157), which can b e walking, wandering or window
" w h o l e " , the gigantic mass of the city becomes immobilized before our eyes: we shopping. In this m o v e m e n t a n d in response to the n a m e s of urban places, people
totalize this h u m a n context, as if it w e r e a picture (Figure 3.7). De Certeu invites us :i invent stories a n d attribute m e a n i n g to spaces they enter, meanings that challenge
to leave this abstract position, in which w e only " s e e " things, to go d o w n to the the alienated a n d sterilized character of the city.
street level, where daily life is practised. Here, walking in the street provides us an The w a l k e r s in the city, representing spontaneity and a challenge to the
elementary form of experienceing the city. Walkers are those, " w h o s e bodies follow
established o r d e r , are best exemplified b y the mid-nineteenth century flaneurs
the thicks and thins of an urban 'text' they write without being able to read it". The
(strollers, loiterers) of Paris. Their main interest w a s the microscale aspects of street
complexity of lives and movements in the city creates paths that elude legibility,
life, rather than the official p u b l i c city that Baron H a u s s m a n n and Napoleon III had
stories without author or spectator, and "practices that are foreign to the
created ( W i l s o n , 1 9 9 1 ) . T h e t h e m e of the m o v e m e n t of people in cities is taken up by
'geometrical' or 'geographical' space of visual, panoptic, or theoretical
Sennett (1994), w h o reasserts the importance of the spatial relations of human
construction" (de Certeu,1993; 154). A "migrational" or " m e t a p h o r i c a l " notion of
bodies in the w a y they see, hear, touch and relate to each other. T h e dilemma of the
the city is therefore put in front of the orderly clarity of the planned city. What we
city, h o w e v e r , is that the individuals m o v e a r o u n d freely without a physical
enter here is the lived space of everyday practices, as distinctive from a
awareness of o t h e r h u m a n b e i n g s . There is " a divide between inner, subjective
programmed and regulated field of operation.
experience a n d outer, physical life", which has caused the "reduction and
T o find out about the lived space of everyday practices, de Certeu traces the trivialization o f the city as a stage of life" (Sennett,1993; xii). T h e speed of
78 Design of Urban Space
I
People in the City 79

m o v e m e n t in t h e city tends to r e d u c e our contact v^'ith the urban fabric, as, in


Sennett's w o r d s , " w e now m e a s u r e urban spaces in terms of how easy it is to drive ^
through them, to get out of t h e m " (Sennett,1994: 1 7 - 1 8 ) . This lack of contact, with
other people and with urban space, h a s profound impacts on our understanding of
urban space and our approaches to its design. For Sennett, pedestrian movement in
the city is not proving sufficknt, .a^Jhe_ab5iLnce_of_^ontaxLM
such as st?eeti7^^aTes^ department stores, or in public transport, t£become^"pjaces of
the~gaze"faTlrefTRafrscenes of d i s c o u r s e " (Sennett,1994: 358). S£eed^_escape_and
pa]»mty7 a i r a s s o c i ^ e d ^ i t h widen the gaps and fragmentations '
b c f w e e n ~ i n d i v i d u a l s r - W h e n confronted with -differenGe,-with-strangerSj,„ people
become* passive "as t h e stranger d o e s not fall into general categories and social
stereotypes. R a p i d m o v e m e n t , m a d e possible b y cars and other vehicles, and .
fragmented g e o g r a p h y , where land-use zones a n d social classes are set apart, j
enhance this passivity and provide the possibihty of escaping from difference, from
the other. Losing t h e ability to live with the difference is a major problem of the .
m o d e r n city. E v e n where a willingness b y different people to live next to each other •
has developed, as Sennett believes has been achieved in Greenwich Village, New-
York, a shared fate is absent.

City of strangers

Difference in t h e city is as old a s the city itself, as it was known from the ancient
times that, in Aristotle's w o r d s , " A city is c o m p o s e d of different kinds of men;
similar people cannot bring a city into existence" (quoted in Sennett,1994: 13).
Especially since t h e nineteenth century and the unprecedented growth of cities
throughout the world, the issue of difference and diversity in the city has become a
central feature of urban life (Figure 3.8). In his theory of urbanism, for example,
Louis Wirth (1964: 69) s a w heterogeneity, along with population size and density,
as a determining feature of the city. H e defined the city as a "melting-pot of races,
peoples, a n d cultures, and a m o s t favourable breeding-ground of n e w biological ,
and cultural h y b r i d s " . In this context, it is difference rather than similarity that is
essential. T h e city, therefore, " h a s not only tolerated but rewarded individual |
differences". ^
Emphasis o n the heterogeneity o f urban life is clearly evident in the discussior«d|
about strangers in t h e city, which h a v e occupied a prominent place in sociological M
inquiries, to t h e extent that city life has been seen as a world of strangers ( K a r p , l
Stone &L Yoels,1991). A stranger, a s Georg S i m m e l (1950) interprets, is one whose *
formal position lies in a unity of nearness a n d distance, involvement and Figure 3.8. Cities are places of difference and diversity. {Chinatown, San Francisco, USA)
indifference, b y being a m e m b e r of a group and at the same time outside it. There
he sees a positive role for the stranger who can maintain a degree of objectivity by
treat even his close relationships a s though from a birds'-eye v i e w " (Simmel,1950),
not being fully committed to t h e group's unique ingredients and tendencies. This
and the view f r o m the top of t h e W o r l d Trade C e n t e r that was s h o w n to us b y d e
objectivity can b e defined as freedom, not out of non-participation, but due to the
Certeu. U n l i k e d e Certeu, however, the philosopher Alfred Schutz (1970)
absence of c o m m i t m e n t s w h i c h would jeopardize an objective perception,
maintained that this view o f the cultural c o m m u n i t y from outside, b y the stranger,
understanding a n d evaluation. T h e stranger's actions are not tied d o w n by "habit,
is the only objective meaning of the group membership.
piety, a n d p r e c e d e n t " (Simmel,1950: 405). W e m a y see here a similarity between
T h e stranger that Schutz a n d S i m m e l analyse i s typified b y the immigrants'
what S i m m e l appreciates as the objectivity of the stranger, who can "experience and
experience o f living in and m o v i n g between cities a n d countries, and their relation
80 Design of Urban Space
People in the City 81

to the approached groups. They maintain that these strangers are well placed to
associated w i t h crime and v a n d a h s m . With their criticism, they paved the way for a
question all the unquestionable and taken-for-granted norms and practices of the
number of h a n d b o o k s , often offering c o m m o n sense advice on h o w to ensure safer
group they enter. Yet Schutz (1970: 9 4 ) , who himself had fled to A m e r i c a in the
environments (Fennelly,1989; N o b l e , 1 9 8 9 ; C r o w e , 1 9 9 1 ; Clarke,1992; Cheetham,1994).
wake of the Nazi occupation of Austria, argues that the stranger remains "a
A crime is considered to h a v e f o u r dimensions: an offender, a victim or a target, a
'marginal man', a cultural hybrid on the verge of two different patterns of group
law d i m e n s i o n , a n d an e n v i r o n m e n t a l dimension w h i c h environmental criminology
life, not knowing to which of them h e belongs".
focuses u p o n ( B r a n t i n g h a m & Brantingham,1991; Bottoms,1994). Different
The relationship of the n e w c o m e r to an approached urban society is only one approaches to envirorunental d e s i g n , e.g. crime prevention through urban design
aspect of the heterogeneity and a n o n y m i t y of urban life. It was analysed on the
basis that there is a period of transition in the experience of the immigrant, from a
newcomer to a more integrated m e m b e r of the social group. We see, however, that
this basis is too narrow for a m o r e pluralist condition in which social groups are
more and more fragmented and approach the mainstream more aggressively, as
distinct from the quiet suffering of an immigrant on the road to the adoption of the
host community's cultural patterns. The experiences of other groups who find '
themselves marginalized from the mainstreams of social life, such as w o m e n , the
elderly, the poor, and children; the multiplicity of lifestyles and sexual orientations
within apparently homogeneous groups; and the anonymity of life experienced by
almost all urbanités in public spaces in cities, are all aspects of seeing the city as a
world of strangers. A s Elizabeth Wilson puts it, " w h a t w a s once seen as marginal
b e c o m e s the essence of city l i f e " (Wilson,1991: 5). Along with the economic
restructuring processes and a reorganization of class and household structures,
w h e r e the middle classes and the number of single-person households grow in
cities, diversification of lifestyles increasingly finds a centre stage. In the modern
city, where commodification of social relations is strong, everyone is an individual
and potentially a stranger. At this scale, plurality b e c o m e s the norm and tolerance
of "the o t h e r " the key to social relationships.

T h e way urbanités deal with the city, make sense of it, and m a n a g e public
encounters with strangers in large numbers, is a major, but neglected, aspect of
sociological inquiry. The w a y persons relate or fail to relate to each other in
a n o n y m o u s public settings is a central concern of u r b a n social psychology (Karp,
Stone & Yoels, 1991). Another equally important concern in studying people in the
city is to see h o w urban persons relate or fail to relate to the built environment in
which they find themselves.

Fear and crime in urban space


T h e a n o n y m i t y of the city has b e e n paralleled with a rise in crime. C r i m e and the
fear of criminal victimization in turn have led to a tendency to w i t h d r a w a l from
u r b a n life. U r b a n i t é s ' range of psychological and behavioural reactions to crime
includes "distrusting others, a v o i d i n g particular places, taking protective action,
c h a n g i n g their daily activities, and participation in collective action"
(Miethe,1995),
T h e last two decades have seen a rise of interest in environmental design as an
instrument against crime. A line of widely known works, by Jane Jacobs (1961),
Oscar N e w m a n (1972), Alice C o l e m a n (1985) and others, criticized the modernist
designs which had apparently generated alienation from the environment and were 2?r^'l safety and security from cnme and harsh climate, but only
through segregation of urban space. (Cincinnati, USA) ^
82 Design of Urban Space People in the City 83

a n d situational crime prevention, are now a constituent part of environmental It is extraordmari/ tiiat unplanned growth sliould produce a better global order titan planned
redevelopment, but it seems undeniable. The inference seems unavoidable that traditional
criminology.
fi/stems work because they produce a global order that responds to the reqidrements of a dual
Environmental d e s i g n ' s advice on crime prevention has generated a variety of (iiihabdants and strangers) interface, ivhile modern systems do not work because they fad to
responses. While it has been widely used in the development of new environments produce it. The principle of urban safety and liveliness is a product of the way both sets of
relations are co}tstructed by space. Strangers are not excluded but are controlled. As fane facobs
o r the m a n a g e m e n t of the existing ones, m a n y h a v e considered its focus as too
noted many years ago, it is the controlled throughput of strangers and the direct viterface with
n a r r o w ( E k b l o m , 1 9 9 5 ) . It is a r g u e d that environmental design will have to see inhabitants that creates urban safety. We shoidd state this even nwrc definitely: it is the
d e s i g n as a w i d e r process, c o m b i n i n g a concern for b o t h physical a n d social aspects controlled presence of passvig strangers that polices space; while the directly iiiterfachig
of crime prevention. inhabitants police the strangers. For this reason, "defensible space", based on exclusion of
strangers and only on surveillance of spaces by inhabitants can never work.
T o prevent c r i m e , urban d e s i g n ' s advice can create conflicts of interests, most
notably b e t w e e n openness and safety, between freedom of choice and movement (Hillier and Hanson,1984; 140)
a n d security (Figure 3.9). Perhaps the first area of conflict is the definition of deviant
behaviour, w h i c h affects the role o f design. It has been argued, for example, that The segregated e n v i r o n m e n t reduces mobility a n d accessibility in urban space,
allowing fewer choices of routes, a n d is less democratic. In the context of a locality,
graffiti is a manifestation of black urban culture a n d is an art form, rather than a
effective design m a y reduce vulnerability to crime. In a wider context, however, it
form of v a n d a l i s m (Ferrell,1993). W h e r e does urban design, with its concern for the
could merely lead to a displacement of crime.
promotion of art in public places, s t a n d in relation to this claim?
In his b o o k Defensible Space, G s c a r N e w m a n (1972) argued that in the anonymous 1 Another conflict that c r i m e prevention through environmental design creates is
s p a c e of metropolitan areas, w h a t is needed is a medium-density, defensible space, associated with surveillance. Again it was one of N e w m a n ' s principles to organize
space in such a w a y that surveillance b e c o m e s possible. This principle has now,
w h e r e residents are in control a n d hence prevent criminal behaviour. B y the use of i
with the help of new technologies, developed into the wide use of closed-circuit
m e c h a n i s m s s u c h as real and s y m b o l i c barriers, strongly defined areas of influence,
television c a m e r a s , an issue w h i c h has created concern for civil liberties (Honess &
and improved opportunities for surveillance, the design of the residential
Charman,1992). An a r g u m e n t against surveillance is that it takes away the
en\'ironments c a n b e effective in c r i m e prevention. F o u r elements of physical design
"shadowed s p a c e s " , the s p a c e s without which, Denis W o o d (1991: 95) argues, it
are then identified which contribute to the creation of secure environments:
"would b e a d e a d world i n d e e d " . " O n e w a y to take care of n i g h t m a r e s " , he goes
territorial definition of space t h r o u g h subdividing it into zones, w h e r e private,
on, "is to stay a w a k e . O f course, that also takes care of the dreams. O n e w a y to take
semi-private a n d public space a r e clearly identified and are under the residents' =
care of d e v i a n c e is to clear a w a y the shadowed spaces. Of course that also takes care
influence; positioning of w i n d o w s to allow surveillance; use of building forms
of hfe". N o t only the d é v i a n c e s of our parents and grandparents, but also
w h i c h are not stigmatized; a n d careful location within urban areas. N e w m a n was
philosophy, science and art a n d the policies of public government " w e r e once
a^vare of the criticisms against the notion "that crime, born of a poverty of means,
practised in the d a r k " . T h e intention is not to find murder or kidnapping or
opportunity, education, and representation, could be prevented architecturally"
abduction or bodily assault tolerable, but to argue that, "if the cost of prohibiting
(Newman,1972: 11), but argues that environment has an undeniable effect on
these is the loss of the s h a d o w e d spaces, that cost is intolerably high".
behaviour.
O n e of the principles of N e w m a n ' s defensible space was the idea of defining and These conflicts s h o w h o w effective design can be, resulting in the permanent
protecting the b o u n d a r i e s o f a n environment, to k e e p the strangers, and therefore transformation of built e n v i r o n m e n t s into contested spaces. An average annual
increase of 5 % since 1918 in Britain {The Guardian, 28 September 1995) shows its
the risk of c r i m e , a w a y . This idea has now culminated in gated neighbourhoods, of
historical p r e s e n c e . Crime, however, is a major contemporary concern, as
which N e w m a n himself is an a d v o c a t e . An e x a m p l e is Dayton, Ohio, where 11
exemplified b y the political parties' race to a n n o u n c e measures against it as a
m o n t h s after the plan's i m p l e m e n t a t i o n in a u t u m n 1993, violent crime fell by 50%
cornerstone of their agendas. T o use design to disintegrate the civil society into
a n d property values rose b y 1 5 % , but where the plan is criticized b y residents who
medieval factions, however, cannot b e the proper contribution of urban design. This
feel "locked i n " or "locked o u t " (Anon,1995). W h i l e effective in crime prevention,
contribution is still to be developed, a contribution which fights crime while
this d e v e l o p m e n t can potentially subdivide the urban space into fragmented
promoting tolerance and social integration, rather than segregation and divide. The
entities, promoting further social segregation and exclusion. Fortress
starting point for this d e v e l o p m e n t will have to be seeing crime not as an isolated
n e i g h b o u r h o o d s , which h a v e multiplied in the U S (Davis,1992) and to a lesser
event but o n e in a wider socio-spatial context.
extent in Britain and e l s e w h e r e , c a n indicate the disintegration of the city as we
k n o w it, t h r o u g h restriction o f access, a decline of public space, and a fear of
difference.
Yet a city is a place of difference, of strangers. It is through allowing an interface
Women in urban space
b e t w e e n the strangers and the inhabitants of an area that safety can b e secured and
The diversity a n d difference in the large city offer an exciting assortment of people
not through segregation. Hillier a n d Hanson (1984: 140), among others, stress the
with different patterns of life, often making the city a fascinating a n d stimulating
importance of such an interface:
People in the City 85
84 le.gn of Urban Space |

--i- T-e other side of this diversity, however, is anonymity, where p e o p l e who < urban space. S h e sees the n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y town planning as an organized
-larren to be in the same public place, in the shops, restaurants and streets, are 1 campaign to e x c l u d e w o m e n , c h i l d r e n , w o r k i n g classes and the poor. S h e argues
strar.giTs to each other. S o m e studies have shown h o w urban conditions which , that the city m a k e s possible w h a t is feared a n d desired: an u n t r a m e l l e d sexual
promote this anonymity can also promote violence (Karp, Stone & Yoels, 1991). This : experience. T h e w o m e n ' s p r e s e n c e in the city thus b e c o m e s a p r o b l e m , an irruption
can creste a risk of personal harm and danger to those who are physically more '| and a s y m p t o m of the a b s e n c e o f o r d e r , as it is associated with sexuality, a source of
ambiguity a n d disorder. T h i s a s p e c t of the m a l e - f e m a l e relationship, a perpetual
^'ul-eraile, such as women. Urban space for ^vomen, therefore, will not have the
struggle b e t w e e n m a l e o r d e r a n d f e m a l e disorder, lies at the heart of u r b a n life. T h e
sa—e e-citement as it does for men. It can be a more frightening, alien place, and
" m a s c u l i n e " city, with "its r i g i d , r o u t i n i z e d o r d e r " reflected in "its triumphal scale,
that is why, as Elizabeth Wilson (1991) reminds u s , with disagreement, many J
its towers a n d vistas a n d arid industrial r e g i o n s " , is constantly c h a l l e n g e d by the
feminist writers are against cities. •
" f e m i n i n e " city, w i t h its " p l e a s u r a b l e a n a r c h y " , reflected in its " e n c l o s i n g e m b r a c e "
A TOwerful argument by s o m e feminist writers maintains that cities are
and its " i n d e t e r m i n a n c y a n d l a b y r i n t h i n e u n c e n t r e d n e s s " (Wilson,1991: 7 - 8 ) .
historically built and run by men. As in other spheres of life, w o m e n have been
marginalized in the process of planning and organization of urban s p a c e (Figure i But h o w is it that w o m e n find themselves marginalized in the city? W h a t Karp,
3.10). Examining some popular u r b a n history b o o k s , Richter (1982) s a w little i Stone & Yoels (1991: 153) call t h e " g e n d e r e d nature of urban s p a c e " can b e seen in the
reference made to women's role in building American cities, especially where the way urban s p a c e restricts w o m e n ' s mobility: physically through an imposition of
physical development of urban fabrics w a s involved. Apart from prostitutes and patterns of m o v e m e n t and b e h a v i o u r based on fear and restricted access, and socially
entertainers, w o m e n were absent from these studies. ^ through a s s u m p t i o n s about w o m e n ' s role in urban society. There is a variety of ways
Along with the poor, the elderly and the ethnic minorities, w o m e n have been ' in which w o m e n ' s freedom o f m o v e m e n t in u r b a n space is restricted, creating
seen as a threat to the order prescribed for and imposed on cities. Elizabeth W i l s o n j barriers to their mobility in the city. A structural constraint is that created by the
(1991), for example, explores h o w the shape of contemporary cities has been expansion of suburbs, forcing \vomen to stay a w a y from the centres of activity and
determined by underlying assumptions about w o m e n , their roles a n d their place in reducing their opportunities, especially due to their heavy dependence on public
transport. Separation of h o m e f r o m w o r k in the industrialization process and the
suburbanization of city life increasingly prevented women from social and
geographical mobility. T h e p l a n n e d suburbs and n e w towns of the twentieth century,
which have h o u s e d an ever i n c r e a s i n g n u m b e r of households, have created spatial
barriers for w o m e n , especially of m i d d l e classes, who were assumed to remain
housewives. T h e major c o n t r i b u t i o n of w o m e n to the quality of u r b a n life, however,
has not often b e e n properly a p p r e c i a t e d , as it has not been in the form of paid labour,
and hence h a s remained " a n invisible w o r k " (Karp, Stone & Yoels,1991: 139).
Women's w o r k such as the d o m e s t i c upkeep, the care of children and the elderly,
maintaining family ties and their o v e r w h e l m i n g role in voluntary associadons have
been seen a s " n a t u r a l " a n d " u n p l a n n e d " , as opposed to " r e a l " w o r k with more
visible outputs. W i t h the i n c r e a s i n g integration of women in the economy as paid
labour, h o w e v e r , these spatial b a r r i e r s work against their access to opportunities and
jobs. As the traditional role of w o m e n as unpaid housewives changes and their
contribution to the formal e c o n o m y finds m o r e and more importance, both they and
the economic system as a w h o l e m o v e t o w a r d s an inevitable renegotiating and
reorganizing of w o m e n ' s p a t t e r n s of access and mobility.

Marginalization of w o m e n f r o m s p a c e p r o d u c t i o n has been in parallel with their


role as the c o - o r d i n a t o r s of t h e d i f f e r e n t areas of fragmented lives and spaces. T h e y
have been " r e s p o n s i b l e for l i n k i n g together the home, the market, and the
institutions" ( T h e Research G r o u p for the N e w Everyday Life,1991: 12). T h e
functional a n d spatial s e g r e g a t i o n of activities has meant that there is a need for
someone to c o - o r d i n a t e these s p h e r e s of life. H e n c e the w o m e n ' s "invisible" work,
which " e x t e n u a t e s the n e g a t i v e effects of the functional division, a n d smoothens the
hard e d g e s o f t h e present e x i s t e n c e . . . W o m e n are obliged to find individual
solutions to collective p r o b l e m s " (The R e s e a r c h G r o u p for the N e w Everyday
F i g u r e 3.10. Women argue that cities are built and run by men, marginalizing women in the
Life,1991:12).
process of planning and organizaton of urban space. {Dublin, Ireland)
j
82 Design of Urban Space
People in the City 83

and situational crime prevention, are now a constituent part of environmental it is extraordmari/ that unplanned growth should produce a belter global order tlian planned
criminology. reda'elopnient, but it seems undeniable. The inference seems unavoidable that traditional
Environmental design's advice on crime prevention has generated a variety of systems work becatise they produce a global order that responds to the requirements of a dual
(inhabitants and strangers) interface, whde modern systems do not luork because they fail to
responses. While it has been widely used in the development of new environments
produce it. The principle of urban safety and liveliness is a product of the way both sets of
or the m a n a g e m e n t of the existing ones, many have considered its focus as too relations are constructed by space. Strangers are not excluded but are controUed. As fane facohs
n a r r o w (Ekblom,1995). It is argued that environmental design will have to see noted many years ago, it is the controlled throughput of strangers and the direct hiterface zoith
design as a w i d e r process, combining a concern for both physical and social aspects inhabitants that creates urban safety. We shoidd state this even more definitely: it is the
of crime prevention. controlled presence of passing strangers that polices space; while the directly interfacing
inhabitants police the strangers. For this reason, "defensible space", based on exclusion of
T o prevent crime, urban design's advice can create conflicts of interests, most
strangers and only on surveillance of spaces by inhabitants can never work.
notably between openness and safety, between freedom of choice and movement
a n d security (Figure 3.9). Perhaps the first area of conflict is the definition of deviant (Hillier and Hanson,1984:140)
behaviour, w h i c h affects the role of design. It has been argued, for example, that
The segregated environment reduces mobility a n d accessibility in urban space,
graffiti is a manifestation of black urban culture a n d is an art form, rather than a
allowing fewer choices o f routes, a n d is less democratic. In the context of a locality,
form of vandalism (Ferrell,1993). W h e r e does urban design, with its concern for the effective design m a y reduce vulnerability to crime. In a wider context, however, it
promotion of art in public places, stand in relation to this claim? could merely lead to a displacement o f crime.
In his book Defensible Space, O s c a r N e w m a n (1972) argued that in the anonymous
Another conflict that crime prevention through environmental design creates is
s p a c e of metropolitan areas, w h a t is needed is a medium-density, defensible space,
associated with surveillance. Again it was o n e o f N e w m a n ' s principles to organize
w h e r e residents a r e in control a n d hence prevent criminal behaviour. B y the use of
space in such a w a y that surveillance becomes possible. This principle has n o w ,
mechanisms s u c h as real and symbolic barriers, strongly defined areas of influence,
with the help o f n e w technologies, developed into the wide use o f closed-circuit
and improved opportunities for surveillance, the design of the residential television c a m e r a s , an issue w h i c h has created concern for civil liberties (Honess &
environments can b e effective in crime prevention. F o u r elements of physical design Charman,1992). A n a r g u m e n t against surveillance is that it takes away the
are then identified which contribute to the creation of secure environments: "shadowed s p a c e s " , the spaces without which, Denis Wood (1991: 9 5 ) argues, it
territorial definition of space through subdividing it into zones, where private, "would b e a d e a d world i n d e e d " . " O n e w a y to take care of nightmares", he goes
semi-private a n d public space a r e clearly identified and are under the residents' on, "is to stay a w a k e . O f course, that also takes care o f the dreams. O n e way to take
influence; positioning of w i n d o w s to allow surveillance; use of building forms care of d e v i a n c e is to clear a w a y the shadowed spaces. O f course that also takes care
w h i c h are n o t stigmatized; a n d careful location within urban areas. Newman was of life". N o t only the d é v i a n c e s of our parents and grandparents, but also
a w a r e of the criticisms against t h e notion "that crime, born of a poverty of means, philosophy, science and art a n d the policies o f public government " w e r e once
opportunity, education, and representation, could b e prevented architecturally" practised in t h e dark". T h e intention is not to find murder or kidnapping or
( N e w m a n , 1 9 7 2 : 11), b u t argues that environment has an undeniable effect on abduction o r bodily assault tolerable, but to argue that, "if the cost of prohibiting
behaviour. these is the loss o f the s h a d o w e d spaces, that cost is intolerably high".
O n e of the principles of N e w m a n ' s defensible space was the idea of defining and
These conflicts show h o w effective design can b e , resulting in the permanent
protecting the boundaries of a n environment, to keep the strangers, and therefore
transformation of built e n v i r o n m e n t s into contested spaces. An average annual
the risk of crime, away. This idea h a s now culminated in gated neighbourhoods, of
increase o f 5 % since 1918 in Britain (The Guardian, 28 September 1995) shows its
which N e w m a n himself is an advocate. A n example is Dayton, Ohio, where 11
historical presence. Crime, however, is a major contemporary concern, as
m o n t h s after t h e plan's implementation in autumn 1993, violent crime fell by 50%
exemplified b y the political parties' race to a n n o u n c e measures against it as a
a n d property values rose b y 1 5 % , but where the plan is criticized b y residents who cornerstone o f their agendas. T o u s e design to disintegrate the civil society into
feel "locked i n " or "locked o u t " (Anon,1995). While effective in crime prevention, medieval factions, however, cannot b e the proper contribution of urban design. This
this development can potentially subdivide the urban space into fragmented contribution is still to b e developed, a contribution which fights crime while
entities, promoting further social segregation and exclusion. Fortress promoting tolerance and social integration, rather than segregation and divide. T h e
neighbourhoods, which have multiplied in the U S (Davis,1992) and to a lesser starting point for this development will have to b e seeing crime not as a n isolated
extent in Britain and elsewhere, can indicate the disintegration of the city as we event but o n e in a wider socio-spatial context.
k n o w it, through restriction o f access, a decline of public space, and a fear of
difference.
Yet a city is a place of difference, of strangers. It is through allowing an interface Women in urban space
between the strangers and the inhabitants of an area that safety can b e secured and
not through segregation. Hillier a n d Hanson (1984: 140), among others, stress the
S t ' h ' ^ a T ' ' ^ " " ' ' difference in the large city offer a n excitmg assortment of people
importance of such an interface:
H.th different patterns of hfe, often making the city a fascinating and stimulating
84 Ja.gn of Urban Space People in the City 85

place. Tne other side of this diversity, however, is anonymity, w h e r e people who urban space. S h e sees the n i n e t e e n t h - c e n t u r y town planning as an organized
happen to be in the same public place, in the shops, restaurants and streets, are campaign to e x c l u d e w o m e n , c h i l d r e n , w o r k i n g classes and the poor. S h e argues
stTar.giT5 to each other. S o m e studies have shown h o w urban conditions which that the city m a k e s possible w h a t is feared and desired; an untramelled sexual
proLr.oie this anonymity can also promote violence (Karp, Stone & Yoels, 1991). This experience. T h e w o m e n ' s p r e s e n c e in the city thus becomes a problem, an irruption
can creste a risk of personal harm and danger to those who are physically more and a s y m p t o m of the a b s e n c e o f o r d e r , as it is associated with sexuality, a source of
^T^'.eriile, such as \\'omen. Urban space for ivomen, therefore, will not have the ambiguity and disorder. T h i s a s p e c t of the m a l e - f e m a l e relationship, a perpetual
struggle b e t w e e n m a l e o r d e r a n d f e m a l e disorder, lies at the heart of virban hfe. T h e
same efdtement as it does for men. It can be a more frightening, alien place, and
" m a s c u l i n e " city, with "its rigid, routinized o r d e r " reflected in "its triumphal scale,
thai is why, as Elizabeth Wilson (1991) reminds u s , with disagreement, many
its towers a n d vistas and arid industrial r e g i o n s " , is constantly challenged by the
feminist writers are against cities.
"feminine" city, w i t h its " p l e a s u r a b l e a n a r c h y " , reflected in its "enclosing e m b r a c e "
A powerful argument by s o m e feminist writers maintains that cities are
and its " i n d e t e r m i n a n c y and l a b y r i n t h i n e u n c e n t r e d n e s s " (Wilson,1991: 7 - 8 ) .
historically built and run by men. As in other spheres of life, w o m e n have been
marginalized in the process of planning and organization of urban space (Figure But how is it that w o m e n find themselves marginalized in the city? W h a t Karp,
3.10). E.xamining s o m e popular urban history books, Richter (1982) s a w little Stone & Yoels (1991; 153) call the " g e n d e r e d nature of urban s p a c e " can be seen in the
reference made to women's role in building American cities, especially where the way urban space restricts w o m e n ' s mobility; physically through an imposition of
physical development of urban fabrics was involved. Apart from prostitutes and patterns of m o v e m e n t and b e h a v i o u r based on fear and restricted access, and socially
entertainers, w o m e n were absent from these studies. through a s s u m p t i o n s about w o m e n ' s role in urban society. There is a variety of ways
Along with the poor, the elderly and the ethnic minorities, w o m e n have been in which w o m e n ' s freedom of m o v e m e n t in urban space is restricted, creating
seen as a threat to the order prescribed for and imposed on cities. Elizabeth Wilson barriers to their mobility in the city. A structural constraint is that created by the
(1991), for example, explores h o w the shape of contemporary cities has been expansion of suburbs, forcing -(vomen to stay a w a y from the centres of activity and
determined by underlying assumptions about w o m e n , their roles and their place in reducing their opportunities, especially due to their heavy dependence on public
transport. Separation of h o m e f r o m w o r k in the industrialization process and the
suburbanization of city life increasingly prevented women from social and
geographical mobility. T h e p l a n n e d suburbs and n e w towns of the twentieth century,
which have h o u s e d an ever increasing number of households, have created spatial
barriers for w o m e n , especially o f middle classes, who were assumed to remain
housewives. T h e major contribution of w o m e n to the quality of urban life, however,
has not often b e e n properly a p p r e c i a t e d , as it has not been in the form of paid labour,
and hence h a s remained " a n invisible w o r k " (Karp, Stone & Yoels,1991; 139).
Women's w o r k such as the d o m e s t i c upkeep, the care of children and the elderly,
maintaining family ties and their over\vhelming role in voluntary associations have
been seen a s " n a t u r a l " and " u n p l a n n e d " , as opposed to " r e a l " w o r k with more
visible outputs. W i t h the increasing integration of women in the economy as paid
labour, h o w e v e r , these spatial barriers work against their access to opportunities and
jobs. As the traditional role of \vomen as unpaid housewives changes and their
contribution to the formal e c o n o m y finds more and more importance, both they and
the economic s y s t e m a s a w h o l e m o v e t o w a r d s an inevitable renegotiating and
reorganizing of w o m e n ' s patterns of access and mobility.

