Urban, city, or town planning, deals with design of the built environment from the municipal and metropolitan perspective. Other professions deal in moredetail with a smaller scale of development, namely architecture and urban design . Regional planning deals with a still larger environment, at a less detailed level. The Greek Hippodamus is often considered the father of city planning, for his design of Miletus , though examples of plannedcities permeate antiquity. Muslims are thought to have originated the idea offormal zoning (see haram and hima and the more general notion of khalifa , or"stewardship" from which they arise), although modern usage in the West largely dates from the ideas of the CongresInternationaux d'Architecture Moderne .
City planning embraces the organisation, or conscious influencing, of land-use distribution in an areaalready built-up or intended to become built-up.
In ancient times, Romans used a consolidated scheme for city planning,developed for military defense and civil convenience. Effectively, many European towns still preserve the essence of theseschemes, as in Turin . The basic plan is a central plaza with city services, surrounded by a compact grid of streets and wrapped in a wall for defense. To reduce traveltimes, two diagonal streets cross the square grid corner-to-corner, passing through the central square. A river usually flowsthrough the city, to provide water and transport, and carry away sewage, even in sieges.
Planning and aesthetics
In developed countries there has been a backlash against excessive man-made clutter in the environment, such as bollards,signs and hoardings. Other issues that generate strong debate amongst urban designers are tensions between peripheral growth,increased housing density and planned new settlements. There are also unending debates about the benefits of mixing tenures andland uses, versus the benefits of distinguishing geographic zones where different uses predominate.
Successful urban planning considers character, of "home" and "sense of place", local identity, respect for natural, artisticand historic heritage, an understanding of the "urban grain" or "townscape," pedestrians and other modes of traffic, utilitiesand natural hazards, such as flood zones.
While it is rare that cities are planned from scratch (and, in case, with some risk of unsuccessful examples like for Brasília ), planners are important in managing the growth of cities, applying tools like zoning to manage the uses of land, and growth management to manage the pace of development. When examinedhistorically, many of the cities now thought to be most beautiful are the result of dense, long lasting systems of prohibitionsand guidance about building sizes, uses and features. These allowed substantial freedoms, yet enforce styles, safety, and oftenmaterials in practical ways. Many conventional planning techniques are being repackaged as smart growth .
There are some cities that have been planned from conception, and while the plans often don't turn out quite as planned,evidence of the initial plan often remains. See List ofplanned cities . Some of the most successful planned cities consist of cells that include park-space, commerce andhousing, and then repeat the cell. Usually cells are separated by streets. Often each cell has unique monuments and gardening inthe park, and unique gates or boundary-markers for the edges of the cell. The commercial areas naturally become diverse. Thesedifferences help instill a sense of place, while the similarities of the cells make each place in the city familiar.
Planning and safety
Many cities are constructed in places subject to flood, storm surges, extreme weather or war. City planners can cope withthese. If the dangers can be localized (for flood or storm surge), the affected regions can be made into parkland or greenbelt,often with lovely results. Another practical method is simply to build the city on ridges, and the parks and farms invalleys.
Extreme weather , flood , war or other emergencies can often be greatly mitigated with secure evacuation routes and emergency operations centers. These are so inexpensive and unintrusive that they're areasonable precaution for any urban space.
Some planning methods might help an elite control ordinary citizens. This was certainly the case of Rome ( Italy ), where Fascism in the 1930s created ex novo many new suburbs in order to concentrate criminals and poorer classes away fromthe elegant town. France currently uses similar methods to control ethnic-arabic groups on welfare.
In recent years, practitioners have also been expected to maximize the accessibility of an area to people with differentabilities, practising the notion of "inclusive design," to anticipate criminal behaviour and consequently to "design-out crime"and to consider "traffic calming" or "pedestrianisation" as ways of making urban life more bearable.
