Placemaking - An Urban Design Methodology
Derek Thomas Architect and Environmental Planner-SA
PLACEMAKING An Urban Design Methodology Author: Derek Thomas Publisher: Routledge Research in Planning and Urban Design Series 2016 The rise of urbanisation in Africa, and exceeding seven billion people globally, places pressure on governments to confront new paradigms for urban living. In the process existing urban populations experience cultural transformation, necessitating a greater demand on urban space to diversify. Engagement with the urban dweller requires more meaningful processes that deliver implementable outcomes for policy-making. This implies a democratisation of the design and planning of the urban space through the canvassing of stakeholder perceptions, the urban dwellers themselves. Community participation properly facilitated could inform planning policy, extending beyond pure database capture. This book presents a design and planning tool using a demonstrated methodology where the qualitative expectations of the urban dweller can, through a form of quantification, offer direction in terms of any urban design and planning brief. Planning tools available today for shaping the urban spatial character have generally relied largely on mapping, matrices, index and modelling. Public participation on the other hand has not been given recognition its deserves despite the invaluable clues that can be gleaned from such engagement. Issues which touch on productive urban living include the need for privacy, social encounter, safety, self-identity, sense of belonging, economic opportunity, recreation and access to nature. These variables can be distributed to a greater or lesser degree within the urban open space network Other variables, such as lifecycle nuances, personal priorities relating to age and sex, economic and physical factors generally, environmental attitudes, and political mechanisms in both the developed and developing worlds provide valuable insight into the changing world view. The constructive transformation of these variables into practical application requires innovative methods for the burgeoning urban environments to accommodate the expectations of a new urban world. A starting point is to identify the universal cultural needs of the urban dweller from a personal to a public level of mutual engagement and with the urban environment itself. Other essential elements include the spatial characteristics of the site, form of habitation, climate, and cultural preference that are normally legible in older cities, towns and villages and that remain relevant for the shaping of modern urban environments. The content is supported by illustrations that exemplify typical social space. The matrix methdology in this book, has the potential to incorporate both specialist and lay opinion through a ranking of importance the attributes of a public space. The procedure uses a polling method to coordinate the the preference ratings of both the end-user and the expertise of the specialist to derive planning and design primers for the public domain, based on socio-cultural variables and location. From the outcome the urban design and planning practitioner is enabled to convert the planning primers into planning actions. For this purpose in the last chapter a virtual source book brings together the research of numerous commentators on good practice and other aspects for shaping the urban environment and the multi-facetted cognitive associations it holds for urban populations.
3 word address features
DEMOCRATISE To bring about a transformation in policy through an equitable procedure of engagement with all interested and affected parties, urban dwellers, urban design practitioners and local authorities. URBAN Pertaining to a city or a town environments as distinct from rural in terms of human settlement. SPACE Settlement configuration in terms of planned land use and spatial structure arising from to cultural and social functions.
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