Architecture and Urban Transformation: Revisioning
The objective of this research is to examine the central of Footscray and specifically to posed specific questions including whether there is a discernable orderly underlying the structure of the city and how does one ready the city, decipher the complexities of the city and how does that reading inform the production of architecture? Also addressed in this study are the questions of how could the urban proposal act as a fulcrum to reengage with city and how does the architectural investigation enable expression of inclusiveness? Toward the goal of addressing these specific questions this study intends to conduct a review of literature relating to urban architectural production. The literature reviewed will be that of professional and academic peer-reviewed journals and publication. The findings reported are located in the discussion and conclusion sections of the present study.
Architecture and Urban Transformation: Revisioning
Statement of Thesis
This work in writing examines the theoretical bases for projects such as the Revisioning of Footscray. This will involve the examination of the revisioning of Footscray and specifically the breakdown of urban site and architecture and how these were utilized in the creation of spaces that will be functional in the community with a focus on the use of these spaces both collectively and individually by community members. Examined will be such as the transport within the city and access to these transportation choices as well as the built and natural environment to include housing, arts and culture and learning institutions.
Research questions in this study include the following stated questions:
(1) How does one decipher the complexities of the city?
(2) How does that reading inform the production of architecture?
(3) How could the urban proposal act as a fulcrum to reengage with city?
(4) How does the architectural investigation enable expression of inclusiveness?
The objective of the research in this proposed study is to examine the process through which architecture interfaces and interacts with the wider urban fabric.
The work of Orr and Biguzas (nd) writes that there has been a "strong sense of unconcern and apathy on the streets of the modern city. This problem arose out of the divide between the inside and the outside, a divide between subjective experience and worldly experience, self and city that has evolved through the centuries within the societies of the Western world. It is said that the two experiences are separate, inner being the subjective one and the outer-physical and that the two cannot be fixed because of the fear of exposure." (Orr and Biguzas, nd) This is said to be that which resulted in the "reduction and trivializing of the city structures and decrease in interaction among communities, suburbs and individual buildings and the streets." (Orr and Biguzas, nd) It is noted that Sennet wrote "the way cities look reflects a great fear of exposure…what we make in the urban realm are therefore bland, neutralizing spaces, spaces which remove the threat of social contact." (Orr and Biguzas, nd)
Theories of urban planning will be examined and specifically:
(1) Mixed land use;
(2) Multifunctional Land Use; and (3) New Urbanism. These theories will be used for comparison in this study.
From the view of Tafuri, in the work entitled "Architecture and Utopia" a City "is like a forest, thus the distribution of a city is like that of a park. There must be squares, crossroads and straight and spacious streets in great numbers." (1990) Critical to the success of a city is "the mixture between blocks, streets and squares. ( p.3)
The work of Lynch (1960) states that the city images refer to physical forms and can be classified into five element types including: (1) paths; (2) edges; (3) districts; (4) nodes; and (5) landmarks. Cities are described in the work of Lynch as being "multi-purpose" and "shifting organization" which is differentiated from "single purpose" and that the city should necessarily transform based upon the citizen's "purposes and perceptions." (1960) The work entitled "Envisioning Footscray: Final Report" dated June 2005, relates the findings and activities contained in the revisioning Footscray Project which involves the "consolidation and clarification of the Footscray Transit Cities Vision." (Red Road Development, 2005)
Findings stated in the report are stated in the areas of: (1) access and transport; (2) arts and culture; (3) built and natural environment; (4) housing; (5) learning; (6) recreation and entertainment; and (7) retail. (Red Road Consulting, 2005) There are stated to be three themes that overarch and impact each of these core elements. Those three themes are inclusive of: (1) Image; (2) diversity; and (3) safety. (Red Road Development, 2005)
In terms of image it is stated that the image of Footscray is one that envisions Footscray remaining the same however, improved as well and characterized by it being of the nature that is "artsy, edgy, affordable, regional and multicultural." (Red Road Development, 2005, p.iii) In terms of diversity of the city, there should be an ethnic diversity retained within the city as well as socio-economic diversity and land-use diversity. (Red Road Development, 2005, p.iv) The third theme, or that of safety is stated to have been of specific concern as in the past there have been negative views of safety in the community requiring that elements such as lighting improvement and the generation of more activity within the city be addressed.
Recommendations stated for revisioning of Footscray include the following specific objectives:
Access and transport -- facilitation and advocating for a well-connected Footscray in the area of car, public transport, private transport, cycling and pedestrian movement as well as to promote the concept of and provision of infrastructure for a 'walkable' Footscray and to protect and enhance Footscray Station.
Arts and Culture -- to project and enhance the arts in Footscray.
Built and Natural Environment - To promote mixed land-use that is sustainable and sensitive to local heritage. To communicate clear strategic planning goals and processes to the community. Housing - To manage increasing heights and densities in a way that involves community opinion and preference. To maintain affordability and reduce risks associated with gentrification.
Learning -- To better integrate the university campuses and their students into daily life in Footscray and to respond to and advocate for the learning needs of the community.
Recreation and Entertainment -- to enhance the safety and enjoyment of Footscray both day and night and to enhance the green space opportunities in Footscray for informal and/or passive recreation activities.
Image -- to promote the image of Footscray which is envisioned as artsy, edgy, affordable, regional and multicultural.
Diversity -- to retain ethnic diversity, socio-economic diversity and land-use diversity.
Safety -- to address negative perceptions of community safety and stigma.
Retail -- to enhance, rather than change the diversity of shopping experiences in Footscray. (Red Road Development, 2005)
The work of Leikina (nd) states that there is a "strong sense of unconcern and apathy on the streets of the modern city. This problem arose out of the divide between the inside and outside, a divide between subjective experience and worldly experience, self and city that have evolved through the centuries within the societies of the Western world." ( p. ) While it is generally held that the outer city and the inner city are two separate experiences the outcomes is such that has been a "reduction and trivializing of the city structures" and what is stated to be a decrease in community, suburb and individual street interaction. Because of the general "fear of exposure" the cities in modern times are reported to be "bland, neutralizing spaces" and of the nature that "remove the treat of social contract." ( p. ) This has resulted in " feeling of claustrophobia between communities, division of neighborhoods…" ( p. )
It is stated that the modern movement was characterized by "purity and unity" and that these elements are such that "led to isolation nd withdrawal from the users and the world beyond. It was an art that should not be touched or used. The modern concept is such that sought to hide identity through use of a "mask of anonymity" however the result is architecture that "served as an edge between interior of complexity, depth and plentitude and incomprehensibility of the facade" and architecture that was "reduced, exclusive, over-integrated, perfected and sealed off from life and change." ( ) Such architectural design, while resulting in residential privacy served to hide the individual character of each apartment and failed to create a relationship between the building and the people that lived in the building. (, paraphrased) The complexity of the spaces created is that which the life of the street and the open spaces within the building create.
The work of Kaan, et al. (2011) relates that architectural interventions in the contemporary city are becoming more complex in nature. Urban projects are both lengthy as well as proceeding slowly due to factors of: