Urban design can significantly influence theeconomic, environmental, social and cultural outcomes of a place: Urban design can influence theeconomic success and socio-economiccomposition of a locality—whether itencourages local businesses andentrepreneurship; whether it attractspeople to live there; whether the costs ofhousing and travel are affordable; andwhether access to jobopportunities, facilities and services areequitable.
Urban design can influence health andthe social and cultural impacts of a locality:how people interact with each other, howthey move around, and how they use aplace.
BUILDINGS Buildings are the most pronouncedelements of urban design - they shape andarticulate space by forming the streetwallsof the city. Well designed buildings andgroups of buildings work together to createa sense of place.
PUBLIC SPACE Great public spaces are the living roomof the city - the place where people cometogether to enjoy the city and eachother. Public spaces make high quality lifein the city possible - they form the stage andbackdrop to the drama of life. Public spacesrange from grand central plazas andsquares, to small, local neighborhood parks.
STREETS Streets are the connections betweenspaces and places, as well as being spacesthemselves. They are defined by their physicaldimension and character as well as thesize, scale, and character of the buildings thatline them. Streets range from grand avenuessuch as the Champs-Elysees in Paris tosmall, intimate pedestrian streets. The patternof the street network is part of what defines acity and what makes each city unique.
TRANSPORT Transport systems connect the parts ofcities and help shape them, and enablemovement throughout the city. They includeroad, rail, bicycle, and pedestriannetworks, and together form the totalmovement system of a city. The balance ofthese various transport systems is what helpsdefine the quality and character of cities, andmakes them either friendly or hostile topedestrians. The best cities are the ones thatelevate the experience of the pedestrian whileminimizing the dominance of the privateautomobile.
LANDSCAPE The landscape is the green part of thecity that weaves throughout - in the form ofurban parks, street trees, plants, flowers,and water in many forms. The landscapehelps define the character and beauty of acity and creates soft, contrasting spaces andelements. Green spaces in cities range fromgrand parks such as Central Park in NewYork City and the Washington DC Mall, tosmall intimate pocket parks.