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The Theoretical Critique

Warwick H Hatfull / n5728347

Waldheim Shane Foucault Lynch

This paper does not intend to simply regurgitate four Urban Design theories, but to critically evaluate and investigate these theories and their usefulness in creating a better urban form; an urban form being, an urban environment designed for the individual, the person. An urban environment that is sustainable, adaptable, and resilient, in relation to climate change and global warming. (The key themes of this unit). The four Urban Design theories being investigated here are; 1. Landscape Urbanism by (Waldheim 2006) 2. Recombinant Urbanism by (G. Shane 2005) 3. Heterotopias from (Foucalt 1984) 4. The Image of the City: The city image and its elements by (Lynch 1960) The essential key principles of the theories will be discussed and reviewed; they will then be critically evaluated discussing both the strengths and short comings of the theories in relation to their ability to create a better / improved urban form. Parts of these theories will be extracted ultimately providing a framework or at the minimum a theoretical base to inform the Urban Design interventions, on the study site of the Spit, situated on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Warwick Hatfull/Brisbane/GHD/AU

The first theory being examined is that of Landscape Urbanism from Waldheim (2006). The theory or basic principles that compose Landscape Urbanism as Weller (2008) discusses in his Article Landscape (sub) urbanism in theory and practice; (or what landscape urbanism claims to do) include within the purview of design all that is in the landscapeinfrastructure and buildings, etc., and shuffle across scales so as to bridge the divides between landscape design, landscape ecology, and landscape planning bring greater creativity to planning operations and greater rationality to design operations conceptualize and then directly engage the city and its landscape as a hybridised, natural, chaotic ecology emphasize the creative and temporal agency of ecology in the formation of urban life as opposed to envisaging an ideal equilibrium between two entities formerly known as culture and nature understand and manipulate the forces at work behind things and less with the resultant aesthetic qualities of things interpret and then represent landscape systems so that these systems can in turn influence urban forms, processes, and patterns Prefer open-ended (indeterminate and catalytic) design strategies as opposed to formal compositions and master plans 1.

time and space. Refer Figure 1 Landscape Urbanism vs. Traditional Landscape Architecture. The theories and principles of landscape urbanism have many positives. The encouragement of creating programs of design rather than detail design is an interesting facet, creating strategies allows and encourages the design to evolve in time and space, creating an ever transforming landscape, that is largely natural. Refer Figure 2 & 3 Time & Space. By having programs instead of detail design, it also enables the multi use of a space, not only multi use, but free use / free choice of the individual. You can program for so many certain uses, (as we try to do as designers) but the user will ultimately choose the final use of a space based on their needs and wants. This is an essential ingredient in the creation of a successful public people space as Marcus & Francis (1998) discuss in their book People Places: Design guidelines for urban open space. Refer Figure 4 Use. A successful example of this is Hampstead Heath in London, with its seasonal, travelling carnivals, sporting events and clubs, disorganized fireworks displays on Guy Fawkes Day, and tradition of healthy walks, bicycling races, nude sunbathing, and swimming (not to mention youth gang fights and open gay activities) operates in this way within the dense surrounding urban fabric of the inner city 2. As Waldheim (2006) has discussed, landscape urbanism theory is largely centered on a collaborative approach, with experts of all fields, coming together, to create a designed

Essentially Landscape Urbanism, both in theory and design (although only a limited few exist, this is one of the short comings discussed later in this article) emphasize the importance of open ended design strategies, and programs, that allow a design to build and evolve in both

(Weller 2008)

(G. Shane 2003)

