Monday, July 11, 2016

The Urban Design Planner as a Key Player in the Urban Development Process

Wooley (1985) indicated that architects are vital players in the  planning arena because they can use  figures,  drawings and other visual aids as a means of thinking through seeing. In  the same manner, the urban design planners are the  ones who can effectively connect the concept of beauty  (aesthet­ic) with usefulness (practicality), and structural integrity (engineering)  with other positive attributes essential to a satisfactory  physical environment e.g.  robustness,  perme­ability,  etc. (responsiveness). These are interlinked  con­cepts,  and the achievement of a good balance of these  con­cepts  is  vital  to the success of  the  urban  development plans.

According to Bentley,  (1985), structures and  spaces should  offer its users a wide array of choices in order  to maximise  their benefits. The built environment should  pro­vide  its  users  with an  essentially  democratic  setting. Again,  among  all those involved, it is  the  urban  design planner who is the most capable one in ensuring this  aspect given his background discipline.

A  good  urban design planner does not strictly  need  well-honed skills in design analysis. But he/she certainly has to know  what  to look for and what questions  to  ask.  He/she always  must  recognise that  there  are  limits  to his/her  own experience and outlook and  therefore,  working  with  others  and consultations with those  whom  the  urban design  and plans are intended for  will always have  better results  in  terms  of responsiveness.  Working  with  other players too is important. Moreover, they must go out and  be in touch with the reality that is happening outside of their office. What is learned in the four corners of the classroom should  be  supplemented  with hands-on  experience  in  the field. That "experience is the best teacher", is true.

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