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By : Mohamad Kashef

This study examines the strands of thought that define the urban design discourse today. One of the common and primary urban design approaches developed an understanding of the visual, perceptual, and psychological dynamics underlying human behavior in urban areas. It associated urban design with the visual characteristics of built forms and their impact on people's perceptions and ability to create clear mental maps or images of their surroundings. Another approach emphasized historical, typological, social, and morphological aspects of built forms. It linked successful urban spaces with mixed-use, traditional urban models and advanced place-making principles that encourage spatially defined, legible, and culturally grounded built environments. Lately, there has been an increased debate about the potential of developing an all-encompassing, holistic urban design approach that synthesizes prior urban design approaches and is predicated on the premise that urban design is an interdisciplinary activity concerned with creating livable/sustainable built environments. However, dialogues with architects, landscape architects, and planners revealed an entrenched professional divide among urban design practitioners based on their educational backgrounds and subsequent experiences. This study is premised on the need to address the contradictory views about the city in design and planning educational curricula in order to bridge the intellectual divide and build a holistic or interdisciplinary urban design approach.
Keywords : Urban Design, Professional Roles, Public Places, Spatial Typology, Built Form.

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