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Multifunctional public open spaces for sustainable cities: Concept and application

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  • University of Belgrade - Faculty of Architecture
  • University of Belgrade, Faculty of Architecture

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The idea that multifunctional open spaces support sustainable urban development has been widely accepted in theory and intensively used in practice of urban planning and design. It is based on the assumption that multifunctional spaces bring a wider spectrum of environmental, social and economic benefits to urban areas. And yet, multifunctionality of space is still a vague and diffuse concept that needs further clarifications. Besides that, different academic disciplines understand and use this concept in different ways. This makes the application of the concept difficult to assess and manage in relation to different aspects of urban sustainability. Through the literature review, this paper analyses and compares how the concept of multifunctionality is used in various spatial disciplines (urban planning and design, landscape architecture) in order to better understand and relate its different dimensions, applications and expected benefits for sustainable development. Based on this, a new, relational and multidimensional conceptualisation of the multifunctionality of public open spaces is proposed for analysis and assessment of urban design solutions. It is further applied and discussed in relation to students projects from “Ecological urban design studio” from the University of Belgrade Faculty of Architecture, as visions for development of multifunctional public open spaces in modernist mass housing area of “Sava Blocks” in New Belgrade, Serbia.
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FACTA UNIVERSITATIS
Series: Architecture and Civil Engineering Vol. 17, No 2, 2019, pp. 205-219
https://doi.org/10.2298/FUACE190327012Z
© 2019 by University of Niš, Serbia | Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-ND
MULTIFUNCTIONAL PUBLIC OPEN SPACES
FOR SUSTAINABLE CITIES: CONCEPT AND APPLICATION
UDC 711.4:502.131.1
711.61
Jelena Živković, Ksenija Lalović, Milica Milojević, Ana Nikezić
University of Belgrade Faculty of Architecture, Belgrade, Serbia
Abstract. The idea that multifunctional open spaces support sustainable urban development
has been widely accepted in theory and intensively used in practice of urban planning and
design. It is based on the assumption that multifunctional spaces bring a wider spectrum of
environmental, social and economic benefits to urban areas. And yet, multifunctionality of
space is still a vague and diffuse concept that needs further clarifications. Besides that,
different academic disciplines understand and use this concept in different ways. This makes
the application of the concept difficult to assess and manage in relation to different aspects of
urban sustainability. Through the literature review, this paper analyses and compares how
the concept of multifunctionality is used in various spatial disciplines (urban planning and
design, landscape architecture) in order to better understand and relate its different
dimensions, applications and expected benefits for sustainable development. Based on this, a
new, relational and multidimensional conceptualisation of the multifunctionality of public
open spaces is proposed for analysis and assessment of urban design solutions. It is further
applied and discussed in relation to students projects from “Ecological urban design
studio” from the University of Belgrade Faculty of Architecture, as visions for development
of multifunctional public open spaces in modernist mass housing area of “Sava Blocks” in
New Belgrade, Serbia.
Key words: multifunctionality, public open space, sustainable urban development,
urban planning and design
1. INTRODUCTION
Planning and designing multifunctional spaces is not a new idea, and great vibrant and
vital urban spaces all over the world confirm its relevance and significance. Moreover, the
concept of multifunctional space is nowadays widely promoted in the context of the
sustainable spatial development, assuming that multifunctional spaces may bring a wider
Received March 27, 2019 / Accepted April 22, 2019
Corresponding author: Jelena Živković
University of Belgrade - Faculty of Architecture, Kralja Aleksandra Blvd, 73/2, Belgrade 11000, Serbia
E-mail: j_zivkovic@ptt.rs
206 J. ŽIVKOVIĆ, K. LALOVIĆ, M. MILOJEVIĆ, A. NIKEZ
spectrum of environmental, social and economic benefits to urban areas and thus
contribute to urban sustainability.
