Article by M Daniela Hernandez Gibert – We explore 9 urban design projects around the world that have had a dramatic impact on public space. There are spaces and different elements everywhere, but when you know how to merge these elements with the space you are building in, you get as a result a perfect design that can impact everything around it. Here are examples of how a good design, even if it seems very simple, can highlight a place and make it more useful and enjoyable. (Click on any of the headlines or images for each project to learn more about it).
Urban Design Projects Around the World
Located in Vietnam, the bank of the lake was dirty; full of pollution. Having a place like this makes no one interested in spending time there or caring about it. If you don’t get interested, then you don’t care about getting closer to the place. A change in this was made at Dong Da Lake; a few benches that invite you to get closer and contemplate the lake were placed there. The nature, of course, makes us want to connect with the place and also with ourselves. And a pier that makes us part of the place lets us be part of the lake, and to find oneself surrounded by nature. If you want to get more information about it go to “The Best Way to Combine a Sewage System with a Landscape Design”. A perfect example of one place that was full of pollution that is now a place where people can enjoy the view of the lake and be in touch with different natural elements.
Being part of a place or belonging to a place is really important for all people, and when you feel it you get greater enjoyment from what you do and where you live. This is what happens when you create a place for kids, to make them belong to their neighborhood. KALA is a playground designed for kids, but also anyone can visit it. People care about where they belong. In this case, the kids care about this place because they belong there. If a kid grows up with this knowledge about taking care of the spaces and having this sensibility with outdoor places, then in the future they will make sure to promote these kinds of places. With these different element designs like the benches, the playground, the sand, etc., kids are also able to improve their sense perceptions and experiment with new feelings, new textures. Let’s be more conscious in the importance of creating these kinds of places.
Sustainability and merging of the environment with the buildings are two important elements in this project. The design of landscape makes sense even more when you find that water collection and climate solutions are part of this place. And there is also a special touch when you find the union between the dark trellis and the yellow orchid vines resulting in a contrast of colors and textures; the plants are adequately located to provide shade, and the design of a stage next to the lawn is suited to the practice of outdoor activities. To show us how we can be in touch with the landscape, but also to tell us that we are able to design buildings which complement nature; or even more, telling us we are able to build to be part of the environment and not to be against it.
How can we make people get involved in a place? To get them closer with the space, we can use elements throughout the project that make them feel different sensations. Experimentation with different feelings and sensations is what you will get by walking around the Innichen center. A redesign that includes flower pots to keep it warm and bright, panels that fill with water so you can get in touch with this natural element, platforms that generate different levels, and green areas; all these items are found at the center and with them, you can experiment with different sensations and feelings. Another important part of this design is that you are in touch with nature and with the environment not only through green areas and plants, but also with natural elements like climate, water, air, etc.; this is a great idea to make us part of a place. If you want to read more about this place, look at the related article; “How to Reduce Vehicular Impact in a City”.
This project has an interesting design, because it is really simple. A material (cobblestone) can accommodate any activity, so any kind of people can be part of this place, but also the space can be used for parking. To take advantage of the different elevations between the square and the surroundings, to enhance the square as the heart of the area, elements like the ramp and stairs make a connection between the church, the dwellings and the square. The illumination is, one more time, an important element to enhance a place, with lamppost to achieve a visual connection between the square and the church. This square illustrates how a simple design can use the precise locations of a few elements and the combination of a few materials to make the space both functional and attractive.
When we find ourselves in an industrial city, we only imagine factories, traffic, and gray views. But with this design, Krasnoyarsk has a special place to be in touch with nature and to get distraction from the city. Tatyshev Island is a place where you can do it and also participate in any activity such as skating, running, walking, reading, etc. An option to have different activities is created by different roads along the island, to use by bike, walking, or skating. The moths design for the people to stay, read, talk, contemplate, makes a connection between the place and the users. And an important place, the terrace, is intentionally located to have a view of the trees and the river. And as always, wood is a good material for recalling nature. It says what it is to be mankind, and they get a diversity of people creating a diversity of elements and spaces.
Definitely this project is an example of unlimited creativity; we can appreciate new things by the colors and materials that are used. Besides that, we can experiment with different sensations through the sound. The fins have a reaction with the rays of sunlight during the day, and their illumination is an important fact during the night. The water underneath the fins reflects the colors and materials of these elements, prolonging the sensory experience. Another important aspect is the connection between the sculpture and the people at the moment they walk through it.
At the moment of design, the architects and landscapers need a vision of the final result; this is important because we can look at one place, and even at its actual current status, and we can imagine that place in its best condition. In the case of Hart’s Mill Surrounds, that happened; it was contemplated as an abandoned and unused place but the final result was exactly the opposite. The color is the key in this design. The yellow is the important and dominant color; it is very bright! But the trick is not only in the yellow color; besides that, the black and tgray colors in the rest of the elements make an even greater contrast to highlight the bright color.
Urban Design Projects Around the World
Now you have more ideas to create new spaces, not just like this but taking into account some of these ideas, you just need the right elements, materials, colors, etc to make a positive impact in a place and its surroundings. We have to design for the place and for the people, making a connection between them and making them belong together. And also consider the human; a person able to perceive with all senses. Do you think that you need to create something huge to make an impact?
- Becoming an Urban Planner: A Guide to Careers in Planning and Urban Design by Michael Bayer
- Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design With Nature by Douglas Farrs
Article by M Daniela Hernandez GibertPublished in