Montague, Lucy (2014) Designing the urban: Reflections on the role of theory in the individual design process. In: ARbD’14 – Fourth International Conference on Architectural Research by Design, 1-8 May 2014, Portugal. (Unpublished)

Acting within the context of multiple constraints (site, budget, brief, clients, users, public policy and regulation) the urban designer is required to respond to the various and sometimes conflicting interests in an effort to express urban meaning through urban form (Castells, 1983). In this complex situation some design decisions are determined by the inherited context however, when a decision cannot be determined this way the designer must make a value judgment. These decisions may be made arbitrarily but it is more likely that the individual prioritises objectives in the evaluation alternatives.
Principles may be acquired from a variety of sources including experience, education, episodic
knowledge, currently accepted paradigms of the field, or from theories in urban design, and
subscription to them may be explicit or implicit.
Currently there appears to be little clarity in how theory influences the urban designer’s actions. This paper will present the findings of PhD research that seeks to explore the ways in which theories in urban design might influence the creative process of urban design. Its objectives are to study existing theory related to design, examine the process of design and urban design, and relate knowledge of urban design theory to the design process. Having reviewed possible research by design methodologies
and identified four approaches (quasi-scientific, speculation, reflection and creative practice), a
reflective one has been taken based upon Donald Schön’s ‘The Reflective Practitioner’ (1983). This is executed through the generation of an urban design (site evaluation, framework and masterplan for a site in London) and accompanying commentary that records the design activity, followed by an analysis of and reflection on the design and commentary offering insights into the use of theory within the process.

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email