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Crafting Tomorrow's Cities: The Crucial Role of Urban Planning

Updated: Jan 29

Written by Jir Dara Akçan


If you ever looked at a map of a city you probably realized the interesting layout of all the city’s components. It could be a grid of apartments that have been separated by roads or a circular layout mostly used in American neighborhoods. These types of arrays are the outcome of urban planning. Urban planning is essential for an ideal city. The locations of industrial and residential areas are set so that people living in those residential areas can be far away from the smoke and pollution coming from the factories in the industrial area. This is only a simple example of the importance of urban planning. If we were to list every reason why urban planning is important, this article would have been a two-hour read. Instead of that, we will focus on the broader topics and concepts of Urban Planning, Such as;



Principles Of Urban Planning


Just like every other field of work, urban planning has its principles that outline a good urban area. These principles ensure ease with transportation along with sustainability, plan out how the areas are connected, etc.



Walkability


Walkability is a crucial part of a city. In an ideal city, most stores or important locations are 10 minutes away from work or home. Street design is very pedestrian-friendly. Buildings are close to the street which is tree-lined; garages are in the rear lane; and streets are narrow and slow speed. On top of that, there are special streets that are exclusive to pedestrians, and free of cars. [1]



Connectivity


One of, if not, the most important part of urban planning is connectivity. Interconnected street networks (The grid-like maps we talked about) help disperse traffic and make walking easier. Without this grid roads would be in a constant state of traffic jams and car transport would have been a nightmare.


The other important feature of this concept is that it mostly uses narrow streets, boulevards, and alleys which makes walking pleasurable.



Zoning


Zoning is when a city’s landscape gets divided into different zones, a critical aspect of what makes a good city. Without zoning, there would not be any development in a city. There should be separate areas for residency, commerce, and industrialization. This technique allows the zones to work without disrupting other zones.



Green Zones


Of course, a city without any kind of nature would only help people get more stressed. While zoning, green zones need to be protected to prevent mass exploitation. Any kind of lake, river, or natural park that is protected needs to be excluded from any development plans.



Urban Planners


Urban planners are the masterminds behind our cities. All of the topics mentioned above have been practiced by urban planners effectively. They have a wide range of tasks such as mapping transportation systems, determining land use for green space, and not only building structures but supporting them by developing economic and social programs



Examples of Successful Urban Planning Projects


1-) Offenbacher Hafen


A beautiful riverfront in Frankfurt that sets an example for ecological care. It was originally a polluted industrial port, but it has been reconstructed into a place that looks astonishing.



2-) A’beckett Square


Originally a vacant site, the A’beckett Square in Melbourne, Australia is now turned into a spot that brings together a diversity of people with its vibrant and user-friendly spot.


We touched on some basic topics like zoning, and green zones. Without those principles, our cities would only consist of boring cement monoliths that would have been stretched across the city. Because of this people and the city can benefit from a lot of things. Such as experiencing nature in one of the city's natural parks, skating in a skate park with other skate enthusiasts, or just the very basic things like dispersing a traffic jam, etc. Now we know the importance of urban planning, we can observe and enjoy it a lot more in our lives.



References:

  1. Erisa Nesimi. (2023, August 15). 10 of the best urban projects in the world. Land8. https://land8.com/10-of-the-best-urban-projects-in-the-world/

  2. New Urbanism. (n.d.). Urbanism principles. https://www.newurbanism.org/newurbanism/principles.html

  3. The role of urban planners. (2020, November 27). Tulane School of Professional Advancement. https://sopa.tulane.edu/blog/role-urban-planners

  4. Urban planning | Definition, history, examples, importance, & facts. (1998, July 20). Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/topic/urban-planning

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