case study analyses

The following case studies of transformative urbanism are analyzed in order to gain insight into their transformative nature and learn lessons for future practice.  All case studies of urbanism, by their very nature, are flawed yet yield extremely valuable insights when analyzed critically. The analytical frameworks for the case studies are derived from the philosophy of Pragmatism

 

Beyond Objects: City as Flux    

What really exists is not things made but things in the making. Once made, they are dead, and an infinite number of alternative conceptual decompositions can be used in defining them. But put yourself in the making by a stroke of intuitive sympathy with the thing and, the whole range of possible decompositions coming at once into your possession, you are no longer troubled with the question of which of them is absolutely true. Reality falls in passing into conceptual analysis; it mounts in living its own undivided life—it budges and bourgeons, changes and creates.
— William James, A Pluralistic Universe (New York: Longmans, Green, and Co., 1909), pages 263-264.
Duisburg Landscape Park, Ruhr Valley, Germany

Duisburg Landscape Park, Ruhr Valley, Germany

The High Line, New York

The High Line, New York

MIT Experimental Design Studio, Boston

MIT Experimental Design Studio, Boston

Al-Azhar Park, Cairo

Al-Azhar Park, Cairo

Olympic Village, Barcelona

Olympic Village, Barcelona


Beyond Intentions: Consequences of Design

Such reasonings and all reasonings turn upon the idea that if one exerts certain kinds of volition, one will undergo in return certain compulsory perceptions. Now this sort of consideration, namely, that certain lines of conduct will entail certain kinds of inevitable experiences is what is called a practical consideration. Hence is justified the maxim, belief in which constitutes [P]ragmatism; namely: In order to ascertain the meaning of an intellectual conception one should consider what practical consequences might conceivably result by necessity from the truth of that conception; and the sum of these consequences will constitute the entire meaning of the conception.
— Charles Peirce, Collected Papers of Charles Sanders Peirce, volumes 1-6, edited by Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss, 1931-1935 Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press, volume 5, paragraph 9, 1905.
Khayelitsha Township, South Africa

Khayelitsha Township, South Africa

Portland Loo, Portland

Portland Loo, Portland

"Big Dig" Project, Boston

"Big Dig" Project, Boston

India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

India Habitat Centre, New Delhi

Centre Pompidou, Paris

Centre Pompidou, Paris


Beyond Practice: Urbanism as Creative Political Act

Moral choice becomes always a matter of compromise between competing goods rather than a choice between absolutely right and wrong . . . We stake our sense of who we are on the outcome of such choices . . . [For Pragmatists], moral struggle is continuous with the struggle for existence, and no sharp break divides the unjust from the imprudent, the evil from the inexpedient. What matters for [P]ragmatists is devising ways of diminishing human suffering and increasing human equality, increasing the ability of all human children to start life with an equal chance of happiness.
— Richard Rorty, Philosophy and Social Hope (London: Penguin Books, 1999), pages xxvii-xxix.
Brasília, Brazil

Brasília, Brazil

Ciclovia and Cicloruta Project, Bogotá

Ciclovia and Cicloruta Project, Bogotá

Parque Da Terceira Água, Belo Horizonte

Parque Da Terceira Água, Belo Horizonte

Orangi Pilot Project, Karachi

Orangi Pilot Project, Karachi

Uptown Whittier Specific Plan, Whittier

Uptown Whittier Specific Plan, Whittier