Cities and towns are among humanity’s largest and most complex achievements. The buildings, public works, plazas and parks of even a small town embody substantial amounts of capital, energy, natural resources, history, and aspirations. Cities are among our greatest creations, yet typically no single individual creates them. Rather they arise from the dialog between multiple designers, clients, regulators, citizens, critics and users. Sometimes the cities and towns that emerge are glorious places. Too frequently they have only fragments of greatness or are soul-deadening and environmentally unhealthy. Just as private doctors have responsibilities to their individual patients and for public health, project designers are accountable to their clients and for a set of public goods such as environmental stewardship, fostering civil society, and inspiring joy. In Urban Composition, I introduce essential ways in which the architects, planners, artists and engineers of individual projects can fulfill their public trust to help make great urban places.
The Environmental Design Research Association 2013 Place Book Award Recipient: “Urban Composition” by Mark C. Childs begins with and aims to answer the question: “How can civil designers – architects, landscape architects, civil engineers, public artists, city council members, and others – collaborate in the collective work of creating environmentally sound, socially resilient, and soul-enlivening settlements?” Urban Composition addresses designers, but also serves as a teach tool for emergent design.
About the Author
Mark C. Childs has worked on building designs, urban designs and community plans throughout the west and has won awards for design, teaching, public art, heritage preservation and poetry.