Making Urban Places

The partners here at Axis Design have a long history of teaching (working here is always an education!) and at the office we have copies of lecture notes and books that are all worthy of re-publishing via the web.

Under a new category simply entitled ‘notes’ we will be posting urban design lecture notes to share with visitors. These are made available under a Creative Commons license.

For the first installment there are three PDF files on offer: 1, 2 and 3.

Here’s an excerpt from the typology matrix contained on one them:


And here’s the premise of the lecture:

Making Urban Places
Lecture 2: An Urban Vocabulary

That the urban spaces which make up our cities is merely a collection of spaces left over between buildings, is an opinion which is spatially, socially and culturally bankrupt. Urban space, for the urban designer, is a public theatre for a complex mixture of social, political, economic and individual behaviour vital to all of us. Such spaces are of equal, if not greater significance, to our growth and development as the architecture we inhabit.

Historically urban space was not merely an extension of architecture, but space created from elements of a distinctively urban character. In this lecture we set out to examine this urban vocabulary with two intentions:

  1. To group the vocbulary under the perceptual headings of Kevin Lynch and relate them to a common human experiences in space.
  2. To reveal the dynamic rules of combination (syntax) underlying such a vocabulary which permits us to create a rich and diverse language of urban forms.


Gorden Cullen: Townscape
Kevin Lynch: Image of the City
Camillo Sitte: City Planning on Artistic Principles
Rob** Krier: Urban Space

Carry on with the matrix in the empty spaces and send it us back!

Related entries on Rob’s weblog: Mythical City (previous lecture notes), Pepe le Pew on Townscape, Here and There

* I think there’s a typo on the PDF that says Leon when it should say Rob