Introduction to Urban Design and Community Planning

Topics: Urban design, Aesthetics, Art Pages: 11 (3820 words) Published: July 14, 2013
URBAN DESIGN concerns the arrangement, appearance and functionality of towns and cities, and in particular the shaping and uses of urban public space. It has traditionally been regarded as a disciplinary subset of urban planning, landscape architecture, or architecture and in more recent times has been linked to emergent disciplines such as landscape urbanism. However, with its increasing prominence in the activities of these disciplines, it is better conceptualized as a design practice that operates at the intersection of all three, and requires a good understanding of a range of others besides, such as real estate development, urban economics, political economy and social theory. Urban design theory deals primarily with the design and management of public space (i.e. the 'public environment', 'public realm' or 'public domain'), and the way public places are experienced and used. Public space includes the totality of spaces used freely on a day-to-day basis by the general public, such as streets, plazas, parks and public infrastructure. Some aspects of privately owned spaces, such as building facades or domestic gardens, also contribute to public space and are therefore also considered by urban design theory. Important writers on, and advocates for, urban design theory include Christopher Alexander, Michael E. Arth, Edmund Bacon, Ian Bentley, Peter Calthorpe, Alex Krieger, Gordon Cullen, Andres Duany, Jane Jacobs, Jan Gehl, Kevin Lynch, Roger Montgomery, Aldo Rossi, Colin Rowe, Robert Venturi, William H. Whyte, Bill Hillier, and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk. While the two fields are closely related, 'urban design' differs from 'urban planning' in its focus on physical improvement of the public environment, whereas the latter tends, in practice, to focus on the management of private development through established planning methods and programs, and other statutory development controls. COMMUNITY PLANNING is a forward planning process, which identifies human and material resources and puts in place potential response system. It involves active participation from the people residing in that locality in making decision about the implementation of processes, programmed and projects, which affect them. In other words, a community plan is a list of activities a neighborhood, community or a group of people agree to follow to prevent loss of life, livelihoods and property in case of warning or a disaster. The Plan identifies in advance action to be taken by individuals, in the community so that each one knows what to do when a warning is received or when a disaster strikes. The major thrust is to address possible scenario of an event and focus on the impact the humanitarian operations.



Until the 1970s, urban designers had taken little account of the needs of people with disabilities. At that time, disabled people began to form movements demanding recognition of their potential contribution if social obstacles were removed. Disabled people challenged the 'medical model' of disability which saw physical and mental problems as an individual 'tragedy' and people with disabilities as 'brave' for enduring them. They proposed instead a 'social model' which said that barriers to disabled people result from the design of the built environment and attitudes of able-bodied people. 'Access Groups' were established composed of people with disabilities who audited their local areas, checked planning applications and made representations for improvements. The new profession of 'access officer' was established around that time to produce guidelines based on the recommendations of access groups and to oversee adaptations to existing buildings as well as to check on the accessibility of new proposals. Many local authorities now employ access officers who are regulated by the Access Association. A new chapter of the Building...
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