Monday, March 16, 2009

The Needs of Contemporary Urbanism and the Missing Rules of Smart Growth*

Here, I will offer a new perspective on urbanism. I seek to effect change in the ways that urbanists, policy makers, and local planners design our cities and towns.

Many disciplines, particularly scientific fields, have been experiencing continual growth and development for several decades. It would seem that they have anticipated the arrival of a new century, a new millennium, a new era and have prepared themselves well to participate in revolutionary advances. Urban design, on the other hand, seems to be constantly looking backwards for ideas about design for the present, depending on pre-World War II theories and dismissing over half a century of progress and development. Instead of simply duplicating the plans of our ancestors, it is the time for us to make a step forward into this new era? We should finally begin to develop our living spaces to meet the requirements of the twenty-first century.

Neighborhoods are shaped in various ways depending upon the residents’ needs, desires, traditions and the environmental concerns. Therefore, any community planning should be organized into seven layers which are the proposed rules of Contemporary, Forward Urbanism:

  1. Zoning Layer--residential, educational, commercial, and public service facilities as well as new and necessary facilities such as senior service centers, media centers, technical service points, heating and cooling points and finally green spaces and environmental protection centers.
  2. Residents’ universe layer which includes the residents’ movement network and the urban furniture as it is related to a universal design for children as well as senior and physically challenged residents.
  3. “Transportation” decision layer, which will be used to link the project with various modes of transportation. Though the means used for traveling to and from communities is a major issue on the planning level, we should think of connecting all the neighbourhoods using original ideas that could affect the development of the transportation system itself.
  4. The site environmental and sustainable dimensions’ layer. Every site has its advantages and disadvantages, which necessitates a unique design plan as well as using the best energy that site can sustain.
  5. The traditional and cultural elements of the region layer. Local arts and cultures need to be reflected and implemented in the master design.
  6. Up-to-date reflection layer. The necessity of reflecting the era in which a building or city is built, because every period has its basic necessities, requirements, and priorities.
  7. The concept of "life cycle" analysis of the neighbourhood. This layer should include detailed reports on the lifetime costs of new communities. This type of study really reveals the long-term savings of intelligent new growth policies and processes.

The mentioned rules are the tools that could be the links between contemporary urban theories and future theories. Where the ideal future communities should be more diverse, more organized, and better connected. And the ability to reflect the new dimensions on several projects, new communities, Infill, development and redevelopment projects.

*I did some minor changes on the original paper to fit into my blog

No comments:

Post a Comment