program that holds the knowledge of a 1000 men. Refer figure 5 Collaborative Approach. One of the most important aspects of Landscape Urbanism is its ability to understand the greater context of which any project may sit. It aims to understand what systems are operating on a local, regional and even global scale, and how this relates not just to the project site but surrounds, locally, regionally and globally in some cases. Refer Figure 6 Systems. As is evident in many key Landscape Urbanist constructed projects (only a few exist), nature is used as a design tool. In West 8s Shell project, these surfaces form parallel strips of shoulders along the highway connecting the constructed islands of the east Scheldt storm tide barrier. This project organizes an ecology of natural selection 3.This allows the users of the space a greater knowledge or insight into how ecological systems operate, by increasing knowledge, and raising awareness, through design programs. The landscape itself is a medium through which all ecological transactions must pass; it is the infrastructure of the future 4. It can be said that Landscape Urbanism theories and projects inspire, which is what we as designers all aim to, inspire the greater public with our designs. Landscape Urbanism has many short comings: in itself it is not a place making or place creating device, it is a program that can help devise change in an already operating centre / or system. This system must have an existing social structure, employment and an operating economy. The centre does not have to be
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hugely successful just have these ingredients. Landscape Urbanism is not a catalyst for social or economic change, just environmental change, which has the ability to help change both the social and economic structure, but this has yet to be realised in reality. With Landscape Urbanisms strong and large focus on ecological systems and flows it is important to note that cities, suburbs, villages and communities are largely dictated by economic flows, which help shape the urban form as much as anything else. This not to say that the ecological flows cannot dictate the urban form, but in the current economic climate (2011), this way of thinking is hard to sell to clients. Purely from a feasibility point of view, the client (usual) wants to see an overall design, a marketing graphic that can be reproduced over and over to largely increase their own economic gain. Landscape Urbanism prefers open-ended (indeterminate and catalytic) design strategies as opposed to formal compositions and master plans 5.Herein lies the problem, or opportunity, the client or public need to have a change of attitude and understanding, which Landscape Urbanism could provide, but is yet to be seen. Landscape Urbanism is a great tool, yet not an overall scheme. As we have seen in New York, the thinking of Landscape Urbanism can be used as a retrofitting tool. The High Line is arguably a project based on strong landscape urbanism principles. (Refer Figure 7 & 8). But it must be remembered that this site originally existed as a source of economic revenue. Landscape Urbanism cannot yet stand alone, as a way of changing the urban fabric; it must sit

(Waldheim 2006) (Waldheim 2006)

(Weller 2008)

with and complement a variety of other theories. If Landscape Urbanism can help in recolonizing the deserted city of Detroit via four designed programs, it will be of major significance; They advocate a four-stage decommissioning of land from the citys legal control: Dislocation (disconnection of services), then Erasure (demolition and jumpstarting the native landscape ecology by dropping appropriate seeds from the air), then Absorption (ecological reconstitution of part of the Zone as woods, marshes, and streams), and then Infiltration (the recolonization of the landscape with heteropic village- like enclaves) 6. If this is achievable, it will be a heroic example, Detroit is a place of potential action 7.As discussed earlier, there also needs to be strong economic development along with the Landscape Urbanism theories, which is one of the short comings of the theory, as the economic element is not addressed. The amount of built or realised examples that have been built and programmed based on the theory of Landscape Urbanism are few, the same three projects, are cited over and over. As discussed by Shane (2003) All of Landscape Urbanisms triumphs so far have been in such marginal and unbuilt locations. These range from Victoria Marshall and Steven Tupus premiated design for ecological mudflats, dunes, canals, and ramps into the water in the Van Alen East River Competition (1998), which would have simultaneously solved the garbage disposal problem of New York and reconstituted the Brooklyn side of the East
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River as an ecology to be enjoyed as productive parkland. In the Downside Park, Toronto Competition (2000), Corner, with Stan Allen, competed against Tschumi, Koolhaas (who won), and two other teams, providing a showcase for their Emerging Ecologies approach. This was further elaborated in the Field Operations design that won first place in the Freshkills Landfill Competition, Staten Island 8. It is important to note, many of these catalyst projects have been in unbuilt locations, they have not been in inner urban areas, where it is said this theory is to be the most successful, in re-constructing a new urban form based on ecology. It seems that no one is willing to take a chance. It should be noted however that a project that incorporates many Landscape Urbanist approaches and principles of programming in an inner urban area is New Yorks High Line. Referred to previously in the critique. Figures 2,3,4,7 & 8 If Landscape Urbanism is to have a bright future the world must look to Europe and Australasia, to lead by example as North America has too many existing social conditions apparent to help Landscape Urbanism blossom Without the help generated by such remedial institutions, without a complex morphological theory linking urban structures to ecological flows, and without housing around the commons, American practitioners remain at a disadvantage in creating a new, hybrid landscape urbanism 9. So how does Landscape Urbanism improve our urban form? Is it sustainable? Yes, this way of
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(G. Shane 2003) (G. Shane 2003)

(G. Shane 2003) (G. Shane 2003)


thinking helps in creating sustainable outcomes with a large focus on ecology, bringing nature to our front yard / door step, via a variety of ecological processes and programs. The programs created by Landscape Urbanism are designed to be adaptable and resilient to climate change and global warming; working with these processes instead of against, is where this theory / concept may step ahead from the others in that it works with these natural processes. It could be a very logical and well thought way for the future. Now all we need is a large scale urban project that will show how great Landscape Urbanism can be, a project to set a bench mark for many projects to follow.

