Open access peer-reviewed chapter

City Phenomenon between Urban Structure and Composition

Written By

Amjad Almusaed and Asaad Almssad

Submitted: 18 October 2019 Reviewed: 11 November 2019 Published: 22 December 2019

DOI: 10.5772/intechopen.90443

From the Edited Volume

Sustainability in Urban Planning and Design

Edited by Amjad Almusaed, Asaad Almssad and Linh Truong - Hong

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Cities are not just a sum of buildings, but especially a set of social relations that their inhabitants develop. Cities are characterized by a wide variety of social groups and lifestyles. An urban composition represents a form of the city in which it gets a formal order, so that the shape of any urban ensemble is not linked to a random phenomenon, but to an intervention mastered and understood as such. For the city, the urban composition represents what the architectural composition represents for a building. This concept regarding the composition is common both to the architecture and to the city. The main property of the composition is that it transforms a possibly dispersed ensemble into a whole, resolving the contradictions that arise when the requirements and conditions of the project are numerous. Spatial forms and urban compositions are built over time, longer than that of architectural composition. On the other hand, “design of the urban environment” is understood by us as a complex formation of public spaces of the city, located on the ground floor level of the city building and ensuring the vital activity of the urban community. This chapter will study the city phenomenon on a large scale.


  • urban structure
  • urban composition
  • urban design
  • urban space
  • public space
  • city image
  • city phenomenon

1. Introduction

Cities cannot be defined only by their administrative boundaries, and urban policies can no longer target only administrative units at the city level. The importance of multilevel governance has been strongly emphasized by the European Parliament and the Committee of the Regions. This is in full accordance with the conclusions of this report: policies at European, national, regional, and local levels must be correlated with each other [1]. In any urban development and expansion plan, it must be taken into account that natural systems have a limited capacity to respond and adjust to changes produced by man. From the perspective of urban sustainable development, any impact of urban activities on the environment must be minimized. The idea of sustainable urban development was born in the 1970s, as a result of deep concern about a development model that threatened the environment and the vitality of the planet. There is a strong belief that, apart from government programs and the private sector initiative, local communities need to be actively involved in this process. This concept is at the basis of formulating sustainable policies, which try to harmonize the relationship between population, environment, and industrial development. Controlled urban expansion is also known as smart growth. The experience of the states of the European Union shows that metropolitan areas, well managed, reach economic competitiveness quickly (economic policies can effectively attract funds and investors and can energize the construction, services, and tourism sectors), and their future development is sustainable (economic, cultural, social, ecological, and policies are harmonized). Such a project aims at decongesting large cities, establishing unitary architectural development, accessing European funds for regional development, and, thereby, creating civilized living conditions for all inhabitants of metropolitan areas. More than two-thirds of Europe’s population lives in urban areas [2]. Cities are places where problems arise and solutions are found. They represent a fertile ground for science and technology, for culture and innovation, for individual and collective creativity, as well as for mitigating the effects of climate change. However, cities are also places where problems such as unemployment, discrimination, and poverty are concentrated [3].

The objective of the Thematic Strategy for the urban environment, adopted in 2006, at European level, “to contribute to a better quality of life through an integrated approach to urban areas,” in conjunction with the effort to contribute to “a higher level of quality of life and social well-being of citizens, by ensuring an environment in which the level of pollution does not generate harmful effects on human health and the environment and by encouraging the sustainable urban development,” defined, for the next years, the priorities, the direction, and the means by which this strategy to be applied [4]. It follows from this strategy that most cities face a common set of basic problems, such as those related to air quality, heavy traffic, high noise levels, low-quality construction, abandoned land, greenhouse gas emissions, non-systematic areas, generation of waste and wastewater, and providing public services to the population. Among the causes of these problems is the increase in the use of resources per inhabitant, the increase in the number of individual households, the demographic changes, and the increase in the number of personal property machines. The solutions must be forward-looking, taking into account aspects of risk prevention, the anticipation of climate change, or the progressive reduction of dependence on fossil fuels. The activities in the urban environment are sources of pollution for all environmental factors. Therefore, they must be controlled and managed to minimize the impact on the environment.

  • – What are the five challenges for urban planning theory?

Urban planning deals with the design of building groups, settlements, neighborhoods, and in particular public spaces. Urban design can be understood as a term for the visible and creative aspects of urban planning. According to a broader understanding, the concept of urban planning encompasses the totality of planning and construction measures for urban and rural spatial planning aimed at creating the prerequisites for the coexistence of people in an environment appropriate to them in the pursuit of sociopolitical goals. In conclusion, urban design is a product of the collaboration on site of elements of the urban framework, determined functionally within the configuration spatial structure. It can be understood as a term for the visible and creative aspects of urban planning. Traditionally it has been referred to a discipline within urban planning, landscape architecture, or more simultaneously linked to emerging disciplines such as landscape urbanism.


2. The urban phenomenon and city morphology

The form of the urban process is a form of evolutionary procedure, which is connected directly to the concept of urban society. It takes dynamic contradictions from the inside to the outside of urban phenomena. The phenomenon takes an evolutionary process which means that the urban form is the concretization in time and space of the urban phenomenon. The definition of urban phenomenon performs clear in support on highlighting of urban functions, urban growth, and urban shape/image. Another area which must be clearly defined is determining the urban phenomenon which starts from the corroboration of internal and external functions of the city [5]. The urban phenomenon is in a continuous transformation process. There are several directions of structural determination:

  • Morphological-functional structure

  • Volumetric spatial structure

The urban phenomenon is different from the form it dresses in the city because the shape and structure can be viewed from several points of view (plastic, mathematical-geometric, topological). It is embodied in three typescripts:

  1. Centrality, where it manifests itself through a grouping of objects, actions, and phenomena in a more or less delimited space

  2. Conflictuality, where it associates with consumption and production

  3. Simultaneity, where all these elements associated with the urban phenomenon take place simultaneously

A clear example for this case is a street, which represents the place of manifestation of the urban phenomenon in time and space; it reveals it on a certain plane of its complexity, because 1, 2, and 3 are expressed on several levels of specialty and several directions of interest (economic, social, political, material, spiritual). The urban phenomenon reflects the same signification of global reality. An urban existing is presented by:

  • Material and spiritual expression of the urban phenomenon.

  • Resembles: built frame, people there at one point, cars, and plantations.

  • It is a complex, obvious concretization of a certain urban structure.

In conclusion, the urban phenomenon has a continuous and infinite development through the typological, spatial, and temporal multitude of its phenomenological successions. However, the urban form has moments of stagnation and discontinuity. The urban phenomenon has a double reference:

  1. A reference to the logic of the form, which refers to all quantifiable aspects of the urban phenomenon (population growth, surface area, stretches, openings of space, densities). It is a form of the geometrical logic, which refers to specialist-spatial configuration, topology, the form of the built volumes, and directions of interest.

