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Multifunctional public open spaces for sustainable cities: Concept and application

  • 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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Series: Architecture and Civil Engineering Vol. 17, No 2, 2019, pp. 205-219
© 2019 by University of Niš, Serbia | Creative Commons License: CC BY-NC-ND
UDC 711.4:502.131.1
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
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
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.
2.1. 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",
"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
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
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.
3.1. 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
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.
Table 1 Public open space multifunctionality in relation to aspects of sustainability
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
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).
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).
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.
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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u Srbiji (Creative strategies for sustainable urban development in Serbia) (pp. 123-157). Univresity of
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Sustainable landscape Development - The Case of the Vineyard Landscape at the Lake of Biel”, 2007.
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Multifunctional Public Open Spaces for Sustainable Cities: Concept and Application 219
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
... In the multifunctional public open space like the Azadi space, different functional characteristics act positively as a context for effectively boosting the engagement between users and the urban environment, such as safety and security, accessibility, walkability, social facilities and services, mixed land use, and so on. These public open spaces could serve as a locus of social interaction and correlate with different benefits, activities, and uses associated with psychological health [92,93]. ...
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The issues related to the urban environment and mental well-being have become increasingly important in recent decades. Although this association has been mainly investigated in developed countries, there is limited knowledge on whether similar results can be acquired in the urban environments of developing countries like Iran. This study intends to present a new dynamic and active approach to determine the environmental quality characteristics that influence the mental well-being of urban residents and to engage people to healthy urban public environments. In this respect, the research is directed by both qualitative and quantitative surveys in the public open spaces of Kermanshah, Iran. Firstly, the data are collected by Grounded Theory (GT) to identify significant environmental quality characteristics related to mental well-being by applying 24 semi-structured interviews. Secondly, the questionnaire survey based on Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) is applied to examine the association between each characteristic of the developed conceptual framework. The results reveal that the environmental quality characteristics of public open spaces, directly and indirectly, relate to users’ mental well-being. It should be noted that the public open spaces with unique functional and intrinsic features seem to have different impacts on mental well-being
... 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. ...
Conference Paper
The concept of enhancing cognitive spatial experiences in urban environments has always been a tempting idea for designers and architects who desire to reach this notion through the context of multi-functional and hybrid spaces and providing comfortable micro-climatic conditions [1]. Urban environments have the tendency of being noise polluted and contain noise disintegration that affects human activity, human perception and cognitive experience [2]; some phenomena which architects have endeavored to control using acoustic shells and surfaces. Previous researches have mostly focused on form finding of acoustically absorbent or diffusive shells to improve spatial user experiences, neglecting material tectonics. Acoustic diffusive or absorbent surfaces used in urban environments follow simple forms and shapes and researches done to this day mainly apply this simplicity due to fabrication and economical limitations. Thanks to emerging technologies computational design, fabrication and manufacturing of materials, architects nowadays are facing less limitations during the design and construction process [3]. This paper focuses on the material tectonics and diffusive surfaces and uses a kinetic pavilion designed for the Politechnique university of Milan as the case study. The pavilion provides shadow for students to study and relax and from a simple canopy, it becomes an acoustic shell by rotating around one axis to host open air music or cultural events. The form is optimized using Genetic Algorithm to maximize the average received diffused sound from different bandwidths on a specified rectangular space in front of the pavilion. Through controlling material tectonics, the global and local effects of acoustic diffusive surfaces on human experience in urban spaces is controlled. Computational design tools allowed the integration of complex yet optimized forms to control materialization of the project. Genesis of emergent urban spaces, acoustically enhanced, shows a significant potential of achieving new meanings through intelligent use of computational aided design tools and materialization.
... 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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This paper aims to establish a methodology for urban land use planning and management that provides an insight into the hierarchy of priorities between a large number of activities for planning actions, thus contributing to the concept of energy-efficient housing. This methodology includes three aspects of sustainable development: Economic, ecologic, and social, which serve as an overall criterion within which urban planners could make assessments of planned activities. The assessments are the core of the methodology—every aspect is assessed by concerning its costs, consequences on the urban environment, and the effects on the citizens’ quality of life. Ten experts were involved to prove the methodology’s effectiveness. As a result, a hierarchy between the activities is created, which would help an urban planner prioritize and order further activities. The applicability of the hierarchy was tested through a simulation of a reconstruction process of a collective housing area in New Belgrade, Serbia, from the view-point of land use and accessibility. This methodology contributes to the creation of the prioritized groups of activities, and a finalized hierarchy of the activities, while its application is seen in the process of making urban plans, and defining recommendations for its implementation.
