Representation of Places: Reality and Realism in City Design

Univ of California Press
Free sample

People live in cities and experience them firsthand, while urban designers explain cities conceptually. In Representation of Places Peter Bosselmann takes on the challenging question of how designers can communicate the changes they envision in order that "the rest of us" adequately understand how those changes will affect our lives. New modes of imaging technology—from two-dimensional maps, charts, and diagrams to computer models—allow professionals to explain their designs more clearly than ever before. Although architects and planners know how to read these representations, few outside the profession can interpret them, let alone understand what it would be like to walk along the streets such representations describe. Yet decisions on what gets built are significantly influenced by these very representations. A portion of Bosselmann's book is based on innovative experiments conducted at the University of California, Berkeley's Visual Simulation Laboratory. In a section titled "The City in the Laboratory," he discusses how visual simulation was applied to projects in New York City, San Francisco, and Toronto. The concerns that Bosselmann addresses have an impact on large segments of society, and lay readers as well as professionals will find much that is useful in his timely, accessibly written book.
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About the author

Peter Bosselmann is Professor of Urban Design at the College of Environmental Design, University of California, Berkeley.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Univ of California Press
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Published on
Mar 21, 1998
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Pages
232
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ISBN
9780520918269
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Architecture / History / General
Social Science / Sociology / Urban
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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'This is a most welcome revival of the critical planning tradition. The authors combine a skilful mix of theory and applied analysis to reveal the complex dynamics of this exciting field. I can think of no better text on cities, governance and the role of the planner'.

Associate Professor Mark Considine, University of Melbourne, co-author of Australian Politics in the Global Era

'A useful book because it makes clear connections between politics and policy in general and the roles of planners. It raises serious questions on how the move to market economies conflicts with the older idea of intervention via planning and challenges the reader to rethink planning in newer contexts. The book is an excellent introduction to both urban planning theories and

their relationship to wider political cultures.'

Eva Cox, policy analyst, author of A Truly Civil Society

New challenges, new agendas

How should Australia's cities be managed in the new millennium? How can planning respond to the new political challenges which confront every level of government? Does planning complement or inhibit environmental sustainability?

Australian Urban Planning addresses these questions by describing and analysing the various theoretical, political and institutional forces that have shaped and continue to reshape public urban planning in Australia since the Second World War.

Australian Urban Planning explains the historical origins of planning and the nature of the diverse recent changes that have both reshaped and threatened its original purposes. It presents planning as a form of urban governance in which spatial regulation reflects such competing claims as economic growth, social justice, global economic transformation and ecological sustainability.

Australian Urban Planning consists of three parts. The first part presents a rich account of what has happened to Australian cities and their management over the last two decades. The second surveys the most significant ideas that have informed planning theory over that period and demonstrated the many impacts those ideas have had. The final part sets an agenda for the future of urban governance.
How do cities transform over time? And why do some cities change for the better while others deteriorate? In articulating new ways of viewing urban areas and how they develop over time, Peter Bosselmann offers a stimulating guidebook for students and professionals engaged in urban design, planning, and architecture. By looking through Bosselmann’s eyes (aided by his analysis of numerous color photos and illustrations) readers will learn to “see” cities anew.

Bosselmann organizes the book around seven “activities”: comparing, observing, transforming, measuring, defining, modeling, and interpreting. He introduces readers to his way of seeing by comparing satellite-produced “maps” of the world’s twenty largest cities. With Bosselmann’s guidance, we begin to understand the key elements of urban design. Using Copenhagen, Denmark, as an example, he teaches us to observe without prejudice or bias.

He demonstrates how cities transform by introducing the idea of “urban morphology” through an examination of more than a century of transformations in downtown Oakland, California. We learn how to measure quality-of-life parameters that are often considered immeasurable, including “vitality,” “livability,” and “belonging.” Utilizing the street grids of San Francisco as examples, Bosselmann explains how to define urban spaces. Modeling, he reveals, is not so much about creating models as it is about bringing others into public, democratic discussions. Finally, we find out how to interpret essential aspects of “life and place” by evaluating aerial images of the San Francisco Bay Area taken in 1962 and those taken forty-three years later.

Bosselmann has a unique understanding of cities and how they “work.” His hope is that, with the fresh vision he offers, readers will be empowered to offer inventive new solutions to familiar urban problems.
For the house lover and the curious tourist, for the house buyer and the weekend stroller, for neighborhood preservation groups and for all who want to know more about their community -- here, at last, is a book that makes it both easy and pleasurable to identify the various styles and periods of American domestic architecture.

Concentrating not on rare landmarks but on typical dwellings in ordinary neighborhoods all across the United States -- houses built over the past three hundred years and lived in by Americans of every social and economic background -- the book provides you with the facts (and frame of reference) that will enable you to look in a fresh way at the houses you constantly see around you. It tells you -- and shows you in more than 1,200 illustrations -- what you need to know in order to be able to recognize the several distinct architectural styles and to understand their historical significance. What does that cornice mean? Or that porch? That door? When was this house built? What does its style say about the people who built it? You'll find the answers to such questions here.

This is how the book works: Each of thirty-nine chapters focuses on a particular style (and its variants). Each begins with a large schematic drawing that highlights the style's most important identifying features. Additional drawings and photographs depict the most common shapes and the principal subtypes, allowing you to see at a glance a wide range of examples of each style. Still more drawings offer close-up views of typical small details -- windows, doors, cornices, etc. -- that might be difficult to see in full-house pictures. The accompanying text is rich in information about each style -- describing in detail its identifying features, telling you where (and in what quantity) you're likely to find examples of it, discussing all of its notable variants, and revealing its origin and tracing its history.

In the book's introductory chapters you'll find invaluable general discussions of house-building materials and techniques ("Structure"), house shapes ("Form"), and the many traditions of architectural fashion ("Style") that have influenced American house design through the past three centuries. A pictorial key and glossary help lead you from simple, easily recognized architectural features -- the presence of a tile roof, for example -- to the styles in which that feature is likely to be found.

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