What is architecture? What is urban design? Architecture is the design of space, walls, roofs, floors, they all shape space. you take a empty space or a vacant lot. And architecture is the practice of shaping that space for any number of occupancies. Residential, commercial, healthcare, museums, all have different space requirements. you hear it. Architects talk about space or space planning. Very often urban design is the design of relationships. the design, the relationships of buildings to each other, buildings to the landscape, buildings to infrastructure such as roads, transit lines, pedestrian areas, plazas, urban design is about how all of these spaces interact with each other and work together for a complex system of urban spaces. City development is about, a very new topic, since the industrial revolution. we’ll say a hundred years or less. architects in Michigan are trained in city development as well as urban design when it comes to developing buildings in dense urban areas as well as suburban areas and rural areas. But since the industrial route revolution, people have congregated and concentrated in cities and there are a less rural environments out there and more cityscapes that, had big factories and industrial processes that created lots of jobs.
Fast forward to the baby boom. people began to move away from the city because all of the amenities they needed a warrant only offered in the city anymore, but they were offered in these sub urban areas or what we know as suburbia today. Architects in Michigan also are aware of the change in population and trends and design. And this is where architecture and urban design intersect. And you have, from the baby boom, you’ve moved from density in downtowns to the American dream or a slice of Americana, having your own quarter Acre Lot and a picket fence and having your own private open space, your front yard or your backyard to recreate in. And since the baby boom, mass amounts of population in the United States have moved away from, the downtown’s which were considered dirty during the industrial revolution to more suburban areas that we use the term bucolic to think about how, clean and healthy and safe it is to be away from the city.
the baby boom also meant that there was a big transit change in a US population. And that the move to using cars instead of trolley lines and in buses or even the subway system, you know, everyone had their own car because they could afford one. And that also encouraged this move away from the downtown. speaking of the car, the US highway system and infrastructure to move people and goods has also created this suburban environment and change in urban design, practice. Architects in Michigan have studied this for many decades. urban design is a relatively new profession in the last 50 or 60 years. And it is primarily created to think about these relationships as they change, through generations or, different periods in US history. And also integrating a global trends in design and density and population.
And the highway system was one major factor in getting people moving around the country. And this network of freeways that go north and south, east and west, all the way across the country, there are all designed to the same specification for curves and turns and material that you’re driving on is a very robust infrastructure that has changed how people move around this country. Another, impact or another facet of urban design is a, a thought pattern called new urbanism. New Urbanism is a practice from architects and urban designers to think about space and in a little bit different way. not going all the way back to the industrial revolution and not all, all the way toward, the suburbia, but a combination of some of the best parts of both, the best parts of the industrial revolution or say the population centers in cities is that many, many amenities.
We’re walkable to each other, between your, your work, your home places to go after work or on lunch breaks, parks and open spaces. all of those things could be reached within a quarter mile or a five minute walk of each other, if not a 10 minute walk. you can definitely hit all of those things in cities. And then suburbia offers a little more space for people. a little bit bigger home. Some other amenities is larger parks and recreation centers, different shopping experiences and things like that. And new urbanism is a practice of certain architects in Michigan to integrate these two Urban areas, urban design mindsets into one and put everything in its place, in a very organized fashion and to create a comfortable, livable, walkable cities.
Some tactics of good urban design that architects in Michigan news is walkability, diversity and healthy spaces. I’d mentioned walkability already, when talking about urban design, but these features of good urban design make it that people have access to a variety of different functions, be it at grocery store, a drug store, a coffee shop, or a lunch place to have a sandwich or a beer after work. these are things that create some diversity. And opportunity for, each inhabitant of a city that they have something to think about that if that’s specific to each person’s personality, a placemaking goes hand in hand with a good urban design. And it’s about how to grow a sense of community organically versus, imposing a, a idea or a, a urban ideal utopia on the landscape, but allowing these urban spaces or new urban spaces to s to grow organically and have the people build that sense of community versus having an artificial, you know, urban district that has no, identity or diversity to it. having the people develop their own spaces and use them as they choose to is how placemaking fits into this larger, urban design solution. Architects in Michigan are fantastic. Sedgewick and Ferweda Architects is always seeking better ways to integrate placemaking and urban design into our projects.