Marginalization of w o m e n f r o m space p r o d u c t i o n has been in parallel with their


role as the c o - o r d i n a t o r s of t h e different areas of fragmented lives and spaces. They
have b e e n " r e s p o n s i b l e for l i n k i n g together the home, the market, and the
institutions" ( T h e Research G r o u p for the N e w Everyday Life,1991; 12). T h e
functional a n d spatial s e g r e g a t i o n of activities has meant that there is a need for
someone to c o - o r d i n a t e these s p h e r e s of life. H e n c e the w o m e n ' s "invisible" work,
\vhich " e x t e n u a t e s the n e g a t i v e effects of the functional division, and smoothens the
hard edges of the present e x i s t e n c e . . . W o m e n are obliged to find individual
solutions to collective p r o b l e m s " (The Research G r o u p for the N e w Everyday
F i g u r e 3.10. Women argue that cities are built and run by men, marginalizing women in the
Life,1991:12).
process of planning and organizaton of urban space. {Dublin, Ireland)
86 Design of Urban Space People in the City 87

T h e global restructuring p r o c e s s , in w h i c h s o m e parts of the world J | by the provision of better poUcing and security only, but also by " a genuine choice
d e i n d u s t r i a l i z e w h i l e s o m e o t h e r s industrialize, redefines the relationship of men S of activities, entertainment and places where w o m e n can meet in towns and cities at
a n d w o m e n a n d their socio-spatial roles. W i t h large-scale changes in economic I night, and provision for children w h e r e necessary" (Worpole,1992; 6 5 ) .
s t r u c t u r e s , w h e r e services h a v e g r o w n and traditional industries h a v e declined, fl The problems of w o m e n in urban spaces are even more severe in the United
n e w roles for w o m e n are e m e r g i n g in the social division of l a b o u r . As old States, which has a rate of rape seven times higher than in Europe. A study of the
i n d u s t r i e s decline, the role of the w o r k i n g class m a n as the b r e a d w i n n e r of the 125 largest S t a n d a r d Metropohtan Statistical Areas in the United States has shown
f a m i l y is c h a n g i n g . A l t h o u g h w o m e n are still seen a s candidates for low-paid, higher rates of rape in larger metropolitan areas and in areas with higher
p a r t - t i m e jobs, their increasing purchasing p o w e r and their rising rate of percentages of persons divorced o r separated. A n o t h e r study has indicated h o w
e m p l o y m e n t h a v e started to affect the w a y urban space is o r g a n i z e d . As the m property crime and violence are associated with urban areas with large populations
traditional r o l e of w o m e n as h o u s e w i v e s providing unpaid, d o m e s t i c labour is K and high densities of single individuals and apartment houses. W o m e n ' s
b e i n g replaced b y o n e in w h i c h w o m e n w o r k both inside and outside the home, a vulnerability to such crimes is revealed in another study, in which the female
w h o l e range of n e w patterns of activities h a v e e m e r g e d . From fast food shops to • • respondents, " w e r e about 8 times more likely than men to restrict their solo
s h o p p i n g m a l l s , w h i c h s u p p o r t t h e n e w , d o u b l e r o l e o f w o m e n a s paid workers * nighttime walking, about 13 t i m e s more likely to avoid going alone to bars and
a l o n g s i d e their traditional role of looking after d o m e s t i c needs of the household, a ^ clubs after dark, and about 6 times more likely to avoid going d o w n t o w n alone
n e w l a n d s c a p e is d e v e l o p i n g in which w o m e n are increasingly a s s u m i n g new after dark" (Karp, Stone & Y o e l s , 1 9 9 1 : 1 5 1 ) .
roles and powers (Gottdiener,1994).
A s the s u b u r b s h a v e m a t u r e d a n d middle class w o m e n have e n t e r e d the formal
e c o n o m y in l a r g e n u m b e r s , the spatial organization of the suburb a n d the picture Conclusion
of w o m e n t r a p p e d in the s u b u r b s begin to c h a n g e . T h i s change c o u l d b e a reason
for the p o p u l a r i t y a n d growth o f s u b u r b a n s h o p p i n g malls, w h i c h offer a more In this chapter w e h a v e looked at urban space from below, from the perspective of
c o n v e n i e n t s h o p p i n g e n v i r o n m e n t as well as an escape from the h o u s e and the individuals and groups. W e h a v e seen how urban space finds different meanings
n e i g h b o u r h o o d . T h e majority of visitors to M e t r o C e n t r e , Gateshead, w h i c h claims for the variety of life experiences and backgrounds. This perspective refreshes our
to b e the largest s u b u r b a n s h o p p i n g centre in E u r o p e , are w o m e n (MetroCentre understanding of urban space and offers us new insights, challenging the notions of
M a r k e t i n g , 1 9 9 3 ) . A l s o , the d e v e l o p m e n t of office a n d industrial concentrations in objectivity, g e o m e t r y , structure a n d order, and finding them in need of critical
the s u b u r b s offers n e w o p p o r t u n i t i e s to the m i d d l e class women of the suburbs. assessment. But w e find one m a j o r problem with this emphasis on the subjectivity
A t the s a m e t i m e , this s p r e a d of opportunities and activities in the suburbs and spontaneity of everyday life. W e can be trapped in difference, in relativism,
r e d u c e s further the chances of the lower i n c o m e g r o u p s and the p o o r w h o hve in 1 unable to c o m m u n i c a t e with each other, as our increasingly pluralistic
the city. T h e i r a c c e s s to jobs a n d facilities is seriously challenged b y a n e w spatial ' circumstances might entail. T h i s perspective contrasts and c o m p l e m e n t s the
barrier. * perspective offered in the previous chapter, which analysed urban space from
It is not o n l y in the s u b u r b a n shopping malls that women predominate in * above, from the viewpoint of the experts and scientists, as agglomerations of people
n u m b e r s . With the primacy of retailing in the city centres in Britain, a n d two-thirds ^ and material objects. As Lefebvre has argued, our understanding of urban space
of retail e m p l o y e e s throughout Britain being female, women are likely to form the ^ will need to c o m b i n e both these perspectives.
majority of the population in central areas during the day (Worpole,1992). Both as • What the three chapters in this part offer, therefore, can be summarized in the
s h o p p e r s and s h o p workers, a n d for social meetings and voluntary activities, M following notions. T h e first notion is that urban space is the material space with its
w o m e n are the major users of t h e city centres. Yet the main emphasis in the design flj social and psychological dimensions, and urban form is the geometry of this space.
of these areas is still on car parks, rather than on public transport, w h i c h is a major • The dilemmas associated with the concept of space can be bridged by this notion,
concern for w o m e n , or on childcare facilities, play areas, toilets or scats. m allowing different parties to e n g a g e in a dialogue on space. It means that our m a p
T h e proportion of men and w o m e n changes substantially during the night. This m of the city has to have overlapping layers to show its physical, social and
is a time w h e n w o m e n m a y be afraid of going to town centres, a n d (especially J psychological geometry at the s a m e time. This is consistent with socio-spatial
y o u n g ) m e n claim these areas as their own territory. A study in Woolwich, for * approaches in social philosophy, urban geography, urban sociology and
e x a m p l e , s h o w e d that 6 5 % of w o m e n were afraid of going out at night for fear of architecture which address these dimensions simultaneously and focus on the
attack. T h e r e w e r e 3 6 % w h o w e r e even afraid during the day for fear of mugging dynamic interrelationship of these aspects.
and robbery. A n o t h e r study, in Edinburgh, showed how women felt dissatisfied The second notion is that to understand urban space, we need to look at it both
with the t o w n centre d u e to dirty and poorly lit streets, inadequate b u s services and from above and from below. F r o m above, w e have the perspective of political
childcare facilities, and a fear of sexual harassment. A study of night life in 12 economy, w h e r e systems of m o n e y and power are at work to create built
British t o w n s and cities found that w o m e n ' s view of urban life was fundamentally environments and w h e r e scientific inquiry offers an objective understanding of
different from that of men. Its conclusion was that these problems will not be solved 1 urban space. F r o m below, w e h a v e the perspective of ever\'day life, where disorder
43 I^es.gn of Urban Space

and spontaneity can take over and wliere human behaviour in, and use of, urban
space endows it with meaning.
Tne third notion is that understanding urban space, with all its dimensions, is
:est made possible by tracing the process of its development. It is through this
development process that w e can relate the physical geometry with social and
PART TWO
5>"rr.bol;c geometries, and relate the world of artefacts with the world of people. It
items from the traditions of urban architecture and urban morphology, which have
-eveloped the idea of historicity of urban fabric. Another source of this notion is the
tradition in social sciences which tends to link space with the w i d e r context of
ie Making of
general societal processes. It also stems from the notion which regards thei
development process and urban form as both o u t c o m e s of, and contributors to, the Urban Space
production and reproduction of social systems.
It is this process of development, with its political, economic and aesthetic
dimensions, that w e turn our attention to in the second part. W e e x a m i n e in some
detail these three moments of the development of the built environment and the
role of design as one of its main component parts.
CHAPTER 4

Urban Design Process

In Part One, w e looked at u r b a n space, the p r o d u c t of the urban development


process. W e analysed the d i l e m m a s of urban s p a c e and looked at the various
approaches to the analysis of u r b a n environment a n d its form. These concentrated
on either the spatial or the social aspects of urban areas. W e argued that a socio-
spatial approach to urban space is needed, o n e w h i c h integrates views from above
with those from the everyday life perspective.
In the second part, we concentrate on the urban development process itself, to
find the place a n d role of urban design. W e will explore the economic, political and
symbolic aspects of the urban development process from an urban design point of
view. To do this, w e will look at the relationship between urban design and
mechanisms and agencies of production, regulation, and with the images of ideal
environments.
Four Chapters in Part T w o analyse the urban development process from a socio-
spatial viewpoint and in relation to urban design concerns. Chapter 4 looks at urban
design definitions and processes. Chapter 5 reviews the urban development
process, the role of developers, and their relationship to the shaping of urban
environment. C h a p t e r 6 looks at the way planning regulations set the parameters
for the shape of urban space. C h a p t e r 7 is devoted to urban design ideas in the
twentieth century as urbanist, micro-urbanist and anti-urbanist trends.
A combination of the two parts, the process and the product, will draw a
complete picture of urban design, its dynamics and its contexts. This will offer a
socio-spatial insight into urban design, which addresses both the processes which
shape the built environment and the products of this process.

What is urban design?

Despite its frequent appearance in educational and professional literature, urban


design is still an ambiguous term, used differently b y different groups in different
circumstances. Yet the growing attention to the subject and the rising number of
academics and professionals w h o are engaged in urban design have brought to the
surface a pressing need for a clearer definition of what they do. This chapter will
begin by analysing those aspects of urban design which have caused such ambiguity
and will then look for a definition that would address these uncertainties.
92 Design of Urban Space Urban Design Process 93

complexity f r o m a m b i g u i t y . In o u r search for t h e m e a n i n g o f u r b a n d e s i g n , w e


Ambiguities of urban design
should be able to a d d r e s s c o m p l e x i t y , b u t also d o o u r b e s t to c l a r i f y a m b i g u i t i e s .
Urban design is a far from clear area of activity. Signs of the need for a clear VVe can see these ambiguities in a n u m b e r of a t t e m p t s to find a definition for
definition of urban design can b e seen in a variety of sources. The a d e q u a c y of the urban design. F o r example, w e can examine the list o f definitions collected b y the
existing definitions is still doubted, as is evident in a recent conference on research late Francis Tibbalds, a past president of the R o y a l T o w n P l a n n i n g Institute and a
and teaching in urban design (Billingham,1995). This indicates w h y the search to passionate supporter of urban design (Tibbalds,1988). T h e s e s h o w a puzzling
find a satisfactory definition of u r b a n design continues (Kindsvatter & Von variety of views o n urban design, including "lots of a r c h i t e c t u r e " , " s p a c e s b e t w e e n
Grossmann,1994; Rowley,1994; D o E , 1 9 9 5 ) . A brief look at this search s h o w s that it buildings", "a thoughtful municipal policy", " e v e r y t h i n g that y o u c a n see out of the
is still at an early stage. An e x a m p l e is a recent attempt which, after reviewmg a window", or " t h e coming together of business, g o v e r n m e n t , p l a n n i n g , a n d d e s i g n "
n u m b e r of definitions of urban design, concludes that finding " a short, clear (Figure 4.1). T h e more plausible definitions i n c l u d e " t h e i n t e r f a c e b e t w e e n
definition . . . simply is not p o s s i b l e " (Rowley,1994: 195). Instead, Rowley architecture, t o w n planning, a n d related p r o f e s s i o n s " ; "the t h r e e d i m e n s i o n a l
suggested w e s h o u l d focus on the substance, m o t i v e s , m e t h o d s and roles of urban design of places for people . . . and their s u b s e q u e n t c a r e and m a n a g e m e n t " ; " a vital
design. bridge, giving structure and reality to two d i m e n s i o n a l m a s t e r p l a n s a n d abstract
D o w e need a short, clear definition for urban design at all? T h e r e are manv planning briefs, before detailed architectural or e n g i n e e r i n g design can take p l a c e " ;
ambiguities a b o u t s o m e disciplines and professions as they inevitably overlap "the design of the built-up area at the local s c a l e , including t h e g r o u p i n g of
w i t h each other. C o n t r o v e r s y a n d n e v e r - e n d i n g discussions a b o u t what buildings for different use, the m o v e m e n t s y s t e m s and services associated with
constitutes architecture, as distinctive from b u i l d i n g s , can be t a k e n as one them, and the spaces and u r b a n landscape b e t w e e n t h e m " ; a n d " t h e creative
e x a m p l e . It m i g h t b e said that a m b i g u i t y offers a w i d e r scope for i n n o v a t i o n and activity by w h i c h the form and character of the u r b a n e n v i r o n m e n t at the local scale
d e v e l o p m e n t ; o n c e w e h a v e clearly defined a subject w e h a v e d e n i e d it some may be devised". Here, as in other attempts to define u r b a n design (Shirvani, 1985),
flexibility. But h o w can w e c l a i m to b e seriously e n g a g e d in urban d e s i g n if wc we see a variety of foci: s o m e are dealing w i t h t h e d o m a i n s o f u r b a n design,
are not even able to define it? W h a t w e n e e d to r e m e m b e r is to separate especially with its involvement w i t h the physical fabric of the city. O t h e r s h a v e
focused on its scale, its points of departure from, or c o n g r u e n c e w i t h , planning and
architecture, its political and m a n a g e m e n t a s p e c t s , or its place in the planning
process.

To arrive at a definition for u r b a n design, w e will n e e d to take i n t o account these


various attempts, and identify the elements w h i c h create c o n f u s i o n a n d ambiguity.
We could be then on our way to a clearer conception o f w h a t u r b a n d e s i g n is about.
To review the areas of confusion and ambiguity, I p r o p o s e to a n a l y s e at least seven
arenas in which different definitions fall;

1. the scale of urban fabric w h i c h urban design addresses;

2. the visual or spatial e m p h a s e s of urban d e s i g n ;

3. the spatial or social e m p h a s e s of urban d e s i g n ;

4. the relationship between process and p r o d u c t in the city d e s i g n ;

5. the relationship between different professionals and their activities;

6. the public o r private sector affiliation of u r b a n design; and

7. the design as an objective-rational or e x p r e s s i v e - s u b j e c t i v e p r o c e s s .

An examination of these arenas, I argue, will i l l u m i n a t e the d u a l i t i e s a n d tensions


within virban design and will s h o w h o w a w a y can be s o u g h t to clarify the
definition of u r b a n design and its roles and areas of i n v o l v e m e n t .
These areas of ambiguity can be broadly g r o u p e d u n d e r p r o c e s s and product of
urban design. T h e first three a r e n a s address the a m b i g u i t i e s about the outcome of
urban design: urban space. T h e last three arenas concentrate o n u r b a n design as a
94 Design of Urban Space Urban Design Process 95

process anci the a m b i g u i t i e s this h a s created. T h e issue of process arid product, a Francis Tibbalds' (1988) preferred definition is t h e o n e which describes urban
central area of a m b i g u i t y , is d i s c u s s e d separately b u t in conjunction w i t h these two design as " t h e physical design o f public r e a l m " (Figure 4 . 2 ) . T h e term "public
sets of concerns. realm" often refers to the space in the city w h i c h i s not private, the space outside
the private realm of buildings, the space b e t w e e n the buildings. But does this lead
to a lack of attention to the private space w h i c h m a k e s u p the bulk of every city's
Macro- or micro-scale urban design? space? If " u r b a n " is merely the public parts o f the city, w h a t should w e call the
totality of urban space with its both public a n d private dimensions? H o w do w e
A main area of c o n f u s i o n is in the scale of urban fabric in which urban design is compare this micro-scale urban design with K e v i n Lynch's b r o a d e r definitions? In
e n g a g e d . Definitions o f u r b a n design refer both to the design o f cities and one attempt he defined urban design as dealing with " t h e form o f possible urban
settlements as a w h o l e a n d to t h e design of s o m e parts of urban areas. T h e issues environments" (Lynch,1984). H e offered an even broader definition elsewhere
and considerations a d d r e s s e d in these t w o m a c r o - and micro-scales of urban (Lynch,1981: 290), as " t h e art of creating possibilities for the use, m a n a g e m e n t , and
design, h o w e v e r , a r e v e r y different from each other. W h e r e a s the d e s i g n of cities form o f settlements or their significant p a r t s " (Figure 4.3).
a n d settlements h a s f o c u s e d o n the broad issues of organization o f space and The latter is a definition of urban design w h i c h is very close to city planning,
functions, m i c r o - u r b a n d e s i g n h a s concentrated o n t h e public face of architecture, albeit with a particular interest in the physical fabric and its form. If w e compare
on public s p a c e in parts o f the cities, and more detailed considerations of design at this with the Royal Town Planning Institute's definition of planning as the
that scale. W h e n o b s e r v e d s i m u l t a n e o u s l y , as in t h e definitions of u r b a n design,' "management of change in the built and natural e n v i r o n m e n t s " (RTPI,1991), the
they could create a l a r g e d e g r e e o f ainbiguity. similarity b e c o m e s evident. O n t h e other side o f t h e spectrum, however, where
Such a m b i g u i t y c a n b e s e e n in a comparison b e t w e e n two sets o f definitions. ] urban design is seen as the design of small u r b a n places, it b e c o m e s close to the
aesthetic and spatial concerns of arts and architecture.

F i g u r e 4 . 3 . Is urban design "the art of creating possibilities for the use, management, and
Figure 4.2. Is urban design the "physical design of public realm"? {Paris, France) form of settlements or their significant parts" ? {Frejus, France)
95 Design of Urban Space Urban Design Process 97

T h e large and small scales of e n g a g e m e n t are rooted in much deeper debates A s urban design deals with all scales of u r b a n s p a c e , it has c a u s e d a m b i g u i t y
a b o u t the nature and concept of s p a c e , as discussed earlier. It was partly reflected about its role a n d areas of i n v o l v e m e n t . N e v e r t h e l e s s , w h a t l i n k s t h e s e different
in the modernist-post-modernist confrontations. T h e modernists concentrated on scales of i n v o l v e m e n t is the central feature that t h e y all collectively m a k e u p the
the design of an abstract but integrated space. T h e post-modern reaction to such urban space, and u r b a n design is the activity w h i c h s h a p e s t h e u r b a n s p a c e . In
abstraction was an attention to smaller-scale urban places and their m e a n i n g . This this sense, it m i g h t b e b r o k e n d o w n into d i f f e r e n t a r e n a s in w h i c h different
shift of attention reflects a broad range of shifts a n d transformations in political, designers could concentrate. The time-scale and issues involved in
e c o n o m i c and cultural circumstances of the time. In Britain, the abolition of masterplanning f o r n e w s e t t l e m e n t s are i n e v i t a b l y different f r o m t h o s e i n v o l v e d
metropolitan authorities and their fragmentation is a prime example of how in details of street design.
attention has shifted from the cities a s a w h o l e to parts of them. Economically, At the height of modernism, a designer could design all the p h y s i c a l objects
there has been a reduction in the resources w h i c h could be spent on cities as a which made u p a development: the buildings, the l a n d s c a p e a r o u n d t h e m , their
w h o l e , leading to policies and projects which concentrate on some parts of the city. interiors, and the objects within the buildings, s u c h as the furniture a n d even the
Culturally, there h a v e been strong reactions to the blanket treatment which the artworks inside a n d outside the buildings. This w a s a n attempt for a total design of
comprehensive planning and large-scale urban d e v e l o p m e n t have imposed on an environment a n d , if i m p l e m e n t e d , meant that all these objects w o u l d b e created
individual and group differences. It is in relation to these fundamental changes within a relatively short period of time. T h i s integrated d e s i g n o f a total
that macro-urban design has b e e n largely a b a n d o n e d in areas confronting environment w a s a hallmark of the modernists, as b e s t exemplified in the teachings
e c o n o m i c decline. Yet at the same time, where g r o w t h pressure has b e e n on the of Bauhaus. T h e s e roles are n o w performed b y s e v e r a l specialisms of u r b a n and
rise, such as in the sunbelt cities of the United States a n d in the fast-de',-eloping regional planners, urban designers, architects, lansdscape architects, interior
e c o n o m i e s and their rapidly expanding cities, m a c r o - u r b a n design has remained a ] designers, furniture and product designers, a n d artists such a s p a i n t e r s and
pressing need. sculptors.
O n e solution is to a c k n o w l e d g e this d i v i d e a n d to m a i n t a i n that there are two As discussed in Chapter 1, I a r g u e that an integrated concept of s p a c e is needed,
d i f f e r e n t types of u r b a n design: a m a c r o - u r b a n d e s i g n and a micro-urban one in which an o p e n interpretation of place is a d o p t e d . F o l l o w i n g this line of
d e s i g n , w i t h different concerns a n d foci. T h i s d i v i s i o n could offer a d e v e l o p m e n t argument, we should stress that although a d e g r e e o f specialization t h r o u g h the
of s p e c i a l i s m s in dealing with u r b a n fabric a n d w o u l d lead to a deeper separation in scale of engagement can be useful, the n a t u r e of b o t h p r o c e s s e s should
u n d e r s t a n d i n g of the processes a n d p r o d u c t s i n v o l v e d at each level. Yet the two be seen as closely interrelated. O n l y in this w a y c a n w e avoid a f u r t h e r d i v i d e in the
l e v e l s h a v e so m u c h in c o m m o n a n d are so i n t e r r e l a t e d that w e m a y see t h e m as scope of those dealing with u r b a n space. T o c o n f r o n t the a m b i g u i t y a b o u t scale,
b e l o n g i n g to the s a m e process of d e s i g n i n g the u r b a n space. T h e b r o c h u r e for therefore, we should conclude that urban design d e a l s with u r b a n s p a c e at all its
M a s t e r of U r b a n D e s i g n degree at U n i v e r s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a , Berkeley, calls it the scales.
" P r o g r a m in the D e s i g n of U r b a n P l a c e s " . D e s p i t e this e m p h a s i s on the places, it
e x p l a i n s that u r b a n d e s i g n e r s s h o u l d w o r k a t all scales of u r b a n space:
" d e s i g n e r s are n e e d e d w h o can w o r k effectively in multidisciplinary teams, Urban design as visual or spatial m a n a g e m e n t ?
across a large r a n g e of scales . . . T h e s e p r o f e s s i o n a l s m a y shape the f o r m and
s p a c e o f specific p l a c e s , or d e s i g n city w i d e s y s t e m s " . For another s c h o o l , the Another source of ambiguity is the perception o f u r b a n design a s dealing with
u r b a n design p r o g r a m m e "is i n t e n d e d to a u g m e n t traditional professional visual qualities of urban environment, which contradicts a b r o a d e r v i e w of urban
training in architecture for those w h o w i s h to f u r t h e r investigate the physical design as addressing the organization of urban space. This m a y b e t h e m a i n source
a s p e c t s of u r b a n i s m . ' U r b a n D e s i g n ' is seen a s an activist, social art; m o r e than a of confusion about, and the m a i n area of criticism against, u r b a n design b y its
s i n g u l a r representation of physical scale, the t e r m defines a c o m m i t m e n t to opponents, at least in Britain. T o confront this c o n f u s i o n , w e n e e d to address t w o
d i s c o u r s e at all scales of design a c t i v i t y " ( C o l u m b i a University Bulletin, 1992: tendencies: one w h i c h sees urban design as an e x e r c i s e in p r o d u c i n g nice images,
2 9 ) . S m a l l e r scales of design activity can also a d d r e s s rural areas a n d smaller and the other w h i c h sees urban design as only a t t e n d i n g the aesthetics of urban
s e t t l e m e n t s . T h i s is w h y L o z a n o ( 1 9 9 0 ) preferred the t e r m " c o m m u n i t y d e s i g n " environment.
to a d d r e s s design at a variety of s c a l e s and e n v i r o n m e n t s , from villages to large
u r b a n areas. Urban design as nice images
T h e degree of overlap and c o m m o n a l i t y between the two scales of urban design,
therefore, could b e convincingly treated within the s a m e definition, to see urban At a recent conference on town centre m a n a g e m e n t , Peter Hall a s k e d for the
design as "an interdisciplinary approach to designing our built environment" traditional idea of urban design to be a b a n d o n e d : " T h e concept of u r b a n design
(Vernez Moudon,1992: 331). B y adopting a broad definition, we will have should not be t a k e n in its old-fashioned sense — p r o d u c i n g nice d r a w i n g s to pin o n
acknowledged the similarities and differences b e t w e e n the shaping of urban space the w a l l " (quoted in Hirst,1995: 6). But why, w e m a y w o n d e r , s h o u l d u r b a n design
and urban place-making as two parts of the same process. be associated only with drawings and not with realities? (Figure 4 . 4 ) .
Urban Design Process 99
98 Design of Urban Space

Attention to the social anci economic problems of cities has often sidelined the
design activities as irrelevant, or at best as unaffordable luxuries. At a time when n o
development w a s in sight, it was felt that no attention should be paid to design.
For a project to be implemented, there m a y be several designs and designers
involved, each producing drawings to c o m m u n i c a t e their ideas. These ideas,
however, m a y never be implemented, as the m o n e y m a y rtm out or the decisions be
changed. A s they are about cities, and cities take a long time to evolve and change,
these designs m a y be implemented but over a very long period of time, with
inevitable changes and adjustments in a changing political and e c o n o m i c context.
However, the abundance of beautiful but potentially u n i m p l e m e n t a b l e images,
especially at a time of economic difficulty, has a p o w e r f u l impact on non-designers,
who see design as merely images rather than ideas for spatial transformation. Even
if they see these ideas, the element of innovation and " f u t u r i s m " inherent in design
may convince the viewers of the designs' irrelevance to the reality and its
constraints.
This view of design, as an elitist, artistic enterprise which has n o relationship to
the real, daily problems of large sections of urban societies, has led to a reduction of
urban design to a visual activity. This confusion h a s been especially strengthened
by the w a y design communicates through visual, rather then verbal, means.
Furthermore, designers' understanding of social and economic issues of cities has
not always b e e n their major point of strength.
The way out of this confusion is to realize that design is an activity proposing
ideas for spatial transformation. If it communicates m o r e through visual rather than
verbal means, its content should not be equated w i t h its means. In design, as in
other forms of communication, form and content are very closely interrelated. But
confusing the form and means of c o m m u n i c a t i o n with the content of
communication is an avoidable mistake. Can we mistake, for e x a m p l e , urban policy
for just nice w o r d s ?

Urban design as the aesthetics of the urban environment


This is a m o r e profoimd problem. To sec urban ciesign as dealing \vith the \isual
rather than the spatial aspects of environment is a widespread tendency (Figure
4.5). This can be an understandable mistake, since w h e n we try to understand space
our first encounter is a visual experience. W e first see the objects in front of us and
then begin to understand how they relate to each other. If our understanding is
limited to a visual understanding, w e only concentrate ort shapes. If, however, we
go beyond appearances, we start a spatial understanding, a three-dimensional
experience. W e can enter this space, rather than just see it. The s a m e applies to the
design of spaces. W e do not create mere appearances but spaces that w e can use for
different purposes. In an interview on spatial arts, Derrida asserts that "I do say
'spatial' more readily than 'visual' . . . because I a m not sure that space is essentially
mastered b y . . . the look . . . Space isn't only the visible" (Derrida, quoted in
Brunette and Will.s,1994: 24).
An example of treating urban design as a visual concern is E d w a r d Relph (1987;
Figure 4 4 Is urban design "nice drawings to pin on the wall", or ideas for change? Aenal
229) who, following Barnett (1982), sees urban design as attending to the visual
view of the proposed Great Northern Square in Manchester, by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill.
qualities of u r b a n environments. For him, urban design focuses on "the coherence
( © 1 9 9 6 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, Inc. Reproduced with kind permission.)
100 Design of Urban Space Urban Design Process 101

utihtarian aesthetics, the Picturesc^ue tradition was strong in Britain, a s e x e m p l i f i e d


by the post-war resentment against m o d e r n i s m and the n a m e it was given in
Britain: N e w Brutalism.
The tendency to equate urban design with t o w n s c a p e m a n a g e m e n t , h o w e v e r ,
also draws u p o n another major trend in the past t w o d e c a d e s — w h a t B o y e r (1990)
calls the return of aesthetics to city planning. This process, she a r g u e s , is part of the
commodification of culture, through which " e v e n t u a l l y even c i t y s p a c e a n d
architectural forms become c o n s u m e r items or p a c k a g e d e n v i r o n m e n t s that support
and promote the circulation of g o o d s " (Boyer,1990: 101). T h e return o f capital to the
city centres as the real estate investment is what lies behind the c r e a t i o n of specially
designed environments and spectacles, leading to aestheticization of evers^day life.
Visual i m p r o v e m e n t of the cities has been used to market cities a s a w h o l e , as
increasingly cities have to c o m p e t e in the global m a r k e t s to attract i n v e s t m e n t . T h e
investment m a y be made b y companies searching for better r e t u r n s o n their
investment and a better quality of life for their e m p l o y e e s . I n v e s t m e n t m a y also b e
made by the employees and b y middle classes returning to the cities l o o k i n g for
new hfestyles. A s urban design e m e r g e d in the 1980s along these t r e n d s of u r b a n
marketing and middle class colonization of parts of the cities, it h a s g e n e r a t e d a
critical reaction, reducing it to a merely aesthetic enterprise. C o m m e n t a t o r s h a v e
seen it as a n e w packaging for u r b a n environments, henoe its visual e m p h a s i s .
There are t w o mistakes that can be corrected. T h e first correction is that u r b a n
design is not merely dealing with visual qualities of urban e n v i r o n m e n t . T h e w a y
out of this confusion is to realize that visual qualities are o n e a m o n g the spatial
qualities of the built environment. T o separate and e m p h a s i z e the v i s u a l qualities of
urban space is to ignore the major role of design as the generator of i d e a s for spatial
change. As S h e r w i n Greene stresses, " T h e ultimate purpose of c o m m u n i t y design is
to improve the function and aesthetic quality of the built e n v i r o n m e n t for its u s e r s " .
As such, it " m u s t translate utility into art and simultaneously r e s p o n d to both
public and private interests while enduring political, economic, a n d a d m i n i s t r a t i v e
challenges (Greene,1992: 186). T h e second correction is that urban d e s i g n as spatial
management is a tool. If it has b e e n used to m a x i m i z e i n v e s t m e n t return a n d
exchange value, it is not the tool that should be b l a m e d . This tool can b e equally
used to m a x i m i z e use value, to b e at the service of all citizens rather t h a n o n l y s o m e
sections of urban society. For e x a m p l e , it is to use this capacity of u r b a n design that
Peter Hall asks urban designers to "reconcile the huge constraints, b o t h technical
and property-based, which are placed on the c e n t r e s " (quoted in H i r s t , ! 995: 6). In
this case, I w o u l d suggest, the terms innovative, -rather than f a s h i o n a b l e , and
F i g u r e 4.5. Is urban design attention to the aesthetics of the environment? {Turin, Italy) spatial, rather than visual, can be used to define u r b a n design.