  2. A reference to the dialectic of content—the so diverse components of the urban phenomenon are the result of a conflict or lead to conflict (e.g., with the neighbors). There is certain independence between form and content.

2.1 The city as an urban phenomenon

References of the urban phenomenon to the logic of form and to the dialectic of content justify its understanding as a system. These references impose relationships between the components of the urban phenomenon, so that they are realized in systems and subsystems. The urban phenomenon can be:

  • Units/less unitary

  • Dense/less dense

  • Intense/less intense

The urban phenomenon as a system is defined only through the urban form, the fact that leads us to the idea of knowing and directing the urban phenomenon (of its processes and acts) through careful, corroborated analysis of the manifestations of any kind of urban form [6]. The urban form has a dialectic character, which reflects the evolution of the urban phenomenon, it has:

  1. The ability to express itself very differently either:

    • In particular: within a certain urban existence, through image, movement, and sound

    • In abstract: imaginative—within the representation of the pre-existing or post-existing urban existence

  2. Graphically: by mathematical-geometric, technical, and plastic means

  3. Verbally: by the psychosociological or mathematical-statistical concept

The urban form has the capacity to move from a logical, but an abstract manifestation (through a certain language), into a form of effective actions, which results in a certain urban existence. It had an active character which can highlight three sides:

  • Selectivity with histories and character: any urban form, any urban existence, is the result of historical evolution. The urban form has the capacity to evolve, selecting over time the various values within the respective urban existence.

  • A capacity of reunification: of old or new contents in a totality.

  • A possibility to create an urban strategy at the conception and decision levels, which represent a reflection for a certain city existence.

2.1.1 Spatiotemporal of determination of the urban form

The urban form is not indifferent to space–time, but not taken as such, because they are transformable elements, imprinting on the urban existence a succession of states. The spatiotemporal determination of the urban form lies between innovation and tradition. The urban form does not have to be shaped at any given moment by acquiring space, time, or a conventional model.

2.2 City as a social-human settlement

The city represents a multifaceted structure of social organization, which involves a number of social institutions and a typical configuration of social relations. A sustainable city is organized so as to enable all its citizens to meet their own needs and to enhance their well-being without damaging the natural world or endangering the living conditions of other people, now or in the future [3, 7]. This makes the users of the city, the social relations they develop in cities, the ways in which they live, the problems they face, and the urban space in general the object of research of modern urban studies. A human being in urban composition means to get yourself on a doctrinal position. The composition in urban scale is based on both the structure and the doctrine (ideology). In urban composition, esthetics remains just one aspect, where the urban form is read as a static instance. It is a concrete land, inscribed in history, having a memory and therefore not completely subordinating to the needs or the will of a class, preserving morphological landmarks that illustrate this resistance. At the same time, the memory of the place, a notion determined historically and socially, plays an important role in the permanence of the significance of some urban spaces; it illustrates: “what one epoch finds worthy of attention in another.” It is considered an artifact because it is the physical result of the aspirations of the urban society, created by its reference elements, the public buildings. Architecture always expresses and illustrates the social and cultural potential of an era. A city includes rights and freedoms for all its inhabitants, promotes social and political participation, informs its citizens, and makes democratic decisions. Economic inclusion refers to public policies to support the poor and to provide equal opportunities in business and equal access to the labor market. Cultural inclusion: an inclusive city promotes social integration and celebrates diversity. It respects the cultural rights of individuals, recognizes human capital in all segments of society and strives to increase it by promoting creative artistic expression and preservation of traditions. The concept of “the city for all” and “the right to the city” refers to the access of social and economic benefits by all the inhabitants, promoting social equality and access to the benefits of urban living, for each inhabitant. A city must dig even on the social, political, economic, and cultural levels, if no efforts are made in this respect, and then continue promoting the exclusive development and sharing of benefits, marginalization, and discrimination. The city administration must be well aware of the sociocultural realities that make up the social life of the respective city; they must strive to build and promote inclusive strategies and policies and then integrate these strategies into the daily lives of the population. The city has been and remains a land of negotiation between various social groups; harmonious cohabitation in cities is a difficult process, which is often punctuated by various urban social movements. In general, these movements challenge the social order and the existing public policies, fighting for visibility on the social scene and for a fair distribution of resources. Cities in their evolution have undergone a permanent territorial extension and intense remodeling. The forms of evolution and urban concentration are different from one area to another and from one region to another. They differ in both genesis and size. Depending on these two elements, several forms of urban concentration can be distinguished. Therefore, the city does not only mean buildings, roads, parks, fences, abandoned corners, water pipes, and cable networks, but especially interactions between citizens, contacts, social relations, and communication situations, direct and indirect [8]. All these make up the complexity of urban social life and give life to cities. In another view of this subject, the urban habitat expresses the synthesis of the conditions of human life, of the social-economic reality existing at one point. At the global scale, the population is divided into two major types of habitat: rural and urban, between which there are similarities, but also fundamental differences. The urban habitat or the city is a form of human settlement superior of the village, which is distinguished by a higher density of population and constructions, superior technical-urban equipment, mainly secondary and tertiary economic activities, a specific way of life, and with a higher demographic potential. Although these criteria are clear enough to distinguish the village from the city, they are not necessarily the same for everyone. Depending on the region and the age, the idea we make about the city changes. Each civilization has a different conception of the city. Certain ancient cities, populated mostly by cultivators, cannot be considered cities in our view. Difficulties in differentiating the village and town arise from the lack of accuracy of the vocabulary. The city is a space that is defined by a series of metric properties, by dimensions, surfaces, and densities. It is an intensely populated space, with a high degree of concentration, production, and social and cultural organization, which develops under certain conditions of space and time, thanks to the convergence of the forces of production and in permanent opposition to the village. Urban social studies analyze urban life in all its complexity. Through explanations and information provided in urban studies, we can better understand the reality and social, cultural, and economic phenomena that are happening in the urban environment around us; we can understand the causes of these phenomena; we can understand the sociocultural diversity; and we can find new opportunities to live together and creatively use urban spaces.

