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Project 2

Theories of Architecture & Urbanism

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Project 2

  1. 1.     1   SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE, BUILDING AND DESIGN Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Architecture THEORIES OF ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM (ARC2224) (ARC61303) PROJECT PART B NAME : …GARNETTE DAYANG ROBERT………………………… ID:…0315491……………………………………… LECTURER:…MR LAM SHEN FEI……………………………………
  2. 2.     2   1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 Site Introduction Figure 0.1 – Location of Section 3 PJ, Old Town Source: Google Maps Petaling Jaya, Malaysia’s first planned town, PJ has become a huge and a very busy commercial and residential hub in its own right with over 450,000 inhabitants. Massive progress and development, and today contributed significantly to Selangor’s economy. Petaling Jaya Old Town is basically a very ancient and treasurable area, famous for coffee at old style coffee shop, as well as the place to buy essential items from sundry shops that sell kitchen stoves and school uniforms under the same roof.
  3. 3.     3   The buildings may not have been the most inventive for its time, but to the locals, Petaling Jaya Old Town is a functional town centre with a divergent character, one that has outlasted the massive and modern developments taking place around it. The town’s first settlement consisted of over 800 houses in Petaling Jaya South, areas covering what is known as Section 1 to Section 8 in and around Petaling Jaya Old Town. The first two main roads were called Jalan 1 and Jalan 2, which were renamed Jalan Temper and Jalan Othman respectively. Figure 0.2 –Menara Mutiara Majestic, Jalan Othman Source: Google Maps So this is my selected significant urban space assigned to me by my lecturer, Section 3 in Petaling Jaya Old Town.
  4. 4.     4   1.2 Cognitive Mapping During my visit to the site, I asked a few people to help show me directions to a certain places by sketching out a map. This is also known as cognitive mapping. Tolman introduced this kind of mapping in his article called “The Cognitive Map in Rats and Men” (1948), which refers to the encoding of large- scale environments into the memory and the use of such memories to aid navigation. Figure 0.3 –Local passer-by’s cognitive map
  5. 5.     5   Figure 0.4 – A local worker’s cognitive map (He drew it based on another map that he remembered) A clear map gives people an important sense of emotional security, as it is the framework for communication and conceptual organization, and heightens the depth and intensity of everyday human experience.
  6. 6.     6   2. INTRODUCTION 2.1 Illustrated Essay An American urban planner named Kevin Andrew Lynch wrote a utilitarian book called “The Image of The City” that provided with much assistant in this research. In city planning, Kevin Lynch used mental maps or sketched them out to reveal human knowledge of significant or large-scale complex surroundings. During the interview, asking people of the location of places and asking them to help sketch it out is an easy way, which would help everyone to understand the layout of the place. To understand the layout of this area, people make a mental map, which contains mental images around this area. These maps are called cognitive mapping that shows what are important and what are not. However, a place can be viewed or seen differently based on the difference in personal perception and experience around the site. From the two contributors who were a local worker and a passer-by (referring to figure 0.3 and 0.4), we can see that the local worker has a broader image of Section 3 compared to the passer-by. The local worker also looked more confident with the area as he was more familiar with it. From the map drawn by the local passer-by, certain landmarks and paths can be identified. As Kevin Lynch wrote in his book, The Image of The City, landmarks has its point of reference, it makes one orient oneself, usually an easily identifiable physical object in the urban landscape. Also, the junctions that the passer-by had sketched show routes along which people move throughout the area and paths. According to Lynch, paths are especially important as they organize urban mobility. Nonetheless, from both of those maps there are similarities in identifying the landmarks, districts and paths. The common landmarks are Menara Mutiara Majestic, University Teknologi MARA Kampus, Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Petaling, Masjid Jamek Sultan Abdul Aziz, Hockey Stadium, and
  7. 7.     7   the Community Library. To elaborate more on landmarks, Kevin Lynch mentioned that landmarks should have a clear form, contrasts with their background and some prominence of spatial location. Section 3 is a great example of this theory stated by Kevin Lynch. The buildings that become landmarks appear to be depended upon how familiar the observer is with ones surroundings. For example, the Menara Mutiara Majestic and the Masjid Jamek Sultan Abdul Aziz as shown in Figure 0.5 and Figure 0.6 respectively, marks as a landmark for me because I’m not familiar with this place, and I tend to remember something that I frequently see in those places that I visit. These landmarks are usually part of the districts, which can also be used as guidance or direction. Like when I asked the passer-by, how do I get from 3M (Menara Mutiara Majestic) to Masjid Jamek Sultan Abdul Aziz, she tried to remember the shortest way to get there and by sketching them out it helped her to help me get the directions more clearly. By pointing out the major landmarks, it helps to lead users to their respective destinations. Also, the path makes an immediate impact for the users to find that certain location. However, the local worker had a different route because he doesn’t usually take the route through the housing area, as he tends to only use the main road. So he uses the traffic light as a node, where people usually gather to turn into the different junctions. Figure 0.5 – Menara Mutiara Majestic (Own source)
  8. 8.     8   As we refer back to the districts, being areas characterized by common characteristics. Here in Section 3 districts are very easily divided. There are 4 districts in Section 3. For example, the residential districts dominate Section 3, with a pinch of religious, academic and commercial areas. The commercial consists of restaurants, market, clinics, car workshops and shop lots. I find that these commercial areas tend to form along the fringes of Section 3, resulting them to have higher visibility to the outsiders or customers. The religious area consists of two Masjid buildings only, and the academic area consists of 3 school buildings and a Community library towering above the blocks of residence. As Lynch mentioned, districts are the relatively large city areas which the users can mentally go inside of, and which have some common character. Figure 0.7 – The fringes of Section 3 Figure 0.6 – Masjid Jamek Sultan Abdul Aziz (Own source)
