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13 Facts About Urban Design

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Urban design is the process of designing and shaping the physical features of cities, towns and villages and planning for the provision of municipal services to residents and visitors.

A city is a large and permanent human settlement.

Urban Design for Successful Cities: Alexandros Washburn at TEDxEQChCh by TEDx Talks

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In contrast to architecture, which focuses on the design of individual buildings, urban design deals with the larger scale of groups of buildings, streets and public spaces, whole neighborhoods and districts, and entire cities, with the goal of making urban areas functional, attractive, and sustainable.

A building, or edifice, is a structure with a roof and walls standing more or less permanently in one place, such as a house or factory.

Architecture is both the process and the product of planning, designing, and constructing buildings and other physical structures.

An architect is someone who plans, designs, and reviews the construction of buildings.

Architecture & urban design: Roy Strickland at TEDxEmbryRiddle by TEDx Talks

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Urban design is an inter-disciplinary field that utilizes elements of many built environment professions, including landscape architecture, urban planning, architecture, civil engineering and municipal engineering.

Urban planning is a technical and political process concerned with the development and design of land use and the built environment, including air, water, and the infrastructure passing into and out of urban areas, such as transportation, communications, and distribution networksand the provision of municipal services to residents and visitors.

A civil engineer is a person who practices civil engineering – the application of planning, designing, constructing, maintaining, and operating infrastructures while protecting the public and environmental health, as well as improving existing infrastructures that have been neglected.

Civil engineering is a professional engineering discipline that deals with the design, construction, and maintenance of the physical and naturally built environment, including works like roads, bridges, canals, dams, and buildings.

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It is common for professionals in all these disciplines to practice urban design.

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In more recent times different sub-subfields of urban design have emerged such as strategic urban design, landscape urbanism, water-sensitive urban design, and sustainable urbanism.

Water-sensitive urban design is a land planning and engineering design approach which integrates the urban water cycle, including stormwater, groundwater and wastewater management and water supply, into urban design to minimise environmental degradation and improve aesthetic and recreational appeal.

Sustainable urbanism is both the study of cities and the practices to build them urbanism that focus on promoting their long term viability by reducing consumption, waste and harmful impacts on people and place while enhancing the overall well being of both people and place.

Landscape urbanism is a theory of urban planning arguing that the best way to organize cities is through the design of the city's landscape, rather than the design of its buildings.

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Urban design demands an understanding of a wide range of subjects from physical geography to social science, and an appreciation for disciplines, such as real estate development, urban economics, political economy and social theory.

Real estate development, or property development, is a business process, encompassing activities that range from the renovation and re-lease of existing buildings to the purchase of raw land and the sale of developed land or parcels to others.

Urban economics is broadly the economic study of urban areas; as such, it involves using the tools of economics to analyze urban issues such as crime, education, public transit, housing, and local government finance.

Political economy is a term used for studying production and trade, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth.

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Urban design is about making connections between people and places, movement and urban form, nature and the built fabric.

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Urban design draws together the many strands of place-making, environmental stewardship, social equity and economic viability into the creation of places with distinct beauty and identity.

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Urban design draws these and other strands together creating a vision for an area and then deploying the resources and skills needed to bring the vision to life.

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Urban design theory deals primarily with the design and management of public space, and the way public places are experienced and used.

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Public space includes the totality of spaces used freely on a day-to-day basis by the general public, such as streets, plazas, parks and public infrastructure.

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Some aspects of privately owned spaces, such as building facades or domestic gardens, also contribute to public space and are therefore also considered by urban design theory.

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Important writers on urban design theory include Christopher Alexander, Peter Calthorpe, Gordon Cullen, Andres Duany, Jane Jacobs, Mitchell Joachim, Jan Gehl, Allan B. Jacobs, Kevin Lynch, Aldo Rossi, Colin Rowe, Robert Venturi, William H. Whyte, Camillo Sitte, Bill Hillier and Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk.

Colin Rowe, was a British-born, American-naturalised architectural historian, critic, theoretician, and teacher; acknowledged as a major intellectual influence on world architecture and urbanism in the second half of the twentieth century and beyond, particularly in the fields of city planning, regeneration, and urban design.

Jan Gehl Hon. FAIA is a Danish architect and urban design consultant based in Copenhagen whose career has focused on improving the quality of urban life by re-orienting city design towards the pedestrian and cyclist.

Robert Charles Venturi Jr. was an American architect, founding principal of the firm Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, and one of the major architectural figures of the twentieth century.

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