Essentially, Recombinant Urbanism is the splicing of urban elements to create an urban outcome. (this can be either a positive or negative result). Over a period of time a cities function will change, this allows the city to adapt and be resilient to change, changing with the times, as opposed to standing against, which is evident in many cities in the world. Detroit can be given as an example. For a city (the organism) to change its basic function and outcome, it embraces this process of change via three elements. 1. Armature 2. Enclave & 3. Heterotopia 12 Shane (2005) discusses that Heterotopia is the most critical of the three. This will be discussed in greater depth later in the critical analyses of Foucaults (1984) Heterotopia concept 13. Armatures are a linear organizing device 14. Enclaves a self-centering device 15, and Heterotopias the other places that fuzz the lines of public and private space to create these new heterotopia type spaces. These three elements are the basic components of any city. Constantly combined and recombined in different cultures, places and periods 16.Hence the term Recombinant Urbanism. Do I agree with this, to an extent, yes. This is the basics of a city / city form, but there are so many un- measureable, intangible, indescribable elements at work that create a city, and help it operate the way it does, some obviously more successful than others.

The second theory to be discussed is that of Recombinant Urbanism from Shane (2005). Recombinant: a coded, heritable, alterable sequence of amino acids. If you change the sequence you can change the structure of the organism 10. A city seeks increased efficiency, profit, or pleasure, urban actors (us the people) splice together urban structures that handle urban flows, producing new settings, for their activities or reusing old ones for altered circumstances. Urban Splicing analogously to genetic recombination, involves the sorting, layering, overlapping, and combining of disparate elements to create new combinations. Mutant or hybrid forms are produced that give the city its edge 11.

12 13

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(G. Shane 2005) (G. Shane 2005)

(G. Shane 2005) (Foucalt 1984) 14 (G. Shane 2005) 15 (G. Shane 2005) 16 (G. Shane 2005)

Successful cities such as London, New York, Tokyo, Paris. These four cities are exciting, largely due to economic reasons; New York because of Wall Street etc, but also what these places have in common is the fact that they are successful as they have surprising juxtapositions. Look at Manhattan, as a whole, a vibrant happening place with so much culture, SOHO & Little Italy splicing together urban structures 17.Figure 9: Chinatown & Little Italy, a unique combination. The absence of central planner allows breakout from the old formulas and hierarchies of Modernist Urban actors , enhancing the voices of a postmodernist urban poly phony 18. This is where the young professionals and professionals of the future want to be, not just in the city, but in the happening area or district within the city. If we look at Brisbane, suburbs such as Teneriffe, Fortitude valley and New Farm are the happening places with excellent opportunities. If we explore further the elements that form the basis of the city, the armatures, a linear organizing device 19 can essentially be described as the paths of movement, or even linear barriers, that essentially organize based on geographic (the beach, river) and even political devices, such as the Berlin Wall. Refer figure 10 Berlin Wall. If we quickly glance at Lynch, The City of Machine 20 is what directly relates to an armature, a city that has developed based on transport and the motor vehicle. A good example of this is the city of Los Angeles. In their basic form, armatures connect enclaves. Refer figure 11 the Armature that is the Los Angeles Freeway system. Armatures area simple part of the theory to comprehend, we now move onto enclaves.

Enclaves a self-centering device 21so from this it is understood that an enclave will have one major activity and have a distinct perimeter. An example of an enclave may be North Lakes, north of Brisbane, a sprawling disaster of massive proportions, the Australian Suburban sprawl at its finest, one use, that being residential. But when looking at varies scales, the enclave may change, it may become multiple enclaves that ultimately create a heterotopia 22. (Heterotopia to be discussed later). This is where the theory from Shane (2005) has its issues, once the scales change areas change from armatures to enclaves to heterotopias. Take for example Cavill Avenue, situated on the Gold Coast in Queensland. On one scale it is an armature, the next it is an enclave and the next a heterotopias. This is by no means a negative just that it is where the theory lacks stamina or substance, essentially everything is anything to a degree. Refer figure 12 Cavill Avenue, armature, enclave, heterotopias. Once again referring to Lynch and the theory The City of Faith 23 is what an enclave essentially is, where the element is prominent, for example, the Church. For the sake of this paper, heterotopias will be discussed next in the theoretical analyses of Foucaults Concepts and principles of heterotopias. Heterotopias = the city as an Organism 24(the ecological city). So Recombinant Urbanism, armatures, enclaves, and heterotopias 25. There is no doubt they all do exist in every city and proven by the examples given in this paper. With the disappearance of the City wide master plan, along with many modernist approaches, the city


