Numbers and geometry



This week I had the chance to talk to a group of architects and urban planners (linked to the ifhp, mainly Danish) on a visit to Madrid. As always, talking to foreigner colleagues is interesting. I visited Copenhagen in 2002, and it seemed a very interesting city, with an attractive urbanism. Taking a look at the city map and its urban tissues, taken from the EEA Urban Atlas dataset, it is worth noting that this interesting city:

–           Does not respond to a pre-defined regular shape, but rather to adaptations to geographical features or to the subsequent growth moments.

–           Residential tissue is marked by man-made discontinuities, be it public facilities or infrastructure (gray, violet)

–           Shows varying densities. Centrality is clear, but its limits are fuzzy (red means dense housing, shades of orange show less dense residential areas)

And this (which in fact is common to most cities, good and bad in urbanism terms) raises the question of density and its measurement; city blocks are relevant for some measurements, but the neighborhood is also a meaningful border, as long as there is an agreement on its limits. Another conclusion is that good urbanism is a matter of coherence and quality at different scales, but not necessarily something that requires total regularity.

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