Although the concept has been intensively used in spatial and strategic plans and projects
at different scales, there is an on-going debate of what multifunctionality is, and how it can
be best related to development [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]. These debates on urban and rural
change, stress the problem of uncritical and weakly theorised use of the notion of
„multifunctionality‟, and recognise that the concept is still vague, diffused, and prone to
different interpretations [8]. In addition, different academic disciplines understand and use
the idea of multifunctionality in different ways, which makes its application difficult to
assess and manage in relation to different aspects of sustainable urban development [9] [10].
At the same time, the idea of what urban functions are, changed as well. In the
contemporary planning and design theory, the new integrated approaches to spatial
development recognise new dimensions of functionality, and affirm the wider meaning of
this term. For example, in elaborating her theory of integral urbanism, Nan Elin suggests
new functionalities of an urban space that supports urban vitality. In this approach,
functionality refers not only to classical urban functions - activities and use of space - but
also ecological, emotional, symbolic and spiritual functions of space [11]. Moreover, in the
field of landscape planning and architecture, the concepts of ecosystem services and green
infrastructure are gaining much attention as a new way of perceiving the relation between
nature and culture, attributing to Nature different values for spatial development [12].
In that context, this article aims to contribute to the debate on the meaning and use of
concept of multifunctionality for sustainable spatial development, by specifically focusing on
public open spaces in urban contexts. In a search for how to conceptualise multifunctionality
of public open spaces to best support urban sustainability, it first provides a conceptual and
theoretical analysis of the meaning and scope of the concept of multifunctionality of spaces
in different spatial disciplines (urban planning and design, landscape planning and
architecture). The aim of the analysis is to derive and determine various dimensions and
different interpretations of the notion of functionality of spaces (that further influence how
the concept is applied in practice), and to relate them to the concept and aspects of
sustainable urban development.
Based on the findings, in the second part of the paper, we argue for relational and
multidimensional approach to multifunctionality of space, and develop a new analytical
framework for reading and evaluating multifunctionality of public open spaces in relation
to ecological, socio-cultural and economic aspects of sustainable urban development. In
the last section we showcase its application in the context of modernist mass housing area,
through visionary students projects from “Ecological urban design studio” from
University of Belgrade Faculty of Architecture.
2. UNDERSTANDING THE CONCEPT OF MULTIFUNCTIONALITY IN SPATIAL DISCIPLINES
2.1. What is (multi)functionality?
Functionality refers to the ability to perform a task or a function. The meaning of
functionality is relative and depends on which medium is considered as the carrier of an
ability to perform the task/function - space, object, or activity (or even process) and for
what purpose. In that sense, multifunctionality is a feature of space, artifact or activity
Multifunctional Public Open Spaces for Sustainable Cities: Concept and Application 207
that means having or fulfilling several functions and achieving multiple outputs, purposes
or goals at the same time. Multifunctionality can be also understood as a value that
contributes to the simultaneous solution of multiple problems or the achievement of
multiple benefits. But it is not a value per se; it becomes a value only when related to the
specific purpose and goals [10].
2.2. Multifunctionality in spatial analysis: multifunctionality in SPACE and TIME
Conceptualized as a characteristic of space, multifunctionality refers to "the possibility of
having more than one activity or function in the same SPACE and / or at the same TIME" [1].
In that sense, it is seen as a characteristic of the space that enables a synchronic or diachronic
realization of various economic, social and environmental benefits.
Multifunctionality of space is a relative concept that depends on the spatial coverage that
is the subject of the analysis (SCALE), or the spatial situation in which multifunctionality is
considered. For example, in the size of the whole city it is always possible to identify
multifunctionality, but it can be a set of fragments of mono-functional areas [5]. In addition,
whether a site has one or more purposes or activities, also depends on its capacity to host
activities with specific space requirements [1].