(G. Shane 2005) 18 (G. Shane 2005) 19 (G. Shane 2005) 20 (Lynch 1960)

(G. Shane 2005) (Foucalt 1984) 23 (Lynch 1960) 24 (Lynch 1960) 25 (G. Shane 2005)



has no doubt, places of movement, places of singular use, and heterotopias the other places. Recombinant Urbanism, the bare basic concept; of splicing of urban elements to create urban outcomes, is no doubt a tool in creating or bettering our urban environment by essentially throwing out the Master Plan. As seen in The Meat Packing District in Manhattan, Refer figure 13 The Meat Packing District a place adaptable and resilient to change, a way to change the urban form creating adaptable places resilient to change. Issues I have with this theory include the easy relation from Theory to Professional practice. This once again strengthens my previous statement; that there is a deep divide between the academic world and the Professional practicing world, whether it be Architecture, Urban Design or Landscape Architecture. Referring to Landau (1984) the theory to practice relationship is not great, many theories come unstuck or fail once applied to real life situations that is why theories, it may be said best remain theories and not practice. We all know the massive flows that armatures create within a city, moving the flows in and out but largely into the city, where resources are consumed. Refer figure 14 City Flow, Sustainable, Hardly. These massive flows also indicate a system profoundly out of balance in a very dynamic way further more to this point cities have never had a ecological balancethe present industrial world practice of the conspicuous consumption of energy is neither sustainable or desirable 26. The theory of Recombinant Urbanism lacks direction in the region of sustainability, which is crucial in todays operating world. The theory merely discusses it with no correlation on how to deal with it. Once again, a theory based largely on identifying elements that create a city

and make up a city, but not directly on how to create interventions to improve city form.

We now move onto Heterotopias.The apparent continuity and normality of ordinary everyday space. Because they inject alterity into the sameness, the commonplace, the topicality of everyday society, Foucault called these places 'herero-opias' -literally, other, places 27. From this it can be interpreted that heterotopias could be any of a number of things. The school, military service, the honeymoon, old people's homes, psychiatric institutions, prisons, cemeteries, theatres and cinemas, libraries and museums, fairs and carnivals, holiday camps, saunas, motels, brothels, the Jesuit colonies and the ship 28. Refer Figure 15, Various forms of Heterotopias. From this we get the idea that the concept is very vast. The first principle is that all cultures use heterotopias and this is universal to all humans 29. All cultures do use and or have heterotopias yet many people would not know what they are, just that something is operating, due once again to the gap between theory and practice, or lack of knowledge among the general public. The second principle of this description of heterotopias is that a society, as its history unfolds, can make an existing heterotopias function in a very different fashion; for each heterotopias has a precise and determined function within a society and the same heterotopias can, according to the synchrony of the culture in which it occurs, have one function or another 30.

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(G. Shane 2005)

(Cauter 2008) (Cauter 2008) 29 (Foucalt 1984) 30 (Foucalt 1984)



Foucault went on to describe a cemetery and how its functions have changed in western culture from existing as central to existing as a marginal element in the city, a redundant heterotopia? A modern day example of a heterotopia that we may use anywhere from 1 to 1000 times a day is the ever changing internet. Originally the internet was created or envisioned by J.C.R. Licklider of MIT who saw great potential value in allowing computers to share information on research and development in scientific and military fields 31. Today we largely use the heterotopia of the internet as a source of entertainment. The third principle is that, The heterotopiais capable of juxtaposing in a single real place several spaces, several sites that are in themselves incompatible 32.Heterotopias have the ability to represent and separate both time and space. It is also not uncommon to see places in the world exploit this heterotopic principle, as seen in Las Vegas, casinos manipulate these two elements for economic gain, you have no idea the time of day, you are surrounded by a heterotopias of illusion (to be discussed later) that essentially is driving you to consume, consume and consume. Refer figure 16, Las Vegas, the Venetian, the separation of time and space. Fourth principle. Heterotopias are most often linked to slices in time - which is to say that they open onto what might be termed, for the sake of symmetry, heterochronies 33. Foucault stated that museums are an example, an extreme one at that, of a physical space holding many different illusions of space that represented different times, an example; the Dinosaurs in the Triassic period (about 230 million years ago) 34. An element of the past captured in present time.

