Fifty years ago a landmark conference at Harvard University established urban design as a distinct architectural and planning practice. Today, with the world’s urban population surpassing three billion people, urban design has become more crucial than ever. Indeed, the concerns that initially brought leading architects and city planners together—including concerns over sprawl, pollution, and aging infrastructure—have only intensified over the past half century.
In Urban Design, Alex Krieger and William S. Saunders have assembled prominent figures in architecture, planning, and landscape design to look back on the evolution of the discipline of urban design; assess the current state of the field; and anticipate the challenges posed by the unprecedented rate of urbanization, particularly in the developing world, and how the profession will need to adapt in order to confront them. The volume opens with excerpts from transcripts of the 1956 Harvard conference followed by essays that contextualize and critique its assumptions and ambitions. Subsequent essays address such topics as the social conscience of urban design and stake out the competing sensibilities in the field, from New Urbanism to avant-garde.
As humanity becomes an urban species to a degree that was unimaginable fifty years ago, this comprehensive volume seeks to encourage today’s designers to draw on the energy and messy vitality of cities in shaping tomorrow’s urban environments.Contributors: Jonathan Barnett, Denise Scott Brown, Joan Busquets, Kenneth Greenberg, John Kaliski, Timothy Love, Fumihiko Maki, Richard Marshall, Eric Mumford, Michelle Provoost, Peter G. Rowe, Edward W. Soja, Richard M. Sommer, Michael Sorkin, Emily Talen, Marilyn Jordan Taylor, Wouter Vanstiphout, Charles Waldheim