Whatever the role of urban designers in this process, the aesthetic, visual qualities
of townscape, including heritage districts, the relationship between buildings both of the urban environment and the organization of urban space are b o t h quahties
old and new, the forms of spaces, and small-scale improvements to streets". which are addressed by urban design, both dimensions of u r b a n space and
A n o t h e r example is the policy guidance given to the planners on design in the reflecting the circumstances of the people w h o p r o d u c e and use it. A s H a r v e y (1989:
planning process (DoE,1992), which appears to treat design as mainly dealing with 56-67) puts it, " H o w a city looks and how its spaces are organized f o r m s a material
the appearance of the built environment. base upon which a range of possible sensations a n d social practices can b e t h o u g h t
about, evaluated, and a c h i e v e d " . It will be a limited view to see u r b a n design as
T h e long-standing tradition of Picturesque in Britain, which p a y s special
dealing with only o n e of these aspects, as w a s predominant in the 19S0s, or to see it
attention to the visual qualities of the environment, m a y be seen as a fundamental
outside the social practices of w h i c h it is a part.
drive in this case. Even at the height of m o d e r n i s m , which p r o m o t e d more
102 Design of Urban Space Urban Design Process 103

Urban design as social or spatial m a n a g e m e n t ? This view is n o w widely discarded. But what is increasingly finding acceptance by
social sciences as well as spatial arts and sciences, is that there is a strong interaction
W e argued that urban design deals w i t h spatial, rather than merely visual aspects o f ' between space and the social processes.
urban environment. But d o w e m e a n b y this that t h e r e is no social dimension There are, however, commentators who see u r b a n design as m e r e l y a spatial
involved? Do w e m e a n that u r b a n d e s i g n is all a b o u t transforming spatial involvement without a social dimension. This is particularly the case w h e n the
arrangements and not dealing w i t h aspects of u s e a n d m a n a g e m e n t of those visual element of urban design work is emphasized. W h a t needs to be argued here
environments? Are there not m o r e d e e p l y seated social and cultural relatiora is that spatial transformation will be caused by, and in turn will cause, social
b e t w e e n society and s p a c e that u r b a n d e s i g n addresses? (Figure 4.6.) .4 change. This m a y happen at a variety of scales and degrees of impact. T h e
correlation, however, is inevitable. This is especially felt when aspects of urban
design such as the management of urban environments or change in land use are
dealt with. M o r e broadly, the social and psychological significance of the built
environment is w h e r e the connection between the t w o can be observed.
The way society and space are interrelated is a m a i n concern of u r b a n design
education. T h e Urban Design Source Book (Billingham,1994) offers a list of eight
urban design programmes in Britain. Some of the p r o g r a m m e s , which are based in
the planning and architecture departments and built environment schools, have
outlined their definition of urban design and the objectives of their p r o g r a m m e s .
One p r o g r a m m e ' s focus is "on the relationship b e t w e e n on the o n e h a n d , the
economic, social and political forces shaping u r b a n renewal and on the other,
physical opportunities, constraints and changes, including the design of physical
developments" (Billingham,1994: 21). For another programme, " U r b a n design is
concerned with the physical form of cities, buildings and the space b e t w e e n them.
The study of urban design deals with the relationships between the physical form of
the city and the social forces which produce it" (Billingham,1994: 24).
Other programmes analyse the socio-spatial relationship by concentrating on the
physical and social contexts of urban design. For o n e programme, " U r b a n design is
concerned with the creation, regeneration, e n h a n c e m e n t and m a n a g e m e n t of the
built environments which are sensitive to their contexts and sympathetic to people's
needs" (Billingham,1994: 18). Similar concern for the context is expressed by
another school's urban design programme, which "is based on a morphological
approach, with a particular regard to context, and an assumption that traditional
ideas of urbanism can help to generate socially and ecologically successful urban
environments in the future" (p.19). Others see urban design as having "an
important role to play in influencing the development of local urban a r e a s " (p.22),
and with their training aim "to produce urban designers able to m a n a g e the
increasingly complex problems.of developing u r b a n space, and urban f o r m " (p.27).
The urban design programmes in the United States also show similar emphases
on the relationship between physical fabric of the city and the processes which
F i g u r e 4.6. Is urban ciesign concerned with spatial or social managennent? {Dublin, Ireland) shape it. O n e school's urban design programme "explores the multiplicity of social,
cultural, economic and political factors which play a role in the city's evolution, as
A s we have discussed in Part O n e , social and spatial aspects are intertwined in well as other more qualitative aspects related to understanding the city as a
our understanding of u r b a n space. T h e s a m e applies to the transformation of urban spiritual and cultural artifact" (Pratt Institute in N e w York City, poster). At
space. W h e n w e are e n g a g e d in s h a p i n g the urban s p a c e , we are inevitably dealing Harvard, the urban design programme provides " k n o w l e d g e of urban issues and
with its social content. concepts, preparing architects and landscape architects for leadership in the design
T h e modernist design had the a m b i t i o n of c h a n g i n g societies through changing of environments for human settlement" (Harvard University,! 994: 30). T h e
space. This, w h i c h b e c a m e k n o w n as e n v i r o n m e n t a l determinism and social programme's foundation core is a design studio which "emphasizes the
engineering, w a s a too mechanistic v i e w of h o w society and space are interrelated. development of a critical awareness of how the physical city affects and is affected
104 Design of Urban Space Urban Design Process 105

by social, cultural, and economic factors" (Hodge et al.,1994: 2 8 ) . F o r another ^ urban design is not a product, but it is interested in its p r o d u c t , the built
school, seeking a non-conventional approach, " T h e premise of the program is | environment. A m o r e precise w a y of putting it m a y b e as follows: u r b a n design is a
investigation, exploration, experimentation, a n d representation of ideas and ' process that deals with shaping u r b a n space, and a s s u c h it is interested in b o t h t h e
proposals regarding the development of the city". T h e curriculum, therefore, "is ' process of this shaping and the spaces it helps to shape.
designed for the questioning o f the existing connections and searching for I In a sense this two-sided nature is reflected in the t w o c o m p o n e n t parts o f t h e
alternative ideologies and proposals for the city's architecture" (University of term: " u r b a n " a n d "design", the former referring to the product a n d t h e latter to the
Colorado,undated; 10). process. T h e ambiguity of the scales of urban design refers to a m o r e f u n d a m e n t a l
Policy-makers have also shown interest in broadening the scope of urban design. ^ question: what is urban? What parts of the ever-increasing u r b a n areas a r e
After stating that a "single common definition of urban design" is not available, the i addressed b y urban design? T h e dominant trend in Britain s e e m s to b e to a d d r e s s
DoE's urban design campaign offers a definition which addresses several i the city centres a s the main urban space (for e x a m p l e , see W o r p o l e , 1 9 9 2 ) , leaving
relationships: "between buildings a n d the streets, squares, parks a n d other open the rest o f the cities as mere peripheries w h e r e t h e l o w e r densities o f p o p u l a t i o n
spaces which make up the public d o m a i n ; the relationship of o n e part o f a village, „ and activities appear to make t h e m less interesting.
town or city with other parts; and t h e interplay b e t w e e n our evolving environment j There has been a decline in large-scale urban redevelopment o r d e v e l o p m e n t o f
of buildings and the values, expectations a n d resources of people: in short, the new settlements. This explains to a large degree, especially in Britain, w h y u r b a n
complex inter-relationship between all the various elements of built a n d unbuilt ^ design is generally concentrated o n a micro-scale o f u r b a n space, p r e o c c u p i e d w i t h
space, and those responsible for t h e m " (DoE,1995: 2). •| place-making. In the United States, where s o m e areas h a v e e x p e r i e n c e d
Urban design can be seen as a socio-spatial m a n a g e m e n t of urban environment I phenomenal growth pressures, large-scale urban development, as reflected in t h e
using both visual and verbal means of communication a n d engaging in a variety of J New Urbanist movement, has also been a m a i n feature. Parallel with t h e
scales of urban socio-spatial phenomena. O n e aspect of the relationship between • predominance o f retailing in the city centres in Britain a n d in the n a t i o n a l e c o n o m y
social and spatial dimensions o f urban design h a s been formulated as the ! as a whole, urban design b e c o m e s pressed to concentrate o n creating a n d
relationship between process and product. i supporting environments in which shopping, o r consumption in g e n e r a l , is t h e
main attraction to pull the c r o w d s , leaving aside other uses a n d places a s o f
secondary importance. The drive for regeneration o f decayed i n n e r areas o f t h e
cities has also led to such concentration on the city centres, taking t h e attention
Process or product? J
away from the urban region as an integrated space.
T h e sources of ambiguity between macro- or micro-scale of urban design and \ The urban space, however, is m o r e than the city centre (Figure 4 . 7 ) . It includes t h e
between urban design as visual o r spatial m a n a g e m e n t refer to urban design as suburbs, where large numbers of urbanités live. A s these s u b u r b s h a v e m a t u r e d
dealing with its product, the urban space. This leads u s t o a fundamental source of and new nuclei of services and employment have developed on the outskirts o f t h e
potential confusion in defining urban design: w h e t h e r the term refers to a process cities, any engagement with the city which disregards the suburbs is t u r n i n g a b l i n d
or a product. Architects have historically been interested in the product of their eye to a substantial portion of urban space (Gottdiener,1994). In t h e case o f t h e
design and not in the administrative a n d urban development processes through larger cities in Britain, multinucleated urban regions h a v e evolved either t h r o u g h
which designs are implemented. O n the other h a n d , planners have shifted from an development of n e w shopping and office centres in the suburbs, or h a v e g r o w n b y
interest in the physical fabric of the city to the policies a n d procedures o f change in engulfing the older, smaller settlements into the urban whole. T h e u r b a n space w i t h
the environment (Dagenhart & Sawicki,1992). A s urban design stands between which urban design is engaged is therefore the space o f an urban region, including
architecture a n d planning, it relates to the p a r a d i g m s of both, which can create i the centre a n d its peripheries. Restricting urban design to the city centres w o u l d
overlaps a n d reduce clarity of scope. Depending o n the commentators' standpoint, 4 deprive urban design of a broader perspective, a n d the urban space o f a potentially
they might have a tendency to one o r the other of these paradigms, preferring to see powerful tool for its transformation.
urban design as only a product o r a process. Yet urban design, as m a n y urban As for the definition of design, w e come across a fairly wide r a n g e o f m e a n i n g s .
designers have stressed, refers to b o t h a process a n d a product: " i t is defined by For example, the dictionary definitions of the w o r d refer separately to a s e q u e n c e o f
what urban designers d o as much as it is b y w h a t they p r o d u c e " (Kindsvatter & distinguishable moments in a process: from w h e n there is only a n intention, to
Von Grossmann,1994: 9 ) . For o n e university p r o g r a m m e , "Urban design can be when the ideas a r e conceived in mind, to when preliminary sketches a r e p r e p a r e d ,
thought of as both a product and a process. A s a product urban design occurs at to when they are formulated as a set of instructions for making s o m e t h i n g w h i c h
scales ranging from parts of an environment, such as a streetscape, to the larger leaves the details to b e worked out, and to m a k i n g plans and d r a w i n g s n e c ^ s a r y
wholes of districts, towns, cities, o r regions . . . A s a process and a conscious act, for the construction of a building etc., which the w o r k m e n have to follow {Oxford
urban design involves the art of shaping the environment which has b e e n built over English Dictionary; Watson,1968). Each of these definifions is given a s a n
time b y m a n y different actors" (University o f Washington,undated: 1). independent definition for design. Yet if we p u t t h e m all together, they still m e a n
But h o w can w e say that urban design is both a process and a product? Surely, design, or rather the design process.
106 Design of Urban Space Urban Design Process 107

Professional divide
A major area of ambiguity s e e m s to be w h e r e w e expect a practical clarity to
reign. W h e r e should we look for definitions of u r b a n design a n d find out w h a t
urban d e s i g n e r s do? W e w o u l d expect the best people to g o to w o u l d b e the
professionals, as they should h a v e a clear idea of w h a t they do. T h e r e are 54 U K -
based firms m e n t i o n e d in the Urban Design Source Book ( B i l l i n g h a m , 1 9 9 4 ) , varying
in size and s c o p e of their activity, from international firms to s m a l l c o n s u l t a n c i e s .
These are firms that have indicated that they offer " a n urban d e s i g n or a related
service". T h e y offer a variety of services in relation to the built a n d natural
environments, with many services and subjects overlapping each other. T h e s e
include masterplanning, d e v e l o p m e n t f r a m e w o r k s and concepts, c o n c e p t design,
d e v e l o p m e n t briefs, design guidelines, urban design in d e v e l o p m e n t control,
urban design training, environmental and visual impact a s s e s s m e n t , site
appraisal and context studies, e n v i r o n m e n t statements, environmental
i m p r o v e m e n t , building and area enhancement, t o w n centre r e n e w a l , p u b l i c r e a l m
design, transport and traffic m a n a g e m e n t , pedestrianization, infrastructure
strategies, c o m p u t e r modelling, project m a n a g e m e n t , e n g i n e e r i n g , interior,
graphic a n d p r o d u c t design, l a n d s c a p e design, architectural design, u r b a n design,
town p l a n n i n g , land-use planning, policy formulation and p r o m o t i o n , strategic
planning s t u d i e s , local planning, public inquiries, conservation, n e w design in
historic c o n t e x t s , planning in historic and sensitive areas, d e c o n t a m i n a t i o n
strategies, a d a p t i v e re-use, enabling d e v e l o p m e n t , i m p l e m e n t a t i o n , u r b a n
regeneration, small town and village regeneration, integrated r e g e n e r a t i o n of
streets a n d buildings, c o m m u n i t y participation, civic a n d community
architecture, n e w settlements, large-scale site planning, l a n d s c a p e planning,
Figure 4.7. Is urban design merely the design of city centre space? {London, UK)
physical p l a n n i n g , urban housing, shopping, e m p l o y m e n t , t o u r i s m , recreation
and leisure, u r b a n parks and spaces, urban squares, waterfront b u i l d i n g s and
N e v e r t h e l e s s , t h e s e d e f i n i t i o n s fail to i n f o r m u s of all the m o m e n t s in the strategies, m a r i n a s , planning for pedestrian c r i m e prevention a n d security, and
s e q u e n c e of the d e s i g n p r o c e s s o r o f t h e p r o c e s s a s a w h o l e . O n the o t h e r hand, energy efficient design. This diversity adds to the ambiguity of u r b a n design as an
a t t e m p t s that h a v e b e e n m a d e t o p r o v i d e a m o r e c o m p r e h e n s i v e definition of activity; w h e r e do we d r a w the boundaries b e t w e e n these w i d e ranging but
d e s i g n h a v e f o u n d an entirely d i f f e r e n t f o c u s . F o r e x a m p l e , in his e n t r y for the overlapping activities?
Encyclopaedia Britannica, K e v i n L y n c h (1984) o f f e r e d a definition o f design as T h e U r b a n Design Group is the main forum dealing with the subject in Britain,
" t h e i m a g i n a t i v e creation of p o s s i b l e f o r m i n t e n d e d to a c h i e v e s o m e human largely b r i n g i n g together urban design professionals. T o p r o d u c e a m a n i f e s t o for
p u r p o s e ; social, e c o n o m i c , a e s t h e t i c , or t e c h n i c a l " . E l s e w h e r e ( L y n c h , 1 9 8 1 : 290), urban design, initiated in 1986, the G r o u p p r o p o s e d a seven-point a g e n d a , an
h e elaborates on this d e f i n i t i o n o f d e s i g n a s " t h e playful c r e a t i o n a n d strict agenda w h i c h aimed at " m a k i n g explicit what u r b a n designers d o , or s h o u l d d o "
evaluation of the p o s s i b l e f o r m s o f s o m e t h i n g , i n c l u d i n g h o w it is t o b e m a d e " . (Billingham,1994; 38). As such, it is referring to the realms of descriptive and
H e r e the f o c u s is o n a n a c t i o n , t h e c r e a t i o n o f p o s s i b l e f o r m , w h i c h is not prescriptive simultaneously, w h i c h is often a characteristic of d e s i g n literature.
m e n t i o n e d in o u r d i c t i o n a r y d e f i n i t i o n s , w i t h a reference to its mode, There are also other boundaries that are crossed in the seven points of the agenda;
mechanisms and areas of concern. disciplinary boundaries b e t w e e n architecture a n d planning, b o u n d a r i e s b e t w e e n
T h e relationship b e t w e e n p r o c e s s a n d p r o d u c t goes b e y o n d this formal developer's goals and a c o m m u n i t y ' s needs, b e t w e e n p r o m o t i n g and enabling
analysis. A s w e h a v e d i s c u s s e d in Part O n e , t h e y are closely i n t e r t w i n e d . To development a n d controlling it.
u n d e r s t a n d u r b a n s p a c e , w e a r g u e d f o l l o w i n g H e n r i Lefebvre, w e n e e d to look at Urban d e s i g n , as outlined in this agenda, is an interdisciplinary activity,
the processes w h i c h p r o d u c e t h e s p a c e . U r b a n d e s i g n is a m a j o r c o m p o n e n t part occupying " t h e central g r o u n d between the recognized environmental
of these p r o c e s s e s a n d it is c o n c e r n e d w i t h c i t i e s a n d w i t h h o w to shape and professionals". It is "concerned with the careful stewardship of the resources of
m a n a g e them. H o w e v e r , t h e r e a r e m a n y p r o f e s s i o n a l s w h o are i n v o l v e d in this the built e n v i r o n m e n t " and with "helping the users and not only the p r o d u c e r s of
process of s h a p i n g . W h e r e d o u r b a n d e s i g n e r s s t a n d ? the urban e n v i r o n m e n t " . Therefore they " m u s t understand and interpret
Urban Design Process 109
108 Design of Urban Space

c o m m u n i t y needs and a s p i r a t i o n s " , as well as " u n d e r s t a n d i n g a n d u s i n g political interest in physical design was the first principal objective of the U r b a n Design
Group, as published in its first issue of Urban Design Group News in July 1979. T h e
and financial p r o c e s s e s " . In short, urban d e s i g n e r s operate " w i t h i n the
Group w a s being established, " T o provide a f o r u m for those w h o believe that
procedures of urban d e v e l o p m e n t to achieve c o m m u n i t y objectives". Following
planning should b e more concerned with improvement of the design of t h e physical
this principle, " U r b a n design education and research must b e c o n c e r n e d w i t h the
environment a n d the quality of places and to encourage all t h e professions to
d y n a m i c s of c h a n g e in the urban environment a n d h o w it can b e a d a p t e d to b e
combine to this e n d " (quoted in Linden & Billingham,1994: 30).
responsive to the w a y s in which people's lives a r e l i v e d " (Billingham,1994: 34). A
It is clear after all that urban design is a n interdisciplinary activity. If
list of " a n irreducible m i n i m u m " o f the criteria for the form of t h e " g o o d city"
professionals from different disciplines of built, natural and social e n v i r o n m e n t s
concludes the agenda. T h e s e criteria, derived from a variety o f s o u r c e s , include
work together in teams, they create an urban design process. Similarly, if urban
attention to variety, access, security and comfort, opportunity for personalization,
space is to b e shaped and m a n a g e d b y any professional, there will b e a need for
and clarity. multidisciplinary concerns and awareness. T h e k e y is to go b e y o n d the n a r r o w
But are these concerns exclusive to urban designers? Can other environmental boundaries of professions and disciplines and to approach u r b a n s p a c e from a n
disciplines and professions not claim to have similar concerns? T h e first point in the interdisciplinary, socio-spatial perspective.
Urban Design G r o u p ' s agenda, however, explains more: "Urban design has
emerged as a discipline, primarily because it is able to consider the relationships '
between the physical form and function of adjacent sites, unlike the Architect who
is constrained b y site boundaries and client intentions and the Planner w h o has •
A public or private sector activity?
been reluctant to address issues appertaining to t h e physical design agenda"
Another area of confusion, which on the surface is in close connection with
(Billingham,1994: 34). D o e s this principle imply that urban design is t h e physical
professional divides, is the affiliation of urban design with public or private sectors.
design of more than a site, b u t o f a group of adjacent sites (Figure 4.8)? After all.
The question is: which camp does it belong to? W h o performs it? W h o d o e s it serve?
Is it mainly performed by, or serving, the private developer or the city council? T h e
confusion can therefore extend to urban design's political role, w h i c h potentially
could be a conflicting duality.
If urban d e s i g n is seen as the visual m a n a g e m e n t of the city c e n t r e s o n l y to
maximize returns o n private sector investment, then it is i n t e n d e d t o s e r v e a
minority interest (Figure 4 . 9 ) . S o m e criticisms of u r b a n regeneration
undertakings in Britain h a v e taken this view a n d h a v e therefore a s s o c i a t e d u r b a n
design with t h e interests of private c o m p a n i e s . A s visual m a n a g e m e n t is then
seen as a l u x u r y w h e n m o r e basic n e e d s of health, education a n d h o u s i n g a r e at
stake, urban d e s i g n h a s b e e n considered as r e a c t i o n a r y o r at b e s t irrelevant. If,
however, u r b a n design is practised b y the p u b l i c sector, it h a s b e e n h e l d to b e at
the service o f the public at large, contributing to the i m p r o v e m e n t o f the quality
of the urban e n v i r o n m e n t . T h e question is, w h i c h side d o w e identify u r b a n
design with?
W e may confront this ambiguity b y stating that as a technical, social and aesthetic
process, urban design can b e practised b y any a g e n c y large e n o u g h to initiate o r
deal with urban development projects. Furthermore, with the increasing role o f
public-private partnerships in urban development and regeneration, it m a y b e
difficult to locate the camp to w h i c h urban design belongs. W e will return to this
ambiguity in Chapter 5 when discussing the relationship between u s e value and
exchange value in urban space production. At this stage, however, it m a y suffice to
say that urban design is not necessarily bound to t h e public or private sectors. Each
of these sectors m a y be engaged in urban design a n d , depending on w h o performs
it, it may have different roles and serve different interests. Performed b y whichever
camp, urban design is the process that shapes a n d manages the u r b a n space. Such
urban space will inevitably reflect the values and aspirations of those w h o
produced it.
F i g u r e 4.8. Is urban (Jesign the physical design of more than one site? {Newcastle. UK)
Design of Urban Space Urban Design Process

Figure 4.10. Is design the imposition of a rational order? (Stockf)olm, Sweden)


Figure 4.9. Are visual improvements of city centres aimed to maximize returns on private
investments? (San 7o5e, California, USA)

:| constructed t o w n s which a professional architect h a s freely planned o n an open


plain" (quoted in Gellner,1992: 4). This view of design as a rational undertaking was
Objective-rational or subjective-irrational? based on a classicist, individualist and bourgeois notion of reason and rationality,
W e have looked at the ambiguities about the a s p e c t s o f the p r o d u c t with which which came u n d e r attack b y later generations of empiricists and idealists.
urban design deals. W e h a v e c o m e across a m b i g u i t i e s about its role as a A contemporary and m o r e complex notion of rationality is offered b y Jürgen
professional activity a n d its association with different sectors o f t h e poUtical i Habermas's m o d e l s of action a n d rationality. In his communicative action models
economy. W e also need t o b e a w a r e o f t h e a m b i g u i t i e s about t h e n a t u r e of the > Habermas (1984) attempts to address, simultaneously, all three objective, social a n d
process. W c need to k n o w w h a t kind of process u r b a n design is. Is it a n objective subjective issues that the social actors are involved in. These models are identified
and rational process performed b y a n u m b e r of p e o p l e or is it a subjective process as the teleological model in which the actor relates to an objective world cognitively
performed b y an individual designer (Figure 4.10)? and volitionally as rationalized b y "truth" and "success"; the norm-guided model
René Descartes, w h o w a s " t h e greatest rationalist e v e r " (Gellner,1992: 1 ) , had a in which the actor is related to a normative, social context as rationalized b y
firm belief in design a s a rational e n d e a v o u r . H o m i s t r u s t e d " c u s t o m a n d example", "normative correctness" or legitimacy; a n d the dramaturgical model in which
and hence the gradual growth o f the cities a s a representation o f t h e irrational action is related to the subjective world o f the actor as rationalized through
custom and e x a m p l e . Flis rationalist principle w a s that, " w e o u g h t n e v e r to allow "truthfulness" or "authenticity" (McCarthy,1978; Dews,1986; Whito,1988). T h e
ourselves to b e persuaded of the truth of a n y t h i n g unless o n t h e e v i d e n c e of our notions of action and rationality provide us with an insight into the dynamics of
reason" (quoted in Gellner,1992: 1 ) . F o r him, the best buildings, legal systems and each action in t h e series of actions which constitute the urban design process. They
opinions were those designed b y a single a u t h o r . O n this basis, h e held that, focus o n h o w individuals relate to their objective, subjective a n d social contexts.
"ancient cities . . . are usually b u t ill laid o u t c o m p a r e d w i t h t h e regularly Drawing u p o n the communicative action theory, w e can analyse t h e urban design
Urban Design Process 113
112 Design of Urban Space

process as a combination of three distinctive and yet interwoven threads: the stage Urban design as a technical process
w h e n designers are interacting with the objective world through application of
science and technology; the stage when designers are involved with other VVe can look at urban design as a purely technical process, in which specific skills
individuals and institutions constituting their social setting which is somehow from town planning, architecture and engineering, among others, are employed to
utilize resources in the production and management of space. Designers often need
involved in the process; and the stage when designers are interacting with their
to ensure an effective use of the rules and resources in the preparation and
o w n subjective world of ideas and images. Depending on the circumstances,
implementation of the design. In doing so, a high level of scientific k n o w l e d g e and
however, these analytically distinctive stages are usually closely interlinked to
technical competence is required; from understanding the rules and regulations
constitute a single, complex process.
with which the design process deals, to analysing the circumstantial conditions, to
developing alternative approaches, and to formulating a final solution for a specific
task.
In the majority of design a n d development projects, the technical approach has
been dominant. Entirely n e w settlements w o u l d be built as physical objects which
are the product of a technical process (Figure 4.11). Especially in the periods of
rapid e c o n o m i c expansion, the technical approach tends to p r e d o m i n a t e . T h e
whole project of the modern m o v e m e n t in architecture was based on technological
necessity, as the built e n v i r o n m e n t was required to be m a d e fit for the m a c h i n e
age.
The main concern in urban design has often been the transformation of physical
space. In this technical process, an instrumental rationality is used to evaluate each
segment of the action against its aims and context. Any action which is not
corresponding to functional expectation, technological capability or financial
capacity has been regarded as irrational. Designers rely on knowledge and skills of
their own and of other related professionals of the built environment to utilize the
available resources.
But there are limits to the rationality that can b e employed. A n y change in o n e of
the structures, which may be largely out of the agency's influence, could turn the
rationality of a decision into an irrationality. The introduction of a n e w technology,
for example, w o u l d make a solution obsolete and in need of revision, whereas at the
time of decision-making, it w o u l d have been thoroughly rational. Other examples
include changes in administrative organizations, a change in interest rate or a crisis
of over production, which can all lead to render what looked rational into
irrational.

# I Urban design as a social process


We can also look at the urban design process as a social process due to the
involvement of a large n u m b e r of actors with various roles and interests w h o
interact in different stages of the process. A design is often prepared b y a group of
designers interacting with other professionals, with the agencies w h o control
resources and rules such as landowners, financiers, planning authorities and
politicians, with the users of the space, and with those who would be affected by it.
The interaction continues with the parties involved in the implementation phase.
According to instrumental rationality, the process would only be rational if it
ends in the purpose that was expected from it. A s distinct from that, the form of
rationality used here is one which aims at consensus between the players involved,
.11. Are tecfinical concerns predominant in design? {Beaubourg, Paris, France) and is in general making reference to nornas and values shared by them as a point
Figure 4
114 Design of Urban Space j Urban Design Process 115

zi departure. However, the patterns o f rationality of the process a n d its o u t c o m e are Since the product of urban design is the manifestation of a set of policies or
:ceri to distortion d u e to the p o w e r relations i n v o l v e d . A n y d i s r u p t i o n in this interests a s solidified in physical space o r its management, it b e c o m e s evident h o w
iialogue would either end in the b r e a k u p of the process o r w o u l d lead to a new the role o f u r b a n designers c a n b e important. They could act a s intermediary
^evei of practical discourse where consensus is s ought. If, h o w e v e r , all levels of players in a c o m p l e x interactive process. Their ability to convince others through all
T.teraction are not open to rational discourse, then the distortions m i g h t p u t any forms of presentation will have strong impacts on the process as a w h o l e .
-ccsnnal consensus at risk.
--..-I example of the absence of c o n s e n s u s b e t w e e n t h e players h a v i n g disastrous Urban design as a creative process
results is the post-war planning policy and implementation o f s l u m clearance
•.s"liiiout consulting the communities (Figure 4.12). T h e modernist rejection of There is also a third angle: to look at urban design as a creative process, what Lynch
rjntext can be seen as the manifestation of instrumental action, w h i c h h a s been a (1981,1984) called a playful a n d imaginative creation of possible form (Figure 4.13).
T.a:or feature of the scientific a n d technological a g e . O n t h e o t h e r h a n d , its In this process, designers a r e interacting with their own subjective world and, b y
:!pponent, contextualism, can b e s e e n a s focusing o n t h e social i n t e r a c t i o n , which employing their aesthetic understanding a n d graphic skills, express their spatial
employs the norm-based rationality. concepts in the form of an appropriate scheme.