In relation to spatial development, the analysis of multifunctionality is possible on two
grounds: on the supply side and on the demand side [9]. Multifunctionality viewed from the
side of the offer, can be seen as a characteristic/feature of space or object (resources) that
enables the realisation of the activities that achieve desired effects, as intentionally or
consequently realised. Observed from the demand side, multifunctionality can be viewed as
a social goal/value. Such a perspective starts from the social expectations in relation to a
certain activity (use) and is related to the achievement of desired qualities of the particular
territory [13].
The concept of multifunctionality of space and its relation to socio-spatial development
is an important topic not only in urban planning and design, but also in other spatial
disciplines such as landscape planning and architecture, forestry, agriculture. However,
different scientific disciplines have different understandings and interpretations of this
concept that we will further consider in more detail.
2.3. Multifunctionality in urban planning and design: multifunctional USE of space
The notion of multifunctionality came into focus of urban planning and design theory
and practice due to the problems of spatial fragmentation, social segregation and traffic
congestion, perceived as indicators of the decline in the ecological, social and economic
quality of modern cities. The Functional-segregation doctrine of modern urbanism has
been accused to be a key cause of the aforementioned problems [14].
As opposed to that, the concepts of mixed use of space and multifunctional land use were
offered as a way to achieve better land utilization and greater vitality of the city. These concepts
may be applied at different spatial scales and to both buildings and open spaces [5].While
mixed use of space is related to enabling residential, commercial, cultural, institutional, or
entertainment activities to take place in a certain area, multifunctional land use is understood as
a combination of different socio-economic functions in the same area, where the focus is on
achieving social and economic benefits from the USE OF SPACE [6]. Several different
planning and design approaches to mixed land use were developed, such as "new urbanism",
208 J. ŽIVKOVIĆ, K. LALOVIĆ, M. MILOJEVIĆ, A. NIKEZ
"smart growth", "compact city", etc. They differ in the purpose of multiplying functions in
space, and in spatial scale they applied, but in all these approaches use of urban land stands at
the core [15]. Based on literature review [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] the following types of
multifunctional land use can be identified in relation to space and time:
Mixed use of the land different functions are interconnected in a certain area;
Multiple use of the land different functions exist within the site, not necessarily
integrated;
Multifunctional use includes both horizontal and vertical combining of functions in
order to achieve synergies;
Multifunctional use over time space can have different functions at different
moments.
In urban planning and design, multifunctionality of urban open spaces refers to use of
both civic (built) and green spaces. Different types of urban open spaces (parks, gardens,
edges, playgrounds, squares, pedestrian zones, wildlife habitats) can have a variety of
functions and be used for different activities: recreation, play, movement, education, wildlife
habitat setting, landscaping, agriculture, community development [16]. The application of
the concept has historically been linked to central locations, but has over time, extended to
other parts of the city. Unfortunately, until recently, functionality of land per se (ex.
ecological value of undeveloped areas) was not taken fully into account when evaluating
qualities of urban areas. Besides that, multiplication and increase of use of some urban green
open spaces, caused their degradation and undermined their ecological sustainability.
2.4. Multifunctionality in landscape architecture and planning:
landscape and ecosystem SERVICES
Within the disciplines of landscape planning and architecture, the concept of
multifunctionality of space is based on the understanding of ecological relationships and
processes in landscape. The landscape is understood as "an area, as perceived by people,
whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors”
[17], and landscape functions-services are the benefits it brings to human well-being and to
society [18]. Goods and services that different types of landscapes provide include:
production of food and timber, water purification and climate regulation, biodiversity,
aesthetics values and opportunities for recreation [19]. The provision of these services is
based upon the performance of ecological structures, processes and functions [6].
In that sense, multifunctionality relates to the phenomenon that the landscape can provide
multiple tangible and intangible goods and services that meet social needs or respond to
social or economic requirements [7]. From this perspective, urban open spaces are perceived
as parts of urban landscape, and their functionality is perceived as landscape functions based
on natural and cultural ecosystem services. Landscapes themselves have various dimensions
of quality that can be linked to various options of socio-spatial development. But, in
practice, due to traditionally favouring nature over culture in landscape disciplines, the
existing conservative attitude towards natural elements in urban areas neglects social and
economic issues of development. There are still tendencies to maximise quantity of green
spaces in urban areas without considering its economic sustainability, and to underestimate
(or even perceive as negative) the value of built open spaces for urban life and development.