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Rapid urban development and modernization in Makkah have led to an increase in urban infrastructure needs. The city of Makkah is a main destination for the global Islamic pilgrimage and is highly utilized for major infrastructure and building expansion including processes of densification. As a consequence of Hajj and Umrah activities, the city experiences a major annual upward trajectory of public space usage and solid waste production which caters to the needs of temporary activities targeted to foreign visitors. These circumstances lead to issues of inefficiencies in the management of public services in the city, particularly in the provision of public space and solid waste management for residents. Within this context, the aim of this paper is to understand the development of public space in Makkah and the level of services delivered to local residents based on residents’ perspectives on services provided in formal and informal settlements in Makkah. The study contributes to the gap in research on public space and waste handling in Makkah. Interviews addressing resident characteristics and public space with the quality of solid waste provision in Makkah are presented. An explanation of residents’ preferences for public space was also presented. At different times of the day, in the year 2018, the observations were carried out to identify usage patterns by the residents. The paper accomplishes this by presenting significant points for developments in community space and solid waste management.
One of the essential characteristics of the everyday architectural experience is that it is not comprised of static perception; it is dynamic, occurring through bodily movement. during this habitual experience change plays a crucial role. Interactions of people with their surroundings; built or natural, is what essentially encompasses a lifestyle. So, the relation between the encompassing physical environment and behaviour is deep-rooted and interwoven. Post-pandemic there is a change in perception of how we view our home. The aim of this study is to assess how a person’s perception of their residential environment has changed due to the lockdown. To assess the negative impacts of the pandemic/lockdown on the mental and physical well-being of people and explore the role of architecture in mitigating the negative impacts of lockdown and work from home. Propose change in spatial design approach in residences to optimise available space through multifunctional perspectives to increase adaptability and flexibility.
The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) intend to encourage liveable urban environments by 2030 with a main focus on strategies to achieve environmental and human well-being. In the same way, the multifunctionality principle of green infrastructure planning aims to develop and protect urban green spaces to provide several ecosystem services to increase human well-being whilst protecting the environment. With this in mind, this paper seeks to gather evidence on the nexus between multifunctionality and green infrastructure planning to achieve the SDGs within a South African context. The implementation of green infrastructure to this effect depends on creating awareness of different typologies of green infrastructure elements and the ecosystem services they provide to strengthen the implementation of the green infrastructure concept in urban planning practice. Within the aim of context-specific considerations to green infrastructure planning, green infrastructure typologies possible for implementation within a South Africa urban planning practice context are considerably more limited. A qualitative research approach is employed using case studies identifying specific examples to explore South African green infrastructure typologies and their multifunctionality. Different multifunctionality concepts are recognized by urban planners in South Africa. The research findings highlighted that multifunctionality achieved through green infrastructure planning should inform urban planning practice to promote the integration of ecological considerations. The paper ultimately provides a deeper insight into the expanding field of green infrastructure research in a South African context by underlining context-based multifunctional green infrastructure typologies and accordingly emphasizes, mainstreaming the ecosystem services concept as part of urban planning practice to address the SDGs locally.
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The development of New Belgrade, initiated in the post-war period, was based on the Modernist concept of urban structure. The planned central zone was never built, but the local community places, as urban hubs for meeting and gathering, have been developed within the initially conceived open public spaces. Considering their importance for establishing and strengthening local communities, the article focuses on the development tendencies detected in emerging urban hubs of the residential Blocks 37 and 38. Unlike many other blocks of New Belgrade, which have been exposed to drastic changes of their original Modernist structure, their authentic setting have remained mostly intact since their construction in the 1970s. Therefore, they are selected as the examples of a new process of community planning which has followed the activities of place making. Triggered both by the changed patterns of use and the specificities of original spatial features, these changes also influence the local neighborhood while shifting the perception of the previously neglected open public spaces. The emerging hubs are analyzed on the level of networks, configuration and places, providing an insight into ongoing transformation of both the space and the local community.