2.3 City as a form of human life in the context of a complex dynamic system

A city is not just a place to live, but a complex and dynamic system that unites a certain community of people and is called upon to ultimately improve the quality of life of every person. Urban spaces are formed under the influence of many factors and over long periods. When designing an urban environment, the designer must take into account the compositional. The idea that heterotopia does not inevitably mean a state of urban chaos can be retained here, that distant order can, in many cases, be particularly subtle. One of the most complicated and, at the same time, very topical issues regarding the urban form is that of spatial differentiation as a way of explaining the existence in any urban situation of different spaces between them. First, the aspect of understanding spatial differentiation appears in the sense of a dialectical result in the process of constituting the urban form, namely, in the sense that the urban form is the expression for the purpose of the urban phenomenon. However, this understanding must not be inclined toward the metaphysical, that is, it must not be considered in the sense that a certain expression of the urban form is completely and definitively recognized as a final expression, beyond which nothing can appear. It continues to evolve over a period of time greater or less, in which it remains in the same form (unitary or non-unitary), until, undergoing a new transformation process, it reaches another form, constituting itself as the new existence that can be considered as a new moment of finality [9]. This is why we can say that the urban form as a finality of the urban phenomenon is in the process of continuous perfection. It is noteworthy that precisely this process creates spatial differentiation, this differentiation occurring either within the same urban space (frame, element for an urban existence) from one moment to another of its evolution, or within the city, when an urban space arrives. At a time, a purpose that is different from that of other urban space at the same time. So, within the city, we have to deal with a spatial differentiation to be analyzed either in a horizontal temporal section (without neglecting the constitution overtime of the respective urban spaces) or in a vertical temporal section (insisting on the evolutionary character of the respective urban space). Although, at least in the first situation, the differentiation can be caught only through a structural analysis of urban spaces; it cannot ensure the depth of our conclusions, especially if, at the level of detail or, on the contrary, at the level of the whole, they are necessary for defining aspects which characterize the urban form in a certain area, in a certain time. The urban form concerns the morphological characteristics of the urban framework both in general, at the scale of the entire city (extension, perimeter, street network, watercourses, etc.), and in detail, the relation of a building with the surrounding urban framework, a group of buildings, ensemble, and neighborhood structure of the urban framework [9]. The transformation of the living environment, including the design of the urban environment, is one of the most urgent problems solved by the modern designer—an active participant in creating the environment of the environment, educator, and exponent of the culture and esthetic taste of society. The urban design is oriented to interpret the form and public space with physical-esthetic-functional criteria, seeking to meet the needs of urban communities or societies, within a consideration of collective benefit in an existing or future urban area, until reaching the conclusion of an urban structure to follow. Therefore, the urban design performs physical planning at analysis levels, such as the region, the urban center, the urban area, and even the urban furniture itself.

2.4 City as an urban utopian and empathy space

Utopian space has a special feature. It is defined as combining both the close order and the distant order, at the concept level, between urban isotope and heterotopy. But if these are characteristics that address the material existence, therefore exclusively to what is perceived (in volumetric, color, movement, noise), the space considered as utopian has a deep subjective potential, its appreciation being closely related to the psychic. Heterotopic spaces are spaces that reveal different places, each supported by different functional, spatial, and encompassing characteristics. But also within the same urban space—the more complex it is, the more obvious this observation is—we can also find isotopic states or heterotopic states, which gives the space a homogeneity or heterogeneity. Symbols are commonly applied to formal iconographic representations. Symbolism encompasses complex conceptual codes and pictorial representations of a worldview that operates on multiple levels and scales [10]. Differentiation in the sense of heterotopy isotope, in the context of an urban situation, is not fixed. Urban symbolism is commonly associated with the enhancement of formal urban figures, objects, or pieces of the collection and landmarks [11]. The utopian space is, in general, a symbolic space, and what the architects forget, a space with imaginary availability not for themselves, but for those who cross it as ignorant of a survey methodology of analysis, but directly and perhaps impressively primitive. For example, a utopian space can be, within the city, an organized market, but extremely wide, whose limits come out of the natural perception, the image retaining the volumetric, but also a passage of the outer space. Then our psyche, as well as our imaginary, intervenes in determining a certain environment, a certain impression at that moment and in that place. As a utopian space, any urban space may appear during the night, when a number of aspects of its configuration fade, even though during the day it may be an isotopic or heterotopic space. The significance of urban space, obviously determined by its functionality and geometrical-spatial appreciation, cannot be achieved except for a small but constructive, utopian value. The monumental, like the enchanting, are features that serve the significance of the urban space; however, there are traits that constitute a spatial approach/recognition/perception, at least in part utopian.

  • – What is urban empathy space?

An important type of urban space is empty space, which represents a space that attracts and even ends up being filled (both personally and figuratively), in the sense that it attracts people at a certain time in relation to a certain activity located here temporarily, so it attracts certain interests to confront here and, as such, can even find a symbolic “filling,” finds a certain content. It is wrong to argue that such a space should be conceived, in the context of urban modernization, as a neutral space, because, when it is accidentally occupied, it expresses the beginning of a new phase of spatial expansion, and when it is periodically occupied, it expresses a need, of organized space [10]. And in one case, and in the other, the permanence of his occupation as a mono- or polyvalent space imposes a configuration that can no longer be left as an indifferent space in relation to the neighborhood. There is a natural tendency of the urban phenomenon that, gradually, by decommissioning some previously occupied spaces, they will become indifferent spaces in the urban structure, which leads to some unfavorable situations for the city: an increase of the affected territories, thus the deterioration of the qualities of the urban framework, the deterioration the balance of spatial differentiation in the territory, and the loss of features that particularized the respective places. Mastering this process, be easy to talk about the neutralization of some urban existences, thus presents a special significance, making it difficult for a direct intervention on the existing built fund: finding the possible values, monitoring the state, maintaining them, and properly completing them.

The urban form is defined by the physical characteristics of the urban framework, customized by:

  • The geometry of space and construction template

  • The relationships between the elements of the urban framework

The urban form represents the morphological component of the urban framework. It is displayed by a great diversity of morphological compositions, capable of individualizing and customizing various areas of the city or the city as a whole, depending on:

  • Various stages of its development (temporal dimension)

  • The destination of the buildings and spaces (functional dimension), of the importance of the buildings, and of the material resources of investors/owners (economic-social dimension)

It is required to put more attention to the city as a territorial and social entity, countless works being focused on increasing social polarization, which is increasingly evident in the internal structure of cities. The effects of poverty and marginalization of social groups and ethnicities are more and more manifested in urban spatial structures. Today the application by postmodernism in urban geography remains problematic, and it is necessary to adopt relativism in science. Postmodernism should be the final point in a millennial evolution of art and science. Is it true that science has reached this level above which it is no longer possible to go categorically; therefore, the postmodernist stage in the evolution of thinking in the field of urban geography should be regarded as a temporary one, improperly named, because of the progress made by registered so far; it shows that future changes will be quite astonishing. The contemporary urban evolution leads to an increase in the power of urban control over human activities and, at the same time, an increase of the vulnerability of cities and urban systems. This vulnerability must be treated in light of the sustainable development of the city in general.


