A crucial part of any sensible intervention in cities should be to comprehend its context. How could we improve any part of the urban environment without knowing what to improve? Urban analysis can be conducted from many different points of view, and to think the complexity of urban systems can be categorized, deduced and described could be seen as foolish or naive, depending on your mood.
But is that a reason not to try? Too often, urban designers resign to obscurity or false precision to justify work that would otherwise exist in a vacuum. With almost a century of structured urban research under our belt, so much of the inner workings of our cities are still unknown to us. My mission as an academic and as a designer is to seek knowledge to empower successful improvements. Understanding urban issues and opportunities allow designers, governments, developers and citizens to better approach them.
A solid analysis helps to build a strong argumentation structure for urban design interventions. I firmly believe in the study of urban form and precedents to inform a successful path forward. Rather than leaning on the latest trends, urban design can become rooted in the local culture and vernacular of cities, becoming a part of their ongoing narrative. Longevity is vital to successful design interventions, as projects can take decades and should last for centuries more. Good design withstands the test of time.
Want to see more? My research portfolio can be downloaded here.
The Hague visibility graph analysis, Conrad Kickert 2007.