1. Extended Abstract And Full Paper Sb11 Helsinki Conference
An Important Piece of the Puzzle Erika Wörman Head studio C Architect Sweco Architects AB Stockholm Sweden firstname.lastname@example.orgKeywords: humanistic, lifestyles, ecological, urban, segregation, social, economical, sustainable,comfortable, SwedenExtended Abstract Well-being is crucial for the long-term qualities we are trying to create in our new built environments. We want to present a small- scale, urban and humanistic way to plan attractive living areas. We present solutions for well-being implied in our residential area Pakkalan Kartanonkoski. It is situated 3 kilometers from the airport in Vantaa, Finland. After winning an international competition in 1998 we have made the detail-plan for Finland’s probably most exposed and debated new-built area. Today more than 3 600 people live here and many more want to move in.Fig. 1 Diversified colouring • Kartanonkoski is going to be exposed during Helsinki World Design Capital 2012 for its beautiful town-planning. • The area has won a social prize for its comfortable town- structure. • In a national broadcasted competition in MTV3 the area came on a top ten position considering Finland’s best living-area through time. • Finland’s most seen film 2008 is a family-movie filmed in the area. The area is considered very friendly to children and the movie has spread the areas popularity even more. The comfort in the area is visible. Green avenues and narrow winding streets are composed in a hierarchical structure like in small towns. Different streets have different character. The Fig. 2 The town-structure is buildings are situated close to the streets and behind the houses, dynamic and hierarchical in shelter from the common streets, lay the private gardens and half-private courtyards. You move safe through the city on narrow streets, walkways and graveled paths in the central park. Small common parks inside the block create many great opportunities for social meetings.
Fig. 3 The Ille-park created for exploration and unpretentious meetingsThe characteristic identity of the area creates a strong feeling of solidarity between the inhabitants.The central park with its beautiful new-built pond for day water, the exciting design of the park madefor experiences for all ages and its beautiful greenery creates many opportunities for unpretentiousmeetings. • The comfort in the area gives the people who live here great quality in life. • The strong identity makes the inhabitants proud of being a part of the area. These two facts give the area both an economic and social positive trend. Fig. 4 You move Kartanonkoski is built on a ground with low value and has now increased safe through the city the whole community’s reputation and created a strong trademark. We have to define various attractive genres and town-structures. We must create new urban areas with insight about human conditions and preferences. We must learn from old misstakes and old successes and learn to create beautiful, comfortable, ecological living. This is a true humanistic attitude and when this is fully implemented we will build dynamic, diversified, characteristic, long-time attractive urban environments for the future.Fig. 5 Social meeting inthe yard
An Important Piece of the Puzzle Erika Wörman Head Studio C Architect SWECO Architects Stockholm Sweden email@example.comKeywords: humanistic, lifestyles, ecological, urban, segregation, social, economical, sustainable,comfortable, SwedenFull PaperSummaryHumans have for a long time been attracted by the benefits of living close to each other incommunities. The process of urbanisation has its power from cities being centres of culture, powerand economy activities, and hence centres of decision making.Some cities have become attractions in it selves and attract inhabitants, companies and touristsfrom all over the world. These cities have obviously great values. All of the attractive cities arecharacterized of layered complexity in contrary of separation of uses. We must direct our planningefforts with personal experiences towards real cities. We have most of all to consider the humanaspect of urban planning in order to get long-term quality.With urban lifestyles dominating the world there is an increasing interest to define and create the“good city” in policy, research and practise. There is no question that if ever achievable, the city initself can display a high concentration of windows of opportunities. Mankind has tremendousknowledge in various disciplines considering long-term durable issues. We must have a holistic viewand coordinate the positive synergies in order to create long-term durable urban areas. One of thekey questions is how define what is attractive. Why do we feel comfortable in some urbanenvironments and not in others? When we’re busy learning how to plan we´re busy forgetting whomwe´re planning for. The challenge of planning is the public, and the public is also the key to asuccessful plan. People and environment exists in symbiosis; planning fails not because it isconceptually flawed, but because it too often relies on technically derived solutions rather thanhuman ones.We have to define various humanistic attractive town-shapes in urban planning. This is crucial forour future planning. We seem though often to lack capability to plan new attractive urban areas withcity-centres and instead we plan suburban structures. We must create new urban areas with insightabout human conditions and preferences. We must learn from old mistakes and old successes andlearn to create beautiful, comfortable, ecological living for the future.We present solutions implied in our environmental area Pakkalan Kartanonkoski, a small-scale andhumanistic part of the “good city”.
