Teaching urban design – a sketch for a new approach

Space Syntax is keen to play a role in initiatives that embed the Space Syntax approach in everyday urban practice. The watchword is “dissemination”. Our aim is to create a professional landscape that uses Space Syntax as an everyday approach to the planning, designing and general governance of places.

Here are some of my thoughts about the potential structure of an urban design course, which are largely about using this as an opportunity to break down many of the barriers that conventionally get in the way of good urban design:

1. combine art and science: especially the importance of a science-informed approach to urban design, which is often missing

2. combine creative and analytic/disciplines: bring together designers and analysts in an intellectual cocktail

3. combine design, planning, infrastructure engineering, finance, governance, legals

4. put the human being at the heart of it all

5. create a curriculum based on “aspects of urban living” rather than on “disciplines”, those aspects including:

a. centrality – how are centres created, how can they be strengthened and how can they be created from scratch?

b. urban villages – how can unplanned settlements be included in urban strategies?

c. growth – how do places grow?

d. trade – how can we move from a focus on transport to a focus on socio-economic transaction?

e. digital urbanism – how does “online” combine with “on land” to create a complete sense of “Place”?

f. performance – how can the effectiveness of cities be recorded, measured, analysed, monitored and forecast?

2 Comments on “Teaching urban design – a sketch for a new approach”

  1. sounds like a blueprint worth developing. How do you build a sense of community now that families are spread to the winds. How do you differentiate places now that global brands permeate and media makes us all so connected?
    whats the next steps with all this?

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