The fifth principle determines what qualifies a person for entrance or exiting of the heterotopia. So what gives the person the right to walk through the door? If we look at the example of a Shopping Mall, which Lynch unflatteringly links in his mind urban design theory to the design of shopping malls 35. Ultimately anyone can walk through the doors of a shopping mall, even though it is a private space, owned and operated by a corporation. In most cases, it is treated as a combination of both, a heterotopia, not private but not public. Shopping malls may require dress codes; have strict policies on the gathering of young people to discourage the woeful act of mall hanging. It is important to remember these are all elements in restricting the access the individual has in these places. Refer Figure 17, An example of the shopping mall, restrictive elements. The sixth and final principle of a heterotopia is that they have a function in relation to all the space that remains 36. From this it is incurred that Heterotopias (whether they be heterotopias of crisis, deviance or illusion) attempt in connecting the illusion to real life space. Is this where Foucaults description in Les Mots et les Choses of two operators a mirror and a painting 37, is most directly relevant? As Foucault describes, there are three key types of Heterotopias the first the heterotopias of crisis, hides agents of change within the standard building types of the city 38. Self contained, in plain sight, almost obvious, it is a common example used to describe this is the honeymooner, not the fact that this is a crisis, but that it is in plain sight. The second, heterotopias of deviance, comprises institutions that foster change in
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(Internet Society 2011) (Foucalt 1984) 33 (Foucalt 1984) 34 (BBC Worldwide 2011)

(G. Shane 2005) (Foucalt 1984) 37 (Cauter 2008) 38 (G. Shane 2005)



highly controlled environments, often linked to Lynchs City Of Machine 39. Laws, regulations, control, prison and correctional institutions, where new order is developed to transform society, or at least the society existing within the walls of deviance. The third type, heterotopias of illusion. A change fostering place comprising realms of apparent chaos and creativity, imaginative freedom change is concentrated and accelerated. The rules governing the local systems organization can change quickly and abruptly. Such places include formal and informal institutional markets, department stores, casinos, hotels, theme parks 40, the list goes on. These places of heterotopias of illusion have four simple primary values, pleasure, leisure, consumption and display. (Strictly no work) 41. There is no doubt to the evidence that these three types of urban environments do exist. (Heterotopias of crisis, deviance, and illusion)There is also no doubt they all exist in every city and are proven by the examples given in this paper. It is important to note that not everything can be broken down into a type of heterotopia. Look at the theory of enclaves from Shane (2005), single use type areas. Example: the family home, the suburb, and so on, as the scales change. It can be said heterotopias are multi celled enclaves, but as usual anything can be said to be anything. (This is the way theory is) until it is either proven A. Correct or B. Incorrect. It should also be noted that it depends on the individual what is heterotopic , what is normal behaviour. Using the shopping mall as an example once again, this may be a type of

heterotopias of illusion for one individual and not for the next. In Europe Cedric Price jokingly described these three city morphologies in terms of breakfast dishes. There was the traditional, dense, hardboiled egg city fixed in concentric rings of development within its shell or walls. Then there was the fried egg city, where railways stretched the citys perimeter in linear, accelerated, space-time corridors out into the landscape, resulting in a star shape. Finally there was the postmodern city, the scrambled egg city, where everything is distributed evenly in small granules or pavilions across the landscape in a continuous network 42. The heterotopias of crisis, the boiled egg, the heterotopias of deviance the fried egg and finally the heterotopias of illusion the scrambled egg. It is quite interesting to see that all the city theorists essentially describe the same three elements, in a variety of different ways; from Lynchs City of Faith to Shanes armatures or Foucaults heterotopias of illusion, three elements broken down in an effort to describe the city, in simple terms. As stated previously, there are so many un- measureable, intangible, indescribable elements at work that create a city, and help it operate the way it does. (Fashion or the cool being two of these). Even scientists cannot describe, but have accepted fashion as a way of function. From this theory review I am by no means going out and creating a heterotypic space. I want to build heterotopias of illusion. Firstly it may seem like a negative slant of theory but this is by no means practical, in this day and age, clients want a tangible object not an intangible one, something real, not something so caught up in the theoretical mindset of philosophers. But then on the other hand there are designs that this theory does complement; casino developments looking at increasing revenue

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(Lynch 1960) (G. Shane 2005) 41 (G. Shane 2005)

