Pedro Costa & Ricardo Lopes
Costa, P. & Lopes, R. (1). Urban Design, Public Space and the Dynamics of Creative Milieux: A Photographic Approach to Bairro Alto (Lisbon), Gràcia (Barcelona) and Vila Madalena (São Paulo). Journal of Urban Design, 20(1), 28–51. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/13574809.2014.991382
Drawing on some results of a broader research project, this paper aims to discuss the relation between urban design and creative dynamics in cultural districts. Appropriation and production of public spaces in three ‘creative quarters’ are analyzed, through a photographic approach, covering material aspects, human appropriation and symbolic dimensions in these areas. Discussing the boundaries of public spaces and their relevance for creative activity (through the conviviality and sociability they promote), it is argued that urban design characteristics and specific place morphologies significantly influence the appropriation of these areas and the development of specific creative dynamics.
The paper discussed how 1) the characteristics of urban design, in particular specific place morphologies and typologies, help determine the attractiveness of these areas for creative activities and for appropriation; 2) the uses, practices and symbolic representations that take place in those areas are essential for providing balance in the evolution of these territorial systems, and these are often key factors associated with their governance systems; 3) the use conflicts that arise within each of those arenas. As a consequence, managing the morphological aspects of these areas should also be seen as central to their sustainability, as they are ‘vital’ and ‘creative’ centres within cities.
Description of method used in the article
A collection of more than 1000 images was compiled and organized into three broad dimensions: a) the material space; b) the life of the space; and c) the symbolic dimension. Supplementary methodological tools included interviews, morphology and activity surveys, and systematic collection of qualitative and quantitative data.
Of practical use