Thursday, December 10, 2015

Five elements of the City

By: Kristina Shrestha

In the design studio, we are designing a new city and we are given a rural site in Glenelg, Maryland and an urban site in Baltimore, Maryland. We are designing a master plan of the site in a group of three and chose an individual building to place in site. We have chosen a rural site and we are working on our master plan as well as our individual buildings. We were encouraged to make the city walkable therefore we have designed the city with the public spaces near the residence. The city consists of Offices, Retail, Senior living, Police station, Fire station, School, Community center, Garden apartments, Mid-rise, High rise apartments and Row homes. From the beginning of the semester, we have had group presentation on different types of buildings, case study presentation, and research presentation, presentation on theoretical books on urban design and planning, presentation on master plan and individual buildings, and so on.
Although we used to have many presentations, surprisingly last week we were given a task to make a diagram showing five elements of an urban design. The five elements of urban design was taken from the book “The Image of the City” written in year 1960 by Kevin Lynch. Kevin Lynch was an urban planning professor at MIT. He had worked with Frank Lloyd Wright and his works were inspired by the thinking of Frank Lloyd Wright. He was fascinated by the cities and how people perceive them. He wanted to find the relationship of successful cities with respect to the perception of people. He later realized that the elements like landmark helps to navigate people within the city. Also, people perceive cities with regard to the repeating elements like nodes, landmark, path, edge and district. One of the most important prospect of his book was the five elements of a city. The five elements are as follows:
Paths: Paths are the ways or channel where people occasionally move. It can be a road, railway tracks, canals or streets.
Edges: Edges are the boundary between two elements. It is the linear element other than paths. It also separated different views of a city.
Districts: Districts are larger part of city where people can go inside and it also have a distinct character.
Landmarks: Landmarks can be anything which are distinct like a statue, a gate, or any prominent element where people consider as a reference. 
Nodes: Nodes as the name suggests are the points or foci where two elements intersect or connects. It can be a cross-section of a path or an entire district. Nodes are the foci where people can enter.
These elements can be incorporated in many cities especially in new cities. These elements help people to navigate through the city and it also creates successful cities.

1.      Lynch, Kevin, Image of the City (1960)

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