Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Inhabitation - Team Timberwolf


Any thorough analysis of a city must include an investigation of its occupants. What is a city, after all, if not a physical setting for the inhabitation, interaction, and service of people? How individuals and groups interact with each other and the urban environment is essential to a city’s dynamic. A city’s demographics can be very informative, and is an integral part of a comprehensive view of the city.

Public/Private Zones
The division of space into public and private zones is as old as communal settlement. The character of these spaces is fundamentally different, and they are therefore made distinctly separate in the modern city. This separation ranges from formalized building codes to general, unspoken practice. Also, spaces have varying degrees of public and private, and this influences how they are perceived
and inhabited.

"A system of services, opportunities, or projects, usually
designed to meet a social need"

The term program brings about broad ideas. Every city shares the most basic programs such as: a business center museum district, parks, recreational centers, libraries, churches, homeless shelters, and the list goes on. These are just some major activities that happen during a normal day in a city.

Of course, it also depends on the city. The city's culture and history play a big part in the role of programs. For example, Africa. There is a population decline because of the starvation and sickness. There's a global program to help these people to survive by donating blankets, food, books, any necessities for normal living.

Programs are created to meet a need, they must be functional and useful. As long as it is being used, it is being programmatic - even from small object like a trash can on to a bigger scale - sanitation system. There are countless number of programs that exist in 1 city, and many times these programs overlap and reach out to a global network.

Often closely linked with
communication, perception is one’s opinion of a space. When looking at an urban setting an area can be deemed dangerous or safe based purely on perception.

This is also based on the individuals personal upbringing, experience, and knowledge. A visitor to Houston would find the city busy and confusing, full of interesting new experiences and venues – the Galleria, the Johnson Space Center, the Museum District. They could also perceive the city as dirty and dangerous in areas that a native would know to be great little shopping districts or to have the perfect hole-in-the-wall diner. Conversely a native Houstonian, understands the nuances of the city – the Galleria and Theater district are old hat. They understand the convoluted road system and that some of the best places to go at night are in the seemingly scariest places.

Communication in an urban setting takes many forms. Billboards and newspapers, cell towers and street signs; all contribute to the notion of communication in the urban setting. New York City is littered with monumental advertisements communicating to passers-by of they’re newest “need”.

Everything communicates. On the most base level we communicate with each other verbally and non-verbally. Our clothes, our possessions speak volumes about who we are without ever saying a word. In the built environment buildings speak to us. They can be imposing or meek, reeking of function or purely formal. Signs inform us where to find the local dentist; which direction to take.

Communication also extends to the media – newspapers, magazines, that band flyer stapled to the light pole; the news, the radio, the telephone – adding yet another layer to the already dense urban fabric. Graffiti is another form of communication deeply rooted within the urban setting. Graffiti and tagging holds different meanings for different individuals but none the less these graphic forms speak volumes about a place or area.

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