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Urban Space Planning for Sustainable High Density Environments

Principal Investigator: Assist. Prof. Dr CHO Im Sik
Key Collaborator: Prof. HENG Chye Kiang

Key Collaborating Agencies: URA (Lead Organization), HDB & NParks

With the rapid urban transformations and increased spatial, programmatic and human densification, intensification and hybridization of contemporary urban environments globally, new attention has been given to design and re-design of urban spaces, as one of the key means for achieving environmental, social and economic sustainability within such conditions. Consequently, the ways we understand, analyze, design, re-design and utilize urban spaces are once again challenged and require both quantitative and qualitative re-conceptualizations.

Once densities increase space not only becomes a precious and contested commodity, but also a set of often temporary, unstable and fragile conditions, charged by the intense tensions and negotiations between the diverse users and agencies. In order to fully understand the dynamics and complexities that characterize emerging hybrid urban spaces in high-density contexts, we need to embrace more inclusive, open, flexible, integrated and holistic approaches to urban space design and analysis. This includes more speculative and qualitative temporal dimensions simultaneously, with the main focus on complex relationships between spatial typologies and programmes, as well as ways of utilizations and management, rather than on individual and static dimensions.

While the past research has primarily focused on ‘traditional’ types of urban spaces, such as streets, squares and plazas, we still know little about emerging increasingly complex and hybridized urban spaces today. Accordingly, the existing literature and research offers no specific values and criteria that are purposely tailored for high-density environments. The scope of this research involves exploring the complex relationships between spatial (hardware), functional (software) and organizational (orgware) components that shape the structure and performance of contemporary urban spaces in highly dense and complex urban conditions. The main objectives are to outline the original Urban Space Framework as well as the vital capacities of an integrated computational tool – the Tool for Urban Space Analysis (TUSA), developed to catalogue, evaluate, analyze, speculate and guide the decision making in design and planning of emerging complex urban space configurations in high-density conditions. Finally, additional aims of this research are to visualize this process and offer a comprehensive, innovative and visually compelling means to understand the critical properties that shape new urban spaces, as well as their interrelationships, and thus guide the initial stages of the design process. 

This research “Urban Space Planning for Sustainable High Density Environments” is conducted at the Centre for Sustainable Asian Cities (CSAC), School of Design and Environment, National University of Singapore. The research is done in collaboration with URA (Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore), NParks (National Parks Board, Singapore) and HDB (Housing and Development Board, Singapore), and it is funded by the Ministry of National Development (MND), Singapore.

Links to online published articles:

AESOP (Association of European Schools of Planning Annual Meeting 2012) (click here)

VCA (Vertical Cities Asia International Symposium 2012) (click here)

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