Articles on Urban design

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Kansir/flickr

The mall isn’t dead – it’s just changing

The mall's inventor, Victor Gruen, envisioned thriving hubs of civic activity, rather than bland, asphalt-enclosed shopping centers. Is his original vision now being realized – or further corrupted?
We need to find new ways to deal with the complexity of modern cities and make them better. from www.shutterstock.com

Cities are complex systems – let’s start looking at them that way

There are very few approaches that examine all aspects of the complexity of urban design and development. Ergonomics, human factors and sociotechnical systems methods offer a way forward.
While many urban design guidelines include ambience as a required ‘city quality’, few provide ways to achieve it. Ayrcan/flickr

Unlocking the secrets of street ambience

Ambience is a result of a whole range of processes and physical objects. We can use a systems approach to examine and describe what needs to be done to achieve such a subjective quality in a street.
The opera house is raised on a terraced platform, away from the shore like an island amphitheatre. Terence Wong from www.shutterstock.com

Why the Sydney Opera House is a little overcooked

Construction should have stopped once the roofs were erected. Any citizen could then have walked up to the terraced amphitheatre, sat down and gazed back at the country from this shrine to the nation.
How will it fit in? Every new development should consider the existing neighbourhood character. Tod Jones

When gentrification lacks empathy: a case study

The Melbourne suburb of Richmond is prime inner-city real estate, but the community is paying a price for redevelopment that jars with the existing neighbourhood.
Footpaths in Japan are built with bumpy guide-strips so vision impaired pedestrians can get around with ease.

The archaeology of polite society

From high chairs in public bathrooms to handbag baskets in cafes, Japan is a considerate place. Australia can learn from a society where material culture acts as a reminder to be aware of the needs of others.
A quirk in the planning rules enabled the Primaries Warehouse in Fremantle to be redeveloped as a model of progressive higher-density design. Stuart Smith/Panoramio

Reinventing density: bending the rules can help stop urban sprawl

Exceptional projects can emerge when regulations are sensibly relaxed due to context. A Fremantle project is a model of progressive higher-density possibilities resulting from flexible planning rules.
More than cluster of people and buildings, urbanity is a concentration of encounters and connections. Diliff/Wikimedia Commons

What makes a city tick? Designing the ‘urban DMA’

We're still in the early days of understanding how cities work. But we do know that creative, healthy and productive cities have certain things in common - and it's all to do with their 'urban DMA'.
Connecting cities should serve all citizens, not just a few. Illustration via shutterstock.com

How to ensure smart cities benefit everyone

Design will make the difference between smart city projects offering great promise or actually reinforcing or even widening the existing gaps in unequal ways their cities serve residents.

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