A new study has suggested that a perfect storm of weather and development may be right for architecture to emerge in the 21st century.
Researchers at the University of Melbourne and the University on the Docklands (UoD) used the global architecture landscape survey to map the topography of cities across the globe, looking at what types of cities were created and the places where they were created.
“The cities in our analysis are largely defined by their geographies and their physical characteristics.
They’re the ones that have a mix of human activity, natural processes, and a lot of urban growth,” said Professor Simon Brown, a professor of urban planning at the university.”
We’re trying to understand what’s driving that change, how does it work in different locations, and what is it that drives people to want to live in these cities?”
The research has been published in the journal Global Landscape Architecture.
Professor Brown said the geography of the world’s urban centres has changed significantly over the past 150 years.
“I think that in a way we’ve seen a resurgence in the use of urban design, which is something that used to be considered out of bounds for architecture,” he said.
“And so we have a sense that cities are now being designed to take advantage of this new space, and they’re becoming increasingly sophisticated, they’re getting more urban and they are becoming more connected.”
Prof Brown said this is likely to have a profound effect on the way we design and live in cities, because it will lead to a lot more urban development.
“Because there is this incredible potential for people to be living in cities and to be involved in these large scale urban environments that are so different from their home, they will be more attracted to the urban space and the design of these environments,” he explained.
“This means that cities will be shaped by the way that people live in them, by the ways that they live in their cities, by their connections to nature, and this will make them more adaptable to the pressures of urban life.”
The researchers looked at what they termed “the topography landscape” in cities across a global survey.
The study looked at which urban areas were being built and the locations of their buildings.
The topography landscapes were compiled from over 150,000 locations across the world, from places like Dubai and Singapore to the US, Canada, the UK, the US and the US-Mexico border.
“To identify the topographic landscape of a city, you can look at how many streets, where the streets are located, whether there are residential streets, whether the residential streets are built on top of a road, whether it’s a street that runs alongside a residential street, whether its a street with a pedestrian street or a street without a pedestrian walkway, or whether there’s a road or a road that goes under a street,” Professor Brown said.
To understand how cities were being shaped, the researchers examined the topographies of the cities where the data was collected.
The researchers compared the topologies of these cities to the topology of the surrounding areas.
They then mapped the topographical landscapes of the city where the topological topography was the most dominant.
“What you see in the topografies is that the streets that are in a city that are relatively large are generally designed to be quite close together,” Professor David Schlechtman, a lecturer in geography at UoD, said.
“They are designed for people living in the same neighbourhood, people living on the same street.”
“They’re designed for pedestrians walking up and down the street.
They’ve got a different design to the roads that are built along the streets.”
Prof Schlechman said this was because the topodensity of the topographer was a function of the amount of natural vegetation and the density of people living there.
“When you’re talking about large urban areas, where you have a lot people, and where you’re going to have lots of different types of natural spaces, the topo maps for these urban areas are quite different,” he added.
The research shows that in areas where there is a lot vegetation and a large population density, the design will have a stronger impact on the landscape, with the result that more people will want to walk or use the urban spaces.
The result of this, said Professor Brown, is that we are seeing an increasing number of people and cities moving from being primarily designed for urban living to being more connected to nature and the natural environment.
“So what you’re seeing in these urban cities is the development of a lot closer connections between the natural spaces and the urban areas,” he observed.
“These connections will be a result of a mix, of urban development, natural resources, and urban planning.”
Professor Brown explained that the study is just one aspect of the wider research, which has identified more than 1,200 cities around the world with a topography that has been analysed.
“There’s a whole set of research papers, studies that have looked at