Figure 4 . 1 2 . Only in a nninority of developments, such as Gleneagles Court, was there a chance
"'or tne public to participate in the design process. (Гуле & Wear, UK) (Photograph by Phil Dyer)

It can be argued that arriving at a consensus w o u l d not necessarily g u a r a n t e e the


Figure 4 . 1 3 . Is design the playful and imaginative creation of possible form? {Paris, France)
rationality of t h e action. It seems that consensus in technical-rational a c t i o n is more
readily available since the point of departure in a n y discourse will b e only the
available technology a n d scientific knowledge, even though scientific knowledge H e r e , a m o n g t h e i d e n t i f i a b l e s t r u c t u r e s , w i t h which the a g e n c y interacts, a r e
might be contestable or alternative technologies at c o m p a r a b l e costs b e available for the s u b j e c t i v i t y of the d e s i g n e r a n d t h e m e d i u m o f expression. T h e subjectivity
any specific task. of the d e s i g n e r h a s b e e n d e v e l o p e d t h r o u g h contacts with the o u t s i d e world. It
115 Descn of Urnaa Soace j Urban Design Process 117

includes a "library" of images a n d a r r a n g e m e n t s in the real w o r l d , w h i c h iiu Conclusion


designer sees as appropriate a n d beautiful. D e s i g n e r s often m a k e frequent
references to this library in the d e s i g n process. T h r o u g h a process o f adaptation
Urban design, as w e have seen, still suffers from a lack of clarity in its definition,
and adjustment, trial and error, designers set the stored i m a g e s , or new
partly due to its coverage of a wide range of activities. We have also seen that a
combinations of them, against a concrete context and arrive at the required
broad definition is needed to deal with these ambiguities. Rather than being
ro.-m.
confined b y the differences and minutiae of these activities, it is still possible to see
Interacting with the m e d i u m of expression can h a v e different l a y e r s . O n the it as a process through which w e consciously shape and m a n a g e our built
one hand, according to the r e q u i r e m e n t s of the task at h a n d , a p p r o p r i a t e forms , - environments. U r b a n designers are interested and engaged in this process and its
of expression and presentation a r e chosen. G r a p h i c and verbal techniques of product. By using this broad definition, we can avoid seeing urban design as merely
communication are employed to c o n v i n c e the o t h e r agencies, a n d first of all the being engaged in t h e visual qualities of small urban places, or, on the other side of
client, of the worth of the d e s i g n . O n the other h a n d , the traditions in a design the spectrum, in the transformation of an abstract urban space. It is only through
profession have their own n o r m a t i v e powers a s to w h a t is a c c e p t a b l e . A t this broad definitions that w e can encompass the range of interests and involvements of
level, there is always an o n g o i n g discourse b e t w e e n the m e m b e r s of a design 7 urban design, in all its macro- and micro-scale, process and product, and visual
profession, which not only i n v o l v e s the present m e m b e r s of the p r o f e s s i o n , but'''" and spatial aspects dimensions.
also embraces historical p e r i o d s and their representatives. T h r o u g h these
Urban design therefore can be defined as the multidisciplinary activity of shaping
interactions, conventions are d e v e l o p e d , which b e c o m e a source of influence on,
and managing u r b a n environments, interested in both the process of this shaping
and if needed suppression of, lay j u d g e m e n t s .
and the spaces it helps shape. Combining technical, social and expressive concerns,
r From a Habermasian v i e w p o i n t , the form of rationality here is the authenticity urban designers u s e both visual and verbal means of communication, and engage in
ivith which the ideas are b e i n g expressed. In the subjective realm, the all scales of the u r b a n socio-spatial continuum.
authenticity of expression m i g h t p r o d u c e a m o m e n t of truthfulness, b u t it would Urban design is part of the process of the production of space. T o understand this
hardly accotmt for the plurality o f such m o m e n t s as produced b y plurality of process, as an e c o n o m i c , political and cultural process, we concentrate o n these
personalities and interests. It can b e seen how expressive rationality can have an three processes in the next three chapters. W e will explore urban design's
adverse effect on rational c o n s e n s u s . Any attempt to reach a consensus in relationships with the markets, w h e r e development of the built environment takes
expression naight be threatened b y attempting to standardize the richness of place, and with the state, where this development is regulated. W e will also analyse
expression and experience that a combination and variety of individuals and the images of g o o d urban environments that the designers use in their w o r k .
periods can offer. O f course, this p o i n t cannot b e overstressed since there is an
optimtmi level of variety that p e o p l e can accept, beyond w h i c h there is
tendency to simplicity and h o m o g e n e i t y rather than plurality. ^
M a n y have tended to look at u r b a n design f r o m only one of the three angles
that we have analysed. S o m e t e n d to see it as only a technical process and
therefore equate it with b i g a r c h i t e c t u r e or big engineering. S o m e s e e it o n l y as a é:
social interaction to reach n e w institutional arrangements, and so tend to focus
on its management capacities rather than on production of space. Yet others tend
to see it as an artistic activity w h i c h should b e taken up only b y talented
designers. Such uni-dimensional focuses w o u l d naturally lead to narrow ;
definitions and viewpoints at the cost of u n d e r m i n i n g the reality of the process
and its plurality of aspects.
It is quite obvious from this analysis that each segment in the urban design
process can h a v e at the s a m e t i m e an involvement of three f o r m s of action and
rationality, e a c h having a d i r e c t impact o n the other f o r m s . Despite the
limitations of such an attempt t o w a r d s making a multidirectional a p p r o a c h to the
analysis of the urban design p r o c e s s , it can provide a powerful analytical and
normative tool in complex situations. It can contribute to gaining an insight into
the urban design process a n d its c o m p o n e n t parts. It can also b e useful in the
practical design processes b y u r g i n g the designers to b e constantly a w a r e of the
multiplicity of the d i m e n s i o n s o f the process in which they p l a y a significant
part.
CHAPTER 5

Production of t h e Built
Environment

The concept that connects the chapters of I^art T w o is that urban design is an
integral part of urban space production. Chapter 4 explored some of the main
ambiguities a b o u t urban design as an activity and sought a definition for it. This
j chapter looks at h o w the nature of the land and property development prcKess, and
the nature of the agencies involved, have a major impact on the process and
product of u r b a n design. T h e m a i n relationship u n d e r consideration is that between
urban d e v e l o p m e n t and urban design, between developers and designers.
T h e chapter starts by challenging two c o m m o n l y held, but contradictory, views
about the p r i m a c y of professionals or of property developers in shaping urban
environments. T h i s challenge is followed by a search for a conceptual basis for the
analysis of land and property development process and the role of urban design in
this process. T o d o so, we look at various models of the development process and
offer a m o d e l that addresses u r b a n design as an integral part of the process.
The discussion continues with an exploration of the changing nature of
development agencies and the impact of this c h a n g e on urban design and urban
form. T h e t e n d e n c y towards standardization of design and privatization of public
space are t w o aspects of this c h a n g e which are discussed.

Urban design and t h e development process


Our search for a relationship between urban design and urban development process
begins by challenging two illusions. The first illusion is that urban planners, urban
designers, and architects are the main agencies shaping the urban space. It is because
of this illusion that we see such widespread criticism of these professionals for the
post-war urban development schemes and their perceived failures. Another illusion
to be challenged is that the developers (or clients in architectural language) are those
who m a k e the main decisions and the role of designers is merely to provide
" p a c k a g i n g " for these decisions. Due to this illusion, we see the widespread criticism
of design as an associate of the business interests, without any other merits.
These two illusions are often the outcome of n a r r o w definitions of these agencies
and professionals and of the nature of design. It is argued here that urban design
and property d e v e l o p m e n t a r e independent but closely interrelated activities. A n y
120 Design of Urban Space Production of the Built Environment 121

understanding of urban design will not be complete without an understanding of understand the urban design process, therefore, it is essential to gain an
the development process. Similarly, development process will not be fully understanding of the property development process (Figure 5.1).
understood without an insight into the dynamics of design. This is not to say that this awareness can be a substitute for working in teams with
H o w far is design related to land and property development? M a n y would say sociologists, economists, architects, urban planners, community representatives and
they have no relationship whatsoever. Design, they w o u l d argue, is the process by others. There is n o doubt that the outcome of such teamwork will inevitably be more
which designers express their aesthetic creations and find solutions for functional informed than a design exercise without consultation. What is stressed here is that
needs. They would argue that this is very far from the realm of property the designers' awareness of the development process would give them an initial
development, where the main concerns of investors and developers are markets platform from which to communicate with other parties engaged in the process.
and profit margins. These t w o groups, designers a n d developers, are fluent in Without such awareness, designers will only be involved in the creation of a form
different languages, communicate in different ways, and have different aims. without being coiisciously related to its complex contents and processes.
This chapter, however, challenges this view b y offering a perspective that sees A good example is the work of Rob Krier. In a postscript to his monograph on
both propert}' development and urban design as different aspects of the same-| architecture and urban design, he accuses the development process of failing him to
process. The land and property development process is the vehicle through which! some degree:
the built environment is produced. The .shaping of this environment through design
is an essential part of this process. Contributing to the shaping of urban space, by a This book can unfortunately only hint at what I would like to have achieved in practice, during
proposing new forms or by regulating such proposals, by enabUng development or my 30-year struggle for a valid conception of urban development structures and integrated clear
housing typologies. For many years, vehement criticism of my work and defamatory public
controlling it, urban design is an integral part of urban space making. To
disputes consumed an excessive amount of my energy and time. When I did get the chance to
build, the modest budgets (for the social housing for example), along with the undermining of
the architect's authority in the construction process, effectively ensured that my ideal concepts
were realized only in schematic form.
(Krier, 1993; 144)

This may be interpreted as a reaction to a short-sighted approach to new ideas. It may


equally be interpreted as meaning that the works have remained on paper due to his
disregard for the mechanisms of the urban development process.
Such awareness of the development process will help designers, from the outset,
to gain a deeper understanding of the context in which they operate, and of the
mechanisms w h i c h would eventually implement their design proposals. It might be
argued that s u c h realism could b e a hindrance to the creativity and innovation of
designers. Nevertheless, the history of urban space evolution shows that realism
will be beneficial to the producers and users of space. It will be also helpful to the
designers themselves by preventing a repetition of the historical mistakes in urban
development, m o s t notably undermining the needs and aspirations of those w h o
were to use or inhabit these developments.
It is generally held that developers are unaware of design issues. In M a y 1995, the
Royal Fine Arts Commission shortlisted 16 buildings for the Building of the Year
Award. N o t a b l e in this selection w a s that there w a s no commercial office or factory
on the list. T h e successful buildings were initiated by the public sector or by the
private sector m o n e y - m a k e r s in their private capacity. This has led to the conclusion
that developers are not perceived to see design as an important aspect of their
work. There are, however, those who argue that companies can benefit from a
strong design statement {The Economist, 3 June 1995).
Investors m a y never see the development they promote or buy. The design
decisions are therefore seen to be secondary considerations in the property
development process. H o w e v e r , if design is understood as the process of choosing
possible form, w e m a y conclude that many decisions that are made by investors,
F i g u r e 5 . 1 . To understand the urban design process, it is essential to understand the
property development process. {Newcastle, UK) (Photograph by Phil Dyer)
surveyors and developers before a designer is involved, are all design decisions.
122 Design of Urban Space Prociuction of the Built Environment 123

affecting tlte form of the property and the urban space it helps to p r o d u c e . offers a m o d e l of the d e v e l o p m e n t process w h i c h discusses design as an integral
That the investors or developers m a y not be engaged, or even interested, in the part of the u r b a n development process.
design of a development may be further evidence for the lack of a relationship
between these two arenas. It may also be an indicator of the marginality of design in Supply-demand models
the development process, implying that design is seen as merely a non-essential
aspect of the development. This would then reduce design to either an activity which Equilibrium models
gives form to the decisions of the investors and developers, or to a free-floating
cosmetic addition. In the latter case, it might be assumed that the development Most of the real estate literature relies on the equilibrium models of the neoclassical
agencies can live without such a cosmetic and, at time.s, expensive activity. At best, its economy a n d the Chicago school of h u m a n ecology. For this school and its
potential is to increase the rent or sale of the development without necessarily being successors, t h e analytical basis for understanding urban systems is spatial relations.
an integral part of the development process. Against this view, it should b e argued The d e v e l o p m e n t of these spatial relations, which include the physical shape of the
that design, as a cultural factor, is not entirely subordinate to the e c o n o m i c s of the city and the relations between urban areas and individuals, takes place within a
development process. It is an integral part of this process which can affect, and be free-market f r a m e w o r k . T h e underlying assumption is that the land and property
affected by, the decisions of investors and developers. When defined b r o a d l y as the market is in equilibrium b e t w e e n supply a n d d e m a n d . Buyers and sellers are
shaping of urban environment, urban design can be performed not only by designers, a u t o n o m o u s individuals engaged in a competitive bidding process. To satisfy the
but by those who do so without a conscious engagement or professional training. c o n s u m e r s ' d e m a n d s , n e w or recycled supplies of land and property enter the
History has seen m a n y cities shaped b y non-designers. market. C o n s u m e r s are then free to choose a m o n g those supplies according to their
Land and property markets are very important in shaping the social a n d s p a t i a l ; taste, the price a n d the quahty of the development (Figure 5.2). The best land and
qualities of cides. But to see them as the sole determinants of urban space would be buildings will inevitably attract m o r e d e m a n d , which will be reflected in their
questionable. For Logan and Molotch (1987:17), for example, "the market in land and
buildings orders urban phenomena and determines what city life can b e " . Although
this statement carries a powerful explanatory capacity, it would be too n a r r o w a focus
to equate cities with their space and see the shaping of the physical fabric and the
spatial distribution of social phenomena as the ultimate framework for " w h a t city life
can be". It is true that markets can stratify social space, create and enhance social and
geographical segregation, and therefore be of primary importance in the structuring
of urban life. At the same time, it is true that the responses of individual agencies, of
the lifeworld, to these structures vary enormously. T h e picture of the social space will
not therefore be complete without overlaying these two sets of insights and
information: about the structural imperatives of the state and the markets, and the
individual responses and initiatives of the individuals and firms. -J i
Designers and developers are agencies within, and interacting w i t h , the wider
processes of urban space production. To understand this process, w e n o w turn our
attention to the models of the development process, attempts to m a k e s e n s e of this
complex process.

Models of t h e development process


Two main sets of models have described the development process. The first set analyses
actors and institutions working within a market organized on the basis of supply and
demand. Here Healey (1991) identifies three strands in theorizing the models of
development process: equilibrium models, event-sequence models, and agency models.
The second set of models, which is Healey's fourth strand, are models which rely on
political economy analysis to explain the urban development process. W e identify two
models of capital-labour and structure-agency within this set of models. Figure 5.2. According to supply and demand analysis, the more desirable a place, the higher
This section reviews these main models, explores h o w design relates to them, and its density and price. {Chicago, USA)
126 Design of Urban Space Production of the Built Environment 127

Although these models offer insights into the d e v e l o p m e n t process b y describing give w a y to intermediate actors (e.g. builders, developers, realtors and investment
its stages and identifying potential blockages, they fail to address the participating c o m p a n i e s ) a n d to final c o n s u m e r s (e.g. householders, firms, government agencies
actors and their interests. Furthermore, the sequence of events m a y v a r y widely in and i n s t i t u t i o n s ) . S e c o n d a r y actors include planners, politicians, institutions,
different cases a n d circumstances. realtors a n d l a w y e r s . These actors are involved in the process of moving from non-
urban u s e to a transitionary stage, in which development pressure is mounting and
Agency models urban interest is seen in land purchases. It then leads to the active purchase of r a w
land, a c t i v e d e v e l o p m e n t and active purchase of developed land (quoted in
A third set of m o d e l s concentrates on actors, their roles, and their interests in the
Healey,1991: 227).
development process (Figure 5.4). Actors such as developers, l a n d o w n e r s and
I n t e g r a t i o n o f actors and e v e n t s gives a clearer perspective to see the designer
planners are identified and their relationships with each other a n d with the and the d e s i g n as part of the development process. An analysis of the actors a n d
development process in general are traced and described. stages of d e v e l o p m e n t process can include designers, whose role concentrates o n
the s h a p e o f t h e d e v e l o p m e n t . It s h o w s very clearly that designers, their roles and
interests, c a n n o t b e studied independently f r o m this process. Evidence for this
a r g u m e n t is the frequency of changes to a design in its preparation and
i m p l e m e n t a t i o n . W h e t h e r b a s e d on technical considerations or as a matter of policy
in relation to i n v e s t m e n t and u s e considerations, a design is often altered even after
the formal c o m p l e t i o n of the design process. This is an indication of the necessity of
c o m p r o m i s e , w h e r e d e s i g n e r s ' efforts are only o n e part of an interactive process
that i n v o l v e s a large n u m b e r of actors in a c o m p l e x sequence of events.
T h e a g e n c y m o d e l s and o t h e r s which take into account the sequence of events are
often l i m i t e d in their scope, as they concentrate on describing the details of the
d e v e l o p m e n t process. T h e y fail to address the driving forces of the process, which
act as its s t r u c t u r a l imperatives.

Political economy models

A n u m b e r of models can b e identified within a broad definition of political


e c o n o m y . Earlier, Marxian, analyses dealt with structures of the market and the
conflict b e t w e e n capital a n d labour. H o w e v e r , these models, did not address
sufficiently t h e role of actors and institutions within the broad frameworks and
structures. In response, a n u m b e r of models h a v e been proposed which can be
called s t r u c t u r e - a g e n c y m o d e l s , i.e. models which explain the social phenomena in
the interaction b e t w e e n social structures and agencies. Although these models are
critical of t h e traditional political e c o n o m y approaches, they are listed here under
the g e n e r a l title of political e c o n o m y . T h e reason for such classification is that the
underlying a s s u m p t i o n s w h i c h inform their analysis are often within a political
economy perspective.

F i g u r e 5.4. Buildings and parts of urban space are bought and sold by a variety of actors, as Capital-labour models
other goods and services, in the market-place. {London, UK)
Rather t h a n the neoclassical emphasis on price mechanisms of the markets and the
O n e of tfie m a i n sfiortcomings of an analysis of actors is an u n d e r m i n i n g of the relationship b e t w e e n s u p p l y and d e m a n d , the political e c o n o m y approach focuses
time dimension. Some analysts have therefore integrated actors w i t h events to on the w a y m a r k e t s are structured and the role of capital, labour and land in this
propose a model of the development process. For example, Bryant et al. (1982: 56), process.
in an analysis of the land conversion process in urban fringe, identify a sequence of M a r x s a w l a n d o w n e r s h i p within the context of feudalism, and failed to pay
events, and within each event a number of primary and secondary agents. Primary attention to t h e role of space in general, and land and property in particular, in
actors include predevelopment owners (e.g. farmers and non-farm residents), who capitalism. A n u m b e r of scholars, however, have extended political economy
128 Design of Urban Space Production of the Built Environment 129

f r a m e w o r k s into the analysis of space. According to this analysis, under capitalism, J |


space is a c o m m o d i t y and its production is subject to the s a m e processes as other"1H
goods and services. This explanation places the development of the buUt J||
environment in the general context of capitalism and offers a convincing ^
explanation for space making. H o w e v e r , it tends to rely on a set of abstractions '
without explaining the more finely grained relationships which are also imporlanf
in the process.' T h e r e is a t e n d e n c y to see the conflicts in urban space as mere
reflections of the tension b e t w e e n capital and labour. T h e structural imperatives of .
the accumulation process, therefore, find primacy in the configuration of space
" T h e only actors w h o matter, if a n y actors matter at all", write Logan and Molotch ^
(1987: 11), " a r e the corporate capitalists, whose control of the means of production *
appears to m a k e them, for all practical purposes, invincible."
T h e implications of this treatment of actors for design is that it is seen as an 4k
unimportant element in a process signified b y the conflict between capital and *
labour. In this battle, the design, a n d the development it leads to, will take side with ^
one or the other of these adversaries. And as the development of the built ' S
environment takes place in the secondary circuit of capital (the first circuit being the i
production circuit), the design process is one tool, a m o n g many, used to ensure the ^
smooth operation of capital in its restless expansion. , "S
3
Structure-agency models

T o give a m o r e detailed account of the development process, Ambrose (1986)


proposes a m o d e l in which the m a i n political and economic forces of the state, the '
finance industry and the construction industry are subdivided into a number of
actors with different roles (Figure 5.5). The finance industry is an industry which
" d e a l s in o n e c o m m o d i t y — m o n e y " (Ambrose,1986: 80). It lends or invests money
that is b o r r o w e d through deposits, savings, and pension and insurance
contributions. Its main actors are building societies, pension funds, life insurance F i g u r e 5.5. The public and the private sectors are both involved in the production of the built
environment. (Newcastle, UK) (Photograph by Phil Dyer)
houses, personal investment agents and the banking system. T h e investment
decisions of these actors play an important part in the development or dereliction of
an area. For e x a m p l e , if the building societies, which dominate the housing market, identifies six functions within the industry: speculative housebuilding, property
decide to avoid lending in certain inner city areas, then they foster the deprivation developing, general contracting, public authority direct works, plant hire, and
and decay present in those areas. T h e amount of land and property that financial material supply. While large firms may be involved in all of these functions (apart
institutions hold and the relative importance of their investment decisions indicate from public w o r k s ) , smaller firms m a y perform only one or more of these functions.
h o w they influence the market rather than respond to its trends. The size, structure and scope of these agencies have wide-ranging impacts on the
T h e state, the political force in the political e c o n o m y of the development process, built e n v i r o n m e n t they produce.^
can be subdivided into central and local government. The central government Healey (1991) is not convinced that this m o d e l explains the driving forces in the
agencies in Britain, the Bank of England, the Treasury and the Department of the relationship b e t w e e n the state, the construction industry and the finance industry.
E n v i r o n m e n t , and the local g o v e r n m e n t agencies and their finance, estates, housing Instead, she proposes an institutional m o d e l of the development process
and planning departments, can each influence the production of the built (Healey,1992). This is a universal model which, she argues, addresses the agencies,
e n v i r o n m e n t . T h e s e range from planning regulations, which prefer s o m e forms of events, and the diversity of processes in different conditions. Drawing upon
d e v e l o p m e n t to others, through public spending policies, to tax incentives and Giddens (1984) and earlier w o r k (Healey & Barrett,1990), the m o d e l is based o n the
direct spending, all of which can result in different socio-spatial forms. identification of the agencies, the roles they play, and their strategies and interests.
W h i l e the state and the finance industry regulate and invest, it is the construction These roles, strategies and interests are then related to the rules, resources and ideas
industry w h i c h develops the built environment. This is a fragmented industry that govern the development process. The process is therefore related to the wider
w h e r e the small firms are predominant in the production process. Ambrose (1986) societal contexts of m o d e s of production a n d regulation and ideology. These
130 Design of Urban Space Production of the Built Environment 131

relationships are examined through the sequence of events in the production (e.g.
identification of development opportunities, land assembly, project development, ' -
site clearance, acquisition of finance, organization of construction, organization of
infrastructure, a n d marketing/managing the end product), roles in production (e.g.
land, labour and capital as factors o f production) and consumption (e.g. material
values, property rights, and guardians of environmental quality).
M a n y models o f the development process tend to under-represent the complexity
of the process, as they only e m p h a s i z e s o m e of its aspects. T h e models of
development process which aspire to give a comprehensive account o f the process,
on the other h a n d , often tend to b e c o m e too c o m p l e x and difficult to u s e in an •
analysis of the process. According to Healey (1992: 4 3 ) , using such models in
empirical research can b e "quite d e m a n d i n g " . After all, the urban development
process is a process which involves a large number of agencies and is deeply rooted
in the general constitution of the social and economic processes.
These models d o not often refer to design as a distinctive m o m e n t in the
development process. Design is either not mentioned or is seen as o n e of the roles
played b y the developers in assembling a number of actors in the development of
the new built environments. At best, it appears, design is considered as a tool in thé l ' î ? !
development process, a symbolic representation of the economic a n d political
interests and decisions. Despite these limitations, the strength of the '
s t r u c t u r e - a g e n c y perspective encourages us to seek an approach which addresses •
design as an integrated element of the urban d e v e l o p m e n t process. T o d o this, we
first look at the crucial relationship between use and exchange values.

Use value and exchange value


Rather than seeing the city's spatial relations as the outcome of an equilibrium
between supply and demand, as advocated b y neoclassical economics, or a conflict
between capital a n d labour, as analysed by Marxist economics, Logan and Molotch
(1987) suggest w e concentrate o n the relationship between use value a n d exchange
value. A single place can have both these types of values: a building m a y be a place
to live in for s o m e (use value) and a generator of rent for others (exchange value)
(Figure 5.6). There is a potential tension between these two values. " F o r some,
places represent residence or production site; for others, places represent a •
c o m m o d i t y for buying, selling, or renting to s o m e b o d y else". This contrast can
r e a c h its sharpest form in the relationship between "residents, w h o u s e place to
satisfy essential needs of life, a n d entrepreneurs, w h o strive for financial return" F i g u r e 5.6. A place can have two potentially conflicting values: as a place to live in (use
value), and as a generator of rent (exchange value). {Frejus, France)
(Logan & Molotch,1987: 2 ) . They a r g u e that the conflict between use a n d exchange
values in the cities "closely determines the shape of the city, the distribution of ,
people, and the w a y they live together". As the urban development process occurs their r e q u i r e m e n t s . T h e r e a r e o b v i o u s overlaps b e t w e e n the t w o roles of design. T h e
at a local level and involves local actors, they ask for primary attention to be paid to design o f a h o u s e c a n b e e x p e c t e d to maximize its value in the market-place, at the
these "parochial actors", whose strategies, s c h e m e s , needs and institutions are same time a s s e r v i n g its users b y its functional a n d aesthetic competence. There are,
hnked to "cosmopolitan political a n d economic f o r c e s " (Logan & Molotch,1987:12). however, p o t e n t i a l conflicts b e t w e e n use and e x c h a n g e values, which, according to
Design can b e seen as a means of maximizing e x c h a n g e value. Playing this role, it Logan a n d M o l o t c h ( 1 9 8 7 ) , lie at the heart o f the urban development process and
serves the investors and entrepreneurs in their money-making capacity. It can also shape the p h y s i c a l a n d social fabric of the cities.
be a means of increasing the u s e value. Playing this role, it serves t h e users and W h e n d e s i g n is c o n s i d e r e d as a tool, it is a n integral part of an industry, a
132 Design of Urban Space Production of the Built Environment 133

"construction" or "development" industry which "produces" the built important implications. It implies that none of the valuable insights which the
e n v i r o n m e n t . It is then possible to compare this industry with any other industry reviewed m o d e l s h a v e offered need to b e discarded. Bearing in m i n d their
a n d its d e s i g n p r o c e s s with a n y other, serving the production of a product and its limitations, it will be possible to take advantage of their developments.
sale in the market. T h e shape of a product therefore becomes a matter of its On this basis, those trends w h i c h emphasize the supremacy of the individual in
technical efficiency as well as its aesthetic appeal. A car, for example, is expected to social and spatial processes will be of special value when the actions of individuals
l o o k g o o d and to function well. It is produced and sold as a commodity and is used are being studied. Simultaneously, the trends which stress the importance of social
often as a necessary means of transport. Design becomes a major factor of structures will be helpful in understanding the social processes from a wider point
p r o d u c t i o n and consumption. B u t h o w far is a car comparable to urban space? Is , of view. The crucial point, h o w e v e r , will be to acknowledge the importance of each
u r b a n s p a c e p r o d u c e d and sold for profit, or b o u g h t for functional and symbolic of these trends without ruling o u t the importance of others. This a c k n o w l e d g e m e n t
u s e ? T h e a n s w e r is that urban s p a c e is similarly b e i n g treated as a c o m m o d i t y in the will, therefore, b e a major contributor to an approach which identifies a socio-
market-place. spatial process as an interaction between h u m a n agency and social and physical
A p p l y i n g the logic of c o m m o d i t y production, exchange and consumption of structure within a particular p l a c e .
s p a c e m a y o n l y b e an economistic interpretation of the evolution and life of cities. / At the level of structures, in investigating the way these structures influence the
T h i s o u t l o o k , h o w e v e r , s h o w s the extent of the commodification of space. Yet we agencies by framing their actions, the concepts of commodification of space and the
are a w a r e of the major differences between space a n d other commodities. Unlike flow of resources into the built environment are of fundamental importance to the
cars, t h e r e is a limit to the a m o u n t of land that can be supplied in response to a study of urban process. T h e concept of the production of space was introduced by
g r o w t h in d e m a n d , as the s u p p l y of this part of n a t u r e is finite. This explains why ^ Lefebvre: "space as a social and political product, space as a product that one buys
the recycling of property, w h i c h m a y increase its intensity of use, is widespread. and sells" (in Bürgel et al.,1987: 2 9 - 3 0 ) . It was based on the notion that
R a t h e r than generating n e w d e v e l o p m e n t s , land and property markets are involved commodification, which is basic to the analysis of capitalist order, is extended to
in r e n t i n g and re-renting, selling a n d re-selling these commodities. T h e market for space to entangle the physical milieu in the productive system of capitalism as a
this c o m m o d i t y is also "inherently monopolistic", as the owners have almost total whole. Lefebvre further argued that the organization of the environment and society,
control over its s u p p l y . Unlike mass-produced cars, every parcel of land is different- and the layout of towns and regions, are all dependent on the production of space
T h e price of l a n d and property in the market is determined not only by supply and and its role in the reproduction of the socio-economic formation (Lefebvre,1991).
d e m a n d b u t also b y the location of the d e v e l o p m e n t in urban space (Logan & Bearing in mind these structural frameworks, it will be then possible to move on to
Molotch,1987). the level of agencies. Here the concepts developed by the supply-demand approach,
T h e m a s s production of cars m a y result in a f e w designs serving a global market. i.e. that socio-spatial patterns are the outcomes of competition between individuals,
T h e d e s i g n of buildings and u r b a n environments, however, will be somewhat will enable us to look at the dynamics of agencies' actions. Furthermore, models of
different f r o m t h e design of mass-produced commodities such as cars. This is the development process often undermine the design dimensions of development.
s h o w n b y the idiosyncratic n a t u r e of the land a n d property market, where land Focusing on the psychological and cultural aspects of development, however, will
p a r c e l s are different, and the fragmented nature of the development industry, help to further our understanding of the processes by which urban form is produced.
w h e r e s m a l l firms are strongly represented. ^ Although such a combination of these separately developed conceptual
frameworks w o u l d address the two required levels of analysis, the agency and the
structure, they are not yet referring to the d y n a m i c interrelation between the two. It
Structures and agencies appears that special attention should be paid to this interrelation, which Giddens
(1982,1984) identifies to be of central importance to the social processes.
T h e d i c h o t o m y between structure and individual is a central problem of the main To tackle this important issue, w e need to try to investigate the interaction of the
theoretical a p p r o a c h e s to social inquiry. This is reflected in functionalism and human agency, individual or collective, and the structures, resources, rules and
s t r u c t u r a l i s m o n the o n e h a n d , and hermeneutics and the various forms of ideas. These are the resources which the agencies draw upon, the rules they
" i n t e r p r e t i v e s o c i o l o g y " on the other (Giddens,1984). Nevertheless, as Giddens acknowledge, and the ideas t h e y assert in the course of their action.
o b s e r v e s (1989: 7 0 4 - 7 0 5 ) , the differences between the two views can be exaggerated. ^.^ Structures and agencies m a y be analysed as the properties of social systems,
H e a r g u e s (Giddens,1984) that social structures, as recursively organized sets of focusing on the interaction b e t w e e n individuals and their social environment. They
rules a n d resources, refer to structural properties of social systems. T h e structures, may also be analysed in terms of their interaction with the physical environment:
w h o s e transmutation or continuity leads to reproduction of social systems, are not both people and objects. T h e double involvement can also be observed here.
e x t e r n a l to individuals and exert constraining as well as enabling powers upon Therefore, individual additions to urban space can be seen as creating urban space
t h e m . T h e r e is a process of " d o u b l e i n v o l v e m e n t " o f individuals and institutions: as well as being conditioned b y it. Social and physical environments are produced
" w e create society at the s a m e time as w e are created by it" (Giddens,1982: 14). and reproduced through the interaction of agencies and structures, objects and
Ackno^vledging the double involvement of individuals and structures has some contexts (Figure 5.7).
134 Design of Urban Space Production of the Built Environment 135

Urban d e v e l o p m e n t process and urban form


To find out w h y a particular u r b a n f o r m is as it is a n d how it is likely to change, a
methodology c a n be used in w h i c h d e v e l o p m e n t agencies, the structures they
interact with, a n d the rationalities t h e y u s e can be investigated. T h i s w o u l d provide
an analytical f r a m e w o r k with w h i c h to approach the development process and its
product, the u r b a n fabric.
This a p p r o a c h will be basically f o u n d e d on four interrelated notions: that urban
form has physical, p s y c h o l o g i c a l a n d social d i m e n s i o n s ; that the study of urban
form is best m a d e possible b y t r a c i n g the process of its d e v e l o p m e n t ; that the
development p r o c e s s , as a social p r o c e s s , will be best understoocl b y addressing
both individual actions and the s t r u c t u r e s which f r a m e these actions; and that the
understanding of this p r o c e s s will not be c o m p l e t e without addressing the social
and physical c o n t e x t s in w h i c h it t a k e s place.
T h e first n o t i o n is consistent w i t h the a p p r o a c h e s in urban geography and
architecture w h i c h try to a d d r e s s b o t h physical and social aspects of urban fabric
simultaneously a n d focus o n the d y n a m i c interrelationship of these aspects.
The second n o t i o n , the n e c e s s i t y of the observation of the d e v e l o p m e n t of urban
form, s t e m s m a i n l y from t h e traditions of u r b a n architecture and urban
morphology, as r e v i e w e d earlier, w h i c h h a v e d e v e l o p e d the idea of the historicity
of virban fabric. A n o t h e r s o u r c e o f this notion is the tradition in social sciences
which tends to link space w i t h t h e w i d e r context of general societal processes. It
also stems f r o m the notion w h i c h r e g a r d s the d e v e l o p m e n t process and urban form
as both an o u t c o m e of a n d a c o n t r i b u t o r to the production and reproduction of
social systems.
T h e third notion, the r e c o g n i t i o n of both structure and action in the development
process, s t e m s m a i n l y from t h e theoretical a p p r o a c h e s in social sciences which
F i g u r e 5.7. Individual additions to urban space change urban space and are at the same time
conditioned by It. (London. UK)
avoid the d e t e r m i n i s m a s s o c i a t e d w i t h stressing the supremacy of individuals or
structures in social processes. It a l s o s t e m s from the fact that the traditions in urban
geography (quantitative, s u b j e c t i v e and institutional) have provided valuable
Furthermore, it is important to k n o w what type of rationaHty the agencies use in insights into the process, w h i c h s h o u l d not b e disregarded.
their actions. In the development process, the Habermasian notions of rationality At the structural level, this will, therefore, e n a b l e us to draw u p o n the notions of
can offer interesting insight (McCarthy,1978; Dews,1986; W h i t e , f 9 8 8 ) . The the institutional a p p r o a c h in social sciences which focuses on the f r a m e w o r k s which
instnmiental rationality of the teleological m o d e l is the channel through which the condition h u m a n b e h a v i o u r . A t the individual level, it will be possible to take
actor, the development agency, seeks self-interest from the course of development. advantage of the insights of b o t h quantitative a n d subjective a p p r o a c h e s . At this
T h e norm-guided model offers a social rationality for this course of action, in which level, it will also b e a p p l i c a b l e to dwell u p o n the tradition in social philosophy
a social, as distinct from individual, gain would result. These two rationalities, which tends to a p p r o a c h a social process with a combination of three models of
in.strumental and social, along with the subjective rationality of the dramaturgical action and rationality to a d d r e s s objective, social and subjective issues
m o d e l , are especially important notions which s h o u l d be identified if a n y course of simultaneously. T h e s e m o d e l s w i l l e n a b l e u s to investigate the forms of rationality
development, a s a social process, is to be thoroughly understood. with which the d e v e l o p m e n t is b e i n g u n d e r t a k e n .
T h e study of the development process and its relationship with urban form T h e fourth notion, the n e c e s s i t y o f the study of the social and physical contexts,
would not be complete without the study of the contexts in which these processes stems from t h e fact that the u r b a n fabric is, d u e to its nature, fixed in a certain
take place. Therefore, there is an emphasis to be put on the social systems of which location. T h e d e v e l o p m e n t p r o c e s s takes place within a locality with certain social
the studied structures are a constituent part. This runs parallel with G i d d e n s ' (1984) and physical characteristics. In a d d r e s s i n g the disparity between localities, we rely
recognition of differentiation between structure and system. Another context to upon the n o t i o n s in social s c i e n c e w h i c h focus o n the emergence, expansion and
study is the physical context which, together with the social context, m a k e s a socio- transformation of capitalism. It also relies upon those architectural studies which
spatial context. are concerned w i t h regional characteristics of urban form.
136 Design of Urban Space Production of the Built Environment 137

O n these bases, the d e v e l o p m e n t process can be analysed by identifying its


c o m p o n e n t parts, the w a y they interact, and the impact of this on the u r b a n fabric
a n d its form. It is argueci that, in a d e v e l o p m e n t process, there are "development
a g e n c i e s " who o p e r a t e through certain " d e v e l o p m e n t factors" within interrelated
social and spatial " c o n t e x t s " ; and that any configuration of urban form is directly
affected b y variations o f these c o m p o n e n t parts of the development process and
their interrelationship.
Development process New development
This constitutes a conceptual f r a m e w o r k to approach specific urban fabrics to
investigate the c a u s e s of their existing and changing forms. It shares the idea of
7\
a g e n c i e s with the f r a m e w o r k d e v e l o p e d b y British u r b a n morphologists. However,
the difference lies in the recognition in this approach of the development factors
and its emphasis on the b r o a d contexts in which the development takes place.

