Negative space and positive environment : mapping opportunities for urban resilience

Guaralda, Mirko & Kowalik, Magdalena (2012) Negative space and positive environment : mapping opportunities for urban resilience. In Schrenk, Manfred, Popovich, Vasily V., Zeile, Peter, & Elisei, Pietro (Eds.) Proceedings REAL CORP 2012 Tagungsband, REAL CORP, Schwechat, pp. 523-532.

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Cities have long held a fascination for people – as they grow and develop, there is a desire to know and understand the intricate interplay of elements that makes cities ‘live’. In part, this is a need for even greater efficiency in urban centres, yet the underlying quest is for a sustainable urban form. In order to make sense of the complex entities that we recognise cities to be, they have been compared to buildings, organisms and more recently machines. However the search for better and more elegant urban centres is hardly new, healthier and more efficient settlements were the aim of Modernism’s rational sub-division of functions, which has been translated into horizontal distribution through zoning, or vertical organisation thought highrise developments.

However both of these approaches have been found to be unsustainable, as too many resources are required to maintain this kind or urbanisation and social consequences of either horizontal or vertical isolation must also be considered. From being absolute consumers of resources, of energy and of technology, cities need to change, to become sustainable in order to be more resilient and more efficient in supporting culture, society as well as economy. Our urban centres need to be re-imagined, re-conceptualised and re-defined, to match our changing society.

One approach is to re-examine the compartmentalised, mono-functional approach of urban Modernism and to begin to investigate cities like ecologies, where every element supports and incorporates another, fulfilling more than just one function. This manner of seeing the city suggests a framework to guide the re-mixing of urban settlements. Beginning to understand the relationships between supporting elements and the nature of the connecting ‘web’ offers an invitation to investigate the often ignored, remnant spaces of cities. This ‘negative space’ is the residual from which space and place are carved out in the Contemporary city, providing the link between elements of urban settlement.

Like all successful ecosystems, cities need to evolve and change over time in order to effectively respond to different lifestyles, development in culture and society as well as to meet environmental challenges. This paper seeks to investigate the role that negative space could have in the reorganisation of the re-mixed city. The space ‘in-between’ is analysed as an opportunity for infill development or re-development which provides to the urban settlement the variety that is a pre-requisite for ecosystem resilience. An analysis of the urban form is suggested as an empirical tool to map the opportunities already present in the urban environment and negative space is evaluated as a key element in achieving a positive development able to distribute diverse environmental and social facilities in the city.

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ID Code: 51314
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Urban design, Sustainability, Negative Space
ISBN: 9783950311037
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BUILT ENVIRONMENT AND DESIGN (120000) > ARCHITECTURE (120100)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Creative Industries Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2012 [please consult the author]
Deposited On: 01 Jul 2012 22:32
Last Modified: 27 Jun 2017 14:41

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