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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

City Design - Response to Replies

Edward, I'm glad you understand that I'm not criticizing the pursuit of insight, inspiration and art in regional and urban design, architecture or city planning. I'm simply trying to build a better foundation to justify the effort and decisions taken. I expected the reaction to any form of mathematical forecasting, but I'm not sure the critics understand how difficult it is to convince others when opinion is your only argument. This is particularly true when opposing opinion is in the majority - or in control.

Architecture needs an approach that addresses our quality of life before it can claim public benefit in the 21st century. At this point, the public may proclaim its excellence. Until then, it will have to congratulate itself. Energy conservation is a step in the right direction, but its connection to public welfare is too abstract. We must learn to think outside the box. 

The health of occupants and the safety of construction are taken for granted, and this is a testimony to the success of many in the preceding centuries. Welfare, or sustainable quality of life, is the new frontier. It has physical, social, psychological and economic dimensions that we have not begun to measure because a common yardstick has been missing. The yardstick is intensity. It affects our quality of life within the built environment. This environment, in turn, cannot exceed the limits of a Built Domain we have not defined. The gifts of instinct and intuition are telling us, however, that we cannot exceed these limits without threatening the life support provided by our host, The Natural Domain. A better understanding of intensity will help us learn to live within limits that will be enforced if not perceived.

Intensity is defined using context measurement and forecast using design specification templates in forecast models selected from a portfolio of options. I’ve discussed this in previous essays and more extensively on my blog. It is also the subject of the second edition of my book and software. References to all of this information can be found in my profile.

Accurate research, measurement, evaluation and comparison help to build knowledge that contributes to convincing arguments. After working on the measurement and forecasting system for years, the HOW you mention seems fairly obvious, but that’s because I’m too close to the subject. It would take too long to explain, but the architecture of city design is part of a sustainable solution that future generations will seek in their attempt to adapt and survive. It also represents employment opportunities when the field is recognized. Architects are uniquely qualified to participate when they learn to use the tools required to build knowledge that can support the decisions of talent.


"City Design is intrinsically the venue of "Form Follow Function" ala Mies and Corbu, no matter how you slice it or define it." 


In the case of cities, when form follows function without restraint; the result will be a plague of population consuming the planet to shelter and feed its activity. We have even named the plague. It's called sprawl.

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