Monday, April 19, 2010




Assistant Professor
Department of Architecture and Planning
NED University of Engineering and Technology

Urban Design consists of making proposals for the form and management of extensive environments. Urban designers also find themselves responsible for carrying out the changes they propose, either directly by serving as the packager, coordinator, or manger of projects or indirectly by establishing and enforcing guidelines for them.

Urban Design is practiced by a loose cadre of professionals, some prefer to call themselves urban designers while others insist to be called architects, landscape architects or even city planners.

In regrettably smaller number of instances, urban design in initiated to improve the social construction of communities or increase.

What differentiates UD from planning, development and management its control focus on experiential and aesthetic quality of the environment.
UD is not as commonly supposal, confined to large sale projects only. The scale largely varies (with the approach off course) from metropolitan region to a single plaza.

In UD exercises there is no single client. One of the attributes is to develop a single client group for the purpose.

In majority of the cases the role of urban designer is that of an interventionist nature.

Urban designers also help shape the future by proposing new environmental arrangements that are popular and change peoples expectations.

For routine problems, there is need for research to develop and test environmental standards, and this is specially critical where the instrument of design is some public regulation. All standards are valuable but can be modified and change as per need.
A basic question here is how people structure cities in their minds, how they orient themselves in time and space, and how areas acquire particular environmental meaning.

Designers have to deal with specific form of knowledge demanding their own style of research – the possibilities of environmental form. Design research of this kind is largely speculative, the product of exscind experiments.

Knowledge about effective processes is another area of research which can be grouped in several categories – methods of analysis, proposal decafting and ways of organizing design processes in their political and institutional contrast etc.

Recent studies have revcaled that public development control and guidance systems are important in framing strategies.

In majority of the cases the apprsaithes / proposals / techniques in urban design are situation dependent.

Spatial Dynamics:

Urban Designer is forced to draw upon a highly elective set of sources to in for the spatial consequences of demographic, social, economic and life style changes occurring in the cities.

Several phenomena have gained importance. Revitalization of inner city, back to the city monument are some examples.

Three areas deserve special attention.

Long term effect of the massive growth of communication technologies (like the industrial revolution).

Combined impact of demography, changing location preferences, changing higher real housing costs, and increased travel costs on the form and character of currently built residential areas.

Further of older industrial, and especially warehousing, districts that rim the centers of many cities.

Environmental Precedents:

Documentation of specific projects is fairly important in the practice of urban design. Each urban designers has a list of projects that according to him are worthy of documentation.

UD Standards:

The task of improving standard can be aided if researchers explicitly establish the basic norms of such condition where these norms can be applied. Public sentiment is also of great importance here.

Use, Meaning and Behavioral Aspects of Urban Environment:

Considerable literature & available on matters like social aspects of urban form, environmental cognition, the securities of urban form, perception and meaning of natural environments, activities in public spaces, environmental learning, site design, subdivision design, street design play spaces, neighborhood design etc.

For future – we need to research upon peoples attitudes and knowledge towards urban settings.

Secondly accurate protocols and time budgets of urban residents – how different acuities of different people correlate with the and space.

Urban Form Possibilities:

Different forms have been presented in different ways by the western designers. Ideal city, good city etc are certain notions existing in this regard.

How different events are going to affect the city form are yet to be studied.

Procedural Issues (Design Techniques):

The field of UD methods has continued too long to espouse the ideal of deductive rationality, assuming that the optional process of designing proceeds smoothly and irreversibly through steps of problem definition analysis, developing and testing options, choosing among these and carrying out the preferred design.

Political & Institutional Arrangements:

Public sector when design is almost inevitably a political act, one of the key research areas is the coalition – building process, which must be an integral component of any design process.

Design Guidance Systems:

One issue often missing in the research is the pattern of beneficiaries and losers of the system that enforces design intentions and the rules applied.

Broader Issues (Intellectual Origins of the Field):

- Resin the area of intellectual origins should be guided, first and last, by the strong intellectual curiosity of researchers, rather than by any calculation of immediate relevance.

Urban Planning – Evolution and Status:

Up evolved at a body of knowledge, field of study and profession during early twentieth century in US.

This was a direct outcome of the city beautiful movement of late nineteenth century to replace the sooty grimy city of industrial evolution by aesthetically pleasing, attractive and clean cities.

