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Spatial Capital and how to measure it: An outline of an analytical theory of urban form
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Architecture, Urban Design. (Spatial Analysis and Design (SAD))
2008 (English)In: New urbanism and beyond: designing cities for the future / [ed] Haas, T., New York: Rizzoli , 2008, 135-139 p.Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

New urbanism has in the recent decade established itself as maybe the most influential movement in contemporary urbanism. Like most such movements it has done so in opposition and debate with established paradigms of practice and knowledge, that is, it has been a critical and outspokenly ideological movement. New urbanism thus fits well into Françoise Choay’s description of theories in urbanism, where she through a close reading of the tradition finds them to be, on the one hand, projects to build general theories on urbanism, but on the other, programmes propagating new ideals. Put simply, theories on urbanism have been inherently normative, telling us what cities should be, rather than analytical, telling us how they work. This aspect of theories in urbanism has also been discussed in depth by Bill Hillier. In short he puts forth the quite alarming conclusion that we are rich in theoretical support for the generation of urban designs, but poor in well-founded support for the prediction of the actual performance of such designs. A conclusion well supported by the fact that so much of urban planning and design in the 20th century has failed to deliver on its claims. What we really need then is not yet another normative theory on urbanism - rather we should have grown disenchanted of them - but an analytical theory on urbanism. That is, theory that carry knowledge on the relation between urban form and urban life so that we better can predict the effects of urban designs. That is not saying that a vivid debate on the ends of urban design is not essential, it is saying that such a debate is not of much use if we do not have the knowledge to reach the ends once we settle on them. In general terms, what I want to address is the relation between urban form and urban life and how these two generate a socio-spatial category that we call urbanity. Put more distinctly, I want to address how urban form, as a result of urban design, influences urban life, that is, how it supports, impedes and organises it, thus creating variations of urbanity. In the following I will propose and try to show that urban form in doing so creates something that can be called spatial capital and that this is possible to measure.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
New York: Rizzoli , 2008. 135-139 p.
Keyword [en]
Urban form, urban design, new urbanism, spatial capital, urban accessibility, urban density, urban diversity
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-53298ISBN: 978—0-8478-3111-1ISBN: 0-8478-3111-6OAI: diva2:469783
QC 20120113Available from: 2011-12-27 Created: 2011-12-27 Last updated: 2012-01-13Bibliographically approved

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