Multifunctional Public Open Spaces for Sustainable Cities: Concept and Application 209
This restricts the full use of the concept of multifunctionality of landscapes and open spaces
for sustainable urban development.
Fig. 1 Potsdamer platz, Berlin multifunctional use and ecosystem services (A. Kujučev)
2.5. Meanings and dimensions of multifunctionality of space
The analysis reveals that conceptualisation of multifunctionality of space is possible on
several grounds. It can be understood from spatial and temporal, as well as from the use and
service perspective. At the same time, multifunctionality has been differently understood and
interpreted in different spatial disciplines. Each of these perspectives stresses one aspect of
relation to urban development. Seen individually and disciplinary, they do not fully use the
potential of urban spaces for sustainable urban development.
The possibility to understand multifunctionality as a feature of space, but also as a value
that contributes to the simultaneous solution of multiple problems or the achievement of
multiple benefits, forms the basis for linking multifunctionality and sustainable development.
Based on this, multifunctionality can be understood as a tool for urban ecological, social and
economic sustainability, as well as a normative concept that evaluates the quality of
sustainable development policies.
This is especially important for planning and designing public open spaces, as urban
spaces that are generally open and accessible to a variety of people, whose sustainability
depends on how they are perceived and valued by people. Therefore, based on results of our
literature review and analysis, in the next section we will focus on the relation between
public open spaces and sustainable urban development, and draft a basic conceptualisation
of multifunctionality of public open spaces for better achievement and harmonisation of
different aspects of sustainability.
3. CONCEPTUALISING MULTIFUNCTIONALITY OF PUBLIC OPEN SPACES
FOR DEVELOPMENT OF SUSTAINABLE CITIES
3.1. Concept of sustainable development in urban planning and design
The concept of sustainable development is value-based, resource and goal-oriented
concept that tends to balance and integrate environmental issues and socio-economic
development in order to equitably meet developmental and environmental needs of present
and future generations, improve quality of life standards for everyone, and better protect and
manage ecosystems. Anthropocentric and focused on the human well-being, this approach
involves taking care of the overall living and non-living environment, understanding that
210 J. ŽIVKOVIĆ, K. LALOVIĆ, M. MILOJEVIĆ, A. NIKEZIĆ
people depend on healthy ecosystems as much as they depend on other people. In that sense,
sustainability is a requirement for long-term social, cultural, economic and environmental
health and vitality [20].
In urban planning and design, this approach represents a breakthrough in relation to the
traditional movements of environmental protection, which were focused primarily on the
protection and conservation of nature. It assumes that destructive behaviours can be
transformed towards a more productive and healthier environment and "represents a process
of social transformation in which all vital functions of the community are maintained
indefinitely and without jeopardizing the basis on which they are based" [21]. Understood in
this way, the key to sustainable urban development is harmonisation of ecological, socio-
cultural and economic values and goals.
3.2. Why are urban open spaces important for sustainable development?
Urban open spaces are all physically un-built spaces within the city's territory [22]. They are
integral parts of the urban structure and through their own values contribute to the quality of life
in cities. Open spaces can be planned and designed to perform various urban functions:
movement and traffic, recreation, gathering, water management ..., but also "non-urban
activities", such as agricultural production, forestry and nature conservation. Their purpose is
related to their position in the city structure and to urban activities in surrounding areas [23].
The function of urban open spaces is conditioned by their materiality and physical structure. In
this sense, they differ in relation to the presence and character of natural features in space. They
exist in a wide range of forms of built (civic) and green open spaces. Taking into account the
complexity of urban needs, all the categories of open spaces are equally important for the
quality of life in the city [20].
