The Evolution of Urbanism: From Baroque City Planning to Landscaping Urbanism
When we think of the term ‘urbanism,’ images of bustling metropolises and densely populated city centers immediately come to mind. It is undeniable that cities have always been magnets for human activity, and as our world becomes increasingly urbanized, the study of urbanism has become an important field of inquiry. In this paper, our focus would be on urbanism as used in an architectural context, the features of an urban center, and a discussion of urban cities in general.
2. What is Urbanism?
The term ‘urbanism’ can be defined in many ways, but perhaps the most accurate definition comes from the ) which defines it as “the study of how people interact with and use urban environments.” To put it simply, urbanism is the way we organize ourselves spatially in cities. It is about the relationship between the built environment and the people who live in it.
Historically, cities were designed with the primary purpose of accommodating human activity and maximizing efficiency. However, as our understanding of human behavior and needs have evolved, so too has the field of urbanism. Today, urbanism encompasses a much broader range of concerns, from social equity to environmental sustainability.
3. The Features of an Urban Center
An urban center can be defined as “a municipally recognized area that contains a high density of development, including residential, commercial, industrial, and institutional uses” (Canadian Institute of Planners). A key feature of an urban center is its mixed-use nature – that is, the presence of multiple types of land use within close proximity to one another. This mixing of uses is what gives cities their unique character and vibrancy.
Another important feature of an urban center is its street grid system. A grid system is a network of streets that are arranged in a regular pattern (usually a square or rectangular pattern). This system helps to organize traffic flow and makes navigation easier for pedestrians and motorists alike.
4. Evolution of Urbanism in Architecture
The field of urbanism has undergone many changes over the years, and this is reflected in the evolution of architecture and city planning. One early example is the Baroque-style city planning that was popular in Europe during the 17th century. This style emphasized symmetry and geometry, with grand public squares and radiating street patterns.
Another significant period in the history of urbanism was the Industrial Revolution of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. This period saw a dramatic increase in population density as people flocked to cities in search of work in factories and mills. To accommodate this influx of people, cities began to expand outward in a haphazard way, resulting in crowded and unsanitary conditions. These conditions gave rise to a number of social problems such as poverty and crime.
In response to these problems, a new field known as ‘city planning’ emerged in the late 19th century. City planners sought to improve conditions in cities by introducing zoning regulations (which separated different land uses from one another), environmental conservation laws (which protected green spaces), and historic preservation ordinances (which prevented haphazard development).
5. New Urbanism
In recent years, there has been a renewed interest in traditional urbanism principles such as mixed-use development, walkable neighborhoods, and a human scale. This movement is known as ‘new urbanism’ or ‘neo-traditionalism,’ and it has had a significant impact on the way cities are planned and built today.
New urbanism emphasizes the need for strong communities and healthy lifestyles. To achieve these goals, new urbanist planners seek to create walkable neighborhoods with a mix of housing, shops, and workplaces. They also promote the use of public transportation and green infrastructure such as parks and trails.
6. Landscaping Urbanism
A newer trend that is gaining popularity is ‘landscaping urbanism.’ This approach takes the principles of new urbanism one step further by incorporating nature into the fabric of the city. Landscaping urbanism seeks to create a more sustainable and livable environment by using green infrastructure to manage stormwater, improve air quality, and create cooler microclimates.
As our world becomes increasingly urbanized, the field of urbanism will continue to evolve. It is important to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and developments in order to create cities that are livable, sustainable, and equitable for all.