A model of t h e d e v e l o p m e n t process Physical ( n a t u r a l ) Physical ( b u i l t ) Social environment


environment environment

W h a t h a v e b e e n identified so far as the c o m p o n e n t parts of the developmei!:


p r o c e s s are illustrated in Figure 5.8. A s it shows, it is a simplified m o d e l of the
p r o c e s s of production of urban fabric. In the model, each of the c o m p o n e n t parts of ^
the process, i.e. d e v e l o p m e n t agencies, development factors (resources, rules and
i d e a s ) , and their c o n t e x t s , are s h o w n in both aggregate and disaggregate forms. The
succession of s h a d e d figures (Figure 5.9) refers to the stages of the development
Development agencies Development factors: Development factors:
process. resources r u l e s , ideas

F i g u r e 5.9. Component parts of the development process

Physical
environment
Impact of change in t h e d e v e l o p m e n t process on urban
space
ev^opment
agencies
We can identify several forms of c h a n g e in the d e v e l o p m e n t process, each with a
different impact on urban space. M o s t notable are the commodification of urban
space and the increasing size and s c o p e of d e v e l o p m e n t agencies. T h e s e have given
Built rise to standardization of design a n d to privatization of urban space.
environment
Social Figure 5.8. A model of the '
environment development process Commodification of space and standardization of design

T h e two m a i n constituent parts of this process are the social a n d physical The intersection between agencies, structures and contexts is w h e r e the built
contexts. T h e m o d e l is therefore divided into t w o parts, each representing one of environment is produced. T h e nature of d e v e l o p m e n t agencies and their
t h e s e contexts. W h e r e these t w o , social and physical, contexts overlap, there is the expectations of a development h a v e a large impact o n its form. A s s p a c e has been
built environment. D e v e l o p m e n t factors, as structural properties of these contexts, increasingly produced and e x c h a n g e d as a c o m m o d i t y , its qualities are largely
are framed within them. Therefore, the resources are shown as s t e m m i n g mainly influenced b y this transformation. Therefore, commodification of space, the
f r o m the physical e n v i r o n m e n t b u t also as being incorporated into the social changing nature of development agencies and the evolving socio-spatial structures
e n v i r o n m e n t . Similarly, rules a n d ideas are s h o w n as mainly s t e m m i n g from the will all be reflected in the urban design process and its product.
social e n v i r o n m e n t but also being located within the physical environment. T h e commodification of space h a s led to a close relationship between space
W h e r e these t w o , the resources and the rules and ideas, overlap, the development production and the cyclical n a t u r e of the markets, resulting in cycles of urban
agencies are s h o w n to b e involved in the production of n e w urban fabric. development (Figure 5.10). T h e cyclical nature of land and property development
138 Design of Urban Space Production of the Buiit Environment 139

Their insistence o n a h o u s e style resulted in a standardization of high street


appearances t h r o u g h o u t the c o u n t r y .
Examples of this s t a n d a r d i z a t i o n in h o u s i n g d e v e l o p m e n t in Britain a b o u n d since
the dawn of speculative h o u s e b u i l d i n g . T h e h e i g h t o f such standardization was the
mass production of housing in t h e p o s t - w a r p e r i o d , creating high-rise and high-
density housing. N o w the v o l u m e b u i l d e r s a n d their housing d e s i g n s , w h i c h are
often variations o n a very limited n u m b e r of d e s i g n s , s h o w this continuing trend.
Whitehand's (1988) study of N o r t h a m p t o n a n d W a t f o r d sheds light on the impact
of the changing nature of d e v e l o p e r s on the standardization of design. This
happened w h e n local d e v e l o p e r s , w h o often c o m m i s s i o n e d local architects, w e r e
driven out b y the growing i n v o l v e m e n t of the n a t i o n a l property and insurance
companies. T h e result of this p r o c e s s , w h i c h s t a r t e d in the 1930s a n d has grown
rapidly since the 1950s, w a s the i n v o l v e m e n t o f o u t s i d e designers and developers
who would i n t r o d u c e n e w architectural st\Tes i n t o the local t o w n s c a p e s . T h e
predominance of fewer large-scale national firms, W h i t e h a n d argues, has led to a
spread of investment and r e d e v e l o p m e n t activity across a n u m b e r of cities.
Compared to w h e n local d e v e l o p e r s p r e d o m i n a t e d , however, this has led to the
involvement of a m o r e diverse set of d e s i g n e r s a n d a wider stylistic diversity for
localities, but m o r e s t a n d a r d i z a t i o n and h o m o g e n i z a t i o n at inter-urban and
international levels.
T h e increasing c o m m o d i f i c a t i o n of space a n d t h e d e v e l o p m e n t a g e n c i e s ' attempts
to reduce the conflict b e t w e e n u s e value a n d e x c h a n g e value largely explain the
standardization of design. P r o p e r t y h a s i n c r e a s i n g l y b e e n seen as a vehicle of
investment b y the finance i n d u s t r y , w h i c h h a s c o m e to d o m i n a t e the property
market in Britain. T o m a k e the m a r k e t o p e r a t i o n s m o o t h e r , the property itself is
expected to b e c o m e as flexible as possible, to find a larger potential market. This has
meant standardization in d e s i g n , a r e q u i r e m e n t which coincides with the
Figure 5.10. A city's skyline can clearly show the cycles of urban development, {Boston,
technological possibility of m a s s p r o d u c t i o n of b u i l d i n g s . Conflict could arise out of
USA)
a necessity to m a r r y the flexibility in p r o d u c t i o n a n d marketing of a building with
the post-modern expectation of stylistic diversity.
means that most urban fabrics are produced during the periods of building boom,"!! In the last t w o decades, c o m m e r c i a l p r o p e r t y in Britain has increasingly been
vvnile the periods of slump witness a more limited rate of building activity. dominated b y large financial institutions. A f t e r the 1973 property crash, minor
Increasingly, these periods are of a global nature, affecting larger areas in the global property c o m p a n i e s and the s u r p l u s c o m m e r c i a l p r o p e r t y on the m a r k e t were taken
economy. Whitehand identifies h o w these cycles, which may vary according to over by large-scale players l o o k i n g for n e w i n v e s t m e n t opportunities. By the early
geographical location, have a different impact on different types of land use. M o s t ' 1980s, s o m e 8 3 % of all p r o p e r t y i n v e s t m e n t w a s controlled by a relatively small
notably, while residential developments follow the b o o m and slump patterns of the number of large financial institutions, a l t h o u g h this was reduced in the 1980s.
market, non-residential uses are less affected, partly due to the public sector Investment b y l a r g e financial institutions, w h i c h control most of the institutional
involvement. Despite this variety, " t h e urban l a n d s c a p e is a cumulative, albeit sector's U K p r o p e r t y holdings, h a s led to a h i g h e r t u r n o v e r of property, increasing
incomplete, record of the succession of booms, s l u m p s and innovation adoptions from less than 2 % before 1980 to 1 0 % a n n u a l l y in the late 1980s (Pratt & Ball,1994).
within a particular locale" ( W h i t e h a n d , 1 9 8 7 : 1 4 5 ) . This treatment of property b y the finance i n d u s t r y h a s had specific implications
There is a direct relationship between the size of the agencies w h o control the for industrial property: an i n c r e a s e in the d e v e l o p m e n t of high-tech science parks, a
property and the form it takes in the development process. Larger organizations concentration of investment in e c o n o m i c a l l y g r o w i n g areas rather than declining
have historically tended to prefer large-scale developments. Whitehand (1988) ones, and the standardization of design. T h e s e d e v e l o p m e n t s h a v e led to the
shows that since the early 1950s, the frontage of n e w buildings has b e c o m e wider, widespread u s e of " s h e d s " for industrial use. T h e s e strvictures p r o v i d e spaces with
increasingly exceeding 10 m. Another feature of large organizations is their maximum flexibility for a n y potential user. T h e standardization of design is
tendency towards standardization of design. An example is the large-scale retail thought to r e d u c e the risk of l o w valuation, a n d t h e r e is a tendency to group these
chain-stores which started to develop their branches around Britain in the 1930s. units together for valuation p u r p o s e s . A s such, it a p p e a r s that the purpose-built
140 Design of Urban Space Production of the Built Environment 141

industrial property, designed to a c c o m m o d a t e a specific production process, has - J locations and spatial forms, has shaped this r e d e v e l o p e d physical landscape of
become less c o m m o n in Britain (Pratt & Ball,1994). Pratt and Ball argue that the town centres and has had huge impacts on suburban developments.
demand for an industrial building is not met b y s u p p l y in m a n y cases. T h e y show s An example of this conservatism of financial capital is its dislike of what is
that "the interests of property d e v e l o p m e n t and investment m a y not, at any I known as "festival" and speciality retailing, as it relies on independent retailers,
particular site, c o i n c i d e with t h e n e e d s of the industrialists". Traditionally, a short-term leases, and a deliberate avoidance of major anchor tenants. In North
industrial estates h a d b e e n d e v e l o p e d b y both private and public sectors. The America, where developers are concerned that city centre locations are not
smaller units in t h e s e estates w e r e rented, but the larger units w e r e built by the attractive to shoppers, the idea of festival retailing h a s been p r o m o t e d successfully
occupants. T h e split between u s e a n d exchange w i d e n e d when, in the 1970s, the in the last two decades. Faneuil Hall in Boston is a w i d e l y - k n o w n e x a m p l e , where
industrial buildings " e m e r g e d as an investment vehicle, beyond the interest of in 1976 some nineteenth-century wholesale market buildings w e r e converted to
specialist d e v e l o p e r s " (Pratt & B a l l , 1 9 9 4 : 5). Such standardization of design, w e may retail space (Figure 5.11). This conversion w a s substantially s u p p o r t e d b y the
therefore argue, is the o u t c o m e of attempts to reduce the gap between exchange Boston city administration, due to the reluctance of other sources of funding. The
value and use v a l u e , in a process w h i c h has increasingly commodified space. <v»* scheme included small-size units which were leased, on short-term b a s e s , to local
businesses rather than major retailers. Pedestrian access, a combination of open and
The impact of this p r e d o m i n a n c e of financial capital and the subsequent high
enclosed space, an abundance of restaurants and fast food outlets, and the
turnover in the p r o p e r t y market h a s b e e n significant for the built environment.
possibility of informal entertainment were other features of the s c h e m e . E n c o u r a g e d
Town centres in Britain, m o r e t h a n in France, G e r m a n y or the Netherlands for
by its success, the scheme's developer, a c o m p a n y called Rouse, created similar
example, have w i t n e s s e d r e d e v e l o p m e n t and transformation. In Britain, new
developments in Baltimore, N e w York and Miami. In Britain, w h e r e city centre
shopping centres h a v e replaced t h e old physical fabric at the core of the cities. The
retail can be profitable without government subsidy, similar trends h a v e been slow
pattern of investment b y financial institutions, w h i c h prefer safe, conventional -
to follow. A n u m b e r of schemes, however, such as C o v e n t Garden in L o n d o n , have
been developed (Guy,1994).

Globalization of the development industry


In the context of the American real estate market, Logan (1993) notes an increasing
linkage, in the last two decades, between d e v e l o p m e n t process and the broader
capital markets. T h e savings and loans institutions, which historically provided
about half of residential mortgage funds, have n o w been replaced b y pension
funds, life insurance companies and large commercial banks. In the a b s e n c e of other
opportunities, these institutions found real estate an appropriate venue for
investment. Of equal importance, a more direct link to the broader capital markets
is established through a process called "securitization". Property m a r k e t s are riskier
than "securities", i.e. stocks and b o n d s . Property prices are subject to fluctuations in
local circumstances and the property market is not comparable to the stock
exchange, where the price of stocks and b o n d s is determined through millions of
transactions. Also the trade in securities on the stock exchange is m u c h easier than
in property with its complex stages of purchase and disposal. T o m a k e investment
in property safer, and therefore m a k e it attractive to global financial markets, rating
services or credit enhancement schemes have b e e n introduced. These are known as
securitization, i.e. "converting an asset into a financial obligation that has readily
identified characteristics and can be accordingly rated to risk in the international
capital markets" (Logan,1993: 3 8 ) .
Corresponding to the involvement of these m a r k e t s in the urban development
process, there h a s been a growth in the size of development c o m p a n i e s , whose
engagement in national and international m a r k e t s has fostered changes in
Figure 5.11. Conversion of wholesale market buildings to retail space in Faneuil Hall
organizational relationships. T h r o u g h these changes, development c o m p a n i e s have
(Sosfon, USA)
established financial subsidiaries, set up long-term financial partnerships with
142 Design of Urban Sp ace
Production of the Built Environment 143

insurance c o m p a n i e s , a n d captured savings and loans institutions. While these


changes have enabled the d e v e l o p m e n t companies to gain access to capital markets %
around the world, they have blurred t h e traditional distinction between developers i
and financiers. j
This trend, in w h i c h large-scale d e v e l o p e r s operate at national and international -|
levels a n d h a v e access to international capital markets, can b e called globahzation \
of real estate. H o w e v e r , Logan a r g u e s that there is a local dimension to this I ttllll
process, a n d doubts t h e o m n i p o t e n c e o f these global players in transforming local . в а в ш и ш н я
landscapes. M o s t o f these international agencies have local partners w h o are 1 ElBMIIIIIIIin
familiar with local m a r k e t s a n d t h e local planning authorities a n d regulations, n
W i t h o u t a local c o m p o n e n t , therefore, t h e globalized development industry cannot m 111 я * ! « " i i í " ¡ ' » i ; i ¡ ;
operate properly, a s is evident in t h e workings o f t h e American companies in i '^¡lliSSIISÍISiSBii Ij,
gl|iiai!iiiitiiii|l,r'-.
Europe. I n other w o r d s , d u e t o t h e real estate's strong local character, its | ,11 i i i i i i i i i i i i i i t i ,
globalization r e m a i n s different f r o m t h e globalization of manufacturing, which has ,!| l l l l i l l l l i l l l l l i ,
epitomized the global production patterns. ^ .11 S Ü I S I S I I I I I I I I l i ,
This picture c h a n g e d somewhat at the end of the 1980s and in the early 1990s, * i y i i i i s s i i i i i i i i l l ,
¡¡u.niíiiiiiiitiiiaiii,
with t h e failure of s o m e global developers, such a s Olympia & York over the iiiiiiiviBaiBiif:
C a n a r y W h a r f d e v e l o p m e n t in L o n d o n Docklands (F igure 5.12). Despite t h e s e " ^ ^ . U I I I I I C I I I V I I I I I I . L
failures, t h e general pattern o f commodification o f land and property h a s not HH.ii I I I I I I I I I I I I I I 1 1 , i
^ i l l i i i i i i i i i i i i i i | l , »
reversed. F urther integration o f real estate into global capital markets has m a d e the * ll- I I I I £ S X I f I I III-
property m a r k e t s m o r e volatile a n d h a s promoted regional imbalances. The l a i i s s i i i i i i i i II,.
u n p r e c e d e n t e d capacity for d e v e l o p m e n t which has been thus created continues to I Í Í 3 S I Í Í S 2 S S I S J 3 5 S! "
colonize and transform locaUties b e y o n d recognition. ,
An o u t c o m e o f this globalization process, it h a s been feared, could b e cultural ' «
homogenization. If t h e d e v e l o p m e n t agencies were to act globally, then what we ,.
w o u M see in future w o u l d b e similar landscapes everywhere. H o w e v e r , it should »
b e r e m e m b e r e d that even before t h e recent globalization wave, the standardization
process w a s in place. T h e modernist developments around the world bear witness
to this trend. j
The spread of concepts o f space, a n d subsequent similarities of urban form
between different places, can b e traced back even further, for as long a s human 1
settlements ha\'e existed. Wherever communication was made possible, through the
administration of centralized states a n d empires, o r through trade a n d cultural J
exchange, images and practices o f shaping urban environments found their ways to •*
distant lands. T h e m o d e r n day spread of urban images and styles may therefore be j
interpreted a s yet another manifestation of how innovation can be diffused through ,^
communication across geographical artd -political divides. What distinguishes the
modern d a y practices, however, is t h e scale of transformation and t h e speed of ;
diffusion o f ideas, which are unprecedented in history. Another major characteristic
of current developments is the treatment of the built environment as a commodity.
This has m e a n t a disjunction b e t w e e n control of the built space and the locality, as '1
has happened through a higher turnover of owners, and through absent and/or i
corporate owners based elsewhere. T h e new commodified urban landscapes can be :
therefore linked to local population o n bases which are narrower than ever before. ;
Rather than local elites w h o used t o b e largely influential in shaping local urban_J
environments, it is n o w the international elite of corporate institutions which play a ' Figure 5.12. Transformation of the urban landsc ape by global developers in Canary Wharf.
major role in shaping localities without any physical or emotional contact with them, i (London, UK)
144 Design of Urban Space
Production of the Built Environnnent 145

Privatization of public space is characterized by the possibility of a l l o w i n g different g r o u p s of p e o p l e


regardless of their class, ethnicity, gender a n d age, to i n t e r m i n g l e . T h i s is
T h e c h a n g i n g n a t u r e of d e v e l o p m e n t c o m p a n i e s and the e n t r y of the finance distmctive from the private a n d semi-private s p a c e that is controlled b y o n e
industry into b u i l t e n v i r o n m e n t p r o d u c t i o n a n d m a n a g e m e n t h a v e partly led to group, k e e p m g other g r o u p s at a distance. W h e r e v e r political and e c o n o m i c
w h a t is w i d e l y k n o w n a s the p r i v a t i z a t i o n of s p a c e . Large-scale developers and developments h a v e led to the segregation of social g r o u p s , s p a t i a l d e v e l o p m e n t
financiers e x p e c t their c o m m o d i t i e s to be safe for investment a n d maintenance; has followed this trend and h a s contributed to that segregation.
hence their inclination to r e d u c e a s m u c h as p o s s i b l e all the levels of uncertainty
which-could threaten their i n t e r e s t s . T h i s is part of the process of
c o m m o d i f i c a t i o n of s p a c e , in w h i c h s p a c e is a p p r o a c h e d , a n d treated, as a~
c o m m o d i t y . T h i s trend is p a r a l l e l w i t h the increasing fear of crime, rising
competition f r o m s i m i l a r d e v e l o p m e n t s , a n d the rising e x p e c t a t i o n s of the
c o n s u m e r s , all e n c o u r a g i n g t h e d e v e l o p m e n t of totally m a n a g e d environments!
W h a t has e m e r g e d is a n u r b a n s p a c e w h o s e increasingly l a r g e sections-are
m a n a g e d b y p r i v a t e c o m p a n i e s , a s distinctive f r o m those controlled b y public'
authorities. E x a m p l e s of t h e s e f r a g m e n t e d a n d privatized s p a c e s are gated
n e i g h b o u r h o o d s , s h o p p i n g m a l l s , a n d city centre w a l k w a y s , u n d e r h e a v y private
surveillance a n d s e p a r a t e d f r o m t h e p u b l i c r e a l m b y controlled access and clear
boundaries.
W i t h the o n g o i n g c h a n g e o f b a l a n c e b e t w e e n the public a n d the private in
cities, social a n d p h y s i c a l u r b a n e n v i r o n m e n t s a r e being radically transformed.
T h e f r a m e w o r k that o r g a n i z e s a c t i o n in a social e n v i r o n m e n t is p a r t l y formed by
the w a y the s o c i e t y d i s t i n g u i s h e s b e t w e e n the p u b l i c and the p r i v a t e . This has an
impact on r e g u l a t i n g the i n s t i t u t i o n s , practices, activities a n d aspirations of a
culture. T h r o u g h o u t h i s t o r y , t h e way u r b a n s p a c e has b e e n d i v i d e d into public
and private h a s reflected, a n d i n f l u e n c e d , social relationships. In the last two
centuries, p u b l i c s p a c e as a n a r e n a for a s t r e n g t h e n i n g civil society has found
m o r e a n d m o r e s i g n i f i c a n c e . Y e t r e c e n t l y , t h e private creation and control oC
public u r b a n s p a c e h a s b e e n a n e m e r g i n g t r e n d .
Public s p a c e h a s b e e n a l o n g - s t a n d i n g c o n c e r n of the s t u d e n t s of cities and
societies. R e c e n t l y , in social s c i e n c e s a n d h u m a n i t i e s , interest in the subject has
g r o w n c o n s i d e r a b l y , p a r t l y d u e t o the o n g o i n g changes in w e s t e r n societies,
w h e r e a d e c l i n e of p u b l i c s p h e r e h a s b e e n noted. (Sennett, 1977,1993;
T h o m a s , 1 9 9 1 ; C a l h o u n , 1 9 9 2 ) . T h e w a v e of d e v e l o p m e n t a n d r e d e v e l o p m e n t of
cities in the 1 9 8 0 s also a t t r a c t e d t h e attention o f u r b a n g e o g r a p h e r s , planners and
architects to the central r o l e o f p u b l i c s p a c e in urban areas (Carr et al.1992;
Bussell,1992; F i s h e r , 1 9 9 2 ; G l a z e r , 1 9 9 2 ) . A n o t h e r reason for the rising interest in
the public s p h e r e h a s b e e n t h e e m e r g e n c e of, o r struggles to establish, new
d e m o c r a c i e s in E a s t e r n E u r o p e a n d o t h e r parts of the world. In t h e s e societies, the
d e v e l o p m e n t of a civil s o c i e t y , a s a n a r e n a i n d e p e n d e n t of the state, has been an
urgent task ( H u a n g , 1 9 9 3 ) . In t h e a b s e n c e of institutionalized arenas of public
debate, p u b l i c s p a c e h a s p l a y e d a c o n s i d e r a b l e role as a m e e t i n g point and a"
container for social m o v e m e n t s .
M u c h of t h e u r b a n d e s i g n a n d p l a n n i n g literature stresses the importance of
public s p a c e ( G l a z e r & L i l l a , 1 9 8 7 ; V e r n e z M o u d o n , 1 9 9 2 ; S o r k i n , 1 9 9 2 ; Tibbalds,
1992; W o r p o l e , 1 9 9 2 ) , w h e r e s o c i a l interaction a n d the daily e x p e r i e n c e of urban
life take p l a c e . P u b h c u r b a n s p a c e is s p a c e that is not controlled b y private
Figure 5.13. In pre-modern urban settings, public spaces provided arenas for public
individuals o r o r g a n i z a t i o n s , a n d h e n c e is o p e n to the general public. This space communication. {Pisa. Italy) ^
146 Design of Urban Space
Production of the Built Environment 147

In p r e - m o d e r n urban settings, public spaces such as urban squares and market-


places played the role of arenas for public communication. These w e r e places
wherein s o m e form of social interaction by large n u m b e r s of people w a s made
possible (Figure 5.13). The growth of the m o d e r n cities into a collection of
segregated neighbourhoods h a s led to a decline in the use and vitality of some of
these centres of activity and communication. As the stratifications generated by
industrialization have increasingly ceased to be meaningful, there has re-emerged a
strong d e m a n d for correcting the segregation processes and moving towards more
coherent physical and social e n v i r o n m e n t s (Healey et al., 1995). This can be partly
seen in the attacks on modernist redevelopments and their destructive effects on '
city life. H o w e v e r , the critics have argued that regeneration policies h a v e tended to
gentrify the existing public space through privatization or restriction of access '
(Smith,1992). T h e widening gap b e t w e e n social strata has been associated with the
rising fear of c r i m e and concerns about safety in cities. At the s a m e time, the
escalating costs of the provision and maintenance of public space as a public service
have parallelled an inability or reluctance by public authorities to meet these costs.
In this way, social and e c o n o m i c processes, sanctioned by public poHcy, have
deepened the spatial and social segregation. M a n y of the new developments h a v e ' ^
b e e n created with a degree of private control over the supposedly public space. In
other w o r d s , the post-modern era has seen the continuity and intensity of threats to
the public urban space, and the privatization of urban space has b e c o m e a main .t
area of concern (Punter, 1990a; Loukaitou-Sideris, 1993). •;

What is public space?


According to the Oxford English Dictionary (1933), the term public means, "in
general, and in most of the senses, opposite of P R I V A T E " . The definition includes
" o f or pertaining to the people as a whole; that belongs to, affects, or concerns the
c o m m u n i t y or nation". In the most recent edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary
(1990), a similar definition, " o f o r concerning the people as a w h o l e " , is followed by
" o p e n to or shared by all p e o p l e " ; " d o n e or existing o p e n l y " ; and "provided by or
concerning local or central g o v e r n m e n t " . Relying on these definitions, a public
street, for e x a m p l e , belongs to and concerns the people as a whole, is o p e n to them,
exists openly, and is provided b y or concerns the government (Figure 5.14).
These concepts are echoed in various definitions of public space. C a r r et al. (1992:
xi) regard public space as " t h e c o m m o n g r o u n d where people carry out the
functional and ritual activities that bind a c o m m u n i t y , whether in the normal
routines of daily life or in periodic festivities". It is "the stage upon which the
drama of c o m m u n a l hfe u n f o l d s " (Carr et al.,1992: 3). For VValzer (1986: 470),
"Public space is space w e share w j d L s t r j i n g e r s ^ g e o p l e w h o a r e n ' t our relatives, Figure 5 14. A public street belongs to and concerns the people as a whole; it is open to
f n e n d i T o r v\;ork.assQciates^Jt is s p a c e . f o r p o l i t i c s , i^gion,-commercer^portrspaire them, exists openly, and is provided by or concerns public authorities. (Oxford, UIQ
for peaceful c o e x i s t e n c e . a n d ^ m p ^ r s o n ; d j m c o u n t e r " . T h e character of public space
"expresses and also conditions our public life, civic culture, everj'day discourse".
and c i t i e s J M s w J i e r e J h e _ g r e a t e s t a of h u m a n contact a n d interaction takes
Fjrancis Tibbalds (1992: l))saw the public realm as, "all the parts of the urban fabric
Place-T- ^ =:;;-...,
to which tiie public have physical and visual access. Thus, it extends from the
A review of the.^law literatur^ Kjownrs Qoiuitts Dictionary
ulcaonary of ofEnglish
tnglisti Lmo;
Lnw;Strands
Strouds Judicial
Judicial
streets, parks a n d squares of a town or city into the buildings which enclose and " • < = ^ \ ' " " u L c i r t i u i e

line t h e m . " T h e public realm is, therefore, " t h e most important part of our :lose and
towns Dictionary of Words and -Phrascs;-Words and Plirases Legally Defined; V e r n e z - M o u d o n
urjowns 1992), shows that in legal t e r m s . J i a space_is_considered a public space, ownership
148 Design of Urban Space Production of the Built Environment 149

.an.djdgb|_of_access_caimo^e^eea.asob^^ despite their inherent reason that explains why he is m o r e entitled to the resource than the questioner i s "
restrictions i g r public acces^. Even in a primarily p n v a t e p l a c e , public access may be (Ackerman, quoted in Benhabib, 1992: 81). This dialogue i s b a s e d on a n u m b e r of
achieved most~oTt'RF'tiriie, and if denied, may be sought legally. Public places cannot constraints, of which the^most significantJs^theuaeutjglit^_ollhe participants, a
legally prohibit interaction with other users, only the nature of those interactions. notiQrTclerivedjrom the modern legal systeirLaccordLaKJ.ajivhiclLthe'la'w remairi_s
It appears that the definitions of public space e m p h a s i z e open access to either the neutral irTthe debates between individuals and groups. However, this notion h a s
: j space or the diversity of activities, most notably the social interaction, taking place in been challenged as being too restrictive, closing the issues to rational debate by the
'I it as caused by this open access. T h e dimension of access to space and its activities participants in a dialogue, in which new grounds for consensus could b e arrived at
?an be complemented by two other dimensions of a g e n c y and interest (Benn & Gaus, (Benhabib,!992).
1983a,b). A public space can therefore be defined as space that allows all the people The relevancfc nf puhUc-Sj)here theories to investigations on spaceJs_becQhling
to have access to it and the activities within it, w h i c h is controlled b y a public p a r a n w u n L i H o w e l l J 5 2 3 L Thejr_relevance to_a s t t i d y l J p u b l l c s p a c e l i e s mainly in
agency, and which is provided and m a n a g e d in the public interest. tTieiranalysis of the constitution and transformation_of public sphere, which provides
mformairon_ aj^ut'trie^Qiual and._political.processes thatjake^^place in the physical
Public sphere theories public realm. T h e public space, as a constituent part of the pubric~sphere, can be
betterjundefstood^^jth such an insight. At a more detailed level, its relevance l i e s J n
In social and political t h o u g h t i l h r e e m a i n c u r r e n t s ) h a v e been identified which offer the ^ a t i a l dimension^of the intersubjgctiye__commuriLcal^^
concepts of public sphere ( B e n h a b i b ; t 9 9 2 ) r T h B s e ^ u r r e n t s correspond to the works' debgfebjCaiuacf^^gTOlifTFig)^ dimension of these theories
of Jürgen H a b e r m a s ^ H a r ^ has the ability to be empirically used in the analysis of the public space.
widèIy~inHijintiaI ~theory ' o f p u b l i c sphere ( C a l h o u n J 9 9 2 ; R o s e n a u , ! 992)^_aj
f o r m u l a t i d l i y Jürgen H ä b e r m a s T l 9 8 9 ) , a publk^sphere, where interactiyediscourse
Hkes^pjaciindependent^of^the private sphexe, r r e i s e n t i i l T o r a l i e a l t h v poIityTlts i
existence in a d e m o c r a c y m e a n s that decisions a r e macte_tlijaughjatÌQnal:<ritical 5^
debate a n d jnJfirsübjetÜYeZQm 1
where they,can.be.pubhdy^reviewgd, . à
The other distinguished political thinker of the twentieth century, who has *
theorized public sphere is H a n n a h Arendt. In her m a j o r theoretical w o r k . The Human =
! Condition ^Arendt,.!958), she offers_a^_criṭue]]oOE^^ ^
public realm._VVhereas H i b e r m a s tends t o a r i a l y s e ^ a i i d i n d e e d i d e a U z e , the modern
bourgeois public spher'e toi"Bé'véfópTns j i o ^ ^
public realìBrin'theX^éeiripolis. T h e r e the e c o n o m i c activities related to individuals'
lives anci the "survival of the s p e c i e s " , and w e r e non-political, household affairs
(Arendt,1958: 29). In the m o d e r n a g e , h o w e v e r , the h o u s e k e e p i n g - a n d its related
activities, problems anci organizational devices h a v e risen from the_^'shadowy
i n t e r l o r l r f the household i n t o the light of •the-public-spIiSè":^(Afentlt;i958: 38). The
rise of a social realm has led to an interflow of thè pubHc^^nd p r i y a t e ^ h è f t f ^ n d to
substantial transformation of their m e à h i n g ^ n a ^ i g n i f i c a n c e ( A r e n d t , ! 9 5 8 : 29-38).
TTiejiOcial realm thajLlLaS-emerged_is_,neither^ p u b l i c nor private. T h e m a s s society,
vyith its drive for equality, has conquered.the p u b l i c realm.
Àrendt-ancl-Haberma5-betÌragree~on-the-losso£the.distinction b e t w e e n the public
and private spheres an^jhemegatiye_effects-oTthis^prp£ess_or\_pjjblic_sphere/riiey
I b Q t g J H l i a z é T R i T m a s s society^with which they associate the declJTie_ofJhe public
' sphere J ^ o t K Z I E ö w | v e r r a r ^ others,..the_femimsts_for^t3r_
idealization of..the distmction b e t w e e n public a n d private s p h e r e s i F r a s e r , 1 9 8 9 ) .
^enn and G a u s (1983a) believe that the liberals h a v e a general a a m m i t m e n t to an
equilibration'of the public and private spheres of life. T h e n o r m a t i v e model of
public sphere^fhät^rü'ce"Äckermari"offers focuses on legitimation of p o w e r through"
public dialogue: " W h e n e v e r a n y b o d y questions t h e legitimacy of another's power7 Figure 5.15. Public space is a spatial manifestation of public sphere, a place for
the p o w e r holder must r e s p o n d not b y s u p p r e s s i n g the questioner but b y giving a intersubjective communication. {Stockholm, Sweden)
150 Design of Urban Space Production of the Built Envlrcr.r.ent 151

the suburban shopping malls in North A m e r i c a (Whyte,1988; C r a w f o r d , ! 992),


