A Brief on the 20th and 21st Century Approaches to City Making

A Brief on the 20th and 21st Century Approaches to City Making

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1886-1.ch002
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This chapter will delve on modern approaches to city making (eco-cities, sustainable cities, resilient cities, etc.) explaining their basics and complexity. Additionally, the demands that changing solutions place on the architects, urban planners, and other city designers will be explained. The scope should be treated as the introduction to the circular economy approach; it will also cover other development attitudes where a city was not the initial prime element even if urban planning became one of the main issues during later phases of development. Such attitudes can be traced in the mid-20th century policy making with the car transport being the leading development attitude but having a wide impact on the solutions used in most cities. It will also explain when the urbanization process became part of this economic approach. The chapter will include principles of the modern initiatives in various parts of the world and consider existing movements allowing for a more sweeping coverage.
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Sustainability And City Making

Prior to any further discussions it should be noted that contemporary urban planning procedures concerning brown and green zones, which include sustainable development and presently circular goals, do not reduce proposed solutions to the choice of a correct location of the windmills and implementation of major changes in the cultural landscape. The essential importance lies in the application of efficient and waste-less solutions giving a major positive impact on the local and global climatic changes. These actions should be followed by reduction of waste volume coming from the natural resources and lowering energy levels required for adequate function of the city environment.

The prevailing approach to a contemporary sustainable city is based on developing adaptive systems. This outlook is a combination of a triple concept: the sustainable city eco-techno-system, where the city evolves and functions similarly to a living and cyborg organisms; a balanced sustainable urban development perceived as a self-governed area managed by economic impulses derived from business priorities; an area characterized with concentration of advanced information and knowledge technologies, as well as sustainable development implementation methods (Joss, 2015).

A city perceived as a practical experiment has a much longer history since the initial ideas may be dated back as far as beginning of the 20th Century. In consequence, the naming methodology is differentiated, as it changed with the level of acquired knowledge. There is an “eco-city”, a “sustainable city”, a “low-energy city”, a “resilient city” and a “smart city”. Each name depends on the leading initiative appearing in different areas of our Globe. For example sustainable city is a seemingly simple idea which scopes both management and urban development itself. It is a trans-border and trans-cultural idea. A city which lowers the energy requirements, preserves environment, promotes urban density, reduces individual transport, lowers urban heat island effect (UHI), supports urban farming and waste recycling. Furthermore, it may be a source of potable water, extension of green areas, creation of public pedestrian friendly accessible spaces, generation of local work places, promotion of efficient use of information techniques – in short – a city ideal for inhabitants. Yet, this utopian vision is to a large extent responsible for the fact that sustainable city is still an aim to be yet reached. Hence, one of the main options is to think outside standards – in order to create, test and finally implement sustainable cities in practice. Since sustainable city is an interdisciplinary scientific area, the researchers are also trying to analyze city as an area with efficient material flows – in-takes and use of energy, water and building materials, as well as removal of waste and pollution (Puselli et al. 2004; Kennedy et al. 2007; 2011; Weisz and Steinberger, 2010; Zhang et al. 2010). Simultaneously, in case of technical disciplines, there appears a concept of a “city as an urbanised working system”, where all data informing about its functions can be checked and centrally managed (Holland, 2008; Chourabi et al. 2012).

The most important issue for sustainable cities is the planning process and management. Contemporary urban planning was created and evolved as a solution to overcome the damages made by the rapid urbanisation and became an introduction of professional planning tools. At the time, this process was led under the heading of a “garden city”, “new urbanism” and other similar concepts which form a foundation for the modern sustainable city making (Miller 2002, Wheeler 2000). Interdisciplinary approach also includes such disciplines as geography and landscape studies. Hence, a sustainable city exists in close relationship with a wider regional or even international context.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Agenda 21: A non-binding action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development. First introduced in 1992 at Earth Summit Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

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