Political invest of 1960s in US caused the expansion of the profession.
  1. Synder, james. C. Editor(1984) “architectural research” new york: van nostrand reinhold company ‘research for urban design, gray hack. Pp. 124-145
  2. ‘Urban planning within architectural design research’ by anthony james catanese, pp. 146-160:
  3. Khan ahmad nabi “multan – history and architecture” islamabad: inst. Of islamic history, culture & civilization – 1983




B. Arch; M. Urban Design

Discussions of the ethics of research involving human beings usually center on issues regarding research design and approval and how individuals' rights and welfare are protected when they are enrolled in research protocols. The same has been true of the application of the Common Rule, which addresses only tangentially what happens after a research project has ended by requiring that research participants must be informed in advance about what benefits will be provided by the research. In recent years, however, as research sponsored by government agencies, foundations, and private companies in developed countries increasingly has been conducted in developing countries, officials in some of these countries—as well as leaders of international bodies concerned with research ethics—have begun to insist that the ethics of research address what happens when a study ends.


There are several ethical issues that must be considered when designing research that will utilize participants who are human beings.

• The primary concern of the investigator should be the safety of the research participant. This is accomplished by carefully considering the risk/benefit ratio, using all available information to make an appropriate assessment and continually monitoring the research as it proceeds.

• The scientific investigator must obtain informed consent from each research participant. This should be obtained in writing (although oral consents are sometimes acceptable) after the participant has had the opportunity to carefully consider the risks and benefits and to ask any pertinent questions. Informed consent should be seen as an ongoing process, not a singular event or a mere formality.

• The investigator must enumerate how privacy and confidentiality concerns will be approached. Researchers must be sensitive to not only how information is protected from unauthorized observation, but also if and how participants are to be notified of any unforeseen findings from the research that they may or may not want to know.

• The investigator must consider how adverse events will be handled; who will provide care for a participant injured in a study and who will pay for that care are important considerations.

• In addition, before enrolling participants in an experimental trial, the investigator should be in a state of "equipoise," that is, if a new intervention is being tested against the currently accepted treatment, the investigator should be genuinely uncertain which approach is superior. In other words, a true null hypothesis should exist at the onset regarding the outcome of the trial.


There are three primary ethical principles that are traditionally cited when discussing ethical concerns in human subjects research.

• The first ethical principle cited as autonomy, which refers to the obligation on the part of the investigator to respect each participant as a person capable of making an informed decision regarding participation in the research study. The investigator must ensure that the participant has received a full disclosure of the nature of the study, the risks, benefits and alternatives, with an extended opportunity to ask questions. The principle of autonomy finds expression in the informed consent document.

• The second ethical principle is beneficence, which refers to the obligation on the part of the investigator to attempt to maximize benefits for the individual participant and/or society, while minimizing risk of harm to the individual. An honest and thorough risk/benefit calculation must be performed.

• The third ethical principle invoked in research with human subjects is justice, which demands equitable selection of participants, i.e., avoiding participant populations that may be unfairly coerced into participating, such as prisoners and institutionalized children. The principle of justice also requires equality in distribution of benefits and burdens among the population group(s) likely to benefit from the research.


For an informed consent to be ethically valid, the following components must be present:

DISCLOSURE: The potential participant must be informed as fully as possible of the nature and purpose of the research, the procedures to be used, the expected benefits to the participant and/or society, the potential of reasonably foreseeable risks, stresses, and discomforts, and alternatives to participating in the research.

• There should also be a statement that describes procedures in place to ensure the confidentiality or anonymity of the participant.
 • The informed consent document must also disclose what compensation and medical treatment are available in the case of a research-related injury.
 • The document should make it clear whom to contact with questions about the research study, research subjects' rights, and in case of injury.

UNDERSTANDING: The participant must understand what has been explained and must be given the opportunity to ask questions and have them answered by one of the investigators. The informed consent document must be written in lay language, avoiding any technical jargon.

VOLUNTARINESS: The participant's consent to participate in the research must be voluntary, free of any coercion or promises of benefits unlikely to result from participation.

COMPETENCE: The participant must be competent to give consent. If the participant is not competent due to mental status, disease, or emergency, a designated surrogate may provide consent if it is in the participant's best interest to participate. In certain emergency cases, consent may be waived due to the lack of a competent participant and a surrogate.

CONSENT: The potential human subject must authorize his/her participation in the research study, preferably in writing, although at times an oral consent or assent may be more appropriate.


• As a general rule, deception is not acceptable when doing research with humans. Using deception jeopardizes the integrity of the informed consent process and can potentially harm your participants.

• Occasionally exploring your area of interest fully may require misleading your participants about the subject of your study. For example, if you want to learn about decision-making practices of physicians without influencing their practice-style, you may consider telling them you are studying "communication behaviors" more broadly.

• The research supervisor will review any proposal that suggests using deception or misrepresentation very carefully. They will require an in-depth justification of why the deception is necessary for the study and the steps you will take to safeguard your participants.