Public space in a shopping mall?
which have competed with city centres b y taking a w a y their social a n d e c o n o m i c
livelihood. In Britain, however, t h e development o f gigantic s u b u r b a n s h o p p i n g
T o study t h e changing relationship between the public a n d the private in urban
malls has been a less widespread p h e n o m e n o n . A l t h o u g h k n o w n as a n o u t - o f - t o w n
space, it would b e appropriate to look at the new additions to urban areas. A s large-
shopping centre, the scale of the M e t r o Centre has h a d a far-reaching i m p a c t o n t h e
scale schemes constitute a large proportion of n e w u r b a n fabrics, o n e such scheme,
metropolitan region in which it is located. B y following t h e p r o c e s s of its
the M etro Centre in Gateshead, a suburban development with urban claims, can be
development, the publicness of its public spaces c a n b e evaluated. F o l l o w i n g t h e
c h o s e n as a n example (M adanipour,1995c) (Figure 5.16). M u c h has b e e n said about
five stages of planning, design, development, m a n a g e m e n t a n d u s e s h o w s h o w
public spaces in this development have been p e r c e i v e d , d e v e l o p e d a n d u s e d b y
different agencies and groups. W e n e e d to find out to w h a t degree t h e s e s p a c e s a r e
public, and w e need to understand the relationship b e t w e e n t h e d e g r e e o f
publicness of space, and the stages o f development a n d u s e .
Gateshead M etro Centre is an out-of-town s h o p p i n g a n d leisure c o m p l e x w i t h 5.5
km of shopping malls and 24 million visitors p e r year g e n e r a t i n g a n a n n u a l
turnover of £500m. It is located o n t h e A l trunk r o a d 5 k m f r o m t h e centre of
Gateshead a n d Newcastle upon T y n e . The size o f t h e Centre has help>ed t o create
the image of a city. The Metro Centre Official Guide ( M e t r o C e n t r e , 1 9 9 1 : 7 ) calls it
"Metrocentre Shopping and Leisure City", c o v e r i n g 1 3 5 acres, w i t h 12 ООО c a r
parking spaces a n d "its o w n security team, fire protection s y s t e m s , c o m m u n i t y
rooms, and even a chaplain".
The five stages of planning, design, development, m a n a g e m e n t a n d u s e in t h e
Metro Centre all s h o w similar qualities in a p u b l i c - p r i v a t e relationship. I n relation
to the three indicators of agency, interest and control, a study of t h e s e s t a g e s s h o w s
a strong private dimension. Within a semi-privatized planning e n v i r o n m e n t , t h e
stages of design, development and control were all u n d e r t a k e n b y p r i v a t e firms f o r
private interest. It is used b y private individuals w h o g o there f o r s h o p p i n g o r
leisure. T h e public space in the Centre m a y a p p e a r to b e similar to a h i g h street or a
town square populated b y promenading a n d r e l a x i n g people. T h i s is a " p u b l i c
space" with a clear functional role: it is o w n e d b y private c o m p a n i e s , allowing
private individuals to u s e it for certain purposes. P u b l i c space h e r e h a s a leisure
function associated with shopping, rather than contributing to a n a c t i v e social
function such as intersubjective communication. U s e r s can b e seen as p)rivate
individuals entering a trading space whose leisure fvmctions e s s e n t i a l l y serve
trading interests. Its qualities of a w e l l - m a n a g e d , climatically p r o t e c t e d , secure
shopping environment correspond to, a n d invite, t h o s e social, g e n d e r a n d a g e
groups w h o use it for predetermined purposes.
Yet there are several dimensions in which the d e v e l o p m e n t of t h e C e n t r e can b e
seen to have public roles. Its, albeit adverse, i m p a c t o n the s u r r o u n d i n g t o w n
centres, its ability to earn taxes, and its provision of j o b s , with w h a t e v e r quahties,
create a public significance for the Centre as reflected in the public m o n e y spent o n
access roads a n d in the public policies of G a t e s h e a d Borough C o u n c i l . M o s t
important of all is t h e large n u m b e r of visitors t o t h e Centre, w h o c r e a t e a public
space with dynamics of its own. It m a y not cater for t h e diversity a n d n e e d s of all
social groups. But that it is used b y millions o f people each y e a r gives it a
considerable public dimension. It m a y not b e designed for intersubjective
Figure 5.16. The "public" space In a shopping mall is owned by private companies, allowing
communication, but the presence of t h e people in these spaces r e n d e r s it a site f o r
individuals to use it for private purposes. {Metro Centre Gateshead. UK) such actions. Besides, it appears that its pubhc spaces are, in legal t e r m s , considered
152 Design of Urban Space Production of the Built Environment 153

public and the restrictions of o w n e r s h i p or access w o u l d n o t prevent them from it close to shopping centres like the Metro Centre. But there are still other activities
being so. ,^.. in the city centre that make it functionally more diverse. If the city centre space is
O n a functional basis, a n d on the basis of o u r t h r e e indicators, it m a k e s sense to heavily monitored through security cameras, it still can afford to b e a site for a w i d e
compare the Metro Centre to its equivalents in N e w c a s t l e ' s city centre, such as the range of m o r e spontaneous activities and events, where street vendors c a n b e seen
1970s' Eldon Square, or even an older e x a m p l e of a closed s h o p p i n g environment, side b y side with political campaigners. T h e same diversity can b e observed with
the nineteenth century's G r a i n g e r Market (Figure 5 . 1 7 ) . B o t h of these spaces were the type of visitors. By definition, the town centre is a focal point for t o w n s p e o p l e
developed to offer attractively decorated, climatically protected a n d securely from a variety of age, gender a n d social groups. If some parts o f the city centre
controlled environments for trading. T h e y m a y s h a r e similar principles in their favour the m o r e affluent groups, there are other parts that cater for the less affluent.
developments, b u t what m a k e s t h e M e t r o Centre different is its s u b u r b a n location, All these points lead to the conclusion that the city centre space, despite its o w n
which adds a further, exclusive, d i m e n s i o n t o it. A n o t h e r m a j o r difference is its limitations, offers a more genuine public space. It is a space that is controlled b y a
scale, and its desire and claim to c o m p e t e with t h e city centre, w h i c h makes it in public agency in the public interest and is accessible to all citizens at all times. It
s o m e sense comparable to the w h o l e of the city c e n t r e rather than t o some of its might b e a r g u e d , however, that this is a too formal analysis of the public a n d the
parts. private space, as these spheres are intermeshed a n d the three indicators of access,
When c o m p a r e d with the m o r e traditional city c e n t r e s , h o w e v e r , this public interest a n d control are not distinguishable within these two spheres. O r it might b e
space would rate as semi-public d u e to its limitations. In a city centre such as argued, along with Habermas, that the public and private should be separated so
Newcastle's, t h e ranges of u s e a n d of users a r e w i d e r . It is true that t h e ! that the lifeworld could b e protected from the political and economic systems. This
may lead to urban public space being considered a part of the civil society, to b e
predominance of shopping in the city centre h a s r e d u c e d i t s diversity, which brings
protected f r o m state intervention, implying that a space controlled b y the state is
not necessarily a public space. This argument m a y thus equate the public space in
Newcastle city centre with that in the Metro Centre, as both are controlled b y t h e
systems of p o w e r and money. In response, it could b e argued that, as shown here,
the city centre offers a wider range of possibilities to a larger part of the public a n d
hence is a m o r e democratic space.
That developments such as the Metro Centre are the new additions to the u r b a n
space means that the degree of publicness found in the city centre is not desirable
by the developers. Besides the traffic problems of a city centre, the coexistence of a
wide range of potentially conflicting interests in the public sphere, especially in a n
increasingly polarizing social environment, makes the choice of semi-public space
appealing to the developers a n d corporations. This is coupled b y the local
authorities' reluctance, a n d inability, to add to the public urban space, due to their
financial limitations. T h e authorities are also restricted b y political a n d
administrative limitations, as exemplified in the diverse planning en\'ironments
where their control is challenged and confined. T h e Enterprise Zone in which the
Metro Centre w a s developed, or the areas controlled by the D e v e l o p m e n t
Corporation, w h e r e many n e w additions to the city space are made, are examples of
these challenges. T h e result is that urban public space is increasingly contested b y
semi-public, totally managed environments created for some social groups a n d
excluding others, a s caused by, and causing further, social and spatial segregation.

Conclusion
As w e have argued before^iriton_space£an b e best understoodJJTrough_thejprocess
of its making. T o understand, o n a macro-scale, the social and economic processes
that shape a n d reshape cities, it is best to concentrate on the urban development
Figure 5.17. A comparison of the new suburban shopping malls and the nineteenth-century processes w h i c h create a n d transform the city's socio-spatial fabric. Tracing the
covered markets shows a degree of similarity. {Grainger Marlcet, Newcastle, UK) production o f space through time integrates the social and temporal aspects of
154 Design of Urban Space

space, bridges the gaps in our spatial understanding, and offers a dynamic
perspective with which to gain k n o w l e d g e about t h e built environment. Armed
with such knowledge, designers engage in t h e transformation of the built
environment in a more informed w a y . If w e can explain the spatial phenomena, our
CHAPTER 6
ability to transform the built environment will i m p r o v e .
To m a k e sense o f j h e j p m p l e x process of urban development, w e have reviewed '
modelsTwhich describe or explain~this process.~We^Iiave concluded^tbat-the^bi^t^
\vl^;30"Tmderstan'd"urb'ari'aevelopmeiif ^^^^^
^agenciilJTfteJffiraurSTKeyTnr
i s j o ^ c o n c e n t r a t e orNdevelopmentNi
of resources^'nHiSs^aha'TagaS; j
Regulating Urban F o r m
•-and-the'sbcial a i i d ^ a T i a F c o n t e x t s i n which fhey_operate.
We have looked af the changing nature of the development agencies and at the
way land, a natural resource, is treated as a c o m m o d i t y . A n implication of this
treatment has been a growing g a p between t w o t y p ^ j o f j y a h r e j i t t a d i e d j g ^
Following o u r look at the relationship b e t w e e n urban design a n d the u r b a n
propertyj_.use value a n d j x c h a n g e value. To retluce t h e g a p between t h e two, and to
development process, w e n o w turn our attention t o the relationship b e t w e e n u r b a n
r e s p p n d J o j T i e changmg naJure.of iny.e.sjmentj3p,pp_rjunjt h a s b e e n a_rnQye
design and t h e regulatory f r a m e w o r k of t h e planning system. C h a p t e r 5 w a s
towards^ s t a n d a r d i z a t i o n ^ f design and privatization of _space. Along with
concerned with urban design a n d the markets. T h i s chapter concentrates on u r b a n
globalizationT5f theproperty mdustTyTthesFcKangeS^fiave had far-reaching impacts
design a n d the state. In Chapter 5 w e looked at t h e w a y t h e c h a n g i n g n a t u r e of
on urban landscapes and on the processes w h i c h produce them. In the next tvvp a"
development companies has h a d a n impact o n u r b a n form. In this chapter w e s e e
chapters, w e will explore the rules and ideas that ai'e involved in the urban design '
h o w the changing nature of t h e plarming s y s t e m , resulting f r o m a c h a n g e in
and urban development process.
state-market relationships, can influence urban f o r m and its design.
The debates on design control form only a part of the general question of t h e
relationship of state and markets in space production. In this general context, t h e
predominant tendency has been to see design as attending m o r e to the aesthetic
qualities of the built environment, i.e. the a p p e a r a n c e of the u r b a n fabric. A s w a s
discussed in Chapter 4, this is a rather narrow v i e w which u n d e r m i n e s the role of
urban design as deahng with form, use a n d m a n a g e m e n t of cities. Nevertheless, in
this chapter w e follow these debates and the m e c h a n i s m s the British p l a n n i n g
system has devised to deal with design issues. W e also look briefly at these
concerns in s o m e other countries.

The state, t h e market and space production

The role of the plarming system is defined b y t h e Royal T o w n Planning Institute as


the m a n a g e m e n t of change in the built and natural environments (RTP1,1991). T h i s
management role, played by the local and central g o v e r n m e n ts, is o n e a m o n g m a n y
forms of state intervention in t h e economy. A s it deals with the production a n d
transformation of space, it occupies a central role in the interface b e t w e e n t h e state
and the market.
T h e relationship of the state a n d the m a r k e t in t h e p r o d u c t i o n of t h e b u i l t
environment is complex and can b e analysed f r o m a w i d e variety of angles. A t t h e
most general level of analysis, the state a n d t h e market f o r m the t w o m a i n
component parts of a single political e c o n o m y . T h e production of t h e built
environment occurs within this poliHcal e c o n o m y and helps to e n s u r e its
continuity. Therefore the relationship of the t w o structures of state a n d m a r k e t c a n
be seen as m u t u a l l y supportive a n d ultimately u n p r o b l e m a t i c . H e r e w e s e e h o w
156 Design of Urban Space Regulating Urban Form 157

Lefebvre's assertion, i.e. tfiat every society creates its o w n space, m a k e s sense. No
matter liow the production of s p a c e is regulated, it is an o u t c o m e o f the whole'
political e c o n o m y .
If we leave this bird's eye v i e w , h o w e v e r , and l o o k at the p r a c t i c a l details of tliis
relationship, w e see constant c h a n g e and a d j u s t m e n t in the f o r m o f confrontatioii/
negotiation and collaboration b e t w e e n different parties. T h e d e b a t e s about the
production of the built e n v i r o n m e n t often take p l a c e within this s p h e r e . At this
other end of the spectrum, it is the details of their relatioitships t h a t matter, the
institutional relationships b e t w e e n the agencies i n v o l v e d in s p a c e p r o d u c t i o n . The
regulation of space p r o d u c t i o n is a central t a s k of the p o l i t i c a l economy,
employing a large n u m b e r of a g e n c i e s and i n t e r a c t i n g w i t h a v a r i e t y of socio-
spatial structures. T h e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n t h e state, the m a r k e t and space
production can therefore b e a n a l y s e d in t e r m s of the s t r u c t u r e - a g e n c y
relationship.
The history of the e m e r g e n c e o f the planning s y s t e m and its development in
Britain after the Second World W a r shows a c h a n g i n g relationship between the
state and the market. The planning system w a s an effective tool f o r the post-war
Keynesian emphasis on increasing d e m a n d for c o n s u m p t i o n a n d increasing state
intervention in different spheres of life to e n s u r e the c o n t i n u i t y of societal
structures. In the urban arena, this intervention a n d e m p h a s i s o n c o n s u m p t i o n was
partly reflected in the large-scale r e d e v e l o p m e n t of urban fabrics. T h e powerful
state could employ new technologies in massive r e d e v e l o p m e n t s , a i m i n g at social
and spatial engineering. T h e planning system w a s at the operating e n d of a gigantic
bureaucratic organization w h i c h attempted to s t i m u l a t e a n d , at t h e same time,
control the change in the built environment. T o u n d e r t a k e this task m o r e effectively,
ever more sophisticated m e t h o d s were d e v e l o p e d and e m p l o y e d . During this
period, a relative harmony b e t w e e n the state a n d the m a r k e t supported the F i g u r e 6 . 1 . The large-scale redevelopment of urban areas was a result of harmonious
operation of the planning system. relationships between the state and the market (Photograph by Wallace Pace)
However, the relatively h a r m o n i o u s relationship b e t w e e n t h e state and the
market was disrupted by major c h a n g e s in w e s t e r n e c o n o m i e s a f t e r the 1960s. The These two sets of pressures were pulling the planning system in different
end of the post-war b o o m and a n e w global e c o n o m y with a multiplicity of new directions. T h e structural pressure from above was aimed at loosening the grip of
players forced the break-up of the Keynesian coalition. T h e n o d e s of this coalition, the planning system in order to help the growth of the economy through the growth
e.g. the planning system, needed redefining. T o s u r v i v e the global competition, the of the private sector. It was therefore expecting to emphasize the exchange value of
only alternative was seen in the 1980s to be a liberalization of t h e economy. The the built environment as an incentive for economic growth. On the other hand, the
political and administrative structures which w e r e r e m a i n d e r s of t h e past and could pressure f r o m below was demanding an e m p h a s i s on use value, on improving the
prevent this liberalization w e r e destined for restructuring. .*i quality of environment for the users and inhabitants of the built environment.
This w a s a pressure from a b o v e on the p l a n n i n g s y s t e m , d e m a n d i n g it to Under these pressures, the planning system has adopted a more flexible,
disappear or to play a more flexible role. T h e r e w a s another p r e s s u r e from below, conciliatory role. There has b e e n an introduction of a document-led planning
demanding more flexibihty and sensitivity. T h e large-scale r e d e v e l o p m e n t s of the system, leading to the redefinition of the planning system's discretionary powers.
post-war years had caused c o m m u n i t y d i s p l a c e m e n t and disruption. Urban The m o v e towards a plan-based planning system, where the requirements of the
development processes were criticized for their lack of u n d e r s t a n d i n g for urban locality are more clearly d o c u m e n t e d by the state, offers a sense of security to the
communities. To use the H a b e r m a s i a n terminology, the lifeworld w a s protesting potential developers. In this sense, the flexibility of the planning system can be seen
against the systems of power and m o n e y against their penetration (Figure 6.1). The to be reduced, and yet the planners are seen to b e providing a more flexible service.
protest movements after the late 1960s were rejecting the p r o d u c t i o n of the built The n e w flexibility is thought to have the potential to solve numerous conflicts
environment as it had happened after the S e c o n d W o r l d W a r . In L e f e b v r e ' s (1991) which m a y arise in a period of substantial change. One example would be the
terms, there w a s a d e m a n d for differential s p a c e , to confront the a b s t r a c t space that contradiction between societal reproduction, w h i c h now seems to be supported
was being imposed on everyday life. with m o r e flexible planning, a n d environmental reproduction, which requires a
158 Design of Urban Space Regulating Urban Form 159

more cJirect form of state intervention and control. W h e r e there has b e e n no attempt built e n v i r o n m e n t . T h e form that the structural pressures from a b o v e took in the
to adjust, there has been a conflict between w h a t has been called a modernist 1980s led to a n e w boom, hence a new cycle of space production a n d n e w attention
planning system and a post-modern reality {Dear,1995). to the qualities of the built environment. This p h a s e coincides with a rising interest
T h e disruption to the communities caused b y the modernization projects has in urban d e s i g n within the town planning field.
been widely acknowleged. These examples of the unintended consequences The gradual shift of attention in planning, from physical artefacts to spatial relations
(Giddens,1990) of instrumental rationality (Habermas, 1984), amongst others, to social relations to the built environment, has created imbalances of focus. However,
required a process of adjustment in what was once a set of s o m e w h a t harmonious these imbalances and shifts of focus should be seen in their close connection with the
relationships. T h e planning system, as a locally based activity, had to adjust its cycles of space production. Attention to the built environment, and hence to
relationships with the markets and the state. T h e nature and extent of control by the environmental design, has been closely associated with the intensity of producing
state through the planning system needed to be readjusted. Within the political space. This can be observed in the fast-growing regions of the world especially, where
economy, the planning control needed to prove o n c e again its legitimacy and a surplus of capital is directed towards the development of the built environment.
capabihty in contributing to societal and environmental reproduction. T o c o m p e n s a t e for the previous neglect of the built environment, t o w n p l a n n i n g
T h e outcome of these pressures to adjust has b e e n an increased flexibility in the has now turned its attention to urban space. T h e n e w emphasis on u r b a n design
planning process. The state is no longer the sole player in the major urban should be a balancing act, bringing to the town planning agenda spatial as well as
development schemes. Local government's slow and reluctant response to social coi\cerns. In many cases, however, it a p p e a r s that urban design is seen m e r e l y
restructuring has resulted in direct action by central government. This has taken the as a visual concern largely replacing or masking the earlier social concerns. It is in
form of development corporations and public/private partnerships. On the other these circumstances that urban design is seen as the return of aesthetics to city
hand, the traditional local planning system has been encouraged to adopt a softer^ ' planning (Boyer,1990) (Figure 6.2).
less interventionist form of control through negotiation and enabling. T h e planner
as an enabler is now expected to respond equally to the structural pressure for
space production and to the local pressure for public participation and better-
quality built environments.

Planning and design


The relationship of planning and design can be traced against this brief outline of the
changing role of urban planning in a changing political economy. T o w n planning had
evolved as the branch of architecture dealing with urban design. The architect's
approach to space production tended to concentrate on the " h a r d w a r e " , on the
physical fabric of the city, rather than on the "software". During this early period,
design had a central role in the town planning agenda, as best exemplified in the 1933
Charter of Athens. However, large-scale state intervention in the city was a complex
process and needed administrative management as well as the support of the new
science and technology. As a result, planning as an independent activity emerged,
seeing the city as a site of spatial relationships, rather than merely a collection of
artefacts. There was a shift of role for the planner from design to management.
As a result of the post-1960s reduction in large-scale urban development and the
rise of c o m m u n i t y pressure groups, this tendency for bureaucratic management of
space had to be abandoned. Economic decline led to a slowing d o w n of space
production, driving attention a w a y from the built environment and its qualities.
During a period of crisis and change, the decay of the built environment was seen
as inevitable and therefore design was seen as an unaffordable, or irrelevant,
luxury. T h e economic crisis and the grass-roots pressure for change demanded the
tools of the state be deployed in job creation and public participation.
The structural change in the economy, from m a s s production for a m a s s society to Figure 6.2. The return of aesthetics to town planning is leading to visual improvement
flexible production for a fragmented society, brought about a n e w interest in the schemes. (San Jose, California, USA)
160 Design of Urban Space Regulating Urban Form 161

To uncierstand the relationship between the state and the market and its what they all shared was that the appearance of the schemes had been altered
reflection in planning and urban design, we n e e d to look at a m o r e detailed level at noticeably as a result of the planners' comments. O n e housing association project
the relationship between planners and designers. had been rejected because of its horizontal shape and the use of inappropriate roof
materials. T h i s had been replaced by a revised scheme costing substantially more.
In another project the architects were asked to change the curved roof to a pitched
Design control roof. A n o t h e r project with a flat roof was criticized, calling for a "more traditional
design" that " w o u l d o v e r c o m e reasons for refusal".
Design control is the interface b e t w e e n planners and designers. In the process of These are revisions which, according to the reporter (Welsh,1993), contributed to
development control, the production of space is often reviewed m a i n l y from an "urban dyslexia", the schemes' former sense of scale and proportion being
aesthetic point of view. T h e design review takes place within t h e g e n e r a l context of undermined and their points of interest reduced. The question posed was whether
the state-market relationship. T h e questions often put forward in this relationship "the public, represented by a planner, or, more abstractly, the city, represented by a
are wide ranging. Should design b e controlled at all? H o w m u c h intervention is facade, (should) really concern itself with somewhat obscure architectural principles".
appropriate? Is it possible to i n t e r v e n e in a field perceived to b e l a r g e l y subjective?*: This exhibition has been only a part of an ongoing debate between the planners
W h o should intervene and w h o sets the standards? (See Figure 6.3.) and architects over design control. The legitimacy and usefulness of design control
In 1993, in an RIBA exhibition in London called "Before and After Planning", have been studied and discussed for decades. The debate has often been expanded
examples of projects which had passed through the p l a n n i n g s y s t e m were to cover the w h o l e of the planning agenda, even to the extent that the post-war
displayed. T h e projects varied w i d e l y in their topics and c i r c u m s t a n c e s . H o w e v e r , . planning s y s t e m has been severely questioned (Manser & Adam, 1992a,b).
T h e debate about design control often has several dimensions. At one level there
is the tension between architects and planners on issues of aesthetic control, at the
heart of w h i c h lies the tension between freedom of expression versus public control.
This occurs within a b r o a d e r framework of the tension between the development
(or the developer) and the local communities, between exchange value and u s e
value. This can relate to the debate between the economic necessity of a
development and its relationship to the quahty of environment. It can also focus on
the tension between freedom of individual action versus public accountability. T h e
focal point of the debate m a y be the private interest as distinct from public interest
and the relationship of these t w o sets of, at times, contradicting interests. Within an
even b r o a d e r framework, the debate is between the state and the market on the
production of the built environment. This entails economic, political, social and
aesthetic considerations and debates, which have formed the agenda of design
control a n d , in a wider sense, planning control.

Design control or aesthetic control?


This question of design control or aesthetic control should be seen as being closely
related to the discussions in Chapters 1, 2, and 4, where the ambiguities and
differences b e t w e e n visual a n d spatial aspects of design were addressed. T h e
difference b e t w e e n these t w o terms, design control and aesthetic control, is often
ignored as they are used interchangeably. The Annex A to P P G l (DoE,1992) is titled
"Design C o n s i d e r a t i o n s " . H o w e v e r , the Annex begins with the sentence, " T h e
appearance of proposed development and its relationship to its surroundings are
material considerations." This is clearly an indication of the tendency to equate
design with appearance. A l t h o u g h A n n e x A later denotes the broader, and
therefore, as it sees it, more relevant, design concerns of the planners as "scale,
Figure 6.3. Would the development on the left-hand side be permitted today in a design density, height, massing, layout, landscape, and access", the main focus of the
control process? (Florence, Italy) guidance is the aesthetic dimension of the appearance of developments.
162 Design of Urban Space Regulating Urban Form 163

which only one, albeit important, dimension is aesthetic. Yet it is clear that the
design control process or to use the American term, design review, is not i n t e n d e d
to interfere in all of those stages. In practice, h o w e v e r , the interaction b e t w e e n the
designers and the planners, in w h i c h the design of a d e v e l o p m e n t is b e i n g
discussed, tends to cover both the functional a n d aesthetic c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of t h e
proposal. Aspects of design such as density and access, as m e n t i o n e d in A n n e x A,
have a w i d e range of implications, each with a potential aesthetic iiigredient.
This clearly s h o w s that the term "design c o n t r o l " addresses a m u c h w i d e r set of
considerations, w h i c h includes aesthetic control. A t this scale, the design control
process can be seen as an active c o m p o n e n t of urban design. N e v e r t h e l e s s ,
regarding the g o v e r n m e n t ' s a d v i c e as well as the arguments against d e s i g n
control, the aesthetics has f o r m e d the focal point of the design c o n t r o l c o n c e r n s
and debate so far.

Does aesthetics matter?


