Oculus - Spring 2014 - (Page 40)

in print Urban Design and Civic Engagement: A Bibliographic Essay BY S TA N LEY S TA RK , FA IA ue to the interest in the new mayor's development agenda, and in recognition of AIANY 2014 President Lance Jay Brown's theme of urban design and civic engagement, we present a range of books, both old and new, that offer insight and guidance on these issues. The intense interest in urban design is a direct response to the dramatic population shift from exurban to urban environments in America and much of the world. Both architecture and urban design are highly people-centered pursuits. Because urban design operates on a much larger scale, it has assumed tremendous importance as a linchpin of success for cities nationwide. One good overview of the drive toward urbanism is Alan Ehrenhalt's The Great Inversion and the Future of the American City (Vintage, 2013). He examines the dynamics of urban change, how the roles of cities and suburbs are changing places, and the implications of a more residential city and a more urbanized suburb. The library of studies of urban form is rich. Sibyl Moholy-Nagy's Matrix of Man: An Illustrated History of Urban Environment (Pall Mall Press, 1969), Steen Eiler Rasmussen's Towns and Buildings (The MIT Press, 1969), and Edmund N. Bacon's The Design of Cities (Penguin Books, 1976) are three seminal texts on the evolution of city form. Jan Gehl's Cities for People (Island Press, 2010) and William H. Whyte's The Social Life of Small Urban Spaces (Project for Public Spaces, 2001) both study and illuminate how, at an intimate level, people perceive the urban environment and engage in public spaces. Both studies are observant, insightful, and wise in their recommendations and applications. Michael Webb's The City Square (Watson-Guptill, 1990) examines this major focal urban space and its many variations. The tools, tactics, and preoccupations of urban design, particularly its political and interpersonal dimensions, are examined in Urban Design as Public Policy (McGraw-Hill, 1974), by Jonathan Barnett; The Planning Game: Lessons from Great Cities (W.W. Norton, 2013), by Alexander Garvin; and Urban Design for an Urban Century: Placemaking for People (Wiley, 2009), by Lance Jay D 40 Oculus Spring 2014 Brown, David Dixon, and Oliver Gilham. All show how grand aspirations are translated into reality. Two clashing worldviews of the practice, conduct, and objectives of urban design are presented in Robert Caro's The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York (Vintage, 1975) and Jane Jacobs's Death and Life of the Great American Cities (Vintage, 1992). Moses's top-down monarchial view was ultimately thwarted by Jacobs's community-based planning approach. The footprints created by both are large, and we yearn for a melding of both views. Design and civic engagement come together most dramatically in the face of an existential threat. Two versions to consider: The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover from Disaster (Oxford University Press, 2005), edited by Lawrence J. Vale and Thomas J. Campanella, explores how cities restore themselves following a catastrophe (war, storm, cataclysmic occurrences), and how planning, design, politics, and clashing interests interact. Beyond Zuccotti Park: Freedom of Assembly and the Occupation of Public Space (New Village Press, 2012), edited by Rick Bell, Lance Jay Brown, Lynn Elizabeth, and Ron Schiffman, with contributions from 40 others, explores the definition, use, and role of public space for freedom of assembly and expression. This study places civic engagement back at the center of the discussion of urban design. Stanley Stark, FAIA, is Principal, Science and Technology at Francis Cauffman, and served as chair of the Oculus Committee from 2005 to 2007. Civic Spirit: Civic Visions

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Oculus - Spring 2014

Letter From the President
Letter From the Editor
Center for Architecture
Some Blocks Over
Opener: Open to the Public: Civic Space Now
The Search for the Soul of Cities
A Different Tale of Two Cities
Public Space Reasserts Its Political Role
Gatherings of One
Time to Welcome Woonerfs
Redesigning the Crossroads of the World
A Magical Place on the Water
How to Remember a Plague
Sustainable Models for a Just City
In Print
50-Year Watch
Last Words
Index to Advertisers

Oculus - Spring 2014