Urban Planning Principles
Urban planning involves taking a broad look at how all the parts of your city work together. It takes into consideration everything from identifying your community’s vision to implementing tools (like zoning codes) to ensure that vision comes to fruition.
The metropolis has a necessary and fragile relationship with its agrarian hinterland and natural landscapes. Development patterns should respect this relationship.
1. Form Follows Function
This urban planning concept emphasizes the importance of designing buildings to be efficient and practical. Architects should maximize space and use sustainable materials. They should also consider how the building will integrate with the surrounding landscape. Ultimately, this helps to create buildings that are both beautiful and functional.
This principle emerged in the late 19th century and was popularized by the American architect Louis Sullivan. Sullivan believed that the form of a building should be based on its function rather than on historical precedent. Frank Lloyd Wright, who was a student of Sullivan, later adopted the concept and used it to design the Guggenheim Museum.
Planners must also take into consideration the needs of people living and working in a city. For example, they must provide access to transportation and other amenities, such as water and electricity, while ensuring that public spaces are aesthetically pleasing. They must also ensure that the city can handle its population growth without sacrificing environmental sustainability.
2. The Social System Should Be More Important Than Vehicular Systems
Urban planning principles focus on a variety of city-life elements such as new and pre-existing land, buildings, public spaces, roads, and transport systems. But the key element that urban planners should be focusing on is community-based solutions for a sustainable future.
This means that infrastructural development should be geared towards providing a wide range of communal outlets and social activities to the residents. This will also help in ensuring that there is no division in terms of gender, race, or physical abilities.
For instance, promoting the use of public transit will decrease the dependency on vehicles and thus result in a reduction in congestion, air pollution, and overall environmental degradation. Similarly, play streets—temporary closures of streets for active play—offer youth and adults the opportunity to connect with neighbors while prioritizing pedestrian safety and community well-being.
Incorporating progressive elements of cultural heritage will make the city stand out from other cities, enhancing its aesthetic sense. In addition to this, urban planning should also rely on outdoor setups that provide the citizens with a natural outlet to relieve themselves of their hectic day-to-day routines.
3. People-Centric Design
Urban planning principles should always keep the plight of people as the core focus. The various urban planning elements like new and pre-existing land, buildings, roads, communal spaces, transportation, economic development and infrastructure should all be integrated with a common goal that aims at making cities look futuristic and accessible for its inhabitants.
Legibility and laying of streets should be clear and understandable, with a layered design that enables people to move around the city in a way that feels intuitive, unobtrusive and efficient. This means that out-of-hours servicing, deliveries and traffic should be kept away from the city centre and central district, while balancing operational needs with allowing residents to access their homes without disrupting public life or creating a ‘one street back’ experience.
Open space is also a key component in an urban environment. It allows citizens to reconnect with nature and provides opportunities for leisure, relaxation and play. Moreover, it enhances the visual appeal of an urban area by ensuring that there are ample natural outlets for energy and tension.
4. Adaptive Reuse
Urban planners can save energy and money by reusing existing structures instead of tearing them down and starting from scratch. This strategy also helps to reduce waste and environmental impact.
Adaptive reuse has become a common practice in many cities, with firms like MVRDV or EFFEKT using it to transform historic neighborhoods into loft and condos. However, there are some challenges that come along with adaptive reuse projects. For one, old buildings may not have the best operational energy use efficiency.
Another challenge is bringing the building up to code and making sure it’s safe for the new occupants. Fortunately, these challenges can be overcome with the help of experts in adaptive reuse. With the right knowledge and experience, you can create an effective project that serves a community while preserving the heritage of an existing building. This can be achieved through a collaborative process with the local governing body. This way, the repurposed building will meet the city’s sustainability goals and serve its residents well for years to come.