Category: Urbanistic Dimension

About ancient ruins in urban spaces

Should you search online the meaning of derelict places in urban environments, there is a fair chance to be directed towards brownfields, the way they may contribute to urban master plans (1) and how their potential translates in operational practicalities (2). No doubt that you will also be directed towards historical sites’ survival to disasters. Aesthetic and emotional […]

Orders and disorders of urban resilience

What is the meaning of urban morphologies and how resilient are they? What do cities and modern art have in common? How relevant is the concept of entropy? The three questions converge towards a universal representation of one of our contemporary urban drivers: the grid.  Sixty years ago, Kevin Lynch (1) introduced the concept of urban imageability and […]

Exploring spirituality in the urban frame

You may like it or not, you cannot escape religious monuments and the way they impose their presence in the urban frame. They contribute to the city “imageability”, as defined by Kevin Lynch (1), and play a predominant role in its identity.  Their symbolic significance goes far beyond their original mission, as shown by the emotional response […]

The Sense of Vulnerability

The Anthropocene awareness and its induced damages strengthen the concept of (urban) resilience, often presented as the new panacea for improving our daily lives. Much has been written on resilience, be it from the engineering or socio-ecological point of view; but the notion of vulnerability, often too quickly seen as the opposite of resilience, is […]

How resilient is cultural heritage?

Far from mass tourism attractions, a narrow cobble-stoned Parisian alley tells us the story of carpenters who came from Holland and Germany during the sixteenth century to settle in the Saint-Antoine district.  A hidden pathway possibly witnessing the “raison d’être” of a community: a stamp-varnishing master, a manufacture built in 1886 converted in artists’ studios, […]

Connecting art, urban grid and vulnerability

Little attention is given to the way urban morphology echoes resilience and how urban fabric can be linked to social construction. The connection between urban and social forms is often descriptive, elaborating on the homogeneity between the space and its occupation by various social/ethnic groups. But as underlined by A. Levy (1), the sense of […]

Detroit resilience, from reporting lines to desire lines

On July 18th, 2013, the City of Detroit made U.S. history with the largest municipal bankruptcy in the country to date. “There is no roadmap for Detroit’s recovery,” declared the New York Times. Less than a decade later, the city is recognized amongst the leading ones for its urban resilience initiatives: numerous publications have detailed […]

How green is urban resilience?

Climate change and regular heatwaves enhance the need for urban planning strategies to rebalance grey infrastructures with green “systems”. Urban citizens applaud the idea. Canopies and urban forests are on the agenda. The collective recognition of our environment fragility seems to find its answer in a politically correct greening attitude. There is no need to […]

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