(G. Shane 2003)



and sales through the use of this theory. But are these successful urban design outcomes? Hardly, not site responsive, nor adaptable nor sustainable, this is not saying that they cant be, just that currently they arent, you could be anywhere in the world, or led to believe you are in a certain place in the world, such as New York New York Hotel and Casino Las Vegas. Figure 18 New York New York Casino and hotel Las Vegas. Foucaults concept of heterotopia does facilitate urban change, yes, but for the better or worse of society? This is dependent upon the decision and actions of the urban actors, us, and the influence we have on changing the urban form, if we empower small scale, bottom up design this will provide a monumental overall framework 43. Tissue that is not normal where it is located , this is what creates exciting urban centres amongst a bore of the usual cityscape, of planned and zoned areas. By contesting the normal order of things, successful urban forms (heterotopias) can be created. The fourth and final theory to be discussed and analysed in this paper is that of Lynch (1960), The Image of the City: The city image and its elements. It is important to note that this has been chosen for discussion as I believe that a cities element must be first understood and comprehended, before moving onto understanding the city as a whole operating centre. By first breaking down the elements we understand the core components, to ultimately understand the big picture. (This is the ideal process). Whether it be site analysis or detailed design, these core components are always applicable and hugely important. The elements that aid in creating city form are paths, edges, districts, nodes and landmarks 45.
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Paths. Are predominant city elements 46. To the untrained eye at least, this will be discussed later in this article. Paths are the major access lines throughout the city, Main Streets and Freeways that essentially carry the major flows. Refer figure 19 An example of a path, Arizona Highway. Paths intersect and help in creating districts, landmarks, and most importantly nodes. These elements are all reliant on each other but are easy to distinguish from one another, which is one of the great things about this theory; elements are largely identifiable, at any given scale, compared to that of Heterotopias and Recombinant Urbanism theories. Design of the path itself is a critical element, and this will discussed in detail here. Design can strengthen the image of particular paths 47. Where it be narrowness or width these both helped in attracting attention to the path 48. Refer figure 20 Narrowness versus Width. As seen in figure 20, these elements of design aid in strengthening the paths importance. Typically wide streets are the main streets (as history has shown us), but narrowness can also be reinforced by tall buildings, large crowds, that are the very reversal, of this theory helps it become identified as a major path 49. An example of this would be the ever popular Melbourne Laneways. Elements along paths such as pavement texture, regular paving patterns and planting also help in identifying paths, but are less important 50, but in some cases planting and pavement texture is a great tool of design in helping users identify where the path ends and starts. Paths importance can be amplified if this


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(G. Shane 2005) (Cauter 2008) 45 (Lynch 1960)

(Lynch 1960) (Lynch 1960) 48 (Lynch 1960) 49 (Lynch 1960) 50 (Lynch 1960)



path has a view or amount of visual exposure 51. It is critical that paths are rich in identity as this will be seen to reinforce that the city has a rich image. This is a predominant city element to many people new to a city or unfamiliar with it. It is important for a path to have continuality 52. To reinforce that the path you are travelling upon is continuous or continuing, it must maintain the same width, have similar spatial relationships, building use, and setback. This all helps the user in recognizing the general flow direction of any given path. As mentioned earlier planting and facades along Commonwealth Avenue 53, help to reinforce this. Paths with clear and well known origins and destinations, had stronger identities 54. Scaling is quite another useful tool along paths. By sequencing known landmarks or nodes along a path 55 its importance will be increased. As previously mentioned, Freeways are paths that control large flows, both in and out of the city. These path types do not aid in creating a city form, but rather tearing it apart, acting as barriers, barriers both visually and physically. An example of this is the LA freeway system seemed to be imagined as a complete structure 56, in itself. Lynch (1960) goes on to discuss how the grid itself may confuse users as it may be seen that every street is a major path. A way to stop this from happening is through design, block lengths, building frontages, naming systems, relative length, and functional purpose 57. Designing paths to either major or minor flow paths, if achieved helps in creating
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desired flow paths, helping shape the image of the city. These elements are quite simple to comprehend but are essential in understanding the city form. Paths are one of the most critical elements to either A. Identify or B. Design correctly. If the paths are designed well, you have a great foundation to build the city around; this essentially provides the framework for the remaining elements. This can be applied directly from theory into practice or even some may say vice versa, which is one of the great things about Lynch (1960), the theory is not a lofty concept yet a grounded one, easy to understand, rooted in reality. Edges, are linear elements not considered as paths, they are usually but not quite always the boundaries between two kinds of areas 58. Hence creating an edge, or edge type condition, to be successful they must be visually prominent, continuous in form, impenetrable and or hard to cross 59. Visually prominent and continuous in form are very similar to paths, yet impenetrable is what helps in differentiating the two; so it will be the focus. Impenetrable and or hard to cross, the image that first springs to mind is a geographical element, a river, the ocean, a mountain range. It is also important to note that strong edges are not necessarily impenetrable 60. It may just appear this way to the eye. The destructiveness of the edge must be reckoned with 61, is this a challenge by Lynch (1960) for us as designers to change the function and or the edge conditions of the edge itself. To make this place a people friendly place, to maybe create a linear node instead of a definitive edge. Edges could act as linear nodes, or paths for different people at different

