The «creative leap» to something which is greater than the sum of the parts.

Project duration: 2008 > 2011

Partners: Rissc (Italy) – Regional Environmental Center (Slovakia) – Nadace Partnerství (Czech Republic) – Nadácia Ekopolis (Slovakia) – LAMORO (Italy) – FH Erfurt (Germany) – TU Wien (Austria)

Website: urbanspace.rec.org

Eu_flag_web With the financial support of the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme European Commission – Directorate-General Home Affairs

Defining urban spaces

The open space design process involves far more than just creating the ‘sum of the patterns’. It makes necessary to organize and compose the various spatial and functional components of the future site into a functional and pleasing overall concept, making sure to maximize as many of the various potential open space functions: Environmental and Ecological, Social and Societal, Structural and Symbolic.

The protection of the existing urban open space resource and the provision of new open spaces to respond to the demands created by new development must be a vital part of any strategic approach to urban space.

– UrbSpace Executive Summary –

And while Ecological and environmental ones and to a lesser degree social and society ones can be relatively easily specified, this is not usually the case with structural and symbolic functions. The European Landscape Convention places equal stress on the physical and the perceptual aspects of landscape. It is therefore one of the main challenges for the designer, after the main functional needs have been fulfilled, to integrate both the materiality and the mentality of the site into a coherent and convincing narrative, which must be capable of acquiring meaning for as wide a range of interested stakeholders as possible.

However although, or perhaps because, it is the most important characteristic of a good design, creating meaning is not something which can be rationally specified and planned for. Meaning must emerge from the dialogue between the users and the site. What the designer must do is create the potential for that meaning to emerge, and perhaps the best way to achieve this is to make sure that the design of the site is deeply embedded in its various contexts.