Public open spaces (POS) are social spaces that are open and accessible to people. They are
simultaneously a part of the urban open space system and a part of the public sphere. Besides
their aesthetic and functional qualities, POS have various social functions and contribute to the
urban identity. They operate as the arenas for social interaction and places for cultural exchange
[24]. These places are also "containers of collective memory and desire... and places for
geographic and social imagination to extend new relationships and sets of possibility" [25]. If
well planned and designed, they may serve as an integrative element in urban structure, and
contribute to urban sustainability based on their ecological, socio-cultural and economic
functions and values [26]:
THE ECOLOGICAL VALUE of an urban open space is based on its bio-physical
characteristics that support natural systems and biodiversity. All components of the urban
green infrastructure have ecological value per se, but built open spaces can contribute to
ecological sustainability of urban areas too. If located, planned and designed based on
ecological principles, they can enhance environmental quality of urban space by effecting
urban climate, water and air quality.
THE SOCIO-CULTURAL VALUE of an urban open space is many-fold. First, they
can function as community meeting places for different levels of social interaction and
engagement, thus contributing to social sustainability of the area. At the same time they can
function as places where strangers encounter and mix up in pleasurable or contesting events,
expressing the “right” to the city, contributing to sustainable urban development by nurturing
the democratic culture. Public open spaces also have a cultural dimension, since through
Multifunctional Public Open Spaces for Sustainable Cities: Concept and Application 211
symbolic representation and everyday practices they contribute to the formation of local
cultures and identities.
THE ECONOMIC VALUE of an urban open space is based on the capacity to
function as a resource for various economic sectors: agriculture, forestry, leisure and
tourism…In addition, high quality and convivial public open spaces make cities and urban
areas attractive for tourists and new inhabitants, by providing a positive image of a place that
is desirable for living and visiting.
Besides contributing to urban sustainability by bringing new values to urban areas, public
spaces can also be perceived as indicators of urban sustainability. Negative phenomena in
the urban areas, such as ecological degradation, economic weakening of the area, neglect,
under-use and devastation of space, are manifestation of unsustainable life patterns and
urban development policies.
3.3. Multifunctionality of public open spaces for sustainable urban development:
developing an analytical model
In order to fully use the potential of the concept of multifunctionality to support
sustainable development, we propose a matrix as an analytical model that relates different
dimensions of multifunctionality of public open spaces to the ecological, socio-cultural and
economic aspects of sustainability. In this framework multifunctionality of public open space
is understood as a feature, characteristics that become value only when related to a certain
set of development goals in a specific context. At the same time, multifunctionality of a
public open space is perceived as multidimensional in order to better relate to various
aspects of sustainable development (ecological, socio-cultural, economics) and thus
contribute to their harmonisation. Dimensions of multifunctionality are defined in relation
to: space, time, use and services provided by land:
SPACE dimension refers to how different functions are distributed in space horizontally
and vertically, as well as in relation to the scale (location, area,…). Mixed, multiple and
multifunctional use may be considered.
TIME dimension refers to how different functions are distributed in time synchronic
and diachronic multifunctionality is possible. "Diachrony" refers to the disposition(s) of
functions across time. "Synchrony" refers to the disposition of different functions at one
specific moment in time.
USE dimension refers to provision of possibilities for people and other living beings to
use the space in different ways - based on urban design to enable activities and/or through
organisation of special events.
SERVICE dimension refers to the capacity of land (natural or built) to provide
tangible and intangible goods, services and amenities to people and nature
In the new analytical model - different dimensions of multifunctionality are related to
different aspects of sustainability in order to reveal possible positive and negative impacts
of multifunctional design solutions, as presented in Table 1.
