文章来源：俞孔坚, 萨拉·雅各布斯(译), 张健译. 设计"有感觉"的城市[J]. 景观设计学:英文, 2016.
Designing Cities That Make Sense
Our common descriptions of the city or place, including beautiful, ugly, quiet, noisy, tidy, messy, clean, dirty, cool, moist, broad, narrow, bright, gloomy, etc., are largely quantifiable. Yet, we have developed methods for these characteristics to become objective and standardized designs. Still, there are other common but mysterious characteristics of the city we cannot understand objectively, for example, “making sense.” This seemed highly subjective and emotional item means making a place meaningful or interesting in the colloquial language.
I believe that today under China’s strong administrative lead, cities will become more beautiful, clean, bright and broad through the collective endeavors of engineers and designers. However, this does not mean that our cities will be more meaningful or interesting on a personal level. It is difficult to design and manage cities for our personal sense of place, since it is often vague and highly individual. As such, designing for a sense of place is often ignored, resulting in cities that are less and less interesting.
“Making sense,” concerning the sense of a place and its meaningfulness, needs to be discussed in the context of phenomenology. In the past century, Martin Heidegger’s “Dwelling,” Kevin Lynch’s “The Image of the City” and Christian Norberg-Schulz’s viewpoint have tried to bring philosophy into human, spatial, and architectural discussions. But, making sense of place continues to puzzle us despite the growing amount of research on the topic. As Chinese cities grow, the study of making sense of place will be an essential piece of China’s contemporary urban design and management that should be noticed from the following perspectives:
First, we must seek more-than-rational knowledge. Instead of focusing on the so-called “rational” or “scientific” abstract models and statistics, cities and environments should be perceived through lived experiences. We should abandon the so-called “rational” and “ideal” city models of the 20th century, such as the Garden City, the Radiant City, and the Broadacre City, which have proven to be so distant from our real urban lives. We should design cities that respond to our needs as feeling, sensing, emotional beings, and that draw from work such as Jane Jacobs, who showed urban life to be diverse, unpredictable, and sparkling.
Next, we must design with daily lives. As we design and manage our urban environments, we should consider how daily, personalized experiences affect urban space. In doing so, we can no longer prioritize building beautiful cities while dogmatically sweeping away bustling villages, messy community vegetable markets or crying Hutong vendors. Our work as designers is no longer to be enthusiastic about monuments, theatres, stadiums, museums, cultural centers or wide avenues and blank city squares.
Finally, we must understand what it means to feel a sense of place. As designers, we must understand that for a city to have a meaningful sense of place, individuals must be able to make it their own, to identify it as their place. Orientation and identification with place are two elements emphasized by Norberg-Schulz. In this case, orientation refers to the spatial structure, being able to identify one’s position in a place and taking place in the vast universe by orienting elements such as a focus, edge or region. Orientation provides a sense of safety and coordinates for exploring the world. To identify with a place, concerning the characteristics which differentiate places and cities, is to place yourself through an understanding of atmosphere perceived by the senses, such as temperature, humidity, smell, color, texture, material and shape. The paving of roads, patterns of walls, and cracks on tree trunks change over time and differ from region to region, giving a sense of history, identity and identification to a place. The identity of a city is created through the senses and actions of its residents, and the ways they adapt, infuse, and mold the forms and shapes of the city. In short, the spatial characteristics of the city, the natural and cultural atmosphere of the city and the various existing objects and ways people live in the city, make the city “interesting” and “meaningful,” through a sense of belonging and sense of identity.
Designing cities for a sense of place is to design cities for dwelling, living, and belonging, to design cities that respond to environmental and cultural histories, as well as contemporary wants. By designing cities that prioritize the needs of residents, we can avoid the path previously taken by the City Beautiful Movement in many European and American cities. I made this same appeal twenty years ago, and the need remains relevant today.