(Lynch 1960) (Lynch 1960) 53 (Lynch 1960) 54 (Lynch 1960) 55 (Lynch 1960) 56 (Lynch 1960) 57 (Lynch 1960)

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(Lynch 1960) (Lynch 1960) 60 (Lynch 1960) 61 (Lynch 1960)



times of the day 62. This is the first problem seen (Lynch 1960)as the elements unfold; that elements are interchangeable and do vary, contradicting my earlier thoughts in this section. Is this a negative, or a positive? This could be seen as a positive, in the fact that these five concepts, paths, edges, districts, nodes and landmarks are interchangeable to some degree. Many types of edges exist, some might be simply more physical imposing paths 63, such as the Brisbane River through the city, which is seen as more of an edge than a path; but it is a path as it provides both a flow path for humans and an ecological flow, as discussed earlier in Landscape Urbanism. An example of a common edge throughout many cities is that of the elevated railway line. Refer figure 21, Elevated Railway line through Harlem, New York. This shows that if a connected ground plane is created underneath the physical barrier, as seen in the image, the elevated barrier, could also act as a landmark. From a city form perspective, edges like that seen of Lake Michigan, in Chicago, provide a transect through the city, unveiling its built form, creating a great spectacle, the facade Chicago, on the lake is a unforgettable sight 64. This shows that the natural geographical element of the lake, the natural edge, helps in revealing the citys form, whether it be accidental or not, by respecting the natural ecology on site, it can both complement the built form and enhance it. Edges, so it seems, as discussed by Lynch (1960) are not as clear cut as paths were found to be. These edge elements may change depending upon the time of day and season. Essentially an edge may also have the characteristics of a path or linear node. So is one term more correct than the other to describe this city element?
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Perhaps, but maybe a shortcoming in (Lynch 1960)the theory of city elements is that there is no set criteria to decide upon what an element may be, but maybe this is one of the positives. It allows us, as designer, the choice to decide upon what it is, which in this day and age is a great thing, as so much of what we do, is regulated, with legislation, codes, etc. Perhaps designers operate in a City of Machine as Lynch (1960) would say. Districts. Are the relatively large city areas, which the observer, can mentally go inside of, and which have some common character 65. Hands down, one of the best areas that showcases this element of districts is that of Manhattan, or neighbourhoods as many Manhatteners would call them. Refer Figure 22, Manhattan districts / neighbourhoods. These districts in Manhattan have individually distinct character, each easily identifiable from the next. By having distinctly different architectural styles helps this, as architectural homogeneity blurs the city image 66, which is highly undesirable. An outcome most likened to this may be the city of Los Angeles. It is important to note that districts also have a large social issue, they separate class. This is not a highly desirable outcome; by creating elements in the city that combine both upper and lower class, creates surprising and exciting juxtapositions. An element I explored in detail in my final year design studio, subject, Perfection Meets Troubled Urbanity. Refer figure 23. This is to be strived for, creating a series of linked districts, creating a mosaic, ultimately creating an excellent city form which is what each city should strive for. With this comes strong economic development, and large amounts of income, this helps in creating a city that is not only on a national level but a global
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(Lynch 1960) (Lynch 1960) 64 (Lynch 1960)

(Lynch 1960) (Lynch 1960)



level, such as that of New York. Refer figure 24, the district mosaic. Nodes. Are the strategic foci into which the observer can enter typically either junctions of paths or concentrations of some characteristics 67. It is important to note that nodes vary largely depending upon what scale you look at them; at a regional scale, Brisbane CBD may be the node, but when you zoom in on Brisbane CBD, you will find it is made up of a series of paths, districts, nodes, landmarks, and edges. In creating a successful city form, a selection of a few key nodes is critical, the importance of form is paramount, you need a visual impact 68, possible via unique buildings, which may double as landmarks (To be discussed next) this is what creates a successful node. Landmarks. The point references considered to be external to the observer, are simple physical elements which may vary widely in scale 69. Landmarks are commonly used as points of reference for locals of the city to find their way around, where visitors will stick strictly to paths as their tool of navigation. Landmarks have a huge importance on form, today the tallest building in the city may be a landmark when viewing the city from afar but when viewed up close, it is negligible, just like most of its surrounds, they are bottomless, they have peculiar floating quality 70. That is why it is of great importance to link the vertical element with the ground plane through various design elements. Landmarks like many of the other elements of the city vary in scale, but when designed correctly can help and aid in navigating your way through a foreign place much easier.