3. Design concept between urban composition, visual form, and human life

Today, when the history of design as an independent field of art history and scientific discipline has acquired quite specific features, it becomes relevant to pay attention to the historical development of individual local areas of design. One of them and the young ones are the design of the urban environment or urban design. The term “urban design,” as noted by a professor of Sydney University, John Lang, appeared in the 1950s. He, as well as his synonym for the “designing city environment,” has firmly entered the professional vocabulary of the designer which is used to designate nominations for competitions and exhibitions of design festivals and to name specializations in design education. A design feature is that each thing is considered not only from the point of view of benefit and beauty but also from the point of view of the functioning process, that is, taking into account how the item will be transported, how to pack, where and what place it will occupy in the apartment, what care should be taken, how to be included, etc. In the design domain, visual design tools are common for plastic arts: point, line, texture, texture, color, shape, volume, proportion, mass, and space. These components are combined based on the principles of composition: symmetry, asymmetry, balance, rhythm, movement, etc. The design has widespread use and such means as the proportion of the golden ratio. Harmony and contrast as a universal means of art are systemically important in design. It is especially important for the art design to take into account the dependence of the shape of the object on the materials used, structures, and production technology. Design plays an important role in human creativity products. Design areas are household appliances, dishes, furniture, machine tools, vehicles, graphics, clothes, and more.

  • – Why design and build something that will not solve the problem without creating bigger problems?

The designer is looking for the optimal shape of each element, taking into account how it depends on the work function (purpose) of the product and its relationships with the person. Design is a special product of specific, abstract, and, at the same time, imaginative thinking. It is also created based on fundamental knowledge: philosophy, esthetics, anthropology, the foundations of visual literacy, and psychology. It involves the study of engineering, technology, ergonomics, ecology and system design, etc. The professional activity of the designer, both developing on social grounds and based on the natural qualities of a person (esthetic, emotional and intellectual), established the role and place of design in public life. The meaning of designing is to become a unique, powerful, and effective means of influencing the esthetic and the ennobled activity of society. Thus, the design is a rather specific and significant sphere of activities of people, which by its nature is as human as, say, education, science, and healthcare. Design functions are not only the creation of appropriate products but also advisory, methodological, and coordinating; the design is a special branch of people’s life. The functions, structure, place, the role of design, as well as its evolution are not sufficiently studied in philosophical and cultural literature, in which the appeal to these topics is only partial. To date, there is not even a generally accepted definition of the phenomenon of “design” [9]. Moreover, meanwhile, this phenomenon causes increased practical and theoretical interest in our society. Today the contemporary cities are marked by invisible borders, which delimit areas and “territories,” separating the inhabitants. This social fragmentation is best reflected in the way resources are distributed, opportunities for a good life and even urban space—often unequal distribution—benefiting certain socioeconomic categories, living in certain “territories,” and disadvantaging others living in separate “territories.” For example, certain areas of a city can be taken care of, with large spaces, well-maintained parks and gardens, and with quality residential areas, while other areas are characterized by poverty, poor housing, poor public services, lack of access to recreational and cultural facilities, decay, reduced investments in public infrastructure, and unequal opportunities and freedoms. Usually, economic and social exclusion leads to cultural and political exclusion. In a divided sense, inequalities are exacerbated, which contributes to stratifying the population into social categories marked by social segregation; the poor, along with immigrants and other individuals lacking social esteem or “undesirables,” are usually part of the same category. The increasing role of modern design is associated with the growth of global problems, and its tasks depend on solving environmental, esthetic, and humanistic problems of culture. In general, the design is not only a graphic and decorative activity; in many areas of management and economy, especially where research is carried out, specialists—engineers, designers, and technologists—are always faced with the need to draw. The ability to draw and the related ability to feel the harmony of the world open up new possibilities. A design product has a positive impact on the general social atmosphere; it forms an esthetic taste, inspires people, raises their working capacity, creates conditions for productive and creative activity, increases respect for the immediate environment of human existence, and makes it more human. By urban design process, human being becomes a part of an innovative study environment with project-oriented teaching in a creative and idea-developing community, and we go the step further in collaboration with different companies. We also go on study trips across the years in the field of study, and you come from an internship abroad, where you are linked to a small company.

  • – What is the real concept of urban design?

In narrow scope: urban design represents the form of human settlements, physical features at scales larger than a single building. It can be done through the manipulation of the concrete elements of distance, material, scale, view, vegetation, land area, water features, road alignment, building style, and numerous other items that create the natural landscape and the built environment [12]. Urban design seems to be the profession that determines the spatial shape or physical environment. Different approaches for urban design are as follows:

  1. Good form: To define an axis of movement, the designer may strategically place small and large buildings to create scale linkages receding in space or insert in the landscape an arch or a gate.

  2. Legibility: A legible city is one whose constituent parts “are easily identifiable and are easily grouped into an overall pattern.”

  3. Vitality: A bustling street life is essential to a good city, and main streets need “a most intricate and close-grained density of uses that give each other mutual support.”

  4. Meaning: In reaction to modernism that focused on building forms, a new generation of thinkers has stressed [the city’s] capacity to exhibit history, tradition, nature, nationality, or other themes that heighten the meaning and solidify the identity.

In broad scope: urban design is the field that engages the human experience of the built environment—the sense of understandability, congeniality, playfulness, security, mystery, or respect that lands and built form evoke [11].


4. Urban design missions and the process

An urban designer mission has all the analytical approach as an engineer and, therefore, always does much in-depth analysis before drafting a solution to the problem. He also has the creative approach as the architect and can sometimes have multiple walls pasted with sketches that are subsequently sent through the “control” that the analysis has contributed to. Urban design deals with the spatial configuration, appearance, and functionality of the elements of cities or other settlements. Urban planning is a discipline at the junction, synthesizing the approaches of urban planning, landscape design, and architecture. Urban planning requires an understanding of political, social, and economic factors. The term urban design was proposed in 1956 at an international conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD). In another view the urban social studies are not only useful in the academic environment: they provide important data and materials to those who decide on the urban level and conceive the strategies for the development of cities [13]. Apart from these aspects, urban studies are useful to all of us, in the sense that it helps us to understand each other better and to improve our daily lives. Urban social researchers closely analyze the impact of contemporary political and economic systems on people’s lives in the urban environment. Their studies highlight the problematic issues arising from this impact but also possible solutions.

4.1 Legibility and readability in urban evaluation

In an urban city, it is required to focus on two factors in the creation process, those are Legibility and readability, where are different. Readability is the ease with which a reader can recognize words, sentences, and paragraphs. Legibility (clearness) is a component of readability. Other typographic factors that affect readability include font choice, point size, kerning, tracking, line length, and justification. Legibility is “the degree of individuality that enables the viewer to understand or categorize the contents of a scene the greater the legibility the greater the preference” [14]. According to Lynch’s definition, legibility can enhance the identity, structure, and the meaning of environmental surroundings. The city may have a strong identity and character but still be confusing and unclear because of confusion of its path system. The quality of an object depends upon its shape, color, and arrangement. This quality determines the degree of legibility. Imageability has physical and cultural components; the first one defines two attributes: location (a real location, spatial relationship, prominence, and scope) and appearance (shape, color, age, size, construction material, etc.). The second component has two sides also: meaning (economical, political, social, historical, religious, functional, etc.) and association (familiarity, atmosphere, and affinity) [15]. Particular attention is paid to the development of the configuration of common areas in which the daily activities of citizens are carried out (streets, squares, parks, public infrastructure).

