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Electronic theses and dissertations repository


Tesi etd-06142016-221410

Thesis type
Tesi di laurea magistrale LM5
DESIGN OF PUBLIC OPEN SPACES. From digital analysis to urban design: the development project of Largo da Graca
Corso di studi
relatore Prof. Cutini, Valerio
relatore Prof.ssa Paio, Alexandra
relatore Prof. Bevilacqua, Marco Giorgio
Parole chiave
  • design research
  • public space design
  • parametric modelling
  • multidimensional analysis
  • space syntax
  • urban design
  • public squares
  • square design
Data inizio appello
Data di rilascio
Riassunto analitico
The word Largo, from the Latin largus, is used to identify a public space morphologically distinct in the urban morphology in which the transit function is as important as its functioning as a gathering point. Despite it lacks the physiognomy and the formal importance of a square, it performs many of its public functions, so that, sometimes, they are synonyms in the urban toponomy. What does this mean? In Italy, and also in Portugal, a piazza is not a mere open space, nor a pedestrian path, nor necessarily a wide or regular space. On the contrary, a piazza is: a public open living place and the relation place par excellence, where people meet every day. The term itself is commonly figuratively used in the Italian language in several expressions: “mettere in piazza” (literally “to put in the square”) means to expose something to the public, “scendere in piazza” (literally “to go down to the piazza”) means to revolt, “ascoltare la piazza” (literally “to listen to the piazza”) means to sound out public opinion. It is clear then, that even in current speaking, ‘piazza’ does definitely mean ‘people’. This implies that, when we design an intervention on a square, the number of requirements and the level of complexity that it must be expected, are extremely high. Thus, since complex urban design problems can no longer be solved without prior or parallel research and the application of technology in the design/management of urban environments and as a response to variations in performing criteria (Verebes, 2015), a computational design research is necessary. This work aims to clarify how it is possible to efficiently coordinate various and different tools so as to respond to the critical issue, for a city like Lisbon, of accommodating a growing tourist population in a way that is sustainable, equitable, and inviting also for the locals. Among the others, this thesis will present a study that explores the contributions of multidimensional analyses to the design of a good public space able to make the city work (Michel, 2007). To sum up, through the Largo da Graça square design we try to promote the coordination between multiple and different types of analysis ranging from digital morphological, functional and environmental analyses to social studies in a process whose goal is to understand and improve the spatial and social quality of public spaces and ultimately encouraging the ownership and enjoyment of public space by local communities.<br><br>Jan Gehl (2011) has been examining the problem since the 1960s, when few urban designers or planners were thinking about designing cities for people, but here, it is proposed to use other advanced powerful tools in collaboration with the traditional ones to reach the same aim. Hence, Space Syntax and in particular Axial analysis (Hillier &amp; Hanson 1984) and Visual Graph Analysis (VGA, Turner et al. 2001) are used to approach public spaces by focusing on the determination of representations and syntactic quantifiable measures that expose the rules of the social construction and of the perceptive- cognitive apprehension of spaces; while the visual programming interface VPI of Rhino/Grasshopper is crucial for the analysis of the environmental comfort features of the square and allows us to solve efficiently the critical issues highlighted by the configurational analysis and confirmed by the tests by subsequent parametric modelling. Thereafter, we seek to understand the spatial structure and the characteristics of Largo da Graça both locally and as part of the city of Lisbon within a multi-dimensional and multi-scale approach. The process encompasses several stages:(1) Firstly, a heterogeneous set of formal and spatial (metric, geometric and topological-syntactic), environmental and perceptual-cognitive attributes is obtained making use of the computational processing of the digital map in a semi-automatic workflow that helps to identify the patterns of its components and the process of its development;(2) Secondly, a systematic study of this public space is performed to test the results in order to let the set of heterogeneous qualitative and quantitative attributes guide the decision making of the design process; (3) Thirdly, we use the previous study to test the design outcomes. In conclusion, we believe that this study can be used as an input in the design decision- making process, as part of the overall planning and in the design of individual parts in order to improve our ability, as designers, to respond to the growing complexity of contemporary cities.<br>