Evolving Urban Culture in Transforming Cities Architectural and Urban Design in a Fluid Context
Abstract: The practice of architectural and urban design being involved in forming the space in our cities and built environments has certain effects on the social life in society that in its turn conditions the performance of the practice. The continuous changes in cities and societies, however, are just partially caused by the practice of architectural and urban design. In a fluid context of social and spatial transformations, the control and manipulation of the effects of the practice become yet more complicated entailing a deeper understanding of the nature of urban transformations and the dialectic between urban life and its spatial frames in cities. The objective of this thesis is to improve this understanding.The thesis deals with discourses in the fields of theory of architecture, architectural and urban design practice and sociology. It examines the concepts of society, space and culture and discuses the content and historical context of predominant urban design ideas and concepts in different periods. The thesis comprehends historical studies, empirical fieldwork and case studies. Historical data is dealt with very concisely. The case studies, however, include a wide range of settlements, places and houses. These studies attempt to understand the mechanism of the formation and transformation of different urban systems. The theoretical basis for argumentation, and the methodological tools applied in the analyses of the case studies are the analytic theory and methodology of Space Syntax. Space Syntax is a theory of the built environment that reveals its hidden properties where it is most involved in our social life. The theory, through modelling and analysing the abstract spatial structure of the built environment, helps to convert the tacit and intuitive knowledge of space; the main subject of architectural and urban design, into explicit analytic, hence, testable knowledge. The application of Space Syntax in the studies of this thesis has helped to bring to light the potentials of spatial systems in cities generated in different processes of urban transformation. The findings of this thesis; the results of spatial analyses of cities and their concordance with functional, sociological and historical data, support the theory of Space Syntax, and display the capacity of the theory for development and its extension of applications.
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