4.2 Urban design and human lifestyle and requirement

A city supports its inhabitants to stay with other people, to realize social behaviors through partnership in urban life. People are attracted to cities by an attractive offer of urban buildings, public spaces, and characteristic landscapes. The urban composition is a human product in an urban area which resulted in effective collaboration between different elements of the urban framework, which have to be determined functionally within the configuration spatial structure. The urban composition represents a work of art, where the content is an essential topic that reflects the city functionality translated into activities. In this area a proposition is precisely the totality of the coherent means of expression. At the level of the form;

  • The speech is constituted as a state of composition.

  • The statement is constituted as spatial compositional values.

Surrounding is an act with three-polar meaning (Figure 1).

Figure 1.

City design and the three-polar meaning.

4.2.1 City and a need for existences

In order to survive, plants need air and water, as well as heat and light. Can they meet their own needs? People’s needs are endless. Fortunately, from all our essential needs, from the beginning of our life from the womb to death, someone is able to fulfill them and who chooses to do so. When human beings come to this world, we find everything prepared to satisfy all the needs of the senses, mental and spiritual. Everything is contingent, because it is as possible that they exist or do not exist. Anything can exist anytime, anywhere, in any form, and with any character. Nothing and no one has a role in determining the manner, time, and place in which it occurs, its character and characteristics. Therefore, there must be a power to choose between the existence of a thing and its nonexistence, which confers unique characteristics on it.

4.2.2 City and a moral requirement

Building a relationship with a city is like when you are in a relationship with someone—just as cities can be generous or inspirational, so can they be dangerous and impenetrable. The city is a moral universe in which helpfulness is extended beyond kinsfolk to strangers. In a modern city, public institutions aspire to provide solace or uplift to all, often with a cool efficiency that is rewarding in its way as is the warmth usually credited to small communities. A close reading of the city scene reveals inconspicuous artifacts of consideration such as telephone booths and wheelchair ramps on sidewalks that symbolize the principles of communication and access [16]. It is required to feel the city in order to understand it. He does not tell us how to do this, but he shows us how to walk the streets with eyes wide open so we can explore everything the city has to offer.

4.2.3 City and a need for social

As Lynch says: “the city is in itself the powerful symbol of a complex society” [17]. To understand the different actions of people in the city, the changes that occur in the city, the gratifications and dissatisfactions of the inhabitants, and the diversity of ways of life in the city requires a wealth of information and data. Urban researchers are trying to obtain such data through various methods. These methods of obtaining data fall into two categories:

  • Quantitative—methods for obtaining information focused on a particular topic, from a large number of people (e.g., population census, opinion barometers, electoral surveys, etc.)

  • Qualitative—methods for obtaining rich information from a small number of people

The social order is one of the most difficult concepts to explain, related to social life: how it is formed, how it is preserved, how it is challenged, and how it is violated—all these are questions on which thousands have written, in books and studies. Of course, there are exceptions and special occasions; there are times when the social order is challenged or violated, such as during a street carnival or during street riots. Social researchers have always been interested in the ways in which people come to accept or challenge or violate this order. In addition, they were interested in the ways and conditions in which this order is changed or negotiated, between groups located in opposite positions. It is important to remember that social researchers are trying to understand the views, motives, and visions of all people, without judging them and dividing them into “bad people” and “good people.” It is the role of the legal system to decide whether certain facts that violate the social order are to be condemned and which is the proper conviction. On the other hand, the legal system adapts to the social changes produced over time, precisely because of the individuals who challenge the social order. For example, the slave trade was legal in the nineteenth century, while it is now illegal; women’s voting was illegal in Switzerland until the 1970s and is now legal. The social order is strong but flexible over time. The social order is not an immutable concept, the meanings of which never change; on the contrary, it is a concept in permanent transformation or negotiation. Therefore, social researchers look at respecting, challenging, or violating the urban social order first and foremost as a proof of the diversity of urban ways of life.


5. Public spaces in city function

Public place represents, by its nature and destination, an area accessible to the public even if no person is present; any place accessible to the public, the main features chosen by the public spaces consist in the fact that they are public (not private), they have free access and are used by several people in a common area. Public spaces have played an important role throughout history. From the time that humans first defined private spaces, public spaces have served as places where people have come together to exchange ideas, becoming centers for free speech and public discourse. Defined as an environment of simple reciprocal observability, a practical intersubjectivity among people in order to make possible their ability of communication and socialization, or an ensemble of scenes where a group of organized and politically oriented actions is exposed, the public space defines the place where all the constituent activities of the political fact take place [18]. The form of contemporary public space is the reflection of the evolution of the political aspects, because it is based on the opposition between the private spaces, which belongs to families and the public space, which do not belong to practically anyone, but which, on the contrary, is available to all and in which social actors interact. In this public space, therefore, practices, discourses, and activities are constituting the political fact taking place. However, is this idea of public space open to everyone? Is there any reality? Isn’t there any potential for domination of certain groups? Nowadays, the public space is regarded as a conflict and contested battleground for power too. Accessible, but filtered, public markets are essential. Physically, they are easily accessible, at the intersection of the streets and the “hubs” of the transport flows, of people, of goods, and of the lights of the streets. However, they are filtered and bounded in an invisible, but rigorous way. The market is not accessible to everyone: camcorders, police, and security are watching and selecting who “deserves” to have access to these spaces. Moreover, yet, it is threatened by privatization, but by individualism. In the interest of someone, the public interests are for private interests; for example, business, another tendency is the lack of interests of the divisions vis-à-vis public employment. “The individual is the most diligent citizen of the citizen.” That required for securing clarity with reference to the lifestyle of moderating the market relations and marketing which is reflected in the total moving of social-consequences on the esthetics and visual appearance of the public-sector premises. The markets, as the decency of the public space, have undergone significant transformations and have become the subject of “passive waiting”—the subject of looking, not living, which is called as “Allocation space.” In passage space, in any case, there is a resistance to total marketing. For example, some public spaces remain dedicated to cultural and identity expression, while others are taken over by youth and subcultures. The markets still have some space for leisurely walks, not related to consumption.

