Vision, Plan and Reality: Urban Design between Conceptualization and Realization.

    Research output: PhD thesis

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    How come, that there is often a gap between what is considered good urban design and the built reality of the urban environment? This is the question which the thesis aims to investigate. It has often been stated that urban development can no longer be controlled, and the reason for this has been ascribed, among other things, to the power of the market, postmodern pluralism, or simply to the increased complexity of society.
    Yet, to decline on the capacity of urban design to guide urban development on such accounts, is to give up on urban design altogether. Rather, if urban design is incapable of achieving what it is aiming at, something must be wrong with it. Thus, the basic argument of the thesis is, that the answer to this question must be sought within urban design itself, rather than within the context in which it operates.
    In order to approach the research question, the thesis is organized as a twofold investigation, consisting of both an empirical study of the practice of urban design – in the form of a detailed case study of two urban development histories – and a study of the theoretical foundations for this practice. As urban design is regarded as an interdisciplinary activity, the theoretical study is organized as a threefold investigation of urban design theory, planning theory, as well as urban theory.
    As urban design in practice must consider what the built environment should be like as well as how it is developed, it must include normative as well as procedural considerations. Thus, the issues of normativity and process are central to the understanding of urban design. These issues therefore constitute the foci of both the empirical and the theoretical study.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationAarhus School of Architecture
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


    • urban design
    • architecture
    • urban planning
    • urban design theory
    • urban theory
    • planning theory
    • normativity
    • process
    • methodology
    • case study


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