1. The cause of wellbeing1:1 Attractive urban spaceOne of the strongest attractions of a town according to human wellbeing lies in the space inbetween the buildings. One of the most obvious attractions in urban planning is the streets andpublic places. It is also crucial to plan with a strong, own identity. This is what separates a sub-urban environment from a city-like. The spaces in between the buildings in a town are very wellspecified and have defined limits. The facades constitute walls and the design of the grounddescribes the floor of the town-room. Inhabitants and visitors feel safe when they dwell in the publictown-room such as streets and squares, because they understand the code of the limits. Humanbeings have limitations in our spatial ability and have therefore difficulties in understanding too largeand too vaguely defined spaces. When we have difficulties in understanding what we perceive wedo not feel comfortable. When we share public room we tend to easily take contact with each other, especially if the room is not too big. Social contacts are also easily to take when we slow down and have something in common, for example in squares, playgrounds, small parks such as “village greens” and in common courtyards. Different public rooms have different “temperature” according to social behaviour. We have to create different public urban rooms with different content and different nuances in publicity and tempo. This is fundamental in Fig. 1 People meet in small order to get social contact and social stability in urban areas. The parks inside the block environment also has to create an unpretentious feeling to make social contact easy. The dynamics between common urban spaceslike streets and squares, and the private and half-private zones, like a private garden or a courtyard,gives dynamic living in the town. We can choose to be public or private when we are outside ourdwelling.1:2 Architectural symbols We have to consider what humanistic design has to consist to make humans feel good, and in that perspective we have to dissect architectural symbols and our five senses. All images are signs and all built environments are containing symbols. We interpret what we see in art into pictures of real world. The discipline that must investigate how we experience built environments is therefore not only the psychology of perception but the semiotics – the science of signs. Irrespective of what we want, architecture and urban Fig.2 Welcome? Welcome! environments affect everyone. We get affected of our built environment conscious and sub-conscious. Attractive builtenvironments affects us with positive cognitive benefits. In nature we can prove cognitive benefitsas well as in some genres of music. Art and photographs of nature gives the same cognitivebenefits as in real life. Many of our new-built and planned urban areas give no consider to thesevalues, and therefore many of our new urban areas are too monotonous and have no own identityof its own. Their attraction-values are depending on another attraction like an old charming town ora lively city-centre1.3 Our spatial capability of thinking and perceptionIt is hard to remember different streets or parts of urban areas when all streets and buildings arevery similar. This will make us confused and uncomfortable because we have difficulties in
remembering where we have been and therefore find our way. A comfortable urban area has ahierarchical structure where the buildings, streets and public places have different design and worktogether to create an understandable and logical structure. Everything is linked in a well-defined,hierarchical order based on the place conditions, the content of the town and in symbiosis with thelandscape. Whole blocks of houses have in modernistic planning often the same colour and design.This make us perceive them as gigantic wholes instead of individual buildings. We have thereforedifficulties in our perception – we have too few details to cling our perception and remembrance on.1.4 Dynamic town-structure Dynamic town-planning consider these facts and organize therefore the urban environment in an understandable, hierarchical structure and in a human scale. With different width of the streets, colouring of the facades, house-types, squares, and so forth we can design the urban landscape to explain the hierarchical structure. An urban plan with hierarchical organization of the streets is designed to lead us and reduce the necessity of signs. This structure also gives, in a naturally way, an interesting and various urban area. Understanding a town-structure and find my way through the town without signs, is valuable according to comfort. The streets and the different parts of the town need a hierarchical organisation which create dynamic, sprung out of the content of Fig. 3 Town-planning in a the town. This gives an understandable structure, which also hierarchical structure explains the organisation of the town. In other words –you will easy find your way through the environment because you willunderstand the structure and recognize different landmarks and places through their differentidentity and hierarchical value. Compared with suburban structures, which are monotonous, thedynamic of humanistic town-shaping explains to the visitors where they are.The hierarchical structure explains where in the town you are, where to go, and