5.1 Urban space in history

Dialectically justified, it is difficult to specify a clear limit of separation between character and specific, with a permanent overlap area. We cannot speak of their total overlap, because, in relation to the motivations stated above, the distinction between character and specificity is evident not only conceptually but also practically. The possibility, however, of the reciprocal crossing of the general and the singular (in the sphere of character and specific features) from one to the other, during the evolution of the urban phenomenon, should not be neglected. Through the process of topic selection, the general features have been polished, gradually becoming character traits that, retained over time, are today constituted as elements of specificity. There are also numerous examples of cases in which traits initially giving specificity to an urban space, considered valid and taken over as a model, later became character traits, tending even to a broader generality—an aspect involving today, in a way. In particular case, it is a requisite to discuss the topic of industrialized urban construction. But not only temporally but also spatially, an interference between character and specificity is possible, meaning that what is characteristic of a confined space may be a specific element for a larger territory—for the city. In general, however, the singular elements conferring specificity to an urban space are revealed as elements of specificity and for all other possible territorial framings—remaining within the respective framing of a specific singular presence (Campanile from San Marco Square in Venice) or registering in an also generalizer with specific value. It is shown from the above that, in order to detach the character and specificity of an urban space, it is necessary to pay attention to the space and time and regarding the mastering of the modernization process in relation to understanding the particular value of the urban space (of the city as a whole), it is necessary to recognize the valid behaviors of that generalizer with a specific value. Thus the risk of losing the specific is higher. However, we do not have to imagine the specificity of an exclusive space as a postcard image. As a surprise of the urban form, it refers not to a metaphysically understood form, but a totality of manifestations wearing a multitude of static and dynamic expressions. The behaviour of using the space which has to answer to the following questions (how it responds to the requirements how it adapts), as well as the behavior in that space, intervene in defining the specificity, but, at the same time, also being positioned as an object of its influence. Acquired in human consciousness through perception and sensation, the particularity of urban space also encapsulates a series of values of chance, because as Kevin Lynch notes: “always in a city at any moment you can see or hear something new, unmarked until that time, and these things often depend also on the environment, and on the continuation of the events that led us here, and on the memory of past experiences. It can also be thinking of a random determination of the specificity, a possible determination considering that it supports the spatial differentiation—results to some extent and from what happens within the respective spaces, so by chance.

5.2 The public spaces and the city social life

Urban space represents the spatial concentration of the economic, social, cultural, and political activities, different from the nonurban/rural spaces by the population density or the characteristics of the way of life. Urban spaces embody a general reading of many factors; it presents the social life of the city is closely linked to the urban space. The relations between social life and urban space are the object of study of the urban disciplines. In the urban space, people interact and develop their social relations, enjoy or be scared, have or take possession of certain urban spaces, develop feelings of affection for some, or have memories related to others. Urban space is a term characterized by polysemy, flexibility, but also ambiguity. Therefore, it is difficult to reach a unique definition of urban space, generally accepted in all socio-human sciences. However, we will try to provide some main coordinates. It is important to understand the urban space take importance from public space, where the public space includes all the spaces freely used in the day to day by the general public, such as streets, squares, parks, and public infrastructure. Some aspects of privately possessed spaces, such as the facades of buildings or domestic gardens, also contribute to public space and are therefore considered by urban design theory. Some of the writers on this discipline are Gordon Cullen, Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander, William H. Whyte, Kevin Lynch, Aldo Rossi, Robert Venturi, Colin Rowe, Peter Calthorpe, and Jan Gehl. Public spaces are frequently subject to the overlapping responsibilities of multiple agencies or authorities and interests of nearby owners, as well as the requirements of multiple and sometimes competent users [19]. The public space is associated with “sociability,” with the potential of meeting and communication between strangers. This implies that people come to the public space and remain there for the meeting with others; they use the space for meetings as a stage for specific social interactions. However, today, the “space of the move” is being replaced more and more with the “space of passage.” Public spaces became places full of people from elsewhere, who go elsewhere. Meetings, in contemporary cities, are temporary and replaced by events. The markets become spaces of the grocery store; the culprits are not to be together; they can wait for their friends to hang out at the mall or a public space.

  • Why should public spaces be considered permanent, in the context of housing and stability?

  • Could it become temporary, flexible, mobile, remaining public?

  • Can we link to these new concepts of space and living with the original notion of public space?

Some of the writers whose lawyer and a treatise on this discipline are Gordon Cullen, Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander, William H. Whyte, Kevin Lynch, Aldo Rossi, Robert Venturi, Colin Rowe, Peter Calthorpe and Jan Gehl. Public spaces are frequently subject to the overlapping responsibilities of multiple agencies or authorities and interests of nearby owners, as well as the requirements of multiple and sometimes competent users [20].


6. Urban image and components

The imageability and urban readability (Kevin Lynch) are concepts proposed by Kevin Lynch, which refers to the degree of decipherability of the urban landscape at the level of each individual. Every city has an urban image; like any image, as presented in Lynch’s sense, it must be readable, decipherable. A well-thought out and the well-planned city is easy to read, meaning it is legible. Readability is a result of urban design and urban space organization. A readable city provides us with emotional security, while an unreadable city awakens feelings of fear and insecurity. The imageability would be the quality of a city to stimulate the perception of a viewer and to cause strong mental images; more precisely, it refers to the feeling that a city manages to generate (e.g., good places/bad places). Images can generate different perceptions, which means that each of us relates differently to space. A good urban space is a space where people find it meaningful to spend time and experience something. Related to the urban image mechanism [18], there are three connection systems (see Figure 2).

  • The physical space system (reality)

  • The reference space system

  • The reflected space system

Figure 2.

Image of urban space in the connection system.

6.1 Integration and the specific in urban image

Formal integration as a cohesive element in spatial differentiation proves to be a certainty in that, in such situations, the space formalized during a long topical selection is nothing more than the sum of the qualities of the component elements taken apart and, at the same time, that it always carries a meaning (civic, esthetic, ethical, etc.), and so it is itself functional. Considered thus, within the limits of its possibilities of affirmation, the association between new and old can no longer start from the (pseudo) idea of principle comparability, in fact envisaging a state without comparability relations (because they cannot exist when everything is “at kind”), but from the idea of the natural coexistence of different elements in a state that, without being tired, requires us intensely in defining comparability relationships. By increasing combinatorial solutions, so does the diversity of urban spaces; the spatial differentiation evolves unitary, discovering, restoring, or completing the particular features of the different urban spaces and, at the same time, confirming or perfecting each time their unitary character. The particular value of urban space thus constitutes its qualitative determination, its individuality, incorporating the general—a reflection of the essence—into its own form that can be expressed and can be appreciated by character and specificity.

  • – Can a differentiation of concept be made between the character and specificity?

