Urban Villages and the Making of Communities

Urban Villages and the Making of Communities

Urban Villages and the Making of Communities

Urban Villages and the Making of Communities

Synopsis

Urban regeneration is currently at the forefront of the political and professional agenda worldwide. There is a growing desire to identify and deliver solutions that not only define models of sustainable and identifiable urban form, but also underpin a real sense of a vibrant community. The design philosophy of Urban Villages has gained significant weight with government policy-makers, planners, designers and developers and is becoming a popular model in achieving a successful and flexible urban renaissance.

This book documents both the roots of the Urban Village movement and its application in contemporary society. A series of essays by eminent practitioners offers particular urban perspectives. A detailed compendium of successful case-studies provides clear technical information.

Urban Villagesand the Making of Communitiesoffers a professional resource, a teaching tool and learning aid.

Excerpt

The latter half of the twentieth century was marked by a significant decline in the quality and vitality of many of our urban centres. the manufacturing and heavy industrial base, upon which many of our cities originally grew, began to rapidly contract. the commercial heart of many centres dissolved as shops and offices increasingly chose to relocate to out-of-town retail and business parks, whilst vast housing estates, built just a decade or two earlier, began an intense and painful process of social, economic and physical disintegration.

As with the garden city and new town movements of the last century we again find ourselves searching for long-term solutions that can address the immediate and often acute urban problems we now face. But unlike these previous initiatives that sought an escape for specific urban ills, the answers are now being sought within the towns and cities themselves. We are now embarking on a policy of urban renaissance which has at its heart a vision that is attempting to re-establish our neglected towns and cities as thriving and attractive urban districts. the neighbourhood has a central role in this process, for urban neighbourhoods are the primary social and physical foundation upon which our towns and cities will flourish.

The challenges are immense, but maintaining the status quo is no longer a viable option. On the one hand we are faced with the massive task of transforming dysfunctional and under-employed urban districts that are suffering blight and dereliction. On the other there is increasing pressure to sacrifice yet more of our finite countryside for new development to meet a critical shortage in housing. the solutions will not be found simply through geography and planning policy, for we face an immediate need to establish better and more effective ways to design and construct our urban neighbourhoods. Not only must the solutions be efficient in terms of land use and economics, but they also need to offer a far greater density of jobs, services, and leisure and recreation facilities-essentially, they must increasingly be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. Above all, our challenge is to create neighbourhoods that will be popular, productive and beautiful places to live both now and for many generations to come.

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