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Intensity as the Perceivable Dimension of Density in the Urban Environment: The Case of Housing Blocks by MBM Arquitectes in Barcelona, Spain

Intensity as the Perceivable Dimension of Density in the Urban Environment: The Case of Housing... Abstract The concept of intensity is a concentration of spatial, social, and environmental experiences in the urban environment. It is an extension of density, beyond the quantitative measure of the urban environment toward its qualitative and perceivable aspects. Drawing on urban studies with a human-centered approach by Michael Sorkin, Jane Jacobs, Jan Gehl and William T. Whyte, and proxemics studies by Edward T. Hall, this paper explores the spatial implications of intensity to identify the qualities of the built environment that positively influence the relationship between people and space. With this purpose, case studies were selected from the housing complexes designed, from the 1960s to the 1990s, by the architectural office MBM Arquitectes in Barcelona (Spain). The observational, spatial and visual analysis focused on the public spaces of those housing complexes as well as on the use and appropriation of them by inhabitants. Public spaces are the ground for studying urban intensity: they are the set where urban life can be performed and the main vehicle for promoting intentional relationships between people and space. A series of five spatial qualities were identified as categories of perceived urban intensity and are discussed in detail: Connection, Articulation, Differentiation, Extension and Concentration. Such categories can help orient the analysis and interpretation of the physical and perceptual materials of urban intensity, to better understand the design of our public space, our cities and their futures. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Architecture and Culture Taylor & Francis

Intensity as the Perceivable Dimension of Density in the Urban Environment: The Case of Housing Blocks by MBM Arquitectes in Barcelona, Spain

Architecture and Culture , Volume OnlineFirst: 22 – May 17, 2023
22 pages

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References (5)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2023 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
ISSN
2050-7836
eISSN
2050-7828
DOI
10.1080/20507828.2023.2187203
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract The concept of intensity is a concentration of spatial, social, and environmental experiences in the urban environment. It is an extension of density, beyond the quantitative measure of the urban environment toward its qualitative and perceivable aspects. Drawing on urban studies with a human-centered approach by Michael Sorkin, Jane Jacobs, Jan Gehl and William T. Whyte, and proxemics studies by Edward T. Hall, this paper explores the spatial implications of intensity to identify the qualities of the built environment that positively influence the relationship between people and space. With this purpose, case studies were selected from the housing complexes designed, from the 1960s to the 1990s, by the architectural office MBM Arquitectes in Barcelona (Spain). The observational, spatial and visual analysis focused on the public spaces of those housing complexes as well as on the use and appropriation of them by inhabitants. Public spaces are the ground for studying urban intensity: they are the set where urban life can be performed and the main vehicle for promoting intentional relationships between people and space. A series of five spatial qualities were identified as categories of perceived urban intensity and are discussed in detail: Connection, Articulation, Differentiation, Extension and Concentration. Such categories can help orient the analysis and interpretation of the physical and perceptual materials of urban intensity, to better understand the design of our public space, our cities and their futures.

Journal

Architecture and CultureTaylor & Francis

Published: May 17, 2023

Keywords: Urban intensity; density; perception; inhabitation; public space

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