Home > The City > Planning the Township > City Study Circle > Report - Nov 02, 2001

City Study Circle

Forum for town planning

November 02, 2001

On the 2nd November the session was attended by nine people.

Our sessions in the spring have left us with some material that we feel can be of use. Out of it, with some new additions, a draft has been made of what can become 'performance criteria', a check-list that is used to give directions in the planning process, considering all aspects from the outset in an as comprehensive way as possible. The material is here presented in different categories but all aspects are interrelated. The very purpose of this procedure is to create cohesion by progressively adopting new experiences whenever necessary.
The source of the material is not any predetermined model of the city. From these criteria different models can be made. Due to lack of space only some of the available material has been included here. The presentation is made to give an idea of how the planning process can be made visible and open for general input.

Character

Preservation of natural features. Relationship between development & its environment. Character through local ecology. Reflection of history & functions of areas. Buildings embedded in greenery. Continuity of built form.

Continuity & Enclosure

Continuous & coherent urban fabric with attractive pedestrian streets. Relation of heights with width of buildings & importance of open spaces. Definition of neighbourhood, its area and character.

Quality of public realm

Different types of plazas, squares, parks, streets, paths. Different character of informal, cultural, civic, recreational, commercial spaces. Frequent street entrances to ensure activity. Exclusion of disturbing traffic. Friendliness to children, elderly & less-abled.

Legibility / Orientation

Focusing the views on important routes, landmarks and landscape features. Design of public realm to enhance the sense of the place. Coherent architectural styles in different areas. Richness in details, particularly on ground level. Focus on works of art.

Diversity

Mix of residences, work, culture, services & play. Mixed uses in one building (one use above another), in a street ( one use next to the other), in neighbourhoods (groups of uses next to another). Distribution of activities based on frequency of use. Mix of compatible uses which interact positively in mutual support. Smaller (integrated) structures (& not mega-structures) to allow various design approaches by architects at different points in time.

Ease of movement

Network of connected spaces & routes. Streets should be public spaces, not traffic routes. Minimise walking distance through mixed uses. Suitable density to support public transport. Priority to public life, space & safety, not to private vehicles.

Adaptability

Flexible buildings: floor-ceiling heights & depths so as to allow various uses. Adoptable ground floors for multiple uses over time. Provision for expansion. Fine grained development is easier to adapt. Public spaces allowing various uses ( events, festivals, markets.) Temporary construction: bamboo, keet, low-cost structures.

Health

Transport and industries, non-polluting & non-disturbing. Active noise barriers wherever needed. Optimum acoustic condition in housing. Adequate natural light. Arrangement of buildings to provide shade in public places. Streets & cycle paths adequately shaded with trees, pergolas, colonnades etc. Use of water for cooling ( fountains, reflecting pools, natural water bodies.)

Sustainability

Energy from renewable sources. Water harvesting. Re-use of waste. Urban agriculture. Sufficient density of population & compact layout of the city for efficiency in service infrastructure & mobility. Synthesis of traditional & modern technology. Vernacular architecture as response to local climate, technology & building materials.

Process

The planning process should be flexible and open to new ideas & trends. Facilitate consultation, participation & feedback from residents. Encourage sense of community. Transparency.

 

felix@auroville.org.in 
for the Study Circle team

Home > The City > Planning the Township > City Study Circle > Report - Nov 02, 2001