Strategies, Methods and Outlook
Edited by Daniel A. Mazmanian and Hilda Blanco
Chapter 19: Urban design and sustainability: looking backward to move forward
In recent decades we have seen an explosive growth of books and monographs on the general themes of sustainability, but, more specifically, and of interest here, on urbanism, urban planning, urban design and landscape planning. Many of these publications have essentially repackaged many of the known principles, or included very specific and technical but partial responses to the challenges of sustainable design. But in the end not much of this new production is innovative or broadly applicable. In this chapter I do not aim to review the new materials. Rather, I return to the established literature in environmental and city design. This chapter scans the relevant literature in environmental design and culls the theories, principles, methods and measures pertaining to the goals of sustainability. This scanning is framed in a theoretical construct, and findings are presented according to a schema derived from it. My aim is to critically review urban design theories and movements to reveal how their theoretical roots relate to sustainability. Such a critical understanding will be fundamental to advance the theory and practice of urban design towards more sustainable cities in the future. Accordingly, it is appropriate to begin by reviewing the legacy of important thinkers and thinking about sustainability in the literature of architecture, landscape architecture and urban design.
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