The five elements of paths, edges, districts, nodes and landmarks 71, must not be looked at individually as they have been analysed here but collectively as this is what helps in creating city form; the relationship or patterning together provides a satisfying form 72, a successful urban form. Relationships between these five elements may at times by strained, like many relationships, but they also help in complementing each other, or reinforce, one another 73; for example, a landmark on a major node. Each of these elements is strengthened via its close proximity to the other. As stated at the start of the theory review of Lynch (1960) after successful differentiation and understanding of parts 74, one may now look at how the whole system operates. An issue discussed throughout this theory is that elements will change depending upon the scale, time of day, season 75. An example of this would be Central Park, New York in summer versus winter. As a node, a landmark, a path, a district and an edge. Every individuals perception of the city and its form is different, it is based largely on personal experience, Lynch (1960) simply provides the tools and elements for you to personally decipher the city for yourself. It provides the base framework for both analysis and design development, and is an essential go to theory that is already routed deeply into practices throughout the world. This is one of the few theories analysed in this paper which has a direct connection between the real world and academia with strong ties to both. Lynch (1960) provides the framework that enables us to create an excellent city form, it is up to us, to make this sustainable, adaptable and resilient.


(Lynch 1960) 68 (Lynch 1960) 69 (Lynch 1960) 70 (Lynch 1960)

(Lynch 1960) (Lynch 1960) 73 (Lynch 1960) 74 (Lynch 1960) 75 (Lynch 1960)




From this theoretical analysis of the four theories, Landscape Urbanism by (Waldheim 2006), Recombinant Urbanism by (G. Shane 2005), Heterotopias from (Foucalt 1984), and The Image of the City: The city image and its elements by (Lynch 1960), it can be noted that there is a large gap between theory and practice. Theories such as Landscape Urbanism, Recombinant Urbanism, and Heterotopias, are not easily identifiable or easily understood by the general public. They do exist in society, but many people may not be aware of them, they may merely think a theme park is a theme park not a heterotopias of illusion and so on. I believe that these theories can be related directly to designs and be achieved through various outcomes in practice (as my studio project will set out to achieve), if the client is supportive. As discussed previously, in this tough economic climate, this is difficult. They, the client, want a design that is easy to understand and that works. I am by no means saying that these theories cannot achieve this but merely the mention of the names of the theories will throw off the non design professional. The theory from Lynch (1960) is unlike or best to say, different to the three other theories examined as it is easy to understand, and is easily put directly into practice; there is a direct relation, unlike heterotopias. This is by no means a criticism of theory, just a critical view; in that to get more theory into practice it needs to be more grounded. Many of the concepts of the various theories examined here are great tools in shaping a new exciting urban from, from armatures to ecological flows, these elements will all eventually help in creating an urban form that is sustainable, resilient and adaptable. The challenge is to get these theories into practice (the ones that arent already), and on a larger scale. Not just one firm practicing one theory.

Essentially this is what my Urban Design project on the Gold Coast will aim to do. Provide an exemplar project that shows how these theories and / or concepts can complement each other in an Urban Design outcome. The project will not only bridge the gap between theory and practice yet show how they can benefit from each other and work together. Particular elements that my Urban Design project will incorporate in The Spit precinct, are strong ecological ties to the existing systems operating on the site, using this as a catalyst for development; essentially using the natural processes operating on the site, mimicking this to create a built urban form, while respecting, complementing and increasing awareness of the ecological operating systems on site. It is inevitable that for this area or project to function successfully, armatures and enclaves, must be created, to stimulate and encourage economic development; with this will come elements of heterotopias. It is important to note that I am not setting out to create heterotopias but in the design process this may occur naturally, as the built form develops and its uses increase. Finally Lynchs (1960) five city elements will be used to ensure the design is functional and can operate as a successful centre and more importantly, a successful city form. Overall these four theories will provide the framework and the building blocks for an Urban Design outcome that is resilient, sustainable and adaptable to climate change and global warming.




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