BA (Hons) Architecture Programme Director, Chloe Street Tarbatt, and Lecturer, Jonathan Tarbatt are delighted to announce the publication of their new book on urban form: ‘The Urban Block: a guide for urban designers, architects and town planners’.
The Urban Block explores the influence of urban form on the quality of the built environment, and by extension, on the quality of life of its inhabitants.
The book maps the process of understanding, defining, structuring and designing the block. Outlining a taxonomy of urban forms, it explains the potency of each type to either unite or divide communities: to create walkable neighbourhoods or car dominated ones; to foster a sense a community or a sense of isolation, or; to provide a setting in which the theatre of street life may flourish or wither. These themes are illustrated with a range of case urban and suburban examples, showing how different building typologies have been articulated through different urban forms, and what this might mean for the people who live in them.
The authors find that ‘good’ urban design starts with ‘good’ urban form: the block. Yet, their case examples demonstrate that while good urban form is more likely to produce the kinds of places we want to live, it takes more than either good urban design or good architecture, to achieve these. Excellent design across the full range of scales must be integrated through innovative procurement routes, if we are to produce high-quality living environments that are somehow greater than the sum of their parts.