Urban design is the process of designing cities, towns, and villages. Unlike architecture, which focuses on the design of individual buildings and structures, urban design deals with a larger scale of buildings, streets, and public spaces, as well as whole neighbourhoods, with the goal of making urban areas functional, attractive, and sustainable.
Urban design utilises elements of several other professions, including architecture, urban planning, and engineering. It is common for professionals in all of these disciplines to practice some urban design. Urban design demands an understanding of a wide range of subjects, and an appreciation for various disciplines, such as real estate development, and social theory.
Urban design is about making connections between people and places. The practice draws together the strands of a place, and the people around it, to create a truly vision to bring to life in an area. It’s about creating beauty with relatable identity.
This particular practice of design is usually a collaborative that starts with shaping a physical setting to be the centre of a particular area of a city, town, or village. Urban design is the act of creating a structure that ties an area with time and history, creating so much more than some simple structure that benefits society, rather, a structure that shows the history of an area, and the triumphs that it’s achieved.
It is the process of making better places for people than would usually be produced. Urban design is not design in a traditional sense. It’s much broader, and includes new, more economic projections, and better negotiation in financial partnerships. It also helps form non-profit corporations that can combine citizens with public and private sector financing resources.
Urban design is the essence of recapturing certain qualities and experiences that are associated with a traditional city space. A sense of order, continuity, community, and belonging, all tied up in the new space that is creative. Urban design lies somewhere between the abstracts of planning, and the specifics that come with architecture. It implies citizenship, life in the public, and a sense of time, as well as space. Much of what is perceived as urban design is conceived in only a moment. Good urban designers should understand that urban design is about so much more than sewing together the town to create a piece, it’s about enrichening the town’s atmosphere. It is a framework created throughout the town, constructed of all of its elements, but completely natural in how it joins the surrounding structures.
Some urban designers consider urban design to be the design of the spaces between buildings. This differentiates it from architecture, which is defined as the design of the buildings, themselves. Urban design is an activity in which the relationship between different buildings in brought into question, and then redesigned to add a new structure that fits the needs of the public, and the design of the surrounding area. It is the relationship between all elements of space in an area, and the act of creating new structures to fit that space as beautifully as possible.