I began reading “Human-friendly Cities and Pop-up Urban Projects” in the Urban Planning Group of Linked-In to understand what the author, Krzysztof Bilinski, meant by “pop-up”. I found myself underlining the text and making notes in the margin. The following presents each underlined passage and associated margin note. Words in parentheses are my attempts to clarify the brevity.
Bilinski (B): “What…makes those places special and what do they have in common?”
Hosack (H): Research is required to answer the question, but research topics and a common, comparative measurement language have been missing.
B: “…the 20th century modernism paradigm (planning), which aimed at dividing a city by its functions, failed.
H: I wouldn’t claim that planning failed to achieve an objective, but it needs to redefine its goal, strategy, tactics, measurement, and correlation ability before it can begin to build knowledge capable of consistently improving the results produced by practitioners around the globe.
B: “According to Jan Gehl…using a human scale can resolve problems our cities struggle with…”
H: The term “human scale” sounds great, but there has been no quantitative measurement system capable of defining the term with relevant measurements of shelter capacity, intensity, intrusion, and dominance at the project, neighborhood, district, city, and regional levels of The Built Domain.
B: “We have a wide range of tools at our disposal whose purpose is to make redevelopment of the cities easier.”
H: We don’t. I have previously written two editions of “Land Development Calculations: Interactive Tools and Techniques for Site Planning, Analysis, and Design” and have recently published “The Science of City Design: Architectural Algorithms for City Planning and Design Leadership” to contribute some of the comprehensive, quantitative tools, language, and knowledge needed.
B: There has to be a bridge between city planners, real estate companies, and city residents”.
H: The bridge must extend further. Chapter 14 of “The Science of City Design” discusses the topic. Correlation among isolated public and private specialties is a key concept, but it requires a focus on relevant, measureable, and correlated Big Data.
B: Ghent, Belgium example of pop-up project: “After (a) few summer weeks urban furniture and plants are removed and streets go back to the way they were….”
H: It is creative, but appears to be a desperate solution to resolve inadequate open space. Its primary contribution is the growing awareness of the need for open space and change.
B: Wroclaw, Poland has introduced a cargo container bandstand for 3 months on a recently renovated public square to increase its popularity. Blue seats have been placed at the stairs of one of the boulevards to increase their usefulness. “Before, this place was uninviting…”
H: Not all open space is equal in popularity, but its presence is an asset that is invaluable.
B: “Pop-up initiatives…stand for simple, creative, and significantly improving urban space solutions.”
H: Some of the examples I’ve read here, and in other articles, represent creative but partial attempts to modify impossible open space deficiencies. They illustrate the need for a permanent revision to the goals, strategy, and tactics adopted to define our cities and their four divisions: Shelter, Movement, Open Space, and Life Support. Hope is preserved when a network of open space is woven through the urban pattern to coexist with its source of life – The Natural Domain and its cosmic parent.