THE ELEMENTS OF A CITY

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The contents of the city images so far studied, which are preferable to physical forms, can conveniently be classified into five types of elements: paths, edges, districts, nodes, and landmarks. These elements may be defined as below:

1) Path

  • Definition : Major and minor routes of circulation which is customarily, occasionally or potentially used by the observer
  • Role: Form one of the prime element for experiencing the city/way finding or it becomes the medium for the visual exposure of other elements
  • Categories: Three types given below.
  1. Approach routes – Present the city to us, Must “inform” and “conduct”
  2. Surface arteries – Major routes through the city; carrier of high volume traffic
  3. Local Streets – Intricate Network; carrier of local traffic
PATH ELEMENT OF A CITY
PATH ELEMENT OF A CITY ONE
PATH ELEMENT OF A CITY TWO

i) Path – Characteristics

  • Linear elements used for movement
  • Identity – Physical & visual form : Spatial qualities, façade characteristics, planting…
  • Continuity – width, spatial quality, facade characteristics, planting…
  • Directionality – End-from-end, side-to-side, gradient ( regular, cumulative change in some quality – topographic, prolonged curve, etc.)
  • Scaling – Positioning oneself along entire stretch – achieved by a sequence of known landmarks along the path
  • Relation with other paths – Structure / Hierarchy – path intersections, alignment, physical & visual form.

ii) Path – Case of Chandigarh

PATH ELEMENT OF A CITY THREE
  • The “Sector”
  1. 800 m x 1200 m
  2. Self Suficient, Introverted
  • The “ 7 V ” Road Network
  1. V2: Jan Marg; Madhya Marg; Dakshin Marg
  2. V3: Sector Edges
  3. V4: Shopping Streets
  4. V5&V6 : Access to houses
  5. V7: Pedestrian paths connecting the sector green
  • Characteristics (Useful for way-finding)
  1. Identification of Path – Physical and visual character
  2. Relationship with other path – Network/structure and hierarchy
  3. Directionality
  4. Scaling – Positioning oneself along entire stretch
PATH ELEMENT OF A CITY FOUR
PATH ELEMENT OF A CITY FIVE
PATH ELEMENT OF A CITY SIX

2) District

DISTRICT ELEMENT OF A CITY
DISTRICT ELEMENT OF A CITY ONE
  • District : Series of parts of which the city is composed. Also called ” enclaves” , ” sectors” , ” quarters” , ” precincts” , ” areas”….   Identified & Distinguishable on account of dominant, pervasive characteristics.
DISTRICT ELEMENT OF A CITY TWO
DISTRICT ELEMENT OF A CITY THREE

3) Edge

EDGE ELEMENT OF A CITY
  • Definition and Role
  1. Linear element but not the path
  2. Usually boundaries between two districts
  3. Act as “lateral reference”
  • Characteristics
  1. Visually Prominent
  2. Continuous in form
  3. May be directional like paths
  • Categories
  1. Barriers
  2. Seams
  3. Overhead Edges
EDGE ELEMENT OF A CITY ONE

i) Edge – Case of Chandigarh

EDGE ELEMENT OF A CITY TWO

ii) Edge – Categories

  • Barriers: Hard , Definite, Precise, Impenetrable for cross movement.
  • Helps in greater definition, reinforce identity of district, control growth but can also destroy the continuity, fragment the city
EDGE ELEMENT OF A CITY THREE
  • Seams: Soft, Uncertain, Uniting rather than isolating
  • Join two major areas
EDGE ELEMENT OF A CITY FOUR
  • Overhead Edges: E.g. Elevated railways, roads-not barriers on ground, may be effective orientation element
EDGE ELEMENT OF A CITY FIVE
  • High Line Park,NY
EDGE ELEMENT OF A CITY SIX

4) Nodes

NODES ELEMENT OF A CITY
  • Definition: Centers of Activity- strategic foci, which an observer can enter
  • Characteristics: Given below.
  1. Conceptually small points in city’s image
  2. May be large squares, or extended linear shapes, or even entire districts
  3. May be introvert or extrovert

i) Nodes – Categories and role

  • Junction Node-
  1. Junctions of paths, places of breaks in transportation
  2. Important as point of “pause”, where people perceive near by elements with more than normal clarity
  3. Important , even when the physical form is vague or shapeless
NODES ELEMENT OF A CITY ONE
NODES ELEMENT OF A CITY TWO
NODES ELEMENT OF A CITY THREE
  • Concentration Nodes-
  1. Thematic concentration of some surrounding characteristics (activity and unique physical features)
NODES ELEMENT OF A CITY FOUR
  1. Palmanova, Italy
NODES ELEMENT OF A CITY FIVE

NODES ELEMENT OF A CITY SIX
  • Junction – cum- Concentration Nodes
NODES ELEMENT OF A CITY SEVEN

5) Landmarks

  • Definition: Given below.
  1. A point reference, Simple physical element/s, external to the observer
  2. System of landmarks (Sequential series) important for way finding
  • Characteristics: Given below.
  1. Key physical characteristics – Singularity (as use involves, selecting one from amongst many)- some aspect that is unique or memorable – clear form, contrast with the background, spatial prominence (e.g. Location at a junction)Activity associated with an element may also make it a landmark
  • Categories: Given below.

i) Distant Landmarks

  • prominent point visible from many positions
  • Generally used by people unfamiliar with the city for general orientation

ii) Local landmarks

  • Visible only in restricted localities
  • Number of the local elements that become the landmarks depends as much upon how familiar the observer is with his surrounding as the element itself
LANDMARKS ELEMENT OF A CITY
LANDMARKS ELEMENT OF A CITY ONE

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