Urban Space and the Human Factor
YAPI, November 2009, Issue 335, p. 56-59.
Many definitions of urban space have been putforward. At the same time projects relating to the city may not always aim at tackling a city and its users in all their aspects from an objective point of view. In this study the human factor in urban design is examined by means of a discussion ofthe paradigms in the works of theorists who have written on the subject of urban space.
In his book Urban Space Rob Krier clearly explains the typological and morphological components that make up the concept of urban space, by means of diagrams and tables. This is followed by a chapter criticising 20th-century urban planning, and finally by a study of the rebuilding of Stuttgart. Since Krier confines himself to historical references, it is hard to describe him as a postmodern. Nevertheless, setting aside the historical aspect, Krier establishes a close tie between the use of geometry and the achievement of human happiness and order, so that his affinity with rational thought cannot be ignored.
In his book; A Pattern Language; Alexander demonstrates the similarity between the structures of sentences and other linguistic elements, and the elements and structures of the language of form. He asserts that just as there are words in languages, so there are patterns in the languages of form. Just as sentences are formed by bringing together words based on connections established in language, so buildings and spaces are created as consequences of pattern language. Since Alexander views the city as a structure that is formed by simultaneous inner connections and can be divided into sub-units, he can be said to take a structural approach to spaces.
Amos Rapoport’s book, Culture, Architecture and Design, is a study of what kind of impact user culture can have on design. According to Rapoport, he is an observer looking on from the outside, and his own realities and those he observes are different. In this respect, when Rapoport is viewed from an ontological point of view, he seems to take a positivistic approach. In terms of epistemology, however, Rapoport asserts that reality depends on personal experiences. Clearly this reflects an interpretive approach. However, his aim is that the researcher should tackle his subject independently of value judgments, and like a positivist, Rapoport is endeavouring to attain some generalisations.
The article shows the three different approachesof three different researchers. By discussing these different studies, the views of the researchers to the urban space and users is debated. Philosophical views (paradigms) contain clues to their views on urban design and the users of spaces.