Urban design lies somewhere between the broad-brush abstractions of planning and the concrete specifics of architecture. It implies a notion of citizenship: life in the public realm. Urban Design deals with the human experience of outdoor spaces within the city, including:
- Spaces enclosed between building facades
- The building interface with the street
- Public open space (streets, parks and public plazas)
- Arrangement of places and their buildings, and urban form
Urban Design addresses the character of these environments and outdoor spaces. Human scale, urban context and connectivity are key considerations of the urban design practice. Our individual perspective and scale defines how we experience these places within their surrounding context.
Urban Design operates at many scales. This includes macro scale, district and neighbourhood scale, and micro scale. Macro scale addresses regional and city structure planning, city-wide transportation and infrastructure planning. In contrast, micro scale deals with street level elements. This includes streetscapes, street furniture, lighting and pedestrian access. District and neighbourhood scale addresses the in between, including:
- Neighbourhood structure plans
- Road grids and block sizes
- Green space
- Public access to amenities, shopping and transportation
These different scales allow for more flexibility. Implementations can thus be made at various phases during the building process.
Benefits of good Urban Design
Urban Design helps create vibrant and attractive places for people to enjoy every day. This includes aesthetics, but also includes building useful spaces for people to interact with.
This is achieved by creating pedestrian-friendly, walkable streets and public spaces. As a result, this helps reduce car dependency and encourages residences to walk or use public transportation. In turn, this helps improve people's health, reduces environmental impact and improves sustainability.