It is necessary to recognize the differentiation, because, diverse art, in general, is linked to the quality of the urban space; besides the effect, it is particularly interested in the cause, the means of realization—on which we act, not to forget, a directly objective determination through functionality and possibilities of realization, adaptation to an existing material that causes both the inventiveness, as well as the capacity to assimilate the previous experience and the time as a wrapper and space as a place of the limited selection that tends toward an increasingly complex urban space formation. It should be added here that, in defining the urban space, we do not always have to deal with a single (in the sense of capacity) creative personality, which intervenes more than in art—taken in general—tradition and behavioral habit as a reflection of the requirements of the major. In these conditions, the particular value of the urban space is a result of the interference in the context of the functional generality and the significant forms of some participations of the nature of a restricted generality, conferring character, and of participations of the singular nature, conferring specificity. For the San Marco ensemble and the whole of Venice, the Campanile is an element that gives the ensemble and the urban body, respectively specificity. However, it is unique, and it is precisely through this unique presence that he completes a summit of specificity in a framework that otherwise cannot be accused of being non-specific, and yet, when collapsed, it was restored by the commune’s effort, not the functional considerations dictated in this operation, but the subjective significant ones, to which the specificity is in principle related. The central area of Bologna, on the other hand, is specific through the succession of porches along the streets, from the ground floor of the buildings. This is a common element of a multitude of constructions, and it confers specificity precisely through this repetition. Moreover, in one case, and in the other, the specificity elements, unique or common and repeatable, prove for the respective assemblies an efficient common factor (Figure 3).

Figure 3.

San Marco ensemble.

The urban image makes architectural objects to take high values by reading of the urban composition by the harmony between Human being, all site elements, site functions and urban or site framework, which determines urban spaces, configuration, and structure. One of the major problems facing us is how to establish and maintain environments that support human health and at the same time are ecologically sustainable. Green areas seem too important to people. Most people today believe that the green world is beautiful [21]. Green areas are essential for people, where most people believe that it represents a high value in the city configuration (Figure 4) [22].

Figure 4.

Urban image and site components.

Urban design search for the human experience which contributes to building environment within private properties or public areas (Figure 5).

Figure 5.

Urban image and site components in a special case.

Between the elements of the site and the image reader position a relationship that takes time to be significant and increase the quality of the image which is seen at a given time-space—isotopic—unitary, continuous and—heterotopic diversified space, differentiated but not necessarily discontinuous or lack of unity. A utopian image can be isotopic or heterotopic when something “fabulous, fantastic” is created (e.g., night lighting accentuates or deletes specific characteristics).


7. Urban image and structural composition and characteristics

The urban image represents an essential element in the organization of the space and triggers in new, unexpected resorts regarding the appreciation of the urban reality. It represents also a vital element in the conformation of the public space process within the theoretical and practical analysis (therefore, also fundamental and applied research) of the concept of urban image and its role in the organization of the urban space. The theoretical dimension of the concept consists in its analysis, both in individual (interpretive) value and in the context of the current principles of thinking that have marked the dynamics of urban geography as a science, realizing an entire framework and conceptual context for deepening the urban image [23]. By identifying the typical typologies of the urban image, it can determine their viability and also possibilities of individualizing and customizing them, in order to define strategies to be followed and to establish the specific priorities and attitudes to find the appropriate ways to ensure the natural development, without constraints and contradictions, of the city. The characteristics determined by the precise relations between buildings or plots, courtyards, gardens, streets, and markets define urban pieces’ type: grouping of series of buildings and the relationship between buildings and the private or public un-built space. The specific perspectives, their depth, are also characteristic elements that generated the urban space at a given time and which write it down as a consecrated type, with permanence urban value and it represents a good premise for its personalization, for the creation of a new urban identity, either in conformity with the existing one or by replacing it according to the functional approach. Homogeneous parts of urban tissue form a morphological point of view; the sectors have specific compositions of parcels or buildings in identifiable relationships with each other or with the land on which they arise. The analysis of the urban sectors facilitates the appreciation of the elements of physical-spatial identification characteristic of a city, coherent from the urban and architectural point of view, which can become a reference and highlighting elements. This procedure allows the detection of attitudes necessary and possible to be taken means the organization of urban development, the elements of continuity as well as the polarizing ones of the urban image are determined, the coherence of the city structure is ensured (Figure 6).

Figure 6.

The persistence of the structural element in the urban image “Ulm Minster, Germany.”

7.1 The human being and objectives in urban space

The city is a relatively numerous, dense, and permanent settlement of heterogeneous individuals from a social point of view. It differs from the rural world by:

  • The positive aspects that they generate—economic activities (commercial, industrial), transport and telecommunications infrastructure (increasingly developed), and good quality of urban services. All this has the effect, ultimately, of creating new jobs and determines an increased quality of life of the citizens.

  • The negative effects it implies for the environment (increasing air pollution, but also noise pollution—mainly due to heavy traffic, diminishing green spaces in favor of the construction, or implantation of new businesses) and for a large part of the urban population (IE about social inequities) [21, 24].

The objectives on the site—the comment is carried out on the characteristics of the objective but also of the environment of the site such as:

  • Characteristics regarding volume, color, silhouette, size, etc.

  • The building form which in a certain picture constitutes an image—an object with an important character in the image—of average performance—frame which it is interested in:

  • The dimensions and characteristics

  • The linearity of the myth (exists or not)

  • The characteristic of the environment processing (the volume accents in the image)

  • The color

The role of architectural composition, through its complex activities, is to create the framework material, of the organized space, with a view to satisfy the material and spiritual needs of the person and society [25]. Tall buildings are neither an object of love nor an object of hatred; they are necessary objects in the urban composition, and thus they are subject to a court of architectural value and a court of urban value. In the drawings of Ulm Minster, Ulm, Germany (161.5 m), the tallest cathedral in the world, for example, churches are presented to us with a silhouette in which the churches, unique in size, were still “tall buildings,” having a meaning, although not one could speak of an urban composition. In the modern city, the tall building must be considered, on the one hand, in the immediate context (adjacent neighborhood), when its own architecture is important and, on the other, in the remote context, when the silhouette is important, the architectural-urbanistic “cut.” Already there is a disjunction, in the judgment it was referring to, which imposes the option for a priority in evaluating such a presence in the urban space. The transformation of the static approach form of the dynamic approach is not arbitrated by elevation, especially when it comes to an important building. The elevation is real in its volume and presence, but it is unreal in its image. According to Kevin Lynch, in urban imaging mechanism, it is required to include the building in context, which is represented by:

  • Visible points

  • The places where the building can be viewed

Space perception is the procedure through which humans and other creatures become alert of the relative locations of their individual bodies and objects around them. It offers indications, such as depth and distance, which are important for movement and orientation to the environment (Figures 7, 8).

Figure 7.

The connection between observation position and image impression.

Figure 8.

Relationship system that physically defines the urban relationship.

In this domain it is required to take in evidence:

  • Observation position: in this situation, it is necessary to take in as evidence distance, height (terrain configuration), and opening (in space).

  • Observing conditions: in this situation, it is necessary to take in as evidence conjuncture and weather conditions (night-day, winter-summer, cloudy-sunny).