how to find yourway. For example can a high building mark a city-centre and main streets can orientate towards thatbuilding. The high building will become an important landmark for the city-centre and mark thetown’s central parts. This will result in two things: • You will easy find the city-centre • You can use the high building as a landmark to understand where you areBuildings also use their “body-language” to explain direction or movements in the structure. Throughtheir relation to the street buildings can give a hint if you are supposed to stop in a crossroad or ifyou have priority. Buildings and plan structure works together in symbiosis and it is important thatthese expressions are synchronized.1.5 ColoursColours are strong symbols and affect us in a conscious and unconscious way. For example greenand blue are the most prevalent colours in the environment, so they tend to have a comforting andcalming effect on people. Purple, which also is a calming colour, reminds people of royalty, braveryand honour. The military Purple Heart is time-honoured tradition that traces its root to medieval time.The problem with colours is that some shades may be too garish or foppish, especially in urbanlandscapes. Today most of our urban areas share the same few colours which often only areshades of grey and white.Three studies of the psychological and physiological effects on people of coloured room interiorsindicate that the colour will have impact in many different levels. The perception of the space wasaffected and the colours also had an impact on the emotions and physiology of the trial-persons.Strong colours, especially red, and patterns put the brain into a more excited state, sometimes tosuch an extent as to cause a paradoxical slowing of the heart rate. Practical implication shows that
we can use colours to stimulate emotions and physiology that are adequate for the specificexperience we want to create in a specific urban space.1.6 Symbioses between built environment and vegetation The benefits when we plan urban areas in symbiosis with vegetation are many. The planned vegetation such as trees and cut hedges is after the buildings the most important tool to create the definition of the town-room. The combination of buildings, greenery and the width of the streets give endless opportunities of variation. The difference between town-like streets and green, winding roads with private villas or row-hoses is a central part of a town’s dynamic hierarchy. New technology is not enough to solve the ecological crisis in the world. We have to change our way of living and thinking. When we plan our future cities we have to consider future lifestyles where access to grow parts of your own Fig. 4 The Ille-park created food and compost is one important issue. The benefits are for unpretentious meetings ecological, economical, social, esthetical, and pedagogical. Urban nature should be integrated parts of the city and givesgreat social-ecological synergies when planned proactive. We can prove cognitive benefits ofinteracting with nature and nature-like areas such as parks. They are therefore central in humanistictown-planning.Microclimate between buildings in many modernistic suburbs is often very windy. The lack of hightrees and too big buildings with no urban qualities in the plan-structure, give the environment a badhumanistic microclimate. Trees are central in urban nature. They form a green ceiling in the streetsand over the sidewalks, they reduce uncomfortable wind forces, they give us shadow in thesummertime, glittering branches with rime in the wintertime. Flowering trees and bushes can give awonderful fragrance and beautiful colours. We explore and experience urban environments with allfive senses, consciously and unconsciously. Urban nature also provides local ecosystem servicessuch as absorption of air pollution, reduction of noise and wind-forces and provision of places forrecreation, and is therefore crucial to urban sustainability development.1:7 Town-shape and climateWhen we study old built environments from before modernism, we can often see that the shape isadjusted after local climate conditions. An illustrative example is Dubai where the town-structure ofthe old town is built to counteract sandstorms with narrow, winding streets and low buildings. Treesand winding, narrow streets give less wind forces and shadow in the summertime. The modernparts are not adjusted to the environmental conditions. Here the town has got a more suburbandesign with high buildings in a sparse structure.1:8 Attraction of soundPositive sounds in built environment are seldom or never considered when we plan new urbanareas. We consider negative sounds like noise from traffic but positive sounds like, music, bird-singing or positive “environmental-sounds” are not considered. We get very affected of sounds andnegative sounds are very stressful. Positive sounds on the contrary give many positive cognitivebenefits. “Soundscape” is a word invented of the Canadian composer Robert Murray Schafer. Theexpression includes all sounds that belong to a certain environment. We expect certain sounds inspecific environments. Sounds that are experienced comfortable and informative have to come totheir right and given opportunity to be heard. The different characters in the urban area can bestrengthened with a conscious planning of sounds.
