(January 2010) Urban Design as tool for transformation of the de-industrialized city
The main question in focus is: How is urban design used for the transformation of de-industrialized cities? Cities with a strong industrial tradition are privileged places to study this transformation. Through urban design, changes in the built industrial heritage are often promoted, in order to mark the path towards a de-industrialized reality. The goal of this paper is to look into what two European cities have been pursuing in this context.
The paper will follow a method that Klarqvist and Min (1994) used in a study of neighbourhood morphology, in which the analysis is guided towards discovering the links between (social) intentions behind a project and the resulting plan pattern. The social intentions set the context in which the urban design project is included. Urban design is a tool. The paper thus follows a qualitative methodology, in which a literature review guided by the proposed interaction between de-industrialization and urban transformation goals and urban design interventions will set the background. The study cases will be constructed through the analysis of the official documents on the transformation strategies, though interviews to the city planners, and on site visits. The expectation is to find how these cities, affected with the economic and social decline caused by the closure of big industries and the rise in unemployment, used urban design interventions to build a way out of this socio-economic crisis.
The paper will be structured in five parts: an introduction to the concept of urban design and some of the ambiguities of the term that help to understand the high expectations regarding the reach of urban design interventions; a brief discussion on the connection between de-industrialization, urban design and urban transformation; a reflection on why urban design has become an important part of the post-industrial city, an overview of the urban design strategies used in the two study-cases, and conclude with the main attributes of a de-industrialized city's transformation through urban design interventions.Further research will be needed to extend the study into a third aspect of the relationship between de-industrialization and urban transformation through urban design - has the plan pattern delivered the expected social and economic transformations? This is a question that I intend to address further on in my research.
Urban Design as tool for transformation of the de-industrialized city by Ana Mafalda Madureira is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 Sweden License.