Transforming the Urban Landscape Around Us

Urban_Ecological_DesignUrban  Ecological  Design: A Process for Regenerative  Places” by Danilo Palazzo and Frederick Steiner, presents an interdisciplinary method of transforming urban spaces that considers issues of ecology and sustainability alongside urban form.  The goal of “Urban Ecological Design” is not to explain how to design a specific city precinct or public space, but to describe useful steps to approach the transformation of urban spaces.

This new work illustrates the different stages in which the process is organized, using theories, techniques, images and case studies.  It combines the authors’ urban design knowledge and sensibilities with their experience in human ecology to present a comprehensive design process that will guide any project.

The authors note that urban design is viewed as an interface between different disciplines. They describe the field as  “peacefully overrun, invaded, and occupied” by city planners, architects, engineers and landscape architects (with developers and politicians frequently joining in).  They suggest that environmental concerns demand the consideration of ecology in urban design. It is, after all, the urban designer who helps to orchestrate human relationships with other living organisms in the built environment.

The overall objective of the book is to reinforce the role of the urban designer as an honest broker and promoter of design processes and as an active agent of social creativity in the production of the public realm.

Frederick Steiner is dean of the School of Architecture at The University of Texas at Austin, where he holds the Henry M. Rockwell Chair in Architecture. His books include “Human Ecology: Following Nature’s Lead” (Island Press, 2002), “The Living Landscape” (Island Press, 2008), “The Essential Ian McHarg”  (Island Press, 2006) and “Design for a Vulnerable Planet” (University of Texas Press,  2011).

Danilo Palazzo is an associate professor of urban planning and design at the Politecnico di Milano, Italy.  His books include “Sulle spalle dei giganti” (Franco Angeli, 1997), “Transforming the Places of Production” (Olivares, 2002 with Fossa, Lane,  Pirani), and “Urban Design” (Mondadori  Università,  2008).  He recently wrote an essay for the Companion to Urban Design (Routledge, 2011).

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