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In Geoff Whitten’s lecture, he mentioned the relationship among architectures, landscape architectures, landscape urbanism, urban design and urban planning. In essence, it made me start to think about what role does urban design play in this system. Also, who should manage the change of a city actually?


During different periods, the definitions of urban design have been re-defined sustainably. In 1997, Buchanan stated that ‘Urban design lies between the broad-brush abstraction of planning and concrete specificities of architecture.’  Urban design was a thinking way to support urban planning. It was a method to point out and deal with various kinds of form elements of a city by a more abstract and flexible thinking than planning.

Furthermore, in 2010, Childs defined with a more specific content that ‘[Urban design is] the design and shaping of parts of settlements such as the relationships between multiple built-forms, building typologies, public space, street and other infrastructure.’ (Childs, 2010) Urban design then has been seen a tool related to buildings and their outer environment in a city.

Whether it is a way of thinking or a distinct method, we could find that the common ground between different definitions of urban design are they all more focus on smaller scale of urban planning but bigger than architectures. However, who has the right to manage it?


The New Idea of Urban Design First Occurred in Taipei

In 1950,

most cities in Taiwan had been developed. With the situation of small land but high density of population, the development of cities in Taiwan was in trouble, but the populations were still growing up. Due to urban planning (a law system as a stable frame to build a city) was not flexible enough for different districts with various histories, cultures in each city of Taiwan, the government then set a new apartment named Committee of Urban Design to formulate detail rules for better development. However, until 2010, cities are still decaying. The economic systems collapsed (slow economic growth with average at 2%(yoy%)). Moreover, people feel less and less happy in each city. They expect the government to achieve their real needs rather than keep wasting public money building things useless. After 2010, some architects and urban planners working in local districts pointed out a query:

Who can really form a city?

Some people say that architects, some people say the government… But those architectures and planners stated these answers are not right.

The only way that can make a better city is by people who actually live in.

After 2010,

some companies with architectures and planning backgrounds started to enter the neighborhoods. They communicate or even live with them. Then recognize their demands and identify which are real needs and which are not. They then try to solve the problems by their profession and discuss with the community. After they figure out the most effective way, these companies send the report to the government to make special laws that can adapt to local condition.

In 2014,

the new mayor of Taipei city started to fund those companies and collaborate with them to improve the quality of the city. Other mayors then follow the strategy to support them as well. During these 4 years, more and more residents love their living places. The government also showed the economic growth was up to 6% (yoy%) from 2016 to 2017. Until 2018, Taipei has been significantly climbing within the rank of the “most liveable cities.”(BBC, 2018)


the idea of urban design in Taiwan nowadays has been seen as a method to deal with peoples’ needs. Those needs are sometimes hard to be noticed by the government.(Sometimes are ignores by developer.) Urban design is no longer a single profession but the collaborative and multi-disciplinary process of shaping the physical spaces of life in cities. Thanks to the advantage of small area in Taiwan, it is more accessible for many communities to share the experience with companies and educational institutions. Companies and educational institutions then offer their knowledge between communities and government. at the final stage, the government change the laws to adapt the local condition.






  1. (2013). [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Jan. 2019].
  2. Buchanan, P. (2013). The Big Rethink Part 11: Urban Design. [online] Architectural Review. Available at: [Accessed 4 Jan. 2019].
  3. Childs, M. (2010). A Spectrum of Urban Design Roles. Journal of Urban Design, 15(1), pp.1-19.
  4. Galloway, L. (2018). The cities that make living easy. [online] Available at: [Accessed 10 Jan. 2019].
  5. Kullmann, K. (2016). Disciplinary Convergence. [online] Karl Kullmann. Available at: [Accessed 6 Jan. 2019].
  6. (2018). 2018 台灣經濟成長率預測. [online] Available at: [Accessed 9 Jan. 2019].
  7. (2015). 都市酵母周育如:找回溝通的力量,城市的未來漸漸發酵 – Shopping Design. [online] Available at: [Accessed 13 Jan. 2019].
  8. (2011). What is Urban Design? | Urban Design Group. [online] Available at: [Accessed 4 Jan. 2019].

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