City planning tries to control criminality with structures designed from theories like socio-architecture or environmental determinism . These theories saythat an urban environment can influence individuals' obedience to social rules. The theories often say that psychologicalpressure develops in more densely developed, unadorned areas. This stress causes some crimes and some use of illegal drugs. Theantidote is usually more individual space and better, more beautiful design in place of functionalism .
Other social theories point out that in England and most countries since the 18th century , the transformation of societies from ruralagriculture to industry caused a difficult adaptation to urban living. These theories emphasize that many planning policiesignore personal tensions, forcing individuals to live in a condition of perpetual extraneity to their cities. Many peopletherefore lack the comfort of feeling "at home" when at home. Often these theorists seek a reconsideration of commonly used"standards" that rationalise the outcomes of a free (relatively unregulated) market.
Planning and transportation
There is a direct, well-researched connection between the density of an urban environment, and the amount of transportation into that environment. Good quality transport is often followedby development. Development beyond a certain density can quickly overcrowd transport.
Good planning attempts to place higher densities of jobs or residents near high-volume transportation. For example, somecities permit commerce and multi-storey apartment buildings only within one block of train stations and four-lane boulevards, andaccept single-family dwellings and parks further away.
Densities are usually measured as the floor area of buildings divided by the land area. Ratios below 1.5 are low density. Plotratios above five are very high density. Most exurbs are below two, while most citycenters are well above five. Walk-up apartments with basement garages can easily achieve a density of three. Skyscrapers easilyachieve densities of thirty or more. Higher densities tempt developers with higher profits. City authorities may try to lowerdensities to reduce infrastructure costs, though some observers note that low densities may not accommodate enough population toprovide adequate demand or funding for that infrastructure.
Automobiles are well suited to serve densities as high as 1.5 with basiclimited-access highways . Innovations such as car-pool lanes and rush-hour use taxes may get automobiles to neighbourhoods with plot ratios as high as2.5.
Densities above 5 are well-served by trains. Most such areas were actually developed in response to trains in the middle1800s, and have historically high ridership that have never used automobiles for their work trip.
A widespread problem is that there is a range of residential densities between about two and five that causes severe trafficjams of automobiles, yet are too low to be commercially served by trains or light rail . The conventional solution is to use busses , but these and light rail systems may fail where automobiles and excess road network capacity are bothavailable, achieving less than 1% ridership. Some theoretricians speculate that personal rapid transit might coax people from their automobiles, and yet effectively serveintermediate densities, but this has not been demonstrated. The Lewis-Mogridge Position claims that increasing road space is not an effective way of relievingtraffic jams as latent or induced demand invariably emerges to restorea socially-tolerable level of congestion.
Planning and suburbanization
In some countries declining satisfaction with the urban environment is held to blame for continuing migration to smaller towns and rural areas Urban Exodus , so successful urban planning can bring benefits to a much larger hinterland or city region and help to reduce both congestion along transportation routes and the wastage of energyimplied by excessive commuting .
A strong belief that the behaviour of individuals living in or frequenting an area can be heavily influenced by its physicaldesign and layout is called environmentaldeterminism .
Planning and the Environment
Arcology seeks to unify the fields of ecology and architecture , especially landscape architecture , to achieve a harmonious environment forall living things. On a small scale, the eco-village theory has becomepopular, as it emphasizes a traditional 100-140 person scale for communities.
In most advanced urban or village planning models, local context is critical. In many, gardening assumes a central role not only in agriculture butin the daily life of citizens. A series of related movements including green anarchism , eco-anarchism , eco-feminism and Slow Food have putthis in a political context as part of a focus on smaller systems ofresource extraction, and waste disposal, ideally as part of living machines which do such recycling automatically, just as nature does. The modern theory of natural capital emphasizes this as the primary difference betweennatural and infrastructural capital , and seeks an economic basis for rationalizing a move back towards smallervillage units. A common form of planning that leads to suburban sprawl is single use zoning .
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