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Transcript of INTRODUCTION
A.Doxiadis called himself a bricklayer and he talked with conviction about his visions of human settlements, which range from the individual room to the global community, extending from the past to the distant future. As a bricklayer he was connected to reality, in full command of his field, committed to implement his ideas and principles, operating from a basis of far-reaching visions and soaring aspirations. He left a formidible legacy, ekistics, proposed as a science of human settlements, consisting of a comprehensive framework for a new science, extensive research, proposals, visions and challenges and built projects, buildings and entire cities.
The aim of urbanism is comprehensibility and clarity of organization,the community is by definition a comprehensible thing. And comprehensibility should also therefore be a characteristic of the parts. The community subdivisions might be thought of as “appreciated units”—an appreciated unit is not a “visual group” or a “neighborhood.” but an in-some-way defined part of a human agglomeration. The appreciated unit must be different for each type of community. For each particular community, one must invent the structure of its subdivision.
Roads can be deliberately routed and the land beside them neutralized so that they become obviously fixed things (that is, changing on a long cycle). The routing of individual sections over rivers, throughparks, or in relation to historic buildings or zones, provides a series of fixes or local identity points. The road net itself defines the zones identified by these fixes. Urban motorways thus designed form the structure of the community. In order to work they must be based on equal distribution of traffic loads over a comprehensive net, and this system is by its nature apparent all over the community, giving a sense of connectedness and potential release.
Introduction to Townscape
There are advantages to be gained from the gathering together of people to form a town. A single family living in the country can scarcely hope to drop into a theater, have a meal out or browse in a library, whereas the same family living in a town can enjoy these amenities. The little money that one family can afford is multiplied by thousands and so a collective amenity is made possible. A city is more than the sum of its inhabitants. It has the power to generate a surplus of amenity, which is one reason why people like to live in communities rather than in isolation. here are advantages to be gained from the gathering together of people to form a town. A single family living in the country can scarcely hope to drop into a theater, have a meal out or browse in a library, whereas the same family living in a town can enjoy these amenities. The little money that one family can afford is multiplied by thousands and so a collective amenity is made possible. A city is more than the sum of its inhabitants. It has the power to generate a surplus of amenity, which is one reason why people like to live in communities rather than in isolation.
Shadrach Woods and the architecture
of everyday urbanism
Wood’s career spanned twenty-five years, from his arrival at Le Corbusier’s office in 1948 to his untimely death in 1973 at the age of 50. A turning point in the direction of architecture and urbanism, this period began with the undisputed triumph of modern architecture in the European reconstruction that followed the war, to finish in a vigorous process of critique and reassessment of the legacy of modernity. Throughout those years, the work of Shadrach Woods focused on a few precise architectural and urban ideas, developing from project to project a set of principles of organization—what he often called “a search for systems.”
A significance for A&P parking lots, or learning from Las Vegas
The commercial strip, the Las Vegas Strip in particular—the example par excellence (Figs. 1 and 2)—challenges the architect to take a positive,
non-chip-on-the-shoulder view. Architects are out of the habit of looking nonjudgmentally at the environment, because orthodox Modern architecture is progressive, if not revolutionary, utopian, and
puristic; it is dissatisfied with existing conditions. Modern architecture
has been anything but permissive: Architects have preferred to change
the existing environment rather than enhance what is there.
Constantinos Apostolou Doxiadis was born in 1913 in Bulgaria, the son of Greek parents. He lived in Athens most of his life and died June 28, 1975. Many of his ideas and convictions were influenced by childhood experiences and his early formative years. His father was a Greek Minister of Social Affairs during the time of the Asia Minor crisis in
1922, when millions of refugees came from the coastal areas of Asia Minor, particularly Smyrna. Doxiadis witnessed the hardship and suffering
through his family’s involvement in the relief programs. Much of his later work was based on practical experience, on real-life problems,
on the urgency and seriousness of these problems and the need for immediate and effective answers.