H o w substantial are the aesthetic considerations iii a d e v e l o p m e n t ? Is the
aesthetic control really an important part of the p l a n n i n g process? Is it m e a n i n g f u l
to hinder a d e v e l o p m e n t , which can be potentially beneficial to a local e c o n o m y ,
on aesthetic g r o u n d s ? In the face of the e n o r m o u s difficulties that t h e
restructuring of the global e c o n o m y has inflicted upon individuals a n d
households, and therefore collectively on t o w n s a n d regions, the m a i n issue s e e m s
to be the battle for survival for the more d i s a d v a n t a g e d regions. Is it realistic to
give any significance to aesthetics as distinctive from or, in s o m e cases, a s
opposed to job creation and the well-being of a c o m m u n i t y ? In the context of the
depressed e c o n o m i e s all over the world, is aesthetics not a p r e o c c u p a t i o n of the
Figure 6.4. Should design control only address the appearance of developments? {Cannes, more p r o s p e r o u s economies? E v e n within a relatively wealthy society, is it not
France) more a concern of the middle classes whose m o r e secure standard of living a l l o w s
them to concentrate on cultural matters?
T h i s long-standing tendency of central g o v e r n m e n t to see aesthetic control as These questions are part of a long-standing cultural debate. T h e relationship of
dealing with the appearance of buildings, and more specifically their elevations, aesthetics and the social and e c o n o m i c considerations is a crucial part of cultural
h a s b e e n n o t e d b y some observers (Punter,1990b) (Figure 6.4). Punter a r g u e s that studies ( H u t c h e o n , 1 9 9 2 ) . T o a d d r e s s these q u e s t i o n s , one approach w o u l d b e to
the tensions b e t w e e n this v i e w p o i n t and the wider definitions of aesthetics, design trace the evolution of a m a s s culture as distinct from, and challenging, high
and e n v i r o n m e n t a l quality are " a t the heart of the d e b a t e about design control" culture. Within the context of the cultural forms w i t h which large sections of
(Punter,1990b: 3 ) . His suggested definition of aesthetic control is, " t h a t aspect of : communities readily identify themselves, and its challenge to the aesthetics of the
the regulation of d e v e l o p m e n t that seeks to control the physical attributes and establishment, w e can look for s o m e answers to these questions. W h a t n e e d s
u s e s of n e w b u i l d i n g s , and the spaces between them, so as to ensure a rewarding stressing, h o w e v e r , is the i m p o r t a n c e of aesthetic experience to h u m a n b e i n g s ,
s e n s u o u s e x p e r i e n c e for the p u b l i c w h o use the environment thus created" which is of equal significance within the contexts of both high and m a s s cultures.
(Punter,1990b: 2 ) . This definition, which is m u c h wider, is obviously focusing on M u c h of the m o d e r n thinking about aesthetics h a s been influenced b y K a n t ,
t h e aesthetic experience, as reflected in its aim of achieving "a rewarding who divided the mental faculties into theoretical, practical a n d aesthetic. H e
s e n s u o u s e x p e r i e n c e " . The definition has been given under the title " T o w a r d s a suggested that the sense of b e a u t y is a distinct a n d a u t o n o m o u s e m p l o y m e n t of
definition of design or aesthetic control", which uses the t w o terms the h u m a n mind comparable to moral and scientific understanding
interchangeably. (Scruton,1979). An example of the continuity of this conceptual a p p r o a c h is the
w o r k of Jürgen H a b e r m a s , w h o s e models of action and rationality are set out to
Urban design has been defined as some, or all, stages of a process and the
address the instrumental, social and aesthetic d i m e n s i o n s of the h u m a n actions
product it p r o d u c e s , as w e s a w in Chapter 4. Any of the definitions mentioned
simultaneously (McCarthy,1978; Dews,1986; W h i t e , 1 9 8 8 ) .
there w o u l d s u g g e s t that the design as a process has a variety of dimensions, of
164 Design of Urban Space Regulating Urban Form 165

T h e aesthetic choice in individual a n d collective life m a y b e significant, b u t where modern cultures where relationships and tastes are based on long-standing
does it figure in our list of priorities? In other w o r d s , are cultural identity and traditions. It is also true w h e r e these traditions h a v e been broken down and n o clear
quality of the environment as important as economic development a n d the more cultural patterns are in place. N o matter what the circumstances, aesthetic choice
material and immediate needs of life? When formulating public p o l i c y o r taking can b e found in almost all h u m a n conditions as an important part of understanding
collective action, w h a t a r e the chances that the quality o f the e n v i r o n m e n t will be and action (Figure 6.5).
properly addressed? T h e answer is bound to b e that, based only on instrumental T h e aesthetics of daily actions and the choices made within that framework m a y
rationality, these chances a r e less significant than w h e n social a n d aesthetic not be acceptable when judged b y the standards of the high culture. Nevertheless, it
concerns are taken into account. is not possible to deny altogether the existence of such ingredients in daily
Apart from severe crises, it would b e a grave simplification of h u m a n natvire to experience. A p a r t from the most extreme cases of individual and social crises, w h e n
hold the view that below a certain level of income a n d living s t a n d a r d s , aesthetic the r h y t h m o f life is entirely disrupted b y disasters, human beings are involved in a
choice disappears or loses its meaning, to b e replaced with desperation. W h a t looks mental o r actual process o f aesthetic j u d g e m e n t and choice. This is a crucial
from the outside to be poverty of m e a n s and a battle for survival, a l w a y s contains a c o m p o n e n t part o f individual a n d collective identity and the absence of it could
process of aesthetic judgement. Examples of this aesthetic choice c a n b e found lead to alienation and a crisis of identity.
everywhere: from choosing which route to take w h e n passing t h r o u g h t h e town or
the countryside, to choosing which piece of bread to eat first. This is true in the case
of those educated within the high culture, whose taste is cultivated t h r o u g h critical Aesthetic j u d g e m e n t : subjective or objective?
reasoning and careful elaboration. It is also true w h e r e the taste is f o r m e d through
mass consumption of prefabricated images and objects. It is true in t h e c a s e o f pre- A large part o f the debate over aesthetic control involves the issue of subjectivity or
objectivity o f aesthetic judgement. M a n y h a v e tended to disregard the debate
altogether o n the grounds that it is a matter of taste and so it belongs to the realm of
subjectivity, a private realm in which individual choice matters most and w h e r e
there is n o place for direct public intervention. Individuals may be influenced b y
the society a r o u n d them, b u t they often m a k e their aesthetic selections freely, from
a w i d e r a n g e o f possibilities open to them, as required by an open society. For this
viewpoint, this is the end of the discussion.
This v i e w c a n also b e heard b y those w h o d o not have an interest in aesthetic
matters, w h o therefore dismiss a n y further discussions on the subject simply d u e to
lack of interest. T h e same level of freedom that people enjoy in the way they dress
themselves s h o u l d apply to the w a y they erect, embellish and organize their
buildings a n d environments. W h y does design control not keep up with the other
trends in society? There h a s b e e n a significant liberalization of public behaviour
since the Victorian period, with its strict moral values and attitudes, and with the
advent of t h e post-war social movements. It should naturally follow that the
appearance o f the buildings, like the appearance of the people, should be judged o n
a more liberal basis (Figure 6.6).
In addition to those w h o think aesthetic understanding and choice are private
matters a n d s h o u l d remain in t h e realm of subjectivity of the individuals, there a r e
those w h o think it should remain there because of its creative dimensions. T h e y
maintain that design is a creative process in w h i c h designers as individuals express
their subjective w o r l d a n d therefore the aesthetic choice is an integral part of this
highly mystified process. H e r e the aesthetic control is challenged on the grounds
that it restricts artistic creation. This viewpoint is often defended by designers, w h o
are t h e m s e l v e s involved in this creative process and see any restrictions as
irrelevant, d u e to the subjective element of the design. "What is good or bad design
remains largely subjective", as "there is n o 'correct' approach, in any context"
(Manser & A d a m , 1 9 9 2 b : 24). Beauty, or ugliness, of the environment simply lies " i n
Figure 6.5. Apart from severe crises, aesthetic choice can be found in almost all human
conditions as an important part of understanding and action. {Newcastle, UK)
the eye of the b e h o l d e r " (Earl of Arran, quoted in Hillman,1990: 2).
166 Design of Urban Space Regulating Urban Form 167

especially of public arts such as architecture, could b e changed through a r g u m e n t


and critical reasoning. Our aesthetic judgement tends to change as w e k n o w m o r e
about the subject of judgement. This can happen through reflecting u p o n our direct
experience of that object, or through reading criticisms about it. It is the
involvement of reason in this process which m a k e s it an objective process. A s
Scruton (1979: 237) puts it, aesthetic judgement is in a sense objective, "for it a i m s to
justify that (individual) experience, through presenting reasons that are valid for
others besides oneself".
It is certainly b e y o n d the level of individual preference that societies are f o r m e d
for the protection of a building and for the conservation a n d preservation of
certain areas. O v e r the years, governments h a v e listed buildings that h a v e b e e n
regarded as b e i n g worthy of preservation, h a v e designated c o n s e r v a t i o n areas,
and h a v e selected areas of outstanding natural beauty. These activities h a v e all
been based on s o m e principles shared by large n u m b e r s of p e o p l e , a c o n s e n s u s
reached at through s o m e form of reasoning, h e n c e giving the j u d g e m e n t an
objective validity.

W h o sets t h e aesthetic standards?


We have seen h o w the aesthetic experience is important and how the aesthetics of
the environment can form a c o m m o n , and therefore objective, concern. T h e next
step would be to set up a f r a m e w o r k for collective action that would address this
common concern. T h e question to ask will then b e , is it the job of the planners to set
the aesthetic standards? If that is the case, w h o s e tastes do they represent? Are the
planners representing an elite which produces these standards and spreads them
throughout the society? Are they the guardians of the canons of good taste as set b y
the high culture and enforced b y an administrative system which is the operational
device of a polidcal economy?
Planners have frequently been accused of elitism, especially in their modernist
interventions in the urban areas, disregarding the identities and cultural
preferences of the local communities and iniposing on them alien standards of good
taste and good design. Planners are also constantly being criticized b y architects as
not having the proper c]ualifications for making aesthetic judgements. This has led
to attempts to clarify the boundaries and responsibilities as well as the educational
requirements. In many design control debates, it appears that the architects
represent the high culture, attacking planners for their allegedly poor tastes.
F i g u r e 6.6. How should one building relate to others around it? {Boston, USA) On the other hand, both planners and architects have been accused of being elitist
in their association with the post-war urban development. It was after the 1960s, with
So is this assertion of the subjectivity of aesthetic judgement a definitive the criticisms of modernism and the gradual rise of post-modernism, that architects
statement agreed upon b y everyone? Is aesthetic judgement an individual and planners started to see themselves as part of the mass culture. By using
experience w h i c h cannot be objectively shared by others? The a n s w e r to these ornaments, historical reference and double coding (Jencks,1991), post-modern
questions can b e found in the attempts that are made to share this individual architecture tried to denounce its elitist past and bridge the gap between architecture
experience with others. In our arguments to convince others of the validity of our and popular culture. In planning, attempts to democratize the planning process were
choice, w e try to use reasons that are acceptable to them. This attempt gives the among the most important signs that the elitist tendencies of high culture were being
aesthetic j u d g e m e n t an objectivity, which is beyond the subjectivity of individual challenged. Both planners and architects attempted to acquire a degree of
experience. It can be noted that our aesthetic understanding a n d judgement, embeddedness in their social and physical contexts; hence the rise of interest in public
168 Design of Urban Space Regulating Urban Form 169

participation, communicative action, community architecture and contextuahsm. This c o n s e r v a t i s m in taste has been prolonged due to a decline of confidence in
Nevertheless, today as before, planners m a k e decisions about the organization exploring n e w territories a n d an absence of intense real estate development.
However, as this century d r a w s to a close, n e w developments, such as a new faith
and appearance of the built environment on the basis of s o m e , sometimes
in technology a n d a hope in the future of a unified Europe, have prompted a n e w
undefined, criteria. The question is still open: w h o s e taste do p l a n n e r s represent
atmosphere of confidence. W i t h this n e w confidence, the contextualism of the post-
and where does their aesthetic j u d g e m e n t originate? T h e p o s t - m o d e m notion of
modern p e r i o d is increasingly being questioned.
pluralism, with its associated relativism, has m a d e the aesthetic j u d g e m e n t ever
more difficult. In the relative absence of the modernist canons of good taste,
planners and architects are left to judge a variety of styles and f o r m s which are
proudly presented as eclectic.
Good urban f o r m
To confront the symptoms of disappearing canons, the notion o f context has
No discussion of design control w o u l d be c o m p l e t e without finding out what the
played an increasingly important role in the aesthetic judgement of u r b a n planners,
final aim of t h e design control is. W h a t is the i m a g e in the m i n d of the planner of
urban designers and architects. M o s t urban design guidelines and m a n u a l s of the
the final f o r m of a town? Is this intervention in the appearance of growing and
last two decades have emphasized adherence to the urban context. T h e starting
changing cities carried out according to a set of clear images which would together
point of design process and design control has b e c o m e the context in which the
make a c o h e r e n t vision of the future of a town?
development takes place. Respecting the existing context is a w a y o f humanizing
It could b e a r g u e d that t h e r e is n o n e e d for s u c h an i m a g e as an urban form is
and democratizing any new proposal. It is also a safe way out of m a k i n g aesthetic
so c o m p l i c a t e d a n d d y n a m i c that it w o u l d b e futile to envisage a final form for it.
judgements (Figure 6.7).
A n y a t t e m p t t o visualize t h e final, or a n ideal, f o r m of a t o w n w o u l d be either
unrealistic o r too rigid to b e e v e n w o r t h a c h i e v i n g . Utopian ideals of the past
have all f a i l e d to materialize. S o w h y s h o u l d w e try to find an answer to the
question a b o u t an overall i m a g e of the " c o n t r o l l e d " urban f o r m in the mind of the
planner? S h o u l d design c o n t r o l b e a p r a g m a t i c intervention which is flexible
enough to a c c o m m o d a t e e a c h c a s e w i t h o u t n e c e s s a r i l y having a vision of the final
outcome?
This m i g h t s e e m to be realism. M a n y decisions are made according to arguments
of this k i n d . But design control is a c o n t i n u o u s process in which any n e w
development is being j u d g e d against s o m e criteria. What are these criteria for
judging the u r b a n form? W h a t are the m e a s u r e s for evaluating the increments to
urban fabric? A s distinct f r o m these, or in relation to them, are there any criteria for
judging the u r b a n form as a w h o l e ?
After a p e r i o d of design control, there will b e a cumulative effect of individual
cases on u r b a n form in general. In the long term, it might be argued, the urban.form
will be largely transformed in relation to the intentions of the actors involved in the
design control process. If this is the case, then w e should be able to search for a
vision of this future o u t c o m e in the mind of the design controllers. This is a vision
which m i g h t b e consciously k n o w n or u n c o n s c i o u s l y held. Without even a vague
idea of the w h o l e of urban fabric, or at least parts of it, at the m o r e identifiable scale
of urban p l a c e s and n e i g h b o u r h o o d s , it w o u l d not be possible to make a clear
decision a b o u t a n y new d e v e l o p m e n t . There are convincing arguments that urban
design s h o u l d contribute to the development of " a n ideal long-term hypothesis",
which w o u l d b e used as a yardstick to measure the values of the built environment
(Gregotti, 1 9 9 2 ) .
The a r g u m e n t here is not that w e need to h a v e such a vision in the design control
process, w h i c h is quite a valid argument. M y point is that whoever is controlling
the design of the d e v e l o p m e n t s already has that mental image of the good city form,
and the d e c i s i o n s are being m a d e with reference to that image or set of images. For
Figure 6.7. Respecting the existing context is a way of humanizing and democratizing any
example, the t w o contrasting approaches to the context of a n e w development, i.e.
new proposal. It is also a safe way out of making aesthetic judgements. {London, UK)
170 Design of Urban Space
Regulating Urban Form 171

whether the context is to b e treateci with respect or be ciisregarded, both rely on


mental libraries of possible images. Whereas o n e set of references aims to Planning documents and design
perpetuate t h e character of the context, the other seeks to alter it to a new form.
Both approaches, however, share the act of making references to a set of images in The British planning system deals with design issues through three sets of
the m i n d of the designer as well as the planner w h o is involved in development documents: development plans, design guides and design briefs. These documents
control. rely on the advice from the Department of the Environment on design
considerations. °

Figure 6.8. A library of idealized images accumulates in our mind, influencing our aesthetic
choice. {Stockholm, Sweden)

A library of i m a g e s can b e f o u n d in every person's m i n d (Figure 6.8). It is


a very interesting process t o see h o w people acquire their mental images
a n d h o w t h e y u s e t h e m in their aesthetic understanding and choice. This process
often takes p l a c e in the c o u r s e of daily life a n d c a n b e influenced a n d changed by
c o m m u n i c a t i o n , interaction a n d even manipulation. Aesthetic choice in a
p e r s o n a l c a p a c i t y , h o w e v e r , h a s often a limited effect at a large scale. This is
not t h e c a s e for the design a n d planning professionals w h o s e decisions can
h a v e a l o n g - l a s t i n g influence o n the built e n v i r o n m e n t . It is surprising then to see
h o w f e w d i s c u s s i o n s a r e t a k i n g place around this aspect of planning, which
could p l a y a n i m p o r t a n t r o l e in shaping the future form of the urban
environments.
W e will d i s c u s s the i m a g e s of good u r b a n f o r m in the next chapter. Before
c o n c l u d i n g this chapter, h o w e v e r , w e discuss t h e documents the planning system
uses to control design.
W^eZtstfe^ÒK)^^''^' '""P"'''"* '^^"^'"9^ themselves.
172 Design of Urban Space Regulating Urban Form 173

Government advice detailed c o v e r a g e or p r e s c r i p t i o n " , and failed " t o relate design policy to context".
Only slightly m o r e than o n e in ten plans had a " v e r y well-developed design policy
T h e main government advice on design is the Annex A to Planning Policy throughout", a s e x e m p l i f i e d b y plans for Leicester, Bristol, Westminster, Guildford,
Guidance 1 (DoE,1992). This one-page document, which was a product of Sheffield, R i c h m o n d and H a r i n g e y (Punter et al.,1994).
collaboration between RIBA and R T P I and endorsed by the government, sets out Sheffield's U n i t a r y D e v e l o p m e n t Plan starts with its strategic vision of the city. In
the guidelines for planners on h o w to deal with design. It invites planners to show ten years' time, it is intended that the city will b e "a place that offers everybody a
more flexibility and involvement at larger, rather than more detailed, scale issues of good quality of life; a p l a c e w h e r e people can find suitable w o r k ; a better place to
developments. It invites the planning permission applicants to aim for good design,
a consideration for the context, and for better communication with the planning
system.
The importance of "the a p p e a r a n c e of the proposed development and its
relationship to its surroundings" is stressed at the beginning of the document. The
buildings as well as the "spaces b e t w e e n and around buildings" should be carefully jj,
set in relation to the context around them (Figure 6.9). To ensure good quality
design, planners are encouraged to recognize and seek expert advice and to avoid
imposing their tastes on the applicants for planning permission. T h e balance that
the document seeks to achieve is b e t w e e n development and its control, drawing the
boundaries of intervention in design matters. W h e n they outline their requirements^'?
planners should concentrate on " b r o a d matters of scale, density, height, massing,
layout, landscape and access", avoiding "excessive prescription and detail".
This g o v e r n m e n t advice is o n e indication of the structural pressures on the
planning system to become m o r e flexible by reducing the potential obstacles to the
development market. It parallels an emphasis on the speed of operation. O n the first
page of the Planning Policy Guidance: General Policy and Principles (DoE,1992), this
becomes evident: "Unnecessary delays in the planning system can result in extra
costs, wasted capital, delayed production, reduced employment opportunities, and
lost income and productivity." At the same time, it tries to strike a balance between
the ease of space production with the quality of the space so produced.
T h e DoE advice on design considerations h a s been widely used in the
preparation of the planning d o c u m e n t s by the local authorities.

Development Plans
Development plans are the d o c u m e n t s prepared by the local authorities "to provide
a firm basis for rational and consistent decisions on planning applications and
appeals". These documents are " t h e primary m e a n s of reconciling conflicts between
the need for development, including the provision of infrastructure, and the need to
protect the built and natural environments" (DoE,1992, para. 17). In non-
metropolitan areas, development plans can be structure plans or local plans, setting
out strategic policies or detailed development policies. In metropolitan areas, a
unitary development plan combines these roles.
Research into the design content of development plans found that m a n y plans in
its 73 samples, "displayed a very low emphasis on design" (Punter et al.,1994: 217).
It noted an overall lack of general design strategies or strategic design
considerations. Design issues appear to be treated as marginal, dispensable
considerations, concentrating heavily on individual buildings rather than being Figure 6.10. More detailed attention is paid to spatial and visual qualities of Consen/ation
integrated into the plan's overall strategy. Most plans, it concluded, avoided "either Areas. {Durham, UK)
174 Design of Urban Space Regulating Urban Form 175

live, work, b r i n g u p children, s p e n d your spare time — whoever you are; a A more recent, well-known e x a m p l e of urban design guidelines in Britain is
profitable place to invest in; and a good place to visit — for business or pleasure" Birmingham's u r b a n design s t u d y (Tibbalds, Colbourne, Karski, & W i l l i a m s , ! 9 9 0 ) .
(Sheffield City Council,1991; 10). Within this framework, design is treated as an It was the first in a series of studies on the city, with the aim of presenting " a robust,
integral part of the approach to the built environment. " H o w buildings are coherent, apolitical vision of h o w the physical environment of B i r m i n g h a m ' s
designed, the w a y s they are g r o u p e d together, the spaces between them, and trees, Central Area can be gradually improved over the next 30 years or s o " (Tibbalds et
seats and paving — these all help to form the character of Sheffield. . . Our al.,1990: 1). T o do this it introduces a set of guidelines, against which n e w
responsibility is to cherish this character for the benefit of present and future developments can b e assessed.
Sheffielders" (Sheffield City Council,1991: 136). The section on the built Its first main concern is to help people find their way around; that is, a concern
environment is divided into t w o subsections. In the first subsection, "townscape for legibility of the urban structure, and for increased accessibility within it. T h e
and d e s i g n " , t h e aim is for a high-quality townscape through policies on means to a c h i e v e this include identifying transport nodes as gateways to the city
environmental improvement in city centre and other areas, building design centre; m a k i n g the m o v e m e n t around the city easier; marking places and spaces by
requirements, art and design, access to buildings, design for vehicles, design of landmarks; and promoting livelihood in the city at night as well as day. T o enhance
streets, pedestrian routes, c y c l e w a y s and public spaces, and advertisements. The a legible i m a g e of the city, the second main task is to develop and protect views to
second subsection, "buildings and areas of architectural and historical interest", the landmarks, which will e n h a n c e the legibility of the city through a clearer image.
concentrates on Conservation A r e a s and Areas of Special Character and the Yet another task is to rediscover the topography of the city, which w a s ignored by
d e v e l o p m e n t s and alterations within them. In these areas, building materials, the post-war d e v e l o p m e n t s , to enhance the image of the city. Further remedial work
h i g h w a y s , listed buildings, and archeological m o n u m e n t s and sites are subjects of to the post-war redevelopments is the recreation of the streets a n d blocks, those
m o r e detailed policies (Figure 6.10). - which structured the traditional cities but have been swept away. W h a t is hoped to
be the o u t c o m e is a tight-knit urban fabric with carefully created and managed
public spaces a n d landscapes. Other visual improvements to be undertaken include
Design Guides
sweeping a w a y the clutter, softening the city and enhancing open space. In line
with the i m p r o v e m e n t of the city core, other areas of character are also identified as
Design guides are documents prepared by the local planning authorities as
in need of e n h a n c e m e n t .
additional information and g u i d a n c e regarding design matters. As distinct from
d e v e l o p m e n t p l a n s , which h a v e statutory status, design g u i d e status is
s u p p l e m e n t a r y planning guidance. Design Briefs
Design guides and design briefs are both classified b y the PPG12 as
s u p p l e m e n t a r y planning g u i d a n c e . There is, however, a major difference in that There is a variety and an apparent lack of clarity in the use of the term "design
design guides are not site-specific, whereas design briefs are. W h e r e design guides brief". Different planning authorities use different terms, including planning brief,
h a v e been p r e p a r e d , they are often of a general nature and will cover almost every development brief, principles of development, planning guidance, planning
eventuality. T h e y deal with large areas or with specific topics, such as shopfronts, framework, etc., along with design brief. One of the common characteristics of the
security grilles, and advertisements. As distinct from these design guides, and different definitions of briefs is that they are detailed development guidance for
ideally within their framework, design briefs deal with specific sites and more specific sites, distinguishing them from design guides which focus on areas
specific issues. W h e r e such overall design guides d o not exist, design guidance may (Madanipour, Tally & U n d e r w o o d , ! 993).
be limited to the general design principles within the local plan. In such cases, The Royal T o w n Planning Institute (RTPI,1990) acknowledges this variety, stating
design briefs are produced in an ad hoc manner. However, the brief does not that, "briefs are non-statutory documents and there are no regulations specifying
necessarily b a c k u p the local plan, as the planning conditions rarely refer to design their role a n d f o r m a t " . H o w e v e r , it attempts to offer s o m e clarifying frameworks in
matters. terminology as well as in the preparation and use of the briefs. T h e RTPI suggests
Esse.x C o u n t y Council's design guide (County Council of Essex, 1973) was a the term " d e v e l o p m e n t b r i e f " as a general term to cover these various areas of
major d o c u m e n t which influenced a generafion of design guides across Britain. It concern. It includes the d o c u m e n t s called "planning briefs", which deal with
wa:. prepared for residential areas in response to the intensive suburbanization planning, land use and transportation matters; "developers' briefs", which address
processes of t h e time. T h e g u i d e ' s design policies were clearly divided into physical financial a n d land m a n a g e m e n t aspects; and "design briefs", which cover
and visual policies. Under physical design policies, the envelope and curtilage of townscape and other design aspects, and aesthetics. However, in practice, as it
the house, its services and s t a n d a r d s and maintenance were discussed. In its visual notes, and depending on the circumstances, s o m e or all of these matters are
design policies, attention was shifted to the principles of spatial organization and combined in such documents.
the design of the buildings within an urban framework. T h e principles of spatial A design brief has been defined as incorporating "the full range of requirements
organization distinguished three types of development: urban, rural and suburban. specified by the local planning authority for the development and design treatment
T h e former t w o were to be strengthened and the latter discouraged. of particular sites, with explicit emphasis on the appearance of the development"
176 Design of Urban Space Regulating Urban Form 177

(Owen,1979: 1). T h e RTPI's definition of the development brief is "a summary negotiating process again d e p e n d s on circumstances. Success or failure of the briefs,
statement of the author's policy position on development matters relating to the site if judged b y their resistance to c h a n g e and therefore asserting the original intentions,
and/or p r e m i s e s " , and any other relevant material (RTPI,1990). This is largely in might not be always the m a i n task in their evaluation. If, however, they are evaluated
line with an earlier DoE (1976: 25) definition suggested in the context of housing according to their being an instrument of negotiation, then they have a potentially
development: " A brief for a site is a detailed statement of what development the promising capacity. In this s e n s e , the design briefs are a part of a planning process in
local authority would like on that particular site a l o n e " . A brief is often prepared which attempts are m a d e to m a n a g e the change and development in the built
for sites which are economically, socially or architecturally sensitive; for local environment. T h e y can be c o m p a r e d to the development plans, which are seen b y the
authority sites that are being released; and for m a n y residential developments. government as negotiating frameworks, although at different levels of iiwolvement
Apart from design briefs prepared by the planning authority, briefs are also and statutory power. T h e d e s i g n briefs, design guides and development plans can b e
prepared b y the architects as the beginning stage of a project, covering the seen as c o m p l e m e n t a r y devices in the planning process.
requirements of the client for a site or even putting forward ideas for the client. A
design brief in this context is therefore "information, both general and specific,
assembled for the p u r p o s e " , which clarifies the circumstances and requirements Other experiences of design control
(Powell,1980: 374). It is "the factual foundation of the project" (Cox & Hamilton,
1991: 221). Conventionally, the architects have the task of producing a design In the U n i t e d States, the d e s i g n control process, o r design review, deals with u r b a n
which, in their judgement, satisfies the client's brief completely ( T h o m p s o n , ! 990: design, architecture, a n d the v i s u a l impact of proposed developments. It is "the
95). In this sense, the meanings of the design brief for architects and for planners process b y w h i c h private a n d public d e v e l o p m e n t proposals receive independent
overlap, with the difference that these two professions have different positions criticism u n d e r the s p o n s o r s h i p of the local government unit, whether through
regarding the preparation and implementation of briefs. W h e r e a s the planners informal or f o r m a l i z e d p r o c e s s e s " (Lightner,1992: 2). A survey of 370 planning
prepare the brief as a framework for development, architects and developers work agencies s h o w e d that 787o of the t o w n s and cities had some form of design review
within this framework and a framework of their own. process. T h i s h a s b e e n a n i n c r e a s i n g l y p o p u l a r process for the planning authorities,
T h e r e are t w o major c o m p o n e n t parts in a brief: as 6 0 % of the r e s p o n d e n t s h a d a d o p t e d it since the beginning of the 1980s. It also
found that a l m o s t t h r e e - q u a r t e r s of the A m e r i c a n cities and t o w n s use the design
> 1. a descriptive part which contains information on the characteristics and the review p r o c e s s for b o t h h i s t o r i c a n d other parts of their urban areas. Design review
procedures are largely ( 8 2 % ) m a n d a t o r y a n d legislated. S o m e 4 0 % rely on design
context of the site, and
guidelines, w h i c h are a s s e m b l e d b y planners from different sources and are legally
2. a prescriptive (to varying degrees) part in w h i c h the intentions of the planning binding, a l t h o u g h m o r e t h a n one-quarter h a d no d o c u m e n t e d guidelines. T h e
authority for the site are spelled out. design is r e v i e w e d b y a s p e c i a l design r e v i e w board (36%) or b y the planners
themselves. P u b l i c participation is relatively rare (only 17%) and the elected officials
The contents of a brief are largely determined by the nature of the site and the range participate in 2 8 % o f t h e r e v i e w s , although without a heavy influence w h e n
of issues that the authority wishes to address in the brief. Both of these vary widely. c o m p a r e d to the p r o f e s s i o n a l o p i n i o n of design review boards, planners, or zoning
Briefs can be very broad and short or very specialist and detailed. S o m e briefs cover commissioners ( L i g h t n e r , 1 9 9 2 ) .
almost everything from planning background to design content, which can include Despite signs of con\'erging trends, the main difference between the British and the
density, size of development, amount of open space, highway access, relationship to American planning and design control is that the former is discretionary, whereas the
neighbouring properties, landscaping, and designing out crime. T h e building latter is b a s e d on written regulations. The main method of regulation, with most
design content could stipulate the form, massing, scale, context a n d materials, but influence on the shape of the cities, is the zoning system of land-use control. A classic
rarely the actual style of the development. T h e brief could- also contain some example is the Chicago Z o n i n g Ordinance, .which lists 22 types of use-district and 71
element of community gain in the form of play areas, creche facilities, community categories of floor-area ratio. T h e bulk of this ordinance deals with prescribing
rooms and access for the disabled. dimensions, b e y o n d w h i c h there is n o other reference to design and aesthetic
S o m e briefs tend to categorize their requirements into essential and preferred. objectives. A n alternative w a y of controlling design is to follow a "stylistic
The preferred category could contain the desirable elements which are not essential imperative", where the developments are asked by the planning authority to
for the site. harmonize with the surrounding architectural styles. A call for stylistic harmony can
Design briefs are documents through which the intentions of the planning also be seen w h e n l a n d o w n e r s act as the planning authority: subdividing their land
authority for the development of a site are being expressed. The level of certainty and asking the individual developers to follow s o m e design rules. The status of design
with which the planners can express these intentions varies widely according to review b o a r d s m a y v a r y in legal a n d administrative terms: s o m e m a y be appointed b y
circumstances. In most cases, however, documenting these intentions provides a a mayor, s o m e m a y b e p r o v i d e d for in local ordinances or in State legislation. The
framework for negotiation with the potential developers. The outcome of such a courts have the capacity to interfere in the design review process (Delafons,1992).
178 Design of Urban Space Regulating Urban Form 179

T h e potential importance of the courts in design control, especially in the context with design, Delafons (1992: 58) finds design guidance very promising, especially
of the controversies and debates around whether aesthetic control runs against the when it is focusing on b r o a d e r issues of "building's context, not only on its design
freedom of speech, can be exemplified by the rulings of S u p r e m e Court Justice concept". In A m e r i c a n cities, he argues, it is design guidance rather than regulatory
W i l l i a m Brennan (I,ai,1992). In two rulings, h e a s k e d for a comprehensive effort by controls w h i c h is leading to the most successful examples of design policy. Design
the municipality to address the problems of environmental aesthetics, rather than guidance has three stages. First, it relies on a detailed analysis of the existing urban
e m p h a s i z i n g single buildings o r issues. In the first case, Metromedia Inc. v. Cify of space, identifying the local, character of districts and neighbourhoods. It includes an
San Diego in 1 9 8 1 , he wrote. assessment of the area's location in the city, the form and mixture of uses and types
of businesses that generate that character, and its spatial and architectural
Of course, it is not for a court to impose its own notion of l>eauty on San Diego. But before characteristics. Second, on the basis of this analysis, and with the help of the local
deferring to a city's judgement, a court must be convinced that the city is seriously and community, design policies are developed for each area. T h e third stage is the
comprehensively addressing aesthetic concerns with respect to its environment. Here, San '] implementation of the design guidelines through negotiation with developers and
Diego has failed to demonstrate a compreljensive coordinated effort in its commercial and !
their architects.
industrial areas to address other obvious contributors to an unattractive environment. In this
sense the ordinance is underinclusive. Of course, this is not to say that the city must address all A successful example of this type of aesthetic control is Portland, Oregon. T h e
aesthetic problems at the same time, or none at all. Indeed, from a planning point of view, -'~ design guidelines of the city, " f o c u s on relationship of buildings, space and people.
attacking tlie problem incrementally and sequentially may represent the most sensible solution. They are u s e d to coordinate a n d enhance the diversity of activities taking place in
On the other hand, if billboards are batmed and no further steps are contemplated or likely, the
the d o w n t o w n area. M a n y w a y s of meeting a particular guideline exist, and since it
commitment of the city to improving its physical environment is placed in doubt. By showing a
comprehensive commitment to making its physical environment in commercial and industrial
is not our intent to prescribe a n y specific solution, the Commission encourages a
areas more attractive, and by allowing only narrowly tailored exceptions, if any, San Diego diversity o f imaginative solutions to issues raised by the guidelines" (quoted in
could demonstrate that its interest in creating an aesthetically pleasing environment is genuine Delafons,1992: 55). As a result, the city's comprehensive attempts to maintain a
and substantial. Tins is a requirement where, as here, there is an infringement of important well-designed and w e l l - m a n a g e d city centre h a v e attracted the support of the
constitutional consequence. developers a n d businesses. F o r Delafons, this is "surely the best approach to
(quoted in Lai,1992:219)
aesthetic c o n t r o l " .
In D e n m a r k , there is no p r o c e d u r e equivalent to the US design review process, as
T h r e e years later, in City of Los Angeles v. Taxpayers for Vincent, in a dissent from the
it appears that a consensus h a s existed for designers to respect the local traditions
majority, h e w r o t e against the city ordinance, w h i c h was prohibiting the posting of
and the z o n i n g requirements. This consensus was rooted in the first half of the
political signs on pubhc property to avoid "visual clutter":
twentieth century and survived the post-war urbanization and industrialization of
In cases like this, where a total ban is imposed on a particularly valuable method of the country a n d the building b o o m s of the 1960s and 1970s. H o w e v e r , it is n o w in
communication, a court should require the government to provide tangible proof of the danger of falling apart due to the current cultural pluralism (Mammen,1992).
legitimacy and substantiality of its aestlietic objective. Justifications for such restrictions Several attempts have b e e n made to ensure the design quahty of new
articulated by the government should be critically examined to determine whether the developments. For example, the Danish National Agency for Physical Planning has
government has committed itself to addressing the identified aesthetic problem.
developed a method of S u r v e y i n g Architectural Values in the Environment (SAVE),
In my vieiv, such statements of aesthetic objectives should he accepted as substantial and
unrehUed to the suppression of speech only if the govenunent demonstrates -that it is pursuing with a h e a v y emphasis on historic city centres, aiming to provide a complete
an identified objective seriously and comprehensively and in ways that are unrelated to the picture of the characteristic architectural qualities of a locality. This w o u l d then help
restriction of speech. Without such demonstration, I ivould invalidate the restriction as violative the local politicians and p l a n n e r s as well as the local residents in their decision-
of the First Amendment. By requiring this type of shozuing, courts can ensure that making in relation to the protection of these qualities. A Municipal Atlas is
governmental regulation of the aesthetic environments remains within the constraints
produced w h i c h maps the u r b a n relationships and registers individual buildings. In
established by the First Amendment. First, we would have a reasonably reliable indication that
it is Jiot the content or communicative aspect of speech that the government finds unaesthetic. this voluntary co-operation between the Ministry of Environment and local
Second, when a restriction of speech is part of a comprehensive and seriously pursued program authorities, data are collected b y professional architects and planners, and local
to promote an aesthetic objective, zve have a more reliable indication of the government's own architectural and historical values are assessed in close collaboration with local
assessment of the substantiality of its objective. And finally, when an aesthetic objective is organizations and individuals. Another attempt b y the Danish Building Research
pursued on more than one front, we have a better basis upon which to ascertain its precise
Institute intends to brings urban architecture into the local government's planning
nature and thereby determine whether the means selected are the least restrictive ones for
achieving the objective. and daily administration. It approaches the mapping of physical structures and
(quoted in Lai,1992:220) registration of buildings in a similar way to the S A V E system, but its analysis is
based on visual-historic registration of the town and its buildings. Analysis of the
It is in response to such calls that design guidelines and urban design plans are existing fabric leads to the generation of design guidelines, demanding the physical
p r o d u c e d b y s o m e cities and towns as comprehensive strategies for enhancing the shape, skyline, streetline, building proportions, prevaihng building materials and
aesthetic qualities of an environment. Searching for a democratic process of dealing details to be respected in future developments (Mammen,1992).
180 Design of Urban Space Regulating Urban Form 181

