An investigation into the problem of open urban spaces in community planning
Krohmer Heim, Erich
Master of Architecture
Our time is a time of transition, characterized by a crisis of the traditional systems of truth and a generalized confusion of values. The lack of a valid philosophy reflects in single works of architecture as well as in the whole city and consequently in the public lack of interest in architecture. In order to build a better environment for human life and regain some of its traditional paver of communication, we must go back to the essence of architecture, which is the concept of architecture as creation of living space environment for human life. The concept of open urban spaces as social spaces, recreational spaces within the self-contained community, and a structural system of circulation and transportation will give structure and order to the city and bring us back full turn from urban flight and social disintegration. The growth of the cities will be absorbed by self-sufficient communities of this type and by simultaneous replanning of the old city in its two contrasting areas: The archetypal suburb of today must trade some of its excessive biological space for social space, and The congested city must introduce into its overbuilt quarters sunlight, fresh air, private gardens, parks, public squares and pedestrian malls in order to fulfill the social function of the city and make it as favorable a place as was the older suburb. The open urban spaces in the community are fundamentally destined for pedestrian circulation, places for activities, spaces to go to, and spaces to go through. This is best expressed physically by a rhythm of enclosure and relief that produces also a modulation of the community into units of different size and character providing a wide choice of convenience, social contacts, and challenges that will enable the child as well as mature man to find his place in the city and in society according to his psychological and social background. The hearts of these units are always functional open urban spaces which are interlocked, overlapped, and connected by pedestrian circulation. The open urban spaces are surrounded and defined by residential and community facilities which must express the rotative importance of each unit within the total community and city, in order to produce a hierarchy of spaces and buildings, clearly recognizable throughout the whole community, from the single family unit to the central business, cultural and administrative district. In order to express this symbol powerfully, the architect has to choose a style easily understandable by everybody, a style of biblical simplicity. Nevertheless, the whole environment must be rich and stimulating; it must be enjoyed a work of art that lives with its inhabitants and is able to teach them that the supreme reward in life is life itself.