Functional Dimension

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Functional Dimension urban planning

Text of Functional Dimension

  • 1. Functional dimensioninvolves how places work, and how urban designers can make better places
    • Functional Considerations:
  • The use of public spaces
  • Mix use and density
  • Environmental design
  • Aspects of the capital web


  • The Use of Public Spaces
  • The design of urban spaces should be informed by awareness of how people use them
  • Public places should be designed and managed to serve the needs of their users
  • Public spaces should be:
  • Meaningful
  • Democratic
  • ResponsiveAdds:
  • Comfort
  • Relaxation
  • Passive engagement
  • Active engagement
  • Discovery


  • A sense ofcomfortis reflected by:
  • Environmental factors ( relief from sun, wind, etc )
  • Physical comfort (comfortable and sufficient seating)
  • Social and psychological comfort (Security)

FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 4. Relaxation: Trees, greenery, water features, and separation from vehicular traffic make it easier to be relaxedFUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 5. Passive engagement: The need for an encounter with the setting, without becoming actively involved.People watching: watch people while avoiding eye contact. FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 6. Active engagement: It involves more direct experience with a place and the people within.Triangulation : The process by which some external stimulus provides a linkage between people and promote strangers to talk to other strangers as if they knew each other. FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 7. Discovery: People desire new spectacles and pleasurable experiences. It depends on variety and change. These may come with thecycle of seasons , and they may also result from the management and animation of public space.Ex. Lunch-time concerts, art exhibitions, street theater, festivals, markets, society events, etc. FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 8. The Social use of Space

  • Most sociable spaces usually possessed the following features:
  • A good location, is on a busy route and both physically and visually accessible
  • Spaces which are not isolated by fencing- from street
  • Spaces level or almost level with the pavement
  • The availability for places to sit (steps, low walls, seats, etc) with movable seats.

FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 9. Movement: is an important factor in generating life and activity through public spaces.For pedestrians, the connection between places is important, and successful public spaces are generally integrated within local movement systems, putting in mind that a pedestrian journey is rarely single purpose. The by-product of movement:The potential for other (optional) activities in addition to the basic activity of traveling from origin to destination.FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 10.

  • The shape, center, and edge of public spaces
  • There are many design features that needs to be taken into consideration to create successful public space according to Hillier.
  • Exposed spaces often perform better than enclosed spaces. (visual access)
  • Urban designers must understand movement, and design movement systems and therefore places- that are connected.
  • The center and the edge should be considered in public spaces design.

FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 11. A public space without a center is quite likely to stay empty. The center provide: -since of identity- lead to triangulation Theedgeis the most important element for a successful urban place. It should be designed to provide formal and informal places to sit. It should be higher than the space and partly protected from the weather FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 12.

  • Boston city hall:shapeless, it has an exceedingly poorimage in a city where image should be paramount. It conveysnothing in the way of information about Boston, its history, orits sense of place.

FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 13. Building facadesshould be designed so that buildings reach out to the space and offer an active frontage. Windows and door wayssuggest a human presence. FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 14. Piazza Annunziata, Italy.San Antonio Central Library FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 15. The Public Square The public square is the most important element in city design, it is the chief method by which a town orcity is both decorated and given distinction. It is the natural setting for the most important civic and religious buildings, a place for fine sculpture, fountains and lighting and, above all else, a place where people meet and socialize. When such public places are designed according to some fairly basic principles and are imbued with a sense of place, they take on an added symbolic meaning.FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 16.

  • Privacy
  • The edge of the public space provides the interface between public and private realms and need to both enable interaction and protect privacy.
  • In Urban Design terms, privacy is defined in terms of selective control of access and of interaction.
  • In functional terms, Privacy can be discussed in terms of Visual and Aural privacy.

FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 17. Visual Privacy Its related to the interface between the public andprivate realms (physically and visually) Aural Privacy Noise can disturb and invade privacy. A broad distinction can be made between noise generating activities (cafes, traffic, market place) and noise sensitive uses (houses, schools...etc. through different measures: - Physical distance - Sound insulation - Use of screens and barriers FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 18. Mixed Uses The mixing of uses has become a widely accepted urban design objective. Areas may have mixed uses in either or both of two ways: by having a mix of single-use buildings, or by having buildings which each contain a mix of uses. FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 19. Density and Urban Form

  • If all the potential mixed-use elements are located at the edge of the development, it undermines the role of the center.
  • Although geographically proximate, the uses are still zoned with roads forming the boundaries between uses.
  • More vibrant and sustainable neighborhoods and areas result from the complex interweaving of uses and by blurring the distinctions between uses.


  • Jane Jacobsargued that the vitality of city neighborhoods depends on the overlapping of activities. She outlined four conditions to generate diversity in the citys streets and districts:
  • The district must serve more than one primary function.
  • Most blocks must be short; that is, streets and turn- corners must be frequent.
  • The district must mix buildings that vary in age and condition.
  • There must be a sufficiently dense concentration of people.


  • Llewelyn-Daviesidentifies the following benefits of mixed-use development:
  • Minimizing travel-to-work congestion.
  • Greater opportunities for social interaction.
  • Socially diverse communities.
  • A greater feeling of safety through more eyes on the street.
  • Greater energy efficiency and more efficient use of space and buildings.
  • More consumer choice of lifestyle, location and building type.
  • Greater urban vitality and street life.

FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 22. Density Compacted cities can offer a high quality of life while minimizing resource and energy consumption, which helps to create more sustainable cities. FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 23. Lower densitywas initially a response to conditions within the industrial cities of the nineteenth century, during the twentieth century it became an objective in its own right, backed by various regulations that effectively prohibited higher density development, and thusvirtually mandated suburban sprawl. Density zoning, road widths, sight lines, the space required for underground services, were all to blame for pushing buildings further and further apart. FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 24. FUNCTIONAL DIMENSION 25. Density and Urban Form

  • High-rise development standing in open space:
  • No private gardens, poor amenities directly available to the inhabitants.
  • No direct relationship between the buildings and the surrounding streets.
  • Large area of open space required management andmaintenance.
  • Street layout with 2-3 storey houses:
  • Front and back gardens.
  • Continuous street frontages define the publicspace.
  • High site coverage minimizes potential for communal spaces.
  • Urban perimeter block:
  • Surrounding buildings can be of different heights and configuration.
  • Buildings are arranged around a landscape open space.
  • open space can contain a community-based facility.
  • Commercial and public facilities can be distributed along the ground floor, maintaining an active street frontage.
  • space is available for uses as, rear gardens, communal areas or a park.


  • Llewelyn-Daviessuggests a range of benefits from higher densities of development:
  • Social:encouraging positive interaction and diversity, improving acc