10 Pages

The 'Ground Rules' of Sustainable Urban Form

Introduction It is argued that urban form is only sustainable if it is acceptable to its inhabitants. This means it needs to be able to adapt to changing requirements over time. In attempting to find urban development solutions that will not alienate people, it is useful to examine those in history that have accommodated the pressures of technological and social change without alienation. The developed world was once developing, different parts of it at different times. Ancient Greece was developed at a time when the Roman Empire was developing, Rome was overdeveloped when Byzantine and Muslim cities were being established, and these, in tum, were museum pieces when medieval lords and merchants sought to encourage trading centres. The medieval town was overpopulated when Renaissance ideal-city planners formulated an elitist taste for an anonymous population, and Renaissance idealism was inadequate to deal with the population explosions of the industrial revolution. Nineteenth-century industrial squalor was the enemy of post First and Second World War reconstruction in Europe, and post Second World War rationalism has been savaged for its inhumanity.