212 J. ŽIVKOVIĆ, K. LALOVIĆ, M. MILOJEVIĆ, A. NIKEZIĆ
Table 1 Public open space multifunctionality in relation to aspects of sustainability
4. ANALYSING CONTRIBUTION OF MULTIFUNCTIONAL PUBLIC OPEN SPACES
TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT OF MODERNIST MASS HOUSING
The new model for analyzing the contribution and effects of multifunctional public open
spaces on sustainable development is applied to visionary students urban design projects.
The aim is to determine a) how different design solutions of multifunctional public spaces
may contribute to the sustainable development of public promenade in modernist mass
housing area, and to b) help identify possible shortcomings in order to reveal issues that need
harmonization of sustainability goals. Examples were selected to showcase different
approaches to multifunctionality of public open spaces, while addressing the same problem
of underuse of the green public promenade. All cases are based on the water as natural
element in urban space and theme that leads urban design visions.
Multifunctional Public Open Spaces for Sustainable Cities: Concept and Application 213
4.1. Context and purpose of developing multifunctional public open spaces
“Sava Blocks” in New Belgrade, Serbia is a modernist mass housing area that comprises
several super blocks (45, 44, 70). They are inter-connected by two parallel green promenades:
centrally located "Lazaro Kardenasa Promenade" and “Sava river Promenade”. These
promenades form a part of well developed public open space system of super-blocks. They
are characterised by high quantity of green public open spaces, but also with the problem of
their underuse and neglect, especially in the Lazaro Kardenasa promenade case. Therefore,
the purpose was to investigate possibilities for developing multifunctional public open
spaces, as places where nature and culture connect, overlap and permeate, in order to
contribute to sustainable development of “Sava Blocks”.
4.2. Case 1 “Water leads to water”
The project explores the relationship of the Block 45 with water, based on the fact that
the block is located on the Sava riverfront and that this feature defines the block‟s identity.
Moreover, the groundwater levels in the block are high and it is often threatened by
flooding.
Fig. 2 Case 1 - Water leads to water- Milica Pavić
Key questions that are addressed in the project were: 1) what does water mean to
different users, and 2) how to use water in urban design so that it contribute to the
adaptation of cities to climate change? It was presumed that through the development of
multifunctional public spaces as adaptation measures to climate change (at area, system
and local level), it is possible to create an environmentally sustainable system of spaces,
which simultaneously protect Block 45 of floods and control drainage, and are attractive,
symbolic, useful and comfortable spaces for a variety of users (Figure 2, Table 2).
214 J. ŽIVKOVIĆ, K. LALOVIĆ, M. MILOJEVIĆ, A. NIKEZIĆ
Table 2 Assessing sustainability of multifunctional public open space case 1
4.3. Case 2 “Vital space – water path”
The goal of the project was to activate the promenade Lazaro Kardenasa to become a
vital and vibrant place. The spatial concept is based on the idea to develop the promenade
as a complex system by designing multifunctional spaces for different purposes, related
both to culture and nature.
Fig. 3 Case 2 - Vital space- water path- Tamara Radić and Bogdan Popović
Focal social and economic activity points are located on the central position in the
promenade, providing different necessary and thematic uses of space. They are combined
with natural areas in order to support biodiversity and contact with nature. By their
interconnection, public open spaces and buildings are defined as community meeting
places. These natural and cultural sites located on the promenade are supported with a
variety of activities provided in surrounding areas (Figure 3, Table 3).
Multifunctional Public Open Spaces for Sustainable Cities: Concept and Application 215
Table 3 Assessing sustainability of multifunctional public open space case 2
4.4. Case 3 Promenade as a river flow
In order to overcome problems of under-use and neglect of the “Lazaro Kardenasa
promenade, “learning from nature was selected to be the guiding principle of the project.
Water was perceived as a mentor that guides development. The starting point for the project
was the analysis of main users groups of the promenade (children, old people, recreationalists
and people with dogs), their needs and the dynamic of their movement in public spaces.