The observatory is characterized by:

  • Visual acuity of perception—all senses are required, not just the visual but also the complexity of perception which varies from one individual to another (e.g. in Austria—clean, fresh air—you feel purity; in Paris the street is fragrant. The smell participates in the image that remains afterwards; Germany—the smell of perfumed gasoline, the special smell. It is of superior quality olfactory perception).

  • The movement of the space that can be perceived static or dynamic.

  • Movement—work in perception.

Every city has a form, called an urban form (plan metric image or top view), expressing in a geometric configuration of urban distribution, social relations, and ideological hierarchies [26]. The urban form is physically expressed through the urban structure, both are historically determined, and they are formed by a succession of reactions and evolutions starting from a previous state.

  1. Viewing—designates the physical process through which the visual contact between the observer and the observed object is realized.

    • The view from that is performed under particular conditions (e.g. the terraces at the last levels of the skyscraper—Sears Tower, Chicago—above the city—fabulous)—from the level of the bird’s flight—it is a perception that has a philosophical meaning, demiurgic, “divine look.”

    • Bottom view is typical

    • Look—a process actually determined physically. It is not reduced to front registration.

  2. Vision is beyond the physical process of gazing. It also associates the mental processing of the physically determined ones; it is completed by understanding, reporting, learning, and rejection (when you like a certain thing, architectural object, etc. or on the contrary) [27].

7.2 City images and structural element

A structural element represents the factor motor to creating a consistent city image, which creates an equilibrate urban image by relationships and proportions.

The structural element can be as follows:

7.2.1 City image with one structural element

It dominates the city silhouette, with convenient effective distances required for acting positively in a city configuration.

During the preparation of the plans, regardless of what power or even the landmark will reflect, it must be understood that it is an element and a device that will orientate the development [27] (Figure 9).

Figure 9.

Urban image with one structural element.

7.2.2 City image with two structural elements

There appear two dominant elements in city image. The effectiveness of viewer distance that can labour harmoniously with the city silhouette. The structural field of the building systems which can be positive or negative. The structural elements (1, 2) working, harmonious, see Figure 10.

Figure 10.

Urban image with two structural elements.

The distance between two different architectural dominant elements.

7.2.3 City image with many structural elements

The city can contain many structural elements that collaborate together to create the city image (Figure 11).

Figure 11.

Urban image with many structural elements.

Several structural fields create unity throughout an integrated urban image.

7.3 Dynamic city image

This image is used in descriptions. It refers to the movement, creating at the same time different emotions and moods for the reader. The integrate image configuration is dominant and has to work as an organic unit. The city silhouette has to be presented creatively and unitary [28]. The urban design takes into consideration the following aspects:

  • Urban structure: How places are positioned together and how the parts interrelate with each other.

  • Types of spaces and morphologies related to the intensity of use, resource consumption, production, and maintenance of viable communities.

  • Accessibility: Provide an easy and safe option to move between spaces.

  • Readability and guidance: Help people find their way and understand how space works.

  • Animation: Design spaces to simulate a public activity.

  • The mix of complementary uses: Location of activities that allow constructive interaction between them.

  • Characterization and significance: Recognize and assess the differences between one space and another.

  • Civil society: Make spaces where people are free to meet each other as civic equals, an important component in the construction of social capital [13, 18] (Figure 12).

Figure 12.

Urban image with dynamic form.

Architecture in urban composition can take many functions:

7.3.1 Architecture as a human product

Architecture elements have many readings form regarding the art of building, painting, sculpturing and technique using which called the beautiful illustrations from the ancient times. The architecture works in shape and mass like sculpture art, and it works with color like paint art. However:

  • It is a functional art.

  • It solves realistic tasks.

  • It creates tools for a human being.

7.3.2 Architecture as commodity

To commodify an object is to make it tradable and consumable on markets:

  • Ordinary goods and services are commodities and traded on markets.

  • Nature or natural and built environment is resistant to commodification, yet it happens:

    • The environment turns into the land.

    • Human being turns into the labor commodity.

  • The consequences are environmental degradation and human suffering.

A right architecture can be described as that where thinking and human feelings come into play and create an entire harmonic, which ensembles structure and possesses significance.

In urban space analysis, the strategy of marketing and the policy of research become essential for combining the relation between architectural creation and potential user positively. That required to understand the meaning of profitable building design, which is influenced by a series of more general economic aspects such as people’s living standards. The architectural product is characterized by a life cycle similar to traditional products (Figure 13).

Figure 13.

The life cycle of an architectural product.

Urban design is a creative and technological field of study that works with a long-life human product that is oriented nationally and internationally. Urban space has signified elements like a landmark. Landmarks as reference signs orient the people. Landmarks are defined as an external point of reference that helps to orient in a familiar or an unfamiliar environment [29]. Landmarks are a kind of signals of urban space [10]. The question is how people orient themselves in urban space considering reference points. People choose the points in the city for their orientation. In the city, same natural or man-made elements are seen as signs giving the sense of wayfinding [27].


8. The conclusion

The problem of organizing the urban space has aroused great interest due to its practical importance. There are several models and theories that try to clarify these issues and cover the whole variety of existing situations, thus having a high degree of applicability. The main objective of the study of the urban structure is the formation of an own system of coherent urbanistic thinking in the sense of developing the capacity of interdisciplinary approaches in the field and of the understanding of the city as a complex urban body, functional-configurative, clarifying both problems of terminology and problems of method, developing the readiness to form logical analytical or synthetic conclusions regarding specific states, phenomena, or working methods. Their complexity is determined by three main elements: land, population, and urban activities, which by their configuration, dimensions, and profile, respectively, generate specific forms of territorial organization. The urban spaces of some small countries are simply structured, while in the big countries, they present structures of great complexity, as a result of the stepped development and the permanent intensification of the internal relations. Within the transformations that characterize the evolution of human societies, one of the means by which this process manifests itself is the qualitative and quantitative change of the living environment, and the city belongs to both fields of manifestation. Urban agglomerations such as metropolises or conurbations were born through the continuous development of relative cities close to each other in space, between which there was sufficient buildable or usable land to allow new connections and housing. The evolution of the society, the demographic growth, and the economic developer determined the creation of dynamic urban space, in continuous expansion and growth. The arrangement of the territory changes from year to year due to the accelerated development of the society and its requirements, and the population generates the value of territory but also its deterioration over time. In the context of the current urban development, the field of urbanism is confronted with phenomena described by the dynamics of complex systems, which are becoming increasingly difficult to predict, but not impossible to manage. The sense of strategic planning is changing; the methods of forecasting and adapting to the urban phenomenon must be understood in the sense of such complexity. Urban configuration takes in evidence developing the capacity for functional-configuration analysis and definition of a possible urban image as a support for the process of architectural-urban creation in the urban space, development of the formulation capacity, and development of a value judgment on the configuration of the space organization.


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Written By

Amjad Almusaed and Asaad Almssad

Submitted: 18 October 2019 Reviewed: 11 November 2019 Published: 22 December 2019