Urban Design History
Urban designs are the art of designing regions for people. It is considered one of the fundamental elements of urban planning especially for compact and highly dynamic cities in the world. Urban design is concerned with the visual impact of the building masses, places and connections with individuals as well as the urban amenities within the public realm including the process of enhancing the entire townscape.
The prospects of urban design entail a framework for physical and spatial organization and components of contracted forms as well as their three main dimensional relationships in the surrounding spaces for the realization of an aesthetic and other social-cultural attributes. The direction in which urban design takes is therefore mainly influenced by the social-economic and cultural aspects of the residents. As a result, it is very important for individuals and the general party of stakeholders to understand the framework underpinning the development of an urban design from the perspective of the social-economic aspects that surrounds the city development.
The city’s spatial structure demonstrates the relationships and discipline between land uses and the physical elements within the city. Such a structure us established in the space of urban set up as well as form the product of forces leveraging the city in general for a period of time. Nevertheless, there are different experts that focus on the issue of urban development differently. For instance, Christopher Alexander posits that the constructions of cities in general may be divided into both core and non-core divisions. As a result, this forms a major part of the vertebral column of a city and also constitutes the foundation of the city stability, identity, progress and meaning attached to it. This implies that the core structure attached to a city development prospect is charged with transferring the message of the city to the citizens as well as non-residents.
Other sections of the city that comprises of the non-core parts are perceived to be the surroundings for demonstrating freedom, diversity and change. In some instances, such constituents also demonstrate authority. In this context, considering urban natural elements and artificial surroundings of human species, individuals can be potentially capable of connecting with the city structure which is a major trait of the respective urban forms. The main structure underlying a city also entails such elements that are essential pillars of communication such as public buildings, open spaces and other elements that constitute a fully-fledged city that forms an interconnected network of residents. Many studies have focused on new ideals that have been devised in the global architectural segments that continue to face significant success or failure across different global cities.
Environmental Aesthetics in Urban Design
From a theoretical perspective regarding aesthetic theories, there are three distinct groups which entail: pre-modern, modern and the post-modern categories. In the pre-modern category, it dates back before renaissance which is a period of time when art works were service religion purposes. Such arts were purported to be traditional arts. In this context there were less creativity and innovation that characterized their development and planning process. Although times has passed and many changes have occurred in the architectural world, many aspects remains critical to these advances including the advances in the mechanical world that has facilitated locomotion across the cities and beyond. In the latter period, artists were also limited in their imagination and could not exclusively express their imaginations. The natural beauty is a characteristic prior to the artistic deliberations and creative beauty.
The adoption of new ideas in the development of a city is critical to both current and future generations. The impacts of new developments can be manipulated by increased demands focus on long-term benefits to the residents and non-residents based practical benchmarks of the practices. In essence, the adoption of ‘Main Street’ framework of city designs is critical in enhancing the performance of a city development prospects. However, the adoption of the program can be successful based on the nature of reception by the city community. If the community is well informed regarding the internationally acclaimed benefits of the Main Streets, the execution of new designs involving Main Street is easily achievable. For instance, the organization of the downtown shopping complex is ideal for enhanced comfort of shoppers in their daily or frequent shopping experiences.
In the modern beauty era, the traditions were expelled and every aspect of urban designs is subjected to potential renewal. The renewing begins with the development of new territories for the human species. The human thinking in the modern category is also characterized with self-centered approaches, objective thinking, individual intuitions, rational thinking as well as emotionalism. These attributes are products of creativity and innovations which culminates in attaching values to the integrity and independence of work. Within the context of modern aesthetics, Frank Lloyd and Le Corbusier are the most renowned contemporary architects. In this domain, beauty is regarded as a proportional demonstration of color, forms and lines. The proportion regarded in this case is honest and forms a display of eternal designs. In essence, these aspects constitute new ideals developed in cities just like the Main Street developments in Kpone city.
Postmodern Urban Landscape
On the other hand, the postmodern era also focus on plurality which denies credit to the independent nature of service delivery that takes an artistic issues including social-political status and finally injects the aesthetic values of art works to the end. The post-modern beauty is also plural case of beauty which is effective as a cultural taste and divergent impressions of a city’s good life it offers to the residents and visitors. However, in the present times where capitalism has prevailed in many regions worldwide with regard to environment and human lives, the aesthetic values are neglected due to economic relationships as well as due to the existence a benefit-seeking attitude to the natural and artificial environments of the people. In essence, the environmental aesthetic is also a conceptual framework that should not be merely limited to ethics, places and spiritual inclinations but executed through a social, political and economical perspective.
Environmental ethics also entails multi-sense and widespread engagements between individuals and the environment which is critical in city designs. Within the context of environmental aesthetic, a sublime perception reaching a peak, the experiences of beauty may be strong and comprising of invaluable mental stimulations. Within this context, beauty may be considered a usual and routine pleasure within human surrounding the highest levels of environments characterized with complexity, integrity and mystery. Inferring to Whitehead’s aesthetic theory, it is stated that diversity of forms alongside quality of comparative magnification and intensity that does not require different qualities are capable of generating strong environment.
In environmental aesthetic, qualities of complexity, mystery and integrity are combined to provide a specific implication of beauty and sublimes human environment. With regard to this framework, it has been projected that there is a strong connection between place, architecture and cultural aspects that it subscribes to. Besides, it is also believed that the experiences of a given region are the experiences of the actual meanings of a place as well as the experience pertaining to the beauty of an environment as an appreciation of the actual meaning position. Space and time are also envisioned as the basis for understanding an environment. As a result, all the latter elements are credited with enhancing the beauty of a region and therefore shape the manifestation of the best-placed procedures of city designs.
In the context of normal theory regarding a good form of city, the inadequacy of different aspects such as harmony, diversity and present orders within an object or landscape are quite essential components that should be inculcated in developing a city framework as far as the local population is concerned. In order to design a ‘good city’ therefore, one must begin by considering the cognitive images and priorities of the city residents in order to manifest the individuals and place at large. This perspective envisioning the designing of a city is fundamental to the development of an effective city framework. Collective memories and other semantic measures useful in the achievement of pleasure of environment and conceptualizing the beauty of the environment are very essential in the long-run as far as city development is concerned. From the perspective of environmental aesthetic, the urban space is also beautiful in the adoption of aesthetic criteria involved in the construction which implies that urban designing refer to the actual creation of a magnificent urban space.
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