  9. 9.     9   In addition, another similarity from the local’s cognitive mappings is the strong edges formed by the roads. Edges provide the boundaries that separate one region from another and can be differentiated into man-made edges and natural edges. To the contributors, the road that is called Jalan Templer and Jalan Othman, (referring to figure 0.7) these are the edges dividing lines between 2 phases. Figure 0.7 – The edges of Section 3 (Google maps) Kevin Lynch states that edges are the liner elements not considered as paths: they are usually, but not quite always, more of the boundaries between two kinds of areas. They act as lateral references, so the roads are strong in Section 3 showing edges. These edges seem strongest which are not only visually prominent, but also continuous in form and impenetrable which doesn’t make the act of cross movement made easily. This is also very much reflected in the size of the road which create difficulties for pedestrians to walk across. It would be interesting to see how many locals would begin to draw a map of their own area by putting down something other than the roads (Jalan Othman and Jalan Templer).
  10. 10.     10   Now going onto the nodes, the streets in front of the Community Library, Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Petaling and University Technology Mara are the most prominent nodes in the area. The bus stop next to the school is an invitation for people to stop by. In addition, the bustling crowd that comes in and out of the university throughout the day is also contributing to the prominence of the nodes also a concentration point for pedestrian and vehicles. The residents believe that the academic facilities are the arteries of the area, giving it a sense of development and liveliness and an area where the children can gather within. Furthermore, the masjid also acts as a concentration node as it occasionally crowds the area with worshippers and fellow Muslims. This area has a high density of human and vehicle circulations. These nodes also acts as landmarks due to their scale in comparison to the residence. For example, the bus stop is a very important node where all the bus and taxi gathers. Nodes may be both junctions and concentrations of places. The traffic light in between Jalan Othman and Jalan Templer is also a recognizable node where most of the users pass through because of its location in between the two main areas there. Somehow, there is two types of nodes that I can recognize in this area, one is the vehicle node, primarily, it is at the roundabout and intersecting junctions, this places are and will be very busy daily. The secondary junctions are only during a certain time of the day. The other node is the pedestrian node, primarily, it is at the bus stop, the market and the shop lots, this place are most of the time very busy daily. Secondary, the religious and schools districts, only during the weekends and during a certain time of period during the day. Lynch stated that although nodes are conceptually small points in the city image, they may in reality be large squares, or somewhat extended liners shapes, or even entire central districts when the city is being considered at a large enough level.
  11. 11.     11   As for paths, the local passer-by showed me a quicker path to go through, it is the secondary paths where lesser vehicles are on, and its more to a housing area and where entering different district. This secondary path is accessible by all type of vehicles except big and heavy ones. For example, buses, lorries and trucks. As for the local worker, he showed me an easier way but not a quicker one, this is the primary path, Jalan Othman to Jalan Templer. This primary path is very congested during the weekdays but lesser vehicles during the weekends and it is accessinle by all types of vehicles throughout the day and night. However, there is one more path, that is the pedestrian paths, where it is mainly used for getting to the bus stops and commercial districts. As Kevin Lynch mentioned, paths are channels by which people move along or routes along which people move throughout the city.
  12. 12.     12   3. CONCLUSION In conclusion, Kevin Lynch contribution was to provide experimental research on city planning, studying how individuals perceive and navigate the urban landscape. Therefore by using his guide for this research has been really helpful and beneficial for us as young architecture students. The various techniques for enhancing and creating the “perfect city” using these specific forms are defined as physical attributes and are distinguished as these unique “five elements” are “paths, edges, district, landmarks and nodes”. Based on that, Section 3 is quite clear on the overall five elements that Kevin mentioned. This is important as mental maps or to say cognitive mapping helps look at how people orient themselves in these cities. The maps that the locals drew were images of immediate sensation and of the memory of past experience, and it is used to interpret information and to guide action. A few things that Kevin Lynch declared was that “people’s perception of the city is important” and elements like those makes a city. By understanding these problems and opportunities, we as young architecture students could use them in designing a great city.
  13. 13.     13   6. REFERENCES CANNIFFE, EAMONN, EAMONN CANNIFFE, and View profile. "ARCHITECTURE + URBANISM: Kevin Lynch: The Image Of The City (1960)" N.p., 2010. Web. 28 May 2016. "Image Of The City". N.p., 2016. Web. 28 May 2016. "One-Way Streets To Help Ease Traffic In PJ Old Town - Community | The Star Online" N.p., 2016. Web. 29 May 2016. "Review: Kevin Lynch – The Image Of The City | The Mobile City". N.p., 2016. Web. 29 May 2016. Teams, Malaxi. "Understand Petaling Jaya History And Area Overview". N.p., 2016. Web. 29 May 2016. Tolman E. C. (1948). Cognitive maps in rats and men. Psychological Review, 55, 189-208. Downs, R., & Stea, D. (1973). Image and environment; cognitive mapping and spatial behavior. Chicago: Aldine Pub. Kevin Lynch (1960). The Image of the City.
  14. 14.     14   A3 COGNITIVE MAPPING