Development of a multifunctional promenade was conceptualised as a system of river-flows
that connect and orchestrate flows of different user groups. A variety of ambiences was
developed on different segments of this “flows”, with a purpose to help people interact
among themselves and with nature. The presence of water was integrated in this system in
different forms and with different purposes: as a moderator of climate and place for water
management; as a symbol and a spiritual and emotional connector with Nature; or as a place
to relax or play. Basic commercial activities that support the public life and needs were also
proposed in nodal locations (Figure 3, Table 3).
216 J. ŽIVKOVIĆ, K. LALOVIĆ, M. MILOJEVIĆ, A. NIKEZIĆ
Fig. 4 Case 3 - Promenade as a river flow- Tamara Bošković
Table 4 Assessing sustainability of multifunctional public open space case 3
4.5. Discussion
Presented design projects had different primary purposes and that was reflected in the
design at both area and detailed levels, as well as in their expected performance. Anyway they
all provided systemic view and manage to contribute to all aspects of urban sustainability.
The new analytical model enabled broad understanding of the conditions for sustainability
of each project, by revealing space, time, service and use dimensions of multifunctionality. It
also enabled critical review of different design approaches by simultaneously relating different
dimensions of their functionality to various aspects of sustainable development. As such it
helped identifying benefits but also shortcomings and critical issues of implementation of
certain urban design solutions from ecological, social or economic aspects. The opportunity to
simultaneously analyse the effects of design solutions on different aspects of sustainability is
important for their harmonization in order to achieve sustainable cities. Based on this, it is
possible to conclude that a new approach can help evaluation of design alternatives, but can
also serve as a platform for discussion on alternative futures between different stakeholders in
Multifunctional Public Open Spaces for Sustainable Cities: Concept and Application 217
the planning process, by revealing potential environmental, socio-cultural and economic
benefits as well as critical issues of their application.
5. CONCLUSIONS
Our analysis revealed that multifunctionality is a complex concept that can be understood
and applied based on its spatial, temporal, use and service dimensions. It is an important
concept for sustainable urban development that has being differently understood and
interpreted in different spatial disciplines, which makes its application difficult to assess and
manage in relation to different aspects of sustainable urban development.
In order to better balance ecological, socio-cultural and economic development goals and,
at the same time, enable creative and context specific approach to design of urban space, the
concept of multifunctionality needs to be integrated into the planning and design of public open
spaces in a relational and multidimensional way. This means that multifunctionality should be
understood as a feature that becomes value only when related to certain set of development
goals in specific context. At the same time, multifunctionality of public open space should be
perceived as multidimensional in order to better relate to various aspects of sustainable
development (ecological, socio-cultural, economic) and to contribute to their balance.
A new analytical framework, based on these principles and outlined in this paper, confirmed
to be adequate for reading, analysing and assessing the contribution of multifunctional public
open spaces to sustainable urban development, and applicable in different situations. Its
application was showcased in the context of modernist mass housing, and it should be further
tested in other urban development situations. Anyway, we suppose that this new approach has a
significant potential for application in the planning and design practice. It can be used for
evaluation of urban design alternatives in a rational or collaborative planning process, but also
as a basis for the future public open space planning and design projects that aim to balance
cultural and natural values in urban space. We hope, that understood in this way, planning and
design of multifunctional public open spaces can more fully contribute to the quality of life in
cities and be a factor of urban sustainability and resilience.
Acknowledgement. The paper is a part of the research done within the Project TP 36035: “Spatial,
Environmental, Energy and Social Aspects of Developing Settlements and Climate Change - Mutual
Impacts financed by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the
Republic of Serbia.
