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Principle four: conviviality

The fourth principle sponsors social interaction through public domains, in a hierarchy of places, devised for personal solace, companionship, romance, domesticity, "neighborliness," community and civic life. According to proponents of Intelligent Urbanism, vibrant societies are interactive, socially engaging and offer their members numerous opportunities for gathering and meeting one another. The PIU maintain that this can be achieved through design and that society operates within hierarchies of social relations which are space specific. The hierarchies can be conceptualized as a system of social tiers, with each tier having a corresponding physical place in the settlement structure.


A place for the individual. A goal of Intelligent Urbanism is to create places of solitude. These may be in urban forests, along urban hills, beside quiet streams, in public gardens and in parks where one can escape to meditate and contemplate. It is in these natural settings that the wandering mind finds its measure and its balance. These spaces may also be the forecourts and interior courtyards of public buildings, or even the thoughtful reading rooms of libraries. Intelligent urbanism creates a domain for the individual to mature through self-analysis and self-realization.


A place for friendship.The axiom insists that in city plans there must be spaces for “beautiful, intimate friendship” where unfettered dialogue can happen. This principle insists that such places will not exist naturally in a modern urban fabric. They must be a part of the conscientious design of the urban core, of urban villages and of neighborhoods, where people can meet with friends and talk out life’s issues, sorrows, joys and dilemmas. This second tier is important for the emotional life of the populace. It sponsors strong mental health within the people, creating places where friendship can unfold and grow.


A place for householders.There must be spaces for householders, which may be in the form of dwellings for families, or homes for intimate companions, and where young workmates can form a common kitchen. Whatever their compositions, there must be a unique domain for social groups, familiar or biological, which have organized themselves into households. These domestic precincts are where families live and carry out their day-to-day functions of life. This third tier of conviviality is where the individual socializes into a personality.


A place for the neighborhood.Smaller household domains must cluster into a higher social domain, the neighborhood social group. Good city planning practice sponsors, through design, such units of social space. It is in this fourth tier of social life that public conduct takes on new dimensions and groups learn to live peacefully among one another. It is through neighborhoods that the “social contract” amongst diverse households and individuals is sponsored. This social contract is the rational basis for social relations and negotiations within larger social groups. Within neighborhoods basic amenities like creches, early learning centers, preventive health care and rudimentary infrastructure are maintained by the community.


A place for communities.The next social tier, or hierarchy, is the community. Historically, communities were tribes who shared social mores and cultural behavioral patterns. In contemporary urban settings communities are formed of diverse people. But these are people who share the common need to negotiate and manage their spatial settings. In plans created through the Principles of Intelligent Urbanism these are called Urban Villages. Though there are no physical barriers to these communities, they have their unique spatial social domain.

Intelligent Urbanism calls for the creation of dense, walkable zones in which the inhabitants recognize each other’s faces, share common facilities and resources, and often see each other at the village centre. This fifth tier of social space is where one needs initiative to join into various activities. It is intended to promote initiative and constructive community participation. There are opportunities for one to be involved in the management of services, and amenities and to meet new people. Good planning practice promotes the creation of community places, where community based organizations can manage common resources and resolve common problems.


A place for the city domain.The Principles of Intelligent Urbanism call for city level domains. These can be plazas, parks, stadiums, transport hubs, promenades, "passages" or gallerias. One may find people from all continents, from nearby districts and provinces and from all parts of the city in such places. By nature these are accessible and open spaces, with no physical, social or economic barriers.

These domains would include all freely accessible large spaces. These are places where outdoor exhibits and festivals are held, sports matches take place, vegetables are sold and goods are on display. Most significant, these city scale public domains foster public interaction; they sponsor unspoken ground rules for unknown people to meet and to interact. They nurture civic understanding of the strength of diversity, variety, a range of cultural groups and ethnic mixes. It is this higher tier of social space which defines truly urban environments.


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 759

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Principle two: a balance with tradition | Principle five: efficiency
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