30 July 2012


Definition: Urbanism refers to the body of knowledge about the organization, arrangement, and human functions of cities as well as the ways of life of city inhabitants.  Originally derived from the French word for city planning, it now also refers to a philosophy that recognizes the positive intellectual, social, and physical benefits of life in well functioning urban areas. 

Examples: Features of urbanism include 1) diversity of residents, in terms of age, ethnicity, and walks of life, 2) high density, favoring the potential for social contact and innovation, 3) availability of public transportation or arrangements that favor pedestrian access, 4) access to business, shops, entertainment, as well as work and school.  

Built over natural history of lower east side Manhattan. B. McGrath
Classic figure ground argument of the modern city of blocks in a "green space" of Le Corbusier's plan for St. Die and the traditional figure ground of Parma.
Why important: There are many models of urbanism, some of which emphasize the risks and vulnerabilities of urban living, and others which emphasize the benefits.  New urbanism, green urbanism, sustainable urbanism, and ecological urbanism are some of the models of urbanism in current circulation as ways to improve life in cities and suburbs.  Benefits extend to human quality of life and lowering environmental impact and conversion of wild or rural lands to human settlements.  Social and economic equity are also concerns of contemporary models of urbanism.

For more information:
·   Beatley, T. 2000. Green urbanism: learning from European cities. Island Press, Washington, DC.
·   Talen, E. 2005. New urbanism and American planning: the conflict of cultures. Routledge, New York.
·   McGrath, B. 1994. Transparent Cities. Lumen Books, Santa Fe.
·   Jacobs, J. 1961. The death and life of great American cities: the failure of town planning. Random House, New York.
·   Spirn, A.W. 1984. The granite garden: urban nature and human design. Basic Books, New York.


  1. No matter how old you are, family history is important. While you might not think so at the time, as you get older there will be things you and your grandchildren will want to know. Most of us don't realise it until the older generations are gone and you can't replace first hand comments. Don't just put in about the good times, add in the harder times and how you overcame those trials. Another thing to remember is what caused the deaths of those you loved. There are many things that have been found to continue into future generations that knowing it runs in the family can be helped with now or possible in the future. prevention starts with knowing where to start. I wish someone had taken the time to write these things down for mew to be able to go back to. My Grandmother and my mother told us many stories of what things happened in their lives and about the people in their lives. I now wish someone had written those things down since both have passed now. But I never thought at that busy point in my life that I would one day want to remember all those things. So much family history is lost when the older generations are gone. Please pass it on to your family while you can. You can even just do it digitally so it can be accessed by family later on.Family pictures are something to cherish also. Just be sure to write down who is pictured in them, where they are taken and when. I have found family pictures that no one now even knows who is in them.


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