Doxiadis experienced the misery of World War II and the German
occupation of Greece. In his first major public role he served as UnderSecretary and Director General of the Ministry for Housing and Reconstruction for Greece between 1945 and 1948, and was MinisterCoordinator of the Greek Recovery Program and Under-Secretary, Ministry of Coordination from 1948 to 1951. The enormity and complexity of problems, scarcity of resources, urgency in guiding recovery and development and, afterwards, the complexity in allocating aid provided through the World Relief and Marshall Plan were decisive in Doxiadis’ approach and his further involvement in the overall concept of a science of human settlements.
1. INTRODUCTION TO TOWNSCAPE
2. THE GRID AS GENERATOR
3. DOXIADIS AND THE SCIENCE OF HUMAN SETTLEMENT
4. URBAN INFRASTRACTURE
5. SHADRACH WOODS AND THE ARCHITECHTURE OF EVERYDAY URBANISM
6. A SIGNIFICANCE FOR A&P PARKING LOTS OR LEARNING FROM LAS VEGAS
7. PROBLEMS OF CLASSIFICATIONS
8. CRISIS OF THE OBJECT: PREDICAMENT OF TEXTURE
9. ELEMENTS OF THE CONCEPT OF URBAN SPACE
10. CHARTER OF THE NEW URBANISM
The Grid as Generator
The activity called city planning, or urban design, or just planning, is being sharply questioned. It is not simply that these questions come from those who are opposed to any kind of planning. Nor is it because so many of the physical effects of planning seem to be piecemeal. For example, roads can be proposed without any real consideration of their effect on environment; the answer to such proposals could be that they are just not planning at all. But is not just this type of criticism that is raised. The attack is more fundamental: what is being questioned is the adequacy of the assumptions on which planning doctrine is based.
Problems of classification
We have indicated the principal questions that arise in relation to an urban artifact—among them, individuality, locus, memory, design itself. Function was not mentioned. I believe that any explanation of urban artifacts in terms of function must be rejected if the issue is to eluc.nartifacts whose function has changed over time or for which a specific function does not even exist. Thus, one thesis of this study, in its efforts to affirm the value of architecture in the analysis of the city, is the denial of the explanation of urban
artifacts in terms of function. I maintain, on the contrary, that far from being illuminating, this explanation is regressive because it impedes us from studying forms and knowing the world of architecture according to its true laws.
Crisis of the object: Predicament of texture
One might imagine that such an argument was the ultimate psychological rationale of the ville radieuse or Zeilenbau City, a city which, in its complete projection, was almost literally imagined as becoming non-existent. Immediately necessary buildings appear, so far as possible, as delicate and unassertive intrusions into the natural continuum; buildings raised above the ground provide as little contact as possible with the potentially reclaimable earth: and, while there ensues a freedom- releasing qualification of gravity, we are perhaps also encouraged to recognize a commentary upon the dangers of prolonged exposure to any conspicuous artifact.
Elements of the concept of urban space
The basic concepts underlying the aesthetic characteristics of urban space will be expounded below and systematically classified by type. In the process, an attempt will be made to draw a clear distinction between precise aesthetic and confused emotional factors. Every aesthetic analysis runs the risk of foundering on subjective questions of taste. Visual and sensory habits, which vary from one individual to the next, are augmented by a vast number of socio-political and cultural attitudes, which are taken to represent aesthetic truths. Accepted styles in art history—for example, baroque town plans, revolutionary architecture etc.—are both useful and necessary.
Charter of the New Urbanism
The “new” in New Urbanism has several aspects. It is the attempt to
apply the age-old principles of urbanism—diversity, street life, and
human scale—to the suburb in the twenty-first century. It is also an
attempt to resolve the apparent conflict between the fine grain of traditional
urban environments and the large-scale realities of contemporary
institutions and technologies. It is an attempt to update traditional
urbanism to fit our modern lifestyles and increasingly complex economics.