In France, the demand for protecting the character of areas under hea\'y town: traditional streets lined w i t h c o n t i n u o u s buildings. T o prevent the
development pressure has led to n e w forms of design control, as exemplified by the suburbanization of the town, the n e w m a y o r h a s b e e n influential in devising a n e w
plan for Ansieres sur Oise (Samuels,1995). Ansieres, a settlement of 2400 people at system of design control, w h i c h h a s b e e n e n d o r s e d b y the French minister of the
the northern edge of the lie de France, 35 k m a w a y from Paris, has b e e n identified environment and has been used in three other c o m m u n e s in the He de France. T h e
b y developers as a desirable location for new residential development. The new French land-use plan, the Plan d'Occupation des Sols, or POS, is a legally binding
houses, however, tend to be in the form of paviUions, detached single family houses, document and if a proposal m e e t s its r e q u i r e m e n t s , it must b e a p p r o v e d . M a n y of
the suburban m o r p h o l o g y of which contrasts with the existing character of the the plans, h o w e v e r , are not sufficiently sensitive to the character of the localities
they deal with.
The new P O S for Ansieres d r a w s u p o n the Italian morphological approach and
the British design guides to a n a l y s e the local c h a r a c t e r and to specify the preferred
forms which w o u l d maintain this character. Through direct observation,
discussions w i t h local experts, a n d desk r e s e a r c h , the n e w P O S analyses the
morphology of the settlement at six different l e v e l s of resolution: districts, streets
and blocks, plots, building form, a n d e l e m e n t s of construction. A t each level, a
range of acceptable varieties are then put f o r w a r d . A t the district level (altogether
eight districts in the settlement), a r a n g e of a c c e p t a b l e land uses and plot types are
identified. Within each plot type (with its m i n i m u m dimensions, plot proportions,
buildable area and plot c o v e r a g e ) , there a r e , typically, three to five acceptable
building types. T h e two e l e m e n t s of construction, roofs and walls, include details of
acceptable types of chimneys, d o r m e r s , o p e n i n g s , d o o r s and w i n d o w s . T h e range of
choice at the l o w e r level of resolution, i.e. the d e t a i l e d elements of construction such
as doors and w i n d o w s , is far m o r e restricted t h a n t h e higher levels, w h e r e there are
more choices for plot size a n d b u i l d i n g a r r a n g e m e n t . This is in contrast to the
housing developers' formula to achieve d i v e r s i t y in their d e v e l o p m e n t s , w h e r e
details m a y vary within a limited range of b u i l d i n g form and plot type (Figure
6.11).
There are also c o m m o n a l i t i e s to be o b s e r v e d w i t h i n districts and between them.
In each district, for example, t h e r e is a c o m m o n r a n g e of possibilities for length of
facades, type and degree of roof pitch, length o f gable wall, a r a n g e of permitted
storeys and of proportion b e t w e e n b u i l d i n g height and building depth. T h e
c o m m o n range of details for all districts c o v e r s gutters, chimneys, dormers, facade
opening arrangements, types of d o o r and w i n d o w frame and shutter, wall and roof
materials, and even hedging s h r u b s ( S a m u e l s , 1 9 9 5 ) .

Conclusion
The advent of major c h a n g e s in the w e s t e r n economies has redefined the
relationship b e t w e e n the state, the m a r k e t , a n d society. The planning system, w h i c h
was the o u t c o m e of a coalition b e t w e e n the state a n d the market, has had to adjust
itself to these n e w relationships. It has b e c o m e m o r e flexible as a result of structural
pressures f r o m above, r e g a r d i n g its role in s p a c e production, and from b e l o w ,
regarding its role in e v e r y d a y life.
To s h o w m o r e flexibility, the p l a n n i n g s y s t e m h a s moved t o w a r d s a document-
based structure. A range of d o c u m e n t s , f r o m central g o v e r n m e n t advice to
Figure 6.11. The rhythm of detailed elements can contribute to the coherence of townscape. development plans, design g u i d e s and design b r i e f s address the design concerns.
{Florence, Italy) These concerns, which are p r e d o m i n a n t l y a e s t h e t i c concerns, h a v e been the subject
182 Design of Urban Space

of intense d e b a t e s about the scope of design control and the role of planners in this
process. O n e m a j o r criticism has b e e n m a d e by those w h o see design as a subjective
issue, and w h o see the d o c u m e n t s as a stifling innovation, restricting individual
rights, and controlled by planners unfit to m a k e aesthetic judgements. Planners
h a v e c o u n t e r - a r g u e d that aesthetic concerns are objective, as w e try to convince
CHAPTER 7
others about these values. T o find an objective basis for their aesthetic judgements,
p l a n n e r s h a v e resorted to the u r b a n context and h a v e argued for the need for
accountability to the public. T h e main question, h o w e v e r , remains open; how much
design control a n d on what bases? Images o f P e r f e c t i o n
T h e relationship of planning a n d design has b e e n changing from a large degree of
overlap to a large gap in the middle. What is n e e d e d now, after these shifts of
focus, is a t o w n planning which adopts a socio-spatial approach, emphasizing both
social and spatial relationships in close connection with each other. This town
p l a n n i n g will b e an essential part of the political e c o n o m y , but will have to address In its search for new forms and possibilities, design is an exploratory activity.
the concerns of the lifeworld in the face of overwhelming pressure by bureaucratic Through the generation of a variety of ideas a n d testing them against the concrete
and financial s y s t e m s . At its strongest, the contribution of urban design to this situation in which they operate, designers aim to perform their task. In most cases,
evolution is to bring back to the urban planning agenda the attention to the built the scope o f the search is w i d e ranging, allowing designers to find a solution from
e n v i r o n m e n t , creating a balance b e t w e e n its social and spatial concerns. Similarly it whatever source: from historic precedents, f r o m theoretical constructs, or from
can bring to architecture m o r e interest in social processes and relationships, leading everyday scenes and events.. This is w h y designers show interest and sensibility to a
t o a m o r e b a l a n c e d , socio-spatial approach. A t its weakest, however, it is seen as wide range of social and e c o n o m i c as well as aesthetic and artistic issues. Without
m e r e l y a t t e n d i n g to the visual qualities of the built environment, being blamed for constant exploration for new w a y s of understanding and expression, designers'
aestheticizing the space production and becoming a substitute for social concerns. potentials w o u l d be left unfulfilled.
However, open-ended and pragmatic as this may seem, designers in their
explorations are often influenced b y s o m e conventions, paradigms, fashions and
styles that are prevalent at the time. Directly o r indirectly, these paradigms enter
the process of design and influence it. In a w a y , many design tasks b e c o m e
variations on themes, explorations within paradigmatic boundaries, or conscious
and unconscious attempts to change these p a r a d i g m s . The paradigms therefore act
as structures with which designers interact, enhancing or transforming them, in a
Giddensian interaction between structure and agency.
Design p a r a d i g m s , and the w o r k of designers in relation to them, can all be seen
as the sot of ideas and images that designers develop and promote for a better
environment. If urban design is a conscious attempt to transform and improve
urban space, then urban designers are expected to have an idea of what that good
environment m a y look like. This m a y run counter to the idea of design as
exploration. But as we h a v e stressed, this exploration takes place not in a void but
in response to s o m e paradigm, s o m e image of an ideal environment.
Images of ideal environments m a y be p r o d u c e d in a fragmented, pragmatic way,
in response to the situation in which the design takes place. These fragments,
however, can find a coherence w h e n interconnected and theorized in the form of
Utopian d r e a m s of good cities and societies. T h e paradigms that the Utopian
projects of the garden cities and the modern m o v e m e n t in architecture produced
formed formidable forces that largely transformed the built environment of our
time.
This chapter reviews the desirable and ideal environments that the good design
aims to achieve, the Utopian paradigms in which designers have operated.
Throughout the history of cities, these i m a g e s of perfection have been very
184 Design of Urban Space images of Perfection 185 i

important, as paramount in tfieir influence upon the form of the built environment Utopia
produced. These images relate to the political context, in which the state regulates
the shaping of environment, and the economic context, in which the development The idea of ideal e n v i r o n m e n t s , Utopias, has b e e n a r o u n d for p e r h a p s as long as
process produces space. h u m a n beings have thought of possible a l t e r n a t i v e s to their existing c i r c u m s t a n c e s .
The twentieth century has witnessed three m a i n paradigmatic approaches As a response to the reality of their lives, w i t h all their possible deficiencies, h u m a n
towards cities. T h e first is u r b a n i s m of a metropolitan paradigm, focusing on the beings have thought, throughout history, a b o u t an ideal world, w h e r e their i m a g e s
city by either trying to change it, as in modernist design, or to preserve or celebrate of perfection w o u l d prevail. T h e s e i m a g e s c o u l d r e m a i n as dream.s, offering an
it, as in the conservation m o v e m e n t and post-modern designs. T h e second is anti- escape from the difficulties of the real w o r l d . T h e ideal e n v i r o n m e n t s so conceived
urbanism, as signified by the criticism and a b a n d o n m e n t of cities. T h e suburbs, could remain a fragmented collection of i m a g i n e d r e s p o n s e s b y i n d i v i d u a l s to the
arguably the main feature of the twentieth-century Anglo-American "urban" real world. T h e y could also b e d e v i s e d as s y s t e m s o f t h o u g h t , d r a w i n g an overall
development, exemplify this trend. T h e third trend, micro-urbanism of the small picture of a c o m p l e t e socio-spatial system w h i c h could b e actively p u r s u e d , in
towns paradigm, has been a conscious criticism of the other two trends by offering search of an ideal society a n d a g o o d life ( F i g u r e 7.1).
an alternative that is more m a n a g e a b l e than metropolitanism, and m o r e collective
Especially after the R e n a i s s a n c e , w e see a s t r e a m of Utopian thinkers, following
than anti-urbanism.
the h u m a n i s t s ' belief that h u m a n b e i n g s h a v e t h e c a p a c i t y to take control of their
What all these trends share is their response to the challenge of the cities, these lives a n d s h a p e them in a n y c h o s e n form. A n e a r l y , b u t i m p o r t a n t , e x a m p l e is
ever larger agglomerations of p e o p l e and objects. A n o t h e r shared dimension closely T h o m a s M o r e ' s Utopia (1964), w h i c h w a s first p u b l i s h e d in Latin in 1516 and w i d e l y
related to the first, is their Utopian roots, all reflecting images of perfection in influenced later generations of Utopian t h i n k e r s . T h e ideal cities of the Renaissance
human settlements. -"M period reflected a Utopian desire for order a n d r a t i o n a l o r g a n i z a t i o n of space. W i t h
their star-shaped, polygonal, m a s s i v e fortifications, their designs reflected the n e w
defensive r e q u i r e m e n t s of a t i m e of p r o g r e s s i v e i m p o r t a n c e of firearms
(Argan,1969; R o s e n a u , 1 9 7 4 ) . In the n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y , p o s t - E n l i g h t e n m e n t thinkers
such as G o d w i n , Fourier, O w e n a n d S a i n t - S i m o n d e v i s e d their Utopias, which w e r e
their responses to the rising social diseases of early capitalism. Their c o m m o n
starting point w a s the idea of " p e r f e c t i b i l i s m " , b e l i e v i n g in the possibility of
creating a perfect society, a n d seeing society as " a h u m a n artefact open to rational
i m p r o v e m e n t " ( G o o d w i n , 1 9 7 8 ; 1 ) . T h e i r c o m m o n e n d w a s to create social h a r m o n y ,
free from conflict, c r i m e and m i s e r y . U t o p i a as t h e " e x p r e s s i o n of desire for a better
way of b e i n g " w a s so essential in political life that for O s c a r W i l d e ,

A map of tiie world thai does not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at, for it leaves out
the one country at ivhich Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it
looks at out, and seehig a belter country, sets sail
(quoted in Levitas, 1990: 5)

In the twentieth century, a n u m b e r of s t r e a m s of Utopian thinkers a n d m o v e m e n t s


emerged, each e m b o d y i n g the ideal e n v i r o n m e n t s f r o m a particular social and
ideological stance. Bolshevism a n d the w e l f a r e state, for e x a m p l e , were different
versions of an essentially labour utopia (Beilharz,1992). The Soviet theorists,
however, w e r e reticent to give a n y portrayal of their Utopian c o m m u n i s t society. But
as the most important principle in the c o m m u n i s t society w a s to b e collectivism, the
physical environment of communism had to foster and encourage "ties,
interdependence, and constant and close interrelation of the m e m b e r s of the s o c i e t y "
(Gilison,1975: 152). The c o m m u n e s each h a d s e v e r a l thousand m e m b e r s and self-
sufficient services, and the " l a r g e c o m p l e x e s o f i n t e r c o n n e c t e d apartment houses,
with large indoor and outdoor areas designated for public f u n c t i o n s " , all promoting
F i g u r e 7 . 1 . Utopias were the foundation of modern urban planning and design, [A new "togetherness" (Gilison, 1975: 1 5 2 ) . T h e social m o v e m e n t s a n d polidcal change in
town outside 5tocl<holm, Sweden) Eastern Europe and the collapse of the Soviet U n i o n showed h o w this utopia failed.
185 Design of Urban Space Images of Perfection 187

to be replaced b y a capitalist Utopia, one that is based not on market but on revolution" (Thomas & Cresswell,1973: 6).
" c o n s u m p t i o n " . A c c o r d i n g to G e o r g e Steiner (quoted in Beilharz,1992: 126), This fear of cities coincided w i t h admiration for cities, as seen in the writings of
observing the events in Eastern E u r o p e , "American standards of dress, nourishment, the Victorians who regarded their time as the " a g e of great cities". In 1858, the
locomotion, e n t e r t a i n m e n t , housing are today the concrete Utopia in revolutions". Chambers' Edinburgh Journal wrote,
Despite s u c h p a r a m o u n t failure of Utopias and exhaustion of Utopian ideas, some
c o m m e n t a t o r s c o n t i n u e to b e l i e v e that Utopia is " n o t escapist nonsense but n Manchester streets may be irregular, and its trading inscriptions pretentious, its smolce may be
dense, and its mud tdtra-muddy, but not any or all of tlicse things can prevent the image of a
significant part o f h u m a n c u l t u r e " (Levitas,1990: 2 ) , and a fruitful device through
great city rising before us as the very symbol of civUization, foremost in the march of
which w e can d i s c u s s the question of good society (Beilharz,1992). T h e greatest improvement, a grand incarnation of progress
service of Utopian thinkers has b e e n " t h e articulation of social alternatives", offered (quoted in Briggs,1968: 88)
to the " p r i s o n e r s o f the prevailing i d e o l o g y " , w h o " l a c k the imagination to escape
even in spirit" ( G o o d w i n , ! 9 7 8 ; 2 0 4 ) . W h a t is n e e d e d , however, is not "an exact In Newcastle, a politician and n e w s p a p e r proprietor, J a m e s Cowen, wrote in 1877,
picture of a d e s i r a b l e f u t u r e " , as this can be " a suspect activity". History has shown
that " T h e r e a d y - m a d e ' U t o p i a ' is b y its very n a t u r e authoritarian". Instead, "an The gathering of men into crowds has some drawbacks, yet the concentration of citizens, like the
concentration of soldiers, is a source of strength . . . we can hear the songs of children who are
unfinished ' U t o p i a ' " is required; " o n e that offers a direction rather than defining the
fed and clad, and the acclaim of a world free . . . Wlien people declaim in dolefid numbers
g o a l " . Its s t r e n g t h Ues in helping u s "to discover the possibilities already existent in against the noise and dirt of the busy centres of population, they should remember the liberty we
our daily life" ( T h e Research G r o u p for the N e w E v e r y d a y Life,1991: 3 5 ) . enjoy as a consequence of the mental activity and enterprise which has been generated by the
W e can identif)' three strands of Utopias in the twentieth century that directly contact of mind with mind brought together in great tozvns.
articulated alternative environments. They have all been responses to the growth of \ _ (quoted in Briggs,1968: 67; Figure 7.2)
the cities and urban regions and have been widely influential movements
contributing to the planned transformation of the human settlements. These Utopias
were confronted by a series of critical reactions: the modernist urban Utopia
challenged by post-modernist sensibilities; the small town ideal abandoned and then
revived as n e w u r b a n i s m ; and suburban sprawl continuing to be rejected or accepted
as part of urban regions. These are different reactions to the urban context and often
fall,within our t h r e e Strands of urbanism, anti-urbanism and micro-urbaiusm.

Urban c o n t e x t
T h e context in w h i c h all three f o r m s of Utopias developed was the nineteenth
century city, w h e n the process of industrialization led to a rapid growth of cities in
Western E u r o p e a n d North A m e r i c a . London's population grew from one million in
1 8 0 ! to m o r e t h a n six and a half million in 1 9 0 ! ( H a l l , ! 9 7 5 ) . In England (outside
L o n d o n ) and W a l e s , b y the end of the century, there were 23 cities with populations
of 1 0 0 0 0 0 or m o r e , as c o m p a r e d to none a century earlier (Briggs,1968). This rapid
g r o w t h c a u s e d a n a c c u m u l a t i o n of capital and labour in the cities, which became- •
sites of e x t r e m e s of wealth and poverty, generating simultaneous reactions of
admiration a n d fear. After all, this w a s a time w h e n polarization of social classes
could urge c o m m e n t a t o r s to see t w o nations inhabiting the s a m e small island
(Disraeli, t p o t e d in B r i g g s , 1 9 6 8 : 1 7 ) .
T h e w o r k i n g - c l a s s housing stock erected a r o u n d the new industries was often
uncontrolled, w i t h poor materials on insecure foundations, without a n y drainage or
water s u p p l y ( G i b s o n & Langstaff,1982: 40). T h e overcrowding and the "absence of
amenities, the b r u t a l d e g r a d a t i o n of the natural environment and inability to plan
and often to c o n c e i v e the city a s a w h o l e " led to "appalling living conditions"
(Briggs,1968: 1 7 ) . A l l shades of political opinion s e e m e d to agree that cities were Figure 7.2. The industrial cities of the nineteenth century created fear and admiration.
" p l a c e s of o v e r c r o w d i n g , p o v e r t y , crime, disease, insanitary condition and potential {Liverpool, UK)
188 Design of Urban Space Images of Perfection 189

This duality of fear and admiration inspired the visions for, and the practice of, the
urban transformation that followed. T h e fear of crime, disease and revolution led to
a coiistant concern for the control o f crowds and for the quality of urban life. The
city was at the same time exciting and the source of newly emerging wealth and
power of western nations. T h e m i d d l e classes, whether colonizing the city, as on the
continent of Europe, or a b a n d o n i n g it for the suburbs, as in England and America,
wanted a reformed city. In France, the most notable undertaking of this kind was by
Baron Haussmann and N a p o l e o n III, w h o transformed the dense fabric of Paris. In
Britain, the responses to u r b a n conditions included the demolition of back-to-back
and courtyard houses and the development of bye-law streets, a "noteworthy
innovation", where rows of h o u s e s flanked straight streets (Bayley,1975: 20).

Urbanism of the metropolitan paradigm

This paradigm foaises on the city, finds it valuable but in need of care and
attention, and attempts to offer solutions for the whole, or parts of, the city. The._
. growth of cities in the nineteenth century had created centres of n e w economic**
vitality and political power on the o n e hand, and centres of congestion, disease and
misery on the other. To find a solution for these difficulties, the metropolitan
paradigm, mainly represented b y the modernist movement in arts and architecture,'"
advocated a radical urban transformation. It is also represented b y post-modern
criticisms against such transformations, with their concentration still on the city but ,
offering different solutions. This m a k e s these opposing approaches to the city
distinguishable from the anti-urban stance, which turns its face away from the city,
and the micro-urbanism of the small town paradigm, which creates parallel
alternatives to it. Figure 7.3. The modernist vision was to create vertical cities. {Boston, USA)

Modernist urban design


This destructive fury b e c a m e the c o r n e r s t o n e of Le C o r b u s i e r ' s idea of town
planning a n d , as it w a s w i d e l y accepted b y others, led to large-scale u r b a n
- The modernists believed that the technological advances of the age, brought about
transformations around the world, changing the u r b a n l a n d s c a p e s of the twentieth
by the process of industrialization a n d urbanization, were capable of eradicating the
century (Figure 7.3). In the existing cities, h e s u g g e s t e d , " c o r r i d o r streets" s h o u l d be
urban problems. In his b o o k . The City of Tomorrow (1971, first published in 1924), Le
eliminated from the city space, as they p o i s o n the h o u s e s w i t h noise and dust and
Corbusier sees the cities as " a h u m a n operation against the nature", which is now
deprive t h e m of light, a n d that the current n u m b e r of intersections creates traffic
"ineffectual". " T h e lack of order to b e found everywhere in them offends us; their
congestion. Instead, a hierarchy of roads a n d high-rise b u i l d i n g s should b e built,
degradation wounds our self-esteem and humiUates our sense of dignity. They are
which ease the m o v e m e n t of traffic, increase the density of the city centres, and
not worthy of the age; they are n o longer worthy of u s " (Le .Corbusier,1971: 1). He
allow the dwellings to b e a w a y from the streets a n d looking to large parks and open
then explains h o w he, w h e n caught in the middle of traffic in Paris, begins to see the
spaces.
advantages and the power of n e w technologies to confront the problem:
Le Corbusier's recipe for u r b a n t r a n s f o r m a t i o n w a s first outlined in his plan for A
Motors ill all directions, going at all speeds. I was overwhelmed, an enthusiastic rapture filled me. Contemporary City of Three Million Inhabitants, s h o w n in an exhibition in 1922 in
Not the rapture of the shining coachwork under the gleaming light, but the rapture of power. The Paris. In it he introduces four basic principles for arriving at the plan of the city: to
simple and ingenuous pleasure of being in the centre of so much power, so much speed. We are "de-congest the centre of o u r cities"; to " a u g m e n t their d e n s i t y " ; to "increase the
part of it. We are part of that race whose dawn is just awakening. We have confidence in this new means for getting a b o u t " ; and to " i n c r e a s e parks a n d o p e n s p a c e s " (Le
societii, ivhich will in the end arrive at a magnificent expression of its power. We believe in it.
Corbusier,1971).
Its 'power is like a torrent swollen by storms; a destructive fury. The city is crumbling, it cannot
last much lom^er; its time is past. It is too old. Le Corbvisier (1971: 7) e n c o u r a g e s architects to follow e n g i n e e r s , as the latters'
(Le Corbusier,! 971: 3-4) aesthetics is "inspired b y the law of E c o n o m y and g o v e r n e d b y mathematical
190 Design of Urban Space Images of Perfection 191

"the first urban function", were to occupy the best sites, with m i n i m u m exposure to
the sun and a fixed density, using modern b u i l d i n g technology to build high,
widely spaced apartment blocks a w a y from traffic thoroughfares. A s for recreation,
it asked for clearance of slums, devoting their sites to open spaces and recreational
purposes. Workplaces were to b e located in special zones, industrial zones to b e
separated from the residential areas by green b a n d s or neutral z o n e s , and central
business districts to be linked to industrial and residential areas. Transport
problems were to be solved b y a universal use of motorized transportation, and a
new street system was to b e classified according to the function and speed of
movement in the streets. Traffic w a s to b e concentrated in the great arteries,
separated from the buildings of all kind by green b a n d s .
These images of ideal, ordered environments w e r e so powerful that the public
authorities, with whatever ideology, and the private sector developers all
subscribed to them. A Soviet writer, for e x a m p l e , imagines the c o m m u n i s t city of
the future along similar patterns:

Imagine, reader, that we are ivalking with you doxvn one of the streets of the future city. There
are wide, well-lit thoroughfares which nowhere cross each other at the same level; hurrying
automobiles, resembling rockets, pass by us at great speed. You have noticed that they do not
raise any dust, for the streets are absolutely clean; as a system of drawing off dirt by suction,
binlt directly into the roadway, solves this problem rather well. Look how freely the great
buildings are placed amidst gardens and parks. Only in a section preserved from the old city like
Figure 7.4. Ornament was rejected for simplicity and functionalism. {Bauhaus, Dessau, a museum rarity does there remain a few blocks of closely bunched houses . ..
Germany) (Photograph by Simin Davoudi) The city freely and deeply breathes zvith each part of its great lungs, for there is not a single '
corner which does not receive plenty of fresh air and life-giving sunshine. Yoji see around you
not only the grandeur of the city and of nature, but, what is most important, the splendid
people, with traits of high nobility and good breeding, proud ivorking people of the neiv society,
c a l c u l a t i o n s " , a n d t h e r e f o r e c a p a b l e of achieving " h a r m o n y " (Figure 7.4). This
of the new life.
praise for the simplicity of f o r m and functionalism of engineering technology is
(Lifanov, quoted in Gilison,1975:158-159)
evident in his C o n t e m p o r a r y C i t y . A s w e a p p r o a c h it in our fast car, w e see "the
repetition a g a i n s t the s k y of t w e n t y four sky-scrapers", and " l o w buildings of a
The d r e a m was similarly powerful in the West, where the post-war period saw
horizontal k i n d " , l e a d i n g the e y e to the trees (Le Corbusier,1971: 177). When this
large-scale urban transformation schemes to c a r v e u p the cities in these new images.
m o d e l is a p p l i e d in a c o n c r e t e situation, as in the " V o i s i n " scheme for the centre of
The Second World War provided a decisive occasion for the M o d e r n M o v e m e n t
Paris, the result is,
concepts to spread around the world, especially in the European cities large parts
. . . instead of a flattened-oul and jumbled city such as the airplane reveals to us for the first of which had been devastated b y the war. In Britain, urban fabrics were largely
time, terrifying in its confusion . . , our city rises vertical to the sky, open to light and air, clear seen as a remainder of the polluted and congested industrial cities of the Victorian
and radiant and sparkling. The soil, of xvhose surface 70 to 80 per cent has till now been period (Briggs,1968), as ugly structures to be demolished (Burns,1963;
encumbered by closely packed houses, is tww built over to the extent of a mere 5 per cent. The Holliday,1973). Moreover, the inter-war b u i l d i n g boom had created the much-
remaining 95 per cent is devoted to the main speedways, car parks and open spaces. The avenues
debated urban sprawl and ribbon development (HaU,1975; Gibson &
of trees are doubled ami quadrupled, and the parks at the foot of the sky-scrapers do, in fact,
make the city itself one vast garden. Langstaff,1982). These issues had caused a concern for the re-planning of towns
(Le Corbusier,1971: 280-281) (RIBA,1943), in order to build a "rationally p l a n n e d , more egalitarian brave n e w
post-war w o r l d " (Ambrose,1986: 36).
\,
The post-war generation accepted redevelopment as a w a y of re-shaping the
A g r o u p of a v a n t - g a r d e architects and town planners, called C I A M (International
cities and towns. Attacking slums had already started in the preceding two decades.
C o n g r e s s for M o d e r n A r c h i t e c t u r e ) , elaborated these urban visions and presented
This was especially the case w h e r e they faced two apparently major problems:
them as the C h a r t e r of A t h e n s in 1933. For C I A M , town planning was "the
traffic congestion and worn out physical structures. It was argued that, "if we are to
organization of the f u n c t i o n s o f collective life", and the city performed four main
have any chance of living at peace with the m o t o r car, we shall need a different sort
functions: d w e l l i n g , w o r k , recreation and transportation, the latter connecting the
of city". One influential solution w a s to t r a n s f o r m the city into a cellular structure
others (Sert,1944; 242). T h e C h a r t e r asked for a radical transformation of these
consisting of environmental areas set within interlacing distributionary highways
functions a l o n g the lines L e C o r b u s i e r had described in his plans. T h e dwellings.
192 Design of Urban Space Images of Perfection 193

(Buchanan et al.,'1963: 4 1 - 4 2 ) . T h e trust in technology (Crosby,1967), which was The aesthetic as image, representing fasiiionable tastes, became indispensable to tiie economy of
serial repetition. Museums became totalized environments selling culture through their shops,
manifest in plug-in cities ( R o w e & Koetter,1978), helped to develop a trend
restaurants, condominiums, and gigantic extravaganzas. The recycling of old market areas of
towards comprehensive redevelopment to create modernized "total environments" the city, waterfronts and river fronts, main streets, frontier towns, whatever historic inoutd
(Gibson & Langstaff,1982: 4 2 ) . In the older parts of the town centres, any could be found - these became the background environments or containers for neio shopping
arrangement could be questioned, "the street layout, the general distribution of malls and food-oriented entertainment zones. These culture markets produced secondary effects
major uses, even the traditional size or location of the centre" (Ministry of as well. The neiv professional classes expected to be entertained ivhile they shopped, so that more
and more money was diverted to the decoration of faddish boutiques, luxurious restaurant
Housing,1962: 2). People who Uved in slums w e r e regarded as those with "no interiors, refurbished department stores, pliantasmagoric hotel, theatre, shoppir.g contaiiiers
initiative or civic pride . . . satisfied with their miserable environment" whose untd the city took the appearance of a gigantic spectacle. This aestheticization of everyday life,
groupings had to be broken (Burns,1963: 94). Proximity to others w a s seen as their the spreading out of designed environments, had another effect as well: the further
main desire (Tuan,1977: 63). W h a t replaced the old structures w e r e large-scale, fragmentation and hierarchicalization of urban space into luxury and non-luxiiry areas.

high-rise office blocks and h o u s i n g schemes, a n d supermarkets, the latter (Boyer,]990: 107)
reflecting the change in retail i n d u s t r y as well as the modernist concepts of space
and land use.