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Re: [carfree_cities] Re: PhD thesis topic

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  • J.H. Crawford
    ... Oh, yes, there is a fair bit of stuff on the bastides, at least in France. ... Well, not so fast. In the first place, few of these towns actually ARE on a
    Message 1 of 10 , Oct 1, 2005
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      Christopher Miller mused:

      >Coming back to your comments about "bastides" (and perhaps by
      >implication, other medieval new towns), it seems there has been some
      >research done on these, as I was able to pull up several pages (in
      >French) on the web.

      Oh, yes, there is a fair bit of stuff on the bastides, at
      least in France.

      >The interesting thing is that they were planned
      >top-down and are very different from the typical medieval town design
      >you have referred to:narrow, winding streets with irregularly sited
      >(i.e. not gridded) buildings built at a human scale.

      Well, not so fast. In the first place, few of these towns
      actually ARE on a grid plan. Sections of them may be gridded,
      but even here, most of the streets are slightly curved. Maps
      have often regularized their features. Monpazier seems to
      be the only one that is perfectly rectilinear. They appear
      to be built at human scale.

      >This kind of
      >town growth (we can assume) was unplanned, bottom-up, and the result
      >of accretion over time.

      Well, maybe. That's one of the questions: to what degree WERE
      these towns planned? Just because they are irregular does not
      mean that they were not planned. (Almost everyone seems to
      assume otherwise, however.)

      >In some ways, these grid plans remind me of something I read at some
      >point about Roman army camps, though my memory of these and whether
      >any metamorphosed into permanent settlements is faint...

      Yes, IIRC, there are distinct parallels.

      >In any case, Edmund Bacon touches briefly on medieval urban form at
      >several points early in _Design of Cities_, and I suppose some of the
      >information he uses elsewhere must come from references in his
      >bibliography, though how useful those sources might be I could not
      >say. Early in the book, Bacon takes the reader on an illustrated
      >walk into the central square of the Italian village of Panza on
      >Ischia and makes an interesting, but unsupported, comment that the
      >way a particular house was built must be due to how its builder had
      >experienced the overall context of the town by walking through it on
      >the same route he takes us through.

      It is precisely the need to support these contentions that
      lead to the need for this work. I, like Bacon, believe these
      things to be true, and, like him, cannot prove it.

      >Could the architectural patterns
      >proposed by Alexander and colleagues be used as a framework for
      >understanding how this might have been the case? Could we assume that
      >at some level, these patterns (or some version of the general
      >concept) are what have given structure to vernacular urban design all
      >over the world?

      Basically, I think, yet. We can't assume that Alexander's
      patterns are universal, comprehensive, or correct, although
      I think the evidence is that he got it pretty close to right.

      >Here are some
      >questions I would ask myself if I were to take on this kind of
      >investigation:
      >
      >What are the roles of:
      > - topography? (Including, in the case of Venice, hydrography...,
      > applicable of course to other sites...)
      > - functional constraints, e.g.
      > - solar access and shelter from winds and sun,
      > - usefulness of watercourses, ponds, lakes etc. on the site?
      > - security from attack?
      > - walking distances to major destinations?
      > - shaping of external space into "outdoor rooms" for interaction?
      > - a hierarchy of streets and public spaces if such can be found?
      > - cultural and geographical differences: what aspects of urban design
      >might turn out to be fairly universally shared, and what might be
      >specific to particular cultures?

      This is a good list of questions. To add to it:

      Locally-available materials
      Wealth of the town
      Labor supply
      plus....????

      (e.g. various parts of the Euro-
      >Mediterranean world; sub-Saharan Africa; the Indian subcontinent;
      >East Asia, Southeast Asia, North, Central and South America... Think
      >of how the Arab courtyard house style affects overall urban form
      >compared to [especially northern] European styles.) Some of these
      >cultural differences are likely climate-influenced, I'm sure...

      Yet oddly, the courtyard districts of Fes-al-Bali and Marrakech
      feel rather similar to Venice in their proportions and general
      arrangement. It is true that the streets in Marrakech are fairly
      straight, but it is by no means a regular grid, and sight-lines
      are closed, so the enclosure is as good as in Venice.

      >One book that just came to mind is Robert Hughes' (1992) Barcelona,
      >an epic artistic and cultural history of the city. I don't have it on
      >hand at the moment, but I recall that -- one of his main themes being
      >the architectural development of the city -- he does deal to some
      >extent with the form of the medieval part of the city, the Barri
      >Gòtic, before going on to describe its expansion over the centuries.
      >An interesting side note: chronicling the development of the Example
      >("expansion") neighbourhood, built in the late 19th century, Hughes
      >shows how the original socially idealistic plans for a mixed use and
      >mixed income area complete with large interior courtyards in each
      >block were torpedoed by the greed of later developers.

      Well, it may just be the greed of the people who owned the places.
      There's a continual interest in building on to a house, and if
      there is a courtyard, why that's the obvious place to build....

