Continuity of Time and Space for Urban Planning

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Continuity of Time and Space for Urban Planning

In a free society, the perfect planning of a city is neither possible nor desirable, it means fixation that impedes unpredictable developments. – Eckhard Schulz-Fieltz, 1960, The Space City.

Time and space is a broad theory that can be translated and understood in many different ways. Space is interpreted as an extent with three dimensions with a position and direction, whereas time is a fourth dimension that cannot be seen but can be observed. While humans have control of the three axes (x, y, z), the fourth axis, time, has power over the aforementioned three. “How is time and space related to urban planning?” you may ask. This is where the concept of continuity comes in. The city is a discontinuous continuum in which it is discontinuous through the division between the part and the whole, and continuous through the possibilities of changes. It is up to the architect and the urban planner to bring forth possible solutions of the dilemma between the dynamic of urban life and that static of the built environment. How can we create continuity in a city? How can we downsize a city to be limited to the pedestrian range in order for it to be human scaled? How can we revive the continuous, three dimensional public space there once was but lost when cars took over the streets and squares and transformed them into motor-ways and parking lots? All these questions come to mind when we think of improving cities and create a more walkable environment to bring back the outdoor lifestyle. Designing a more human friendly city starts by enhancing the social spaces within neighborhoods. As designers, we have control over the space (the three axes), while time is the soul governor of what happens afterwards. Hence, a continuation in time and space for a more content city.

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