chapter  8
16 Pages

Architectural Urbanism: Proposals for the Arab World

BySam Jacoby

The argument to unify the planning and design of cities gave birth in 1960 to a new academic field with practical orientation: urban design. The aim of the first urban design program at the Harvard Graduate School of Design was to combine a systematic conceptualization of the urban with its physical design by bringing together the disciplines of architecture, landscape architecture and city planning (Tyrwhitt 1962). Half a century later, this ambition seems largely replaced by a marketing-friendly beautification of failed or new urban plans, and the vague term place-making has become a popular excuse by urban designers to justify their involvement. Yet the importance to understand cities in their multi-scalar realities and simultaneously in conceptual and practical terms has remained, or even become more urgent with relentless urbanization. To consider this challenge not as the management of different disciplines but as the possibility of a crossdisciplinary framework raises the question of a shared knowledge. And architecture, having an established body of knowledge concerned with the theory, analysis and design of built form, offers a rational entry into the questions of what this shared knowledge could be.