      Regards,





      ------ ### -----
      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
    • Thomas C
      here are a couple links about a town called entrevaux in the south of france. some pictures from above: http://www.entrevaux.info/entrevaux_galerie_ciel.php
      Message 2 of 10 , Oct 1, 2005
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        here are a couple links about a town called entrevaux in the south of
        france.

        some pictures from above:
        http://www.entrevaux.info/entrevaux_galerie_ciel.php

        some history:
        http://www.netprovence.com/sivomentrevaux/histoire.htm

        you can see from the pictures that the natural elements are central in the
        whole design. the river on three sides, the mountain on the third.

        the defense issue is also a crucial one. there's a wall with a bridge on the
        river side. on the other side, you climb up to the citadelle (military place
        on top) which is protected by a cliff, high walls and a bridge. there's
        another big protected door on the church side (on the right when you look
        from the other side of the river) which goes to the now soccer-field (which
        i guess used to be used for food).

        according to the history link, the village moved quite a bit before settling
        there to protect themselves from the river and the invasions.

        i know that big fortification works were done by vauban under louis XIV but
        don't know what it looked like before.

        thomas


        On 10/1/05, J.H. Crawford <mailbox@...> wrote:
        >
        >
        > Christopher Miller mused:
        >
        > >Coming back to your comments about "bastides" (and perhaps by
        > >implication, other medieval new towns), it seems there has been some
        > >research done on these, as I was able to pull up several pages (in
        > >French) on the web.
        >
        > Oh, yes, there is a fair bit of stuff on the bastides, at
        > least in France.
        >
        > >The interesting thing is that they were planned
        > >top-down and are very different from the typical medieval town design
        > >you have referred to:narrow, winding streets with irregularly sited
        > >(i.e. not gridded) buildings built at a human scale.
        >
        > Well, not so fast. In the first place, few of these towns
        > actually ARE on a grid plan. Sections of them may be gridded,
        > but even here, most of the streets are slightly curved. Maps
        > have often regularized their features. Monpazier seems to
        > be the only one that is perfectly rectilinear. They appear
        > to be built at human scale.
        >
        > >This kind of
        > >town growth (we can assume) was unplanned, bottom-up, and the result
        > >of accretion over time.
        >
        > Well, maybe. That's one of the questions: to what degree WERE
        > these towns planned? Just because they are irregular does not
        > mean that they were not planned. (Almost everyone seems to
        > assume otherwise, however.)
        >
        > >In some ways, these grid plans remind me of something I read at some
        > >point about Roman army camps, though my memory of these and whether
        > >any metamorphosed into permanent settlements is faint...
        >
        > Yes, IIRC, there are distinct parallels.
        >
        > >In any case, Edmund Bacon touches briefly on medieval urban form at
        > >several points early in _Design of Cities_, and I suppose some of the
        > >information he uses elsewhere must come from references in his
        > >bibliography, though how useful those sources might be I could not
        > >say. Early in the book, Bacon takes the reader on an illustrated
        > >walk into the central square of the Italian village of Panza on
        > >Ischia and makes an interesting, but unsupported, comment that the
        > >way a particular house was built must be due to how its builder had
        > >experienced the overall context of the town by walking through it on
        > >the same route he takes us through.
        >
        > It is precisely the need to support these contentions that
        > lead to the need for this work. I, like Bacon, believe these
        > things to be true, and, like him, cannot prove it.
        >
        > >Could the architectural patterns
        > >proposed by Alexander and colleagues be used as a framework for
        > >understanding how this might have been the case? Could we assume that
        > >at some level, these patterns (or some version of the general
        > >concept) are what have given structure to vernacular urban design all
        > >over the world?
        >
        > Basically, I think, yet. We can't assume that Alexander's
        > patterns are universal, comprehensive, or correct, although
        > I think the evidence is that he got it pretty close to right.
        >
        > >Here are some
        > >questions I would ask myself if I were to take on this kind of
        > >investigation:
        > >
        > >What are the roles of:
        > > - topography? (Including, in the case of Venice, hydrography...,
        > > applicable of course to other sites...)
        > > - functional constraints, e.g.
        > > - solar access and shelter from winds and sun,
        > > - usefulness of watercourses, ponds, lakes etc. on the site?
        > > - security from attack?
        > > - walking distances to major destinations?
        > > - shaping of external space into "outdoor rooms" for interaction?
        > > - a hierarchy of streets and public spaces if such can be found?
        > > - cultural and geographical differences: what aspects of urban design
        > >might turn out to be fairly universally shared, and what might be
        > >specific to particular cultures?
        >
        > This is a good list of questions. To add to it:
        >
        > Locally-available materials
        > Wealth of the town
        > Labor supply
        > plus....????
        >
        > (e.g. various parts of the Euro-
        > >Mediterranean world; sub-Saharan Africa; the Indian subcontinent;
        > >East Asia, Southeast Asia, North, Central and South America... Think
        > >of how the Arab courtyard house style affects overall urban form
        > >compared to [especially northern] European styles.) Some of these
        > >cultural differences are likely climate-influenced, I'm sure...
        >
        > Yet oddly, the courtyard districts of Fes-al-Bali and Marrakech
        > feel rather similar to Venice in their proportions and general
        > arrangement. It is true that the streets in Marrakech are fairly
        > straight, but it is by no means a regular grid, and sight-lines
        > are closed, so the enclosure is as good as in Venice.
        >
        > >One book that just came to mind is Robert Hughes' (1992) Barcelona,
        > >an epic artistic and cultural history of the city. I don't have it on
        > >hand at the moment, but I recall that -- one of his main themes being
        > >the architectural development of the city -- he does deal to some
        > >extent with the form of the medieval part of the city, the Barri
        > >Gòtic, before going on to describe its expansion over the centuries.
        > >An interesting side note: chronicling the development of the Example
        > >("expansion") neighbourhood, built in the late 19th century, Hughes
        > >shows how the original socially idealistic plans for a mixed use and
        > >mixed income area complete with large interior courtyards in each
        > >block were torpedoed by the greed of later developers.
        >
        > Well, it may just be the greed of the people who owned the places.
        > There's a continual interest in building on to a house, and if
        > there is a courtyard, why that's the obvious place to build....
        >
        > Regards,
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ------ ### -----
        > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
        > mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
        >
        >
        >
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