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Los sistemas de urbanismo necesitan abrir espacio a movimientos sociales que objetan la planificación urbana desde una perspectiva dominada por la lógica del mercado. La adopción de un modelo alternativo de desarrollo sostenible que tome en cuenta factores económicos, sociales y ecológicos requiere la incorporación de nuevos actores como los Movimientos Sociales Urbanos. Desde esta perspectiva, el desarrollo urbano se beneficia de una mejor identificación de los problemas a partir de métodos que proporcionen una visión más detallada sobre el papel de los Movimientos Sociales Urbanos en el diseño de ciudades y su capacidad para influir en la planificación urbana. Se utiliza el proceso de construcción de escenarios de la Escuela Francesa “la prospective” (Amer, Daim y Jetter, 2013) al desarrollar ejercicios participativos de análisis de actores, análisis estructural y la construcción de escenarios probabilizados para llegar a la construcción de un escenario normativo. Los resultados muestran la importancia de la prospectiva estratégica como método útil para construir consensos entre actores con intereses distintos, lograr un lenguaje común e identificar acciones a partir de una visión sistémica. La metodología permitió identificar las variables críticas, así como las divergencias y sinergias que afectan el fenómeno.
The lack of open spaces in urban areas, associated with degraded river environments aggravates one of the main problems faced by cities nowadays: flood risk. This study aims to contribute to the sustainable management of cities by recognizing land as an important finite resource and emphasizing the importance of land use planning in designing resilient cities. The combination of an open space system with urban drainage solutions in multifunctional arrangements can provide a safer setting, better able to structure urban growth. This discussion is supported by an assessment framework that comprises historical analysis, mathematical modeling and estimation of the expected annual damage, in a case study applied to the Canal do Mangue (Mangue Channel) watershed in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Three scenarios were built to support the analyses. The first scenario refers to the current situation while the second corresponds to an official proposal of the municipal government to mitigate floods. Finally, the third scenario corresponds to a hypothetical alternative historic growth, from the start of the nineteenth century, assuming that urbanization was based on orderly land use planning, driven by the drainage network interacting with the urban open spaces as a planning structure axis. The results indicate that planning land use and urban development in advance while recognizing water dynamics and natural limitations, can produce better responses in terms of avoiding flood damages than adopting mitigation actions after development of water spaces and stressing land resources. The possible structural mitigation measures face limited space constraints. Therefore, the actions represented in Scenario 3 can configure a set of guidelines that can help growing cities to develop more sustainably.
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The construction of culture as a class of ecosystem service presents a significant test of the holistic ambitions of an ecosystems approach to decision making. In this paper we explore the theoretical challenges arising from efforts to understand ecosystems as objects of cultural concern and consider the operational complexities associated with understanding how, and with what consequences, knowledge about cultural ecosystem services are created, communicated and accounted for in real world decision making. We specifically forward and develop a conceptual framework for understanding cultural ecosystem services and related benefits in terms of the environmental spaces and cultural practices that arise from interactions between humans and ecosystems. The types of knowledge, and approaches to knowledge production, presumed by this relational, non-linear and place-based perspective on cultural ecosystem services are discussed and reviewed. The framework not only helps navigate more fully the challenge of operationalising ‘cultural ecosystem services’ but points to a more relational understanding of the ecosystem services framework as a whole. Extending and refining understanding through more ambitious engagements in interdisciplinarity remains important.
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Places of globalisation often turn out to be mono functional places. Airports, shopping malls and business districts seem to evolve towards privatised, controlled and regulated spaces. As a possible counterforce, the normative planning concept of multiple intensive land use is introduced in this paper: planning to create integrated spaces with a mixture of uses. The case study is the Amsterdam Zuidas. This location, at the fringe of Amsterdam around a major transportation hub and close to the international airport, provided excellent conditions for prime office developments in the last years. However, the ambition of the city of Amsterdