How Can Architects At An Individual Level Affect Urban Dynamics? With A Huge Number Of Architects Contributing To City Skylines, How Does Architecture At An Individual Level Affect Urban Planning? How Can Architects Use This Influence To Create Better Cities?
Architecture is intertwined with urban dynamics and one may say that they share a symbiotic relationship with each other. This relationship lays on the foundation of power that both has on each other in transforming the future of cities and the population thriving in them. Architects at an individual level make singular structure or at most a group of structures that form a miniature part of cities. Just like how Lego pieces join together to form larger blocks, similar the singular structures contribute to how the overall city skyline looks like. Each piece plays a crucial role and therefore architects must design these spaces in coordination with the people thriving in and around and have an empathetic approach to the needs of the people.
In recent times, the idea of sustainability has taken a strong hold in architecture, highlighting its overall effect in urban design. The rapid transformation of urban dynamics due to population growth and expansion of urban limits call for adaption to emerging needs and the need to achieve stability. The formalised urban processes classify architecture in spatial design but architects, at an individual level are capable of doing not just more, but also harness the power to transform societal setups. Urban complexity is a result of the often-ignored relationship between spatial form and social, economic and cultural aspects of a settlement. The biggest resource that architects can use to influence urban dynamics is to exploit the local context and history to create a socially-inclined design instead of imposing their ‘theoretical’ solutions.
Change of space and time gives rise to adaptation, which is conceived more as a bottom-up socio-economic process that combine various factors and stressors. The key transformation in the last three decades is globalisation that has gradually altered the world’s economy and other related social, cultural, political and ecological processes. As said by Winston Churchill, ‘we shape our buildings and then our buildings shape us’. Architects musts play around with two urban design characteristics, new urbanism and defensible space to ensure that their designs lay stress on the social aspects of sustainable communities. While new urbanism stresses on the creation of spaces that can sustain the changing urban dynamics of cities, defensible spaces are about making cities that are safer and inclusive for the communities thriving in them.
One of the driving forces of urban dynamics are how people perceive built and un-built spaces and how individuals perceive and behave amidst public spaces. Public spaces is vital for the survival for a city because that is the part that makes an urban form ‘lively’. But what decides how feel in in such public spaces? Research has shown that specialised cells in the hippocampal region of our brains decide our mood in a certain space based on its geometry and arrangement of built structures. Thus, architects hold the power of city’s well being by just designing spaces that shape the behaviour of people living in it. If we look at the bigger picture, a social design shall help build quality, built environments with negligible crime and social dysfunction. As Jan Gehl has rightly said, ‘First life, then spaces, then buildings – the other way around never works.’ Jan Gehl played a crucial role in building Copenhagen into the most sustainable, liveable and happiest city in the world. The city offers its people sensible solutions to 21st century urban challenges- from designing cities for bicycles to creating liveable public spaces- it is all about visualising architecture and urban growth from human-scale. Copenhagen teaches the world a lesson that thinking simple is a real solution to bigger problems.
The field of Urban Dynamics is complex system of independent components that have again, complex relationships with each other. These individual components are affected by the design ideologies of architects who must conform to the greater perspectives of urbanism, that is, land use planning, attractiveness of space, as well as population transitions and movements, within the defined as well as undefined urban landscape. What architects create affect human health and psychology at a higher level. Architects play various roles, from being an artist to being a social activist. But how they adopt a singular role is based on their approach to integrate human dimension into the built environment creation. This require a holistic approach in understanding that the health of cities refer to the health of the people that is guided by the design of cities. As architects, one not only affect how people perceive a single structure but also affect how structures around it are perceived by people. When one inculcates the concept of human dimension into design, space creation is given added dimensions other than the conventional three-dimension. This is the attribute of a ‘good’ design that sets apart liveable cities from cities that maybe refereed to as ‘urban clutter’.