1:9 Urban environments and safetyIt is very safe to walk or bicycle through an area with dynamic structure where the buildingsare close to the street. Narrow streets request careful driving and they should be designedon the condition of pedestrians. Apartment-windows close to the streets give indirect lightand the inhabitants can supervise what is happening in the street. This conveys that it feelssafe to walk in the streets even in dark wintertime. Bicycle lanes should be prioritized inavenues. A deliberate strategy for cycling is very important in order to make it safe and easyto go by bike.1:10 Urban sprawlSuburban sprawl is a multifaceted concept, which includes the spreading outwards of a cityand its suburbs to its outskirts to low-density and auto-dependent development on rural land,high segregation of uses and people and design features that encourages car dependency.Urban sprawl results in: • High car density • High costs for infrastructure per person • High level of racial, cultural and socioeconomic segregation • Low public support for sprawl • High use of energy, land and water per capita. A central part to counteract urban sprawl is to build diverge urban structures with high (butdifferent) density in combination with a lively city-centre with commercial life. An attractivecity-centre gives unseeingly consequences according to attraction in all parts of the town andits surroundings. When we implement a hierarchical town-structure in planning weautomatically counteract urban sprawl.1:11 Genus loci The place itself contains identity in forms of paths, landscape details, trees, geological conditions, historical landmarks, etc. It is important to identify a place conditions and qualities before we plan a new area. For example can day water be used in new ponds and watercourses, existing trees can be a part of the new common town-rooms, hills can give an interesting plan to the streets and so on. When identity is sprung out of the existing environmental conditions we get natural variations. It is also valuable to define other environmental conditions such as ambient built environments and landscape directly outside the area. Variation stands in this meaning in contrast to monotonous. The modern society is asking for diversity and paradoxes with multitude Fig. 5 Day-water surprises. That will have effect on people’s creativity and creativity is pond creates considered an economic asset in future society. The city should be a positive values communication-nave as well as finance-centre. Creativity generates a perfect soil for seminal ideas and that will have direct impact on our development.2. Well-being as a model for integration and socio-/ economical sustainability2.1 Attraction gives economical and social valuesMany of our most attractive areas were from the beginning built for workers and people withlow social status, for example Garden-Cities. They are today considered attractive andbeautiful and have strong own identity. Today they are inhabited by high-income householdswith high social status despite their simplicity and long distance to a city-centre.
Historical the processes of urbanization functioned as a potent catalyst for social speculationand social action. The lower classes these activists were attempting to help were living insqualid and significantly unhealthy conditions. City dwellers must somehow be brought toperceive themselves as members of cohesive communities knit together by shared moraland social values. The Garden-City advocates in the beginning of our past century weredriven from a political, ecological and social point of view. Their ambition was to combinecities with farming areas in an ecological unit. Another goal was to create independent cities,free from class-segregation. These questions are still actual and we have a lot to learn fromsucceeded examples from these believes. Good examples of urban environments are oftenbuilt during times of crisis for working-class people or people in lower middle-class. They areproved to be durable because of their modern functioning despite their age. Judged by theirhigh price-levels today they are very attractive environments and the access of these kinds ofareas is lower than the demand. This proves that it is both economical and long durablesocial values we create when we plan attractive environments.2.2 Attraction against segregation Attractive environments have long-term stability considering social and economical values. If we do not plan attractive areas, people that can afford to choose something more attractive moves, and we will get social segregated areas. The result is that the area gets a negative economic and social spiral. And the result of that is that we do not get the qualities we need to create long-time durable urban areas. The increasing social and ethnic segregation is a big threat toward our urban areas. History is telling us to avoid patent- Fig. 6 Social meeting in solutions. We have to provide for various taste-lines of living- the yard areas and make certain that different ownerships are built side by side in a rich tissue of town-structures with differentidentity and social layers. To build attractive areas give immense social and economicalbenefits. And it is not more expensive to produce - it is a question of humanistic andattractive design.3. Discussion, final comments and conclusionsToday we build suburban environments with few humanistic grounds because we have manyarchitectural taboos considering modern design. For example we still consider Le Corbusier’s80 year old vision of a new time as a modern way to plan urban areas. With promises ofsunlight, air and light a long row of suburbs grew up in order to solve the lack of habitationsin the outskirt of the big cities. This genre of monotone architecture and repetitive town-planning was soon considered uncomfortable and very soon segregated living-areasoccurred with almost only exposed minorities. The artistic and social visions in Corbusier’sideas proved to lead to uncomfortable and anonymous suburbs with social and economiccollapse. These areas lack of humanistic insight is the cause of their total social andeconomical failure and we have to study them only for their mistakes. We have to dare to letgo of the Modernistic believe - it is not modern any longer.3.1 Perception of valuesOur built environments affect us in a concrete, physical way but more on a subconscious,intuitive level. We have to realize that the science of signs is nothing we can choose not tobring into our minds when we dwell in built environments. We all are very sensitive in thismatter and we often get affected without knowing why. Gloomy colours, repellent and sharpdesign and materials that are not considered ecological, dominate our artistic visions today.
