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Publication Date

2009-01-01

Availability

UM campus only

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Architecture (MArch)

Department

Architecture (Architecture)

Date of Defense

2009-04-17

First Committee Member

Charles C. Bohl - Committee Chair

Second Committee Member

Jorge Trelles, M. Arch - Committee Member

Third Committee Member

Jaime Correa, M. Arch - Committee Member

Fourth Committee Member

Teofilo Victoria, M. Arch - Committee Member

Abstract

It could be the most powerful tool any community might have to develop their built environment. Yet, due to political, social/cultural or economic factors, in most cities, it has been relegated to a secondary role or eliminated altogether. The ?City Architect? or ?Urban Design Director? is an underestimated area of professional expertise that can perform a missing role in the implementation of community visions, plans, and codes. The lack of proper tools and community design expertise in planning and architecture has produced a fragmented, flawed ?design? through ad hoc roles in shaping pieces of the built environment. There is a growing need for professionals with city design and urban architecture (?civic art?) expertise and education to guide community visions, plans and codes (particularly form-based codes) through their long-term implementation working with private developers, property owners, architects, elected officials, city departments, and the public on a parcel-by-parcel, building-by-building review and refinement process. This individual should be vested with the knowledge and capacity to direct the form of the city towards the future. The city architect should have the capacity to challenge and change the course of the city urban development as it evolves maintaining an environmentally sustainable and socially conscious vision. As Communities are shaped by different natural and artificial forces, the city?s evolution as an organic process has been the focus of study by many scholars and practitioners. This is a step by step method that procures the development of the city as a series of individual single steps towards a greater vision. Other professionals and urban planners have focused their efforts on developing formulas as a way to shape the city within a preconceived armature. Either way, there is a need of an individual (?Director?) that understands the political power to influence the development of communities and is empowered to enforce regulations that achieve cohesive sustainable and livable places. The city architect must understand of the aesthetic, socio/cultural and economic factors and the importance of context and contextual principles that lie intrinsically within the ?soul? of the community and are fundamental to new place making. The city architect must be capable to interpret and adjust the regulating mechanisms as required maintaining the city?s identity without necessarily imposing prescribed ideas that could alienate some groups and disconnect the community. Design professional rely less on formulas learned at school than on the improvisation learned within the professional practice. This unarticulated, largely unexamined process has been the subject of investigation of individuals interested in the study of the ?practice of the design? and is fundamental in the vital creativity of the city architect.

Keywords

Reflective; Rationality

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