Downtown Urban Design

Authored by: Anastasia Loukaitou-Sideris , Tridib Banerjee

Companion to Urban Design

Print publication date:  January  2011
Online publication date:  March  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415553643
eBook ISBN: 9780203844434
Adobe ISBN: 9781136920097


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From ancient times and in every part of the world cities have derived their essential identities from their centers. Serving civic, economic, and cultural functions, city centers invariably and symbolically compose the most prominent urban district as the control and command post of a city’s economy, the house of its governance, the hub of its cultural institutions, and the core of its identity. Over the last century the center of the city has experienced major changes involving the remolding of its design and form, character, and social meaning. Some of these changes had to do with the transformed nature of the economy, with the way people lived and the built environment was produced (Sudjic 1992). Drawing mostly from the experience of American downtowns, this chapter will give an overview of the changes that have resulted in different models of central city design. While we will briefly discuss the origin of the urban form and the development of downtowns of earlier eras, we will mostly focus on contemporary times and seek to critically review and anticipate the implications of socio-cultural and economic trends in the urban design of downtowns.

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