"A hundred years after we are gone and forgotten, those who never heard of us will be living with the results of our actions."
– Oliver Wendell Holmes
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The Elements of Urban Design
Learn more about the different components that both influence and create Urban Design strategies.
Development projects have a big impact both on the area surrounding the development site and on the entire city in general, especially when the function and tenants of a development are considered as well.
Infrastructure plays a crucial role in the function of cities from the design and function of the electrical grid to the water distribution systems, and so on.
Understanding what economies drive a town or could drive a town is very important. Look at L.A. and it's film economy or San Francisco and its Technology economy for example.
The world we live in today is incredibly globalized and understanding the impact that a town has on national and global systems and the impact that global systems, such as shipping have on a town are crucial to creating an urban design strategy.
A main goal of urban design is to create a higher quality of life, so understanding the health problems and/or health care advantages of towns helps us to maximize a design.
The people/community are the main client of any urban design strategy, so understanding the demographics, social issues, etc. of a community are of the upmost importance in creating a successful strategy.
Just like development, architecture can either be helpful or detrimental to a community, so creating good design guidelines and zoning for communities is important to ensure that bad architecture can't be created that will harm a town.
Information/Data is at the core of what we do. Gathering as much data as possible and making sure it's valuable data is what allows us to then create the most informed decisions and strategies we can. Everything from GIS data, to census information, and so on.
The built world and the environment should be able to coexist and have a balance, without one impeding on the other. Therefore, it's important to know what environmental aspects/benefits a town might have or might be able to benefit from.
Location, location, location! It's true in real estate and it's true in urban design. Understanding everything from a project's site and its relationship to the rest of the town, to surrounding towns, and beyond is key in creating a good urban design.
Politics obviously plays a big role in every part of life. It is the overarching framework that we live our lives within, so understanding what the laws are, working with politicians to change laws and know what new laws might be coming or are important to them is a big part of an urban design strategy.
How people and goods get around is a major influence on cities, so understanding how transportation is being used now and recognizing areas that could be tapped into or maximized is usually a core aspect of any strategy.
Take a look at the crazy, but true, facts that show just how necessary Urban Design strategies are and will increasingly be in the future.
"We will neglect our cities to our peril, for in neglecting them we neglect the nation."
- John F. Kennedy
World Population Living in Urban Areas
U.S. Population Living in Urban Areas
"Each additional hour spent in a car per day was associated with a 6% increase in the odds of being obese, while each additional kilometer walked per day was associated with a 4.8% reduction in the odds of being obese."
– R.E.Andersen, 2003; U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1996
U.S. Rural Population
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