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Multifunctional Public Open Spaces for Sustainable Cities: Concept and Application 219
MULTIFUNKCIONALNI JAVNI OTVORENI PROSTORI
ZA ODRŽIVE GRADOVE: KONCEPT I PRIMENA
Ideja da je mutlifunkcionalnost otvorenih prostora važna za urbanu održivost se sve vise
naglašava u teoriji i sve češće primenjuje u praksi urbanog planiranja i dizajna. Pretpostavlja se
da multifunkcionalni prostori mogu da pruže širi spektar ekoloških, društvenih i ekonomskih
koristi. Međutim, sam concept multifunkcionalnosti nije dovoljno teoretski elaboriran. Dodatno,
različite akademske discipline konceptualizuju i koriste ovaj concept na različite načine. Usled
toga je otežana procena kako multifunkcionalni otvoreni prostori stvarno doprinose održivom
urbanom razvoju i kako ih razvijati sa tim ciljem. Ovim radom se, na osnovu pregleda literature,
analiziraju i porede načini konceptualizacije i primene koncepta multifunkcionalnosti prostora u
različitim displinama prostornog razvoja ( urbanističko planiranje i dizajn, pejzažno planiranje i
arhitektura) kako bi se razumele i uspostavile veze između različitih dimenzija multifunkcionalnosti
i očekivanih koristiod primene koncepta za održivi urbani razvoj. Na tim osnovama se definiše
nova relacijska i multidimenzionalna konceptualizacija (multi)funkcionalnosti javnih otvorenih
prostora kao analitički okvir za vrednovanje doprinosa projekata urbanog dizajna održivom
razvoju. Primena novog analitičkog okvira se demonstrira i diskutuje na primeru studentskih
projekata sa studija “Ekološki urbani dizajn” sa Univerziteta u Beogradu- Arhitektonskog fakultet,
kao vizija razvoja multifunkcionalnih javnih otvorenih prostora modernističkog kompleksa
“Savskih blokova” u Novom Beogradu u Srbiji.
Ključne reči: multifunkcionalnost, javni otvoreni proctori, održivi urbani razvoj, urbano planiranje
i dizajn
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... The concept of multifunctional spaces in urban planning has gained more considerations due to "functional-segregation" of modern urbanism and the tendency towards more sustainable cities. Through which, architects and designers have made different interpretations of functionality, not only considering activities but also taking into account symbolism, human emotions, spirituality of space and ecological functions [4]. Architects and designers have always had the tendency to enhance cognitive spatial experiences of urban environments using multifunctional spaces [1] but unfortunately, urban environments have space and functionality, economic and social related issues that normally cause uncontrolled and unexpected consequences such as noise pollution and noise disintegrations that affects human activity, human perception and cognitive experience of users [2] During early stages of planning urban environments, noise control is usually not considered and it is taken into account later on when issues related to noise occur [5]; mainly through hampering noise propagation by the use of sound barriers or reducing noise levels by introducing "healthy sound" masks. ...
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... Contemporary urban planning is under a strong influence of the sustainable development platform. This implies the involvement of economic, ecological, and social aspects in planning processes and management of urban space and urban land [1,2]. It is recommended that all aspects should be equally treated while initially analyzing urban space, while the hierarchy of the aspects (which could be different for different situations in the city) should be established in further elaborated urban strategies [3]. ...
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In this contribution we try to look at the new role for agriculture in rural areas by reviewing the concept of multifunctional agriculture as well as the analytical frameworks used. Next, we review the existing evidence about the multifunctional role of farming. Although not overwhelming, the existing literature shows that agriculture contributes to the rural wealth not only through the production of commodities, but also by the delivery of non-tradable goods. This contribution can be both direct through increased values for properties or economic benefits in the tourism sector, but also indirect through conservation of rural heritage or agri-ecological systems. Next we focus on how this role of agriculture can be stimulated. It is argued that multifunctionality can be a unifying principle to bring the productive and non-productive functions into harmony. This requires the development of new institutional arrangements and a major change in policy incentives.
MILU Guide: practitioners handbook for multifunctional intensive land use, MILU net -The Habiforum Fondation, Gouda
  • H Haccou
H. Haccou, et al, MILU Guide: practitioners handbook for multifunctional intensive land use, MILU net -The Habiforum Fondation, Gouda, 2007.