Technology & space
The future started already yesterday. Many times, we can find very useful solutions in the past for future projects. Concepts and models often already exist. Just a matter to look back and chose the right ones, right?
Vitor Oliveira highlighted some fundamental aspect regarding to good street design. “… first, the relation between building height and street width. … Planning addresses this issue in a very simplistic way, but I think this deserves our attention. Another important thing is the presence of doors along the street … as it is the presence of trees … and land uses. This is obviously an issue that should be dell at the micro scale! At the plot scale, but also at the micro scale!”
Focusing on the ground floor level of buildings along streets, Conrad Kickert explained what and how this changed along more than a century in the city of The Hague, showing various map fragments with the organisation of several urban parts. Three main causes can be mentioned to explain “street-level erosion”, namely: evolution of urban economy (technology, mobility), consolidation of larger plots and buildings (higher density), and introversion of buildings. Form as a base condition is important, especially to have a close-grained relationship between the building and the street. Further, “there is the rate of change of the urban fabric - that is the slowest - the buildings, but the rate of change of the function of a building is absolutely insane. However, there are some constants in there, and you do see patterns.”
In her presentation, Andreia Garcia, broader the context of the importance of good street design: “I think the city of the future will .. be closer and more compact .. it will have different forms and efficient transport where the geography changes in terms of technology may be available and affordable. It will be far more responsible to environmental issues than we have been in the past. Ultimately, it will be fairer. In other words, the spatial planning itself – I hope – will try to avoid tendencies towards segregation and differences.”
To put street design in perspective, Conrad Kickert, underlined the relative role of designers if the basic conditions are not secured: “the main currency of the relation between buildings and public space is trust. Is not about form, is not about the economy, is about trust”.
This brings us back to the issue that design alone is not something that can be saw in an isolated matter, on the contrary, good street design needs a broader look from many professionals and from all of us.