Architecture is one of the most powerful symbols of our culture. Through our environmentalsymbols we must lead the way to the kind of future we want to have.3.2 Architectural solutions expressed in Pakkalan KartanonkoskiWe present a small-scale, urban and humanistic way to plan environments. We want to contribute with the environment Pakkalan Kartanonkoski. It is situated only 3 km from Vantaa Airport, Helsinki, Finland. After winning a competition in 1998 we have made the detail-plan for Finland’s probably most exposed and debated new area. Today more than 3 600 people live here and many more wants to move in. The people in Finland have confirmed that the genre of Fig. 7 Trademark Kartanonkoski represents a part of the future. In a competition in Finnish National Television MTV3, people could propose attractiveurban environments in Finland. Kartanonkoski were selected and ended up in a top tenposition in the following national audience-voting. The architect of the area Erika Wörman,have got the Vanda-medal for her extraordinary achievements.The comfort of the Kartanonkoski-area is visible. Green avenues and small, winding streetsare composed in a hierarchical structure like in small towns. Different streets have differentcharacter. For Kartanonkoski we made an extensive quality-program in the planning process.For example we coloured each building separately in order to strengthen the differentidentities. The main street has red colours in order to mark the street’s high hierarchicalstatus. The buildings are situated close to the narrow streets and have entrances towards thestreet. Behind the houses, in shelter from insight from the streets, lie the small and privategardens and half-private courtyards. Small common parks inside the blocks create manygreat opportunities for social meetings. The strong identity of the area creates a deep feelingof solidarity between the inhabitants. This thesis already City Beautiful leaders advocated.The Kartanonkoski-area has won a social prize for its exemplary town-planning. The central“Ille-park” with its beautiful pond for day-water and its beautiful greenery – creates manyopportunities for unpretentious meetings. Play-tools and exciting environmental design madefor experiences, attracts people of all ages. With the sound of streaming water and playingchildren it is a wonderful “soundscape” and in combination with a scent of roses the parkgives many perceptive qualities.The comfort of the area gives the people who live here greatquality in life. The strong identity makes the inhabitants proud of being a part of the area.These facts give the area both an economic and social positive trend. Kartanonkoski is builton a ground with low value but has now increased the whole community’s reputation andgiven the municipality an international trademark. Kartanonkoski is going to be exposedduring Helsinki World Design Capital 2012 for its beautiful town-planning.3.3 Durable planning for the futureAttraction in urban areas is the most important key to create long durable qualities accordingto wellbeing. We have to clarify what human beings consider beautiful and comfortable andtherefore find attractive. What built environments do we choose to be in when we can – forexample in our vacation? Do we all go to the same type of area? Compared with otherdisciplines in our culture, for example music, we have very little variations considered genresin new-built architecture. People have various taste lines. Why doesn´t this show inarchitecture? We cannot afford to continue planning unattractive environments, not from aneconomic aspect nor from a humanistic. Moreover, it seriously undermines efforts to meetthe global challenge of climate change - and this is urgent. We must specify different genresin architecture in order to give people an opportunity to choose. This is a true humanisticattitude and when this approach is implemented we will build diversified, characteristic, long-time attractive urban environments for the future.
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