Urban Design: Shaping Attractiveness of the Urban Environment with the End-Users

Kozlowski, Marek (2007). Urban Design: Shaping Attractiveness of the Urban Environment with the End-Users PhD Thesis, School of Geography, Planning and Architecture, University of Queensland.

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Author Kozlowski, Marek
Thesis Title Urban Design: Shaping Attractiveness of the Urban Environment with the End-Users
School, Centre or Institute School of Geography, Planning and Architecture
Institution University of Queensland
Publication date 2007
Thesis type PhD Thesis
Supervisor Dr Phillip Smith
Abstract/Summary The rise of the global economy has sparked fierce competition and as a consequence a rapid physical transformation of major urban centres around the world. Urban design is one of the key instruments of physical transformation employed to enhance urban quality and achieve sustainable urban environments. Confined by environmental, economic and social realities and being part of the development process, urban design is largely influenced by the principal power brokers, including developers and public authorities. Local conditions, cultures and values often fall prey to the agendas and processes of these principal stakeholders. Notwithstanding recent measures to increase community participation, the views and aspirations of end-users, including residents, visitors and local entrepreneurs are still not the principal concerns behind the design and planning of their cities. The lack of direct end-users participation in the preparation of design solutions is one of the major shortcomings of contemporary urban design. Solving this problem is an important challenge to the contemporary urban design practice. This research develops an approach that identifies subjective views of end-users in any urban locality as to what constitutes, for them, attractiveness of the urban environment, and further determines how this information could be integrated into the urban design process. The concept of attractiveness of the urban environment, introduced to this study is based on the subjective views of end-users. The notion of attractiveness constitutes the basis to develop a universal checklist Evaluative Criteria for Attractiveness (ECA) of the urban environment. The ECA comprises 54 criteria addressing essential environmental, economic, socio-cultural and political aspects which determine the physical development of the cities. The ECA list provides the basis for developing an interactive operational method (IOM) aimed at obtaining subjective views of end-users and integrating this information into the urban design process. This can foster a better understanding of the proposed design solutions among the community as well as reduce the current gap between decision makers such as politicians, developers, designers and the end-users. The IOM should become a mandatory component of urban design practice and be applied in urban design frameworks, master plans, guidelines and briefs. Attainment of such a goal should substantially contribute towards increasing the role of urban design in shaping and enhancing attractiveness of the urban environment at the local level, and at the same time improve the level of satisfaction among the concerned end-users. This innovative concept of urban design will be more user friendly, reflect local values, cultures and conditions and also contribute to the creation of a more diversified sustainable urban environment.

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Created: Fri, 21 Nov 2008, 15:29:44 EST