Our cities and towns have shaped so much of our lives. Our memories of people and activities are associated with these very built environments we call our home. Urban design is the design of towns, cities, streets, and public spaces. It is collaborative and multidisciplinary in nature and evolves the physical settings of the built environment. It involves the study and designing of individuals and groups of structure and landscape. A well-designed city gives birth to a healthy urbanscape. For long periods, extensive studies have been conducted globally by various Urban Designers and theorists. Dissecting these 15 Urban Designers may inspire and steer you into a career that revolves around the nature of urban settings and its constant struggle to maintain a balance between chaos and order.

1. Jane Jacobs 

As an urbanist and activist, Jacobs’s approach to city designing was community-centric. Her book, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, gives a profound analysis of how these cities function, evolve, and fail. She firmly believed that the locals had far greater inputs in improving their neighborhoods than officials.

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Jane Jacobs_©www.popsci.com/jane-jacobs-the-builders/

2. Jaime Lerner 

An Architect, Urban Planner, and Mayor of the city of Curitiba in Brazil, Jaime Lerner was a pioneer in urban sustainability. He successfully materialized his vision for the city, by making great efforts in guarding the environment. His idea of transportation was easily accessible, efficient, affordable, and sustainable, inspiring city planners across the globe.

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Jaime Lerner_©content.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1984685_1984745_1985492,00.html

3. Jan Gehl 

Danish Architect, Jan Gehl addressed city designing with a human approach. He studied the residents of the city rather than the elements of design. He believed that well-designed urban spaces enhanced the human senses providing easy physical and visual access.

4. Le Corbusier 

A pioneer of modern Architecture and Planning, Le Corbusier strived to design using principles of abstraction and purity. Even though many of his urban planning schemes remain proposed, the city of Chandigarh is a significant example of his vision. Famous for its grid pattern, the city as a whole celebrates proportion, scale, and detail.

5. Kevin Lynch 

Most of us have encountered his book The Image of the City at some point in our lives. Kevin Lynch studies the importance of paths, edges, districts, nodes, and landmarks as the five necessary features that correspond to the mental image the residents of the city experience.

6. Robert Moses 

Robert Moses played a crucial role in shaping the city of New York. Responsible for the construction of iconic structures in NYC, he is someone with a mixed review. In the hope of urban renewal, he removed entire neighborhoods of people, destroying the traditional character of the local community.

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Robert Moses_©ny.curbed.com/2017/7/27/15985648/nyc-subway-robert-moses-power-broker

7. Catherine Bauer Wurster

Catherine Bauer Wurster devoted her entire life advocating for affordable public housing. She was inspired to study comprehensively about it, after witnessing economic inequalities in housing availability during her student years. Her book, Modern Housing, is a rigorous analysis of the social, economic, and political factors of housing policy in the United States.

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Catherine Bauer Wurster_©placesjournal.org/article/catherine-bauer-and-the-need-for-public-housing/?cn-reloaded=1

8. Rahul Mehrotra

As the principal Architect of RMA architects, Rahul Mehrotra has worked on various projects. His work engages the user in a diverse collection of issues in varying scales of housing, institution, industrial, and conservation projects: recycling urban land and master planning a segment of Mumbai city. He is also one of the founder members of the Kala Ghoda rejuvenation movement.

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Rahul Mehrotra_©rmaarchitects.com/rahul-mehrotra/

9. Raj Rewal 

With contextualized designs richly steeped in traditional roots, Raj Rewal weaves history and modernity into a singular design and aims to create humane architecture that focuses on scale, geometry, and rhythm. He has made a colossal contribution to the urbanscape of many major cities in India.

10. Gordon Cullen

The British Architect was a pivotal motivator in the Townscape Movement. Townscape is based on the psychology of perception, such as the human need for visual stimulation adhering to the notions of time and space. He presented his ideas through sketches. He was also invited to India to advise on the planning aspects of the Ford Foundation project in New Delhi and Kolkata.

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Gordon Cullen_©www.paperbackswap.com/Concise-Townscape-Gordon-Cullen/book/0442217706/

11. Arata Isozaki

A Japanese Architect who won the Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2019, Arata’s style is a blend between New Brutalism and Metabolist Architecture. He developed one of his most fascinating projects, City in the Air, in the field of urbanism, which remains proposed to this date.

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Arata Isozaki_©www.nytimes.com/2019/03/05/arts/design/pritzker-architecture-prize-arata-isozaki.html

12. Massimiliano Fuksas

As an Italian- Lithuanian Architect and head of Studio Fuksas, Massimiliano Fuksas defines his vision as giving his structures emotions. His style is easily recognizable and offers a new definition to the modern urbanscape. As an avid writer, his excerpts in the architecture column of the weekly publication, L’Espresso understands the urban problems, particularly that of the suburbs.

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Massimiliano Fuksas_©alchetron.com/Massimiliano-Fuksas

13. Santiago Calatrava 

Santiago Calatrava is a man with many hats. With a style described as biotech, his work takes inspiration from nature itself, striving for the ecological compatibility of architectural structures and their visual movement. His ability to blend advanced engineering solutions has made a significant mark on the urbanscape and the minds of many architects. 

14. Jean Nouvel

Nouvel’s work does not result from considerations of style or ideology, but from a quest to create a unique concept for a singular combination of people, place, and time. His approach to designing is context-based, infused with uniqueness, resulting in his structures transforming their environments and eccentrically marking the cities in which they are built. The National Museum of Qatar and the Philharmonie de Paris are two of the many examples that mirror his ideology.

Jean Novel_©www.architectural-review.com/essays/reputations/jean-nouvel-1945

 

15. Norman Foster

Foster + Partners are urban design consultants who believe that the creation and preservation of local communities are more important than a single structure. In his extensive study on urbanscapes across the globe, his design proposals aim to make cities less spatially fragmented, more environmentally responsive, and less socially divided.

Author

A student of Architecture who lives by the word nostalgia and enjoys taking black and white photographs. Her style of writing is unconventional and often romanticised. She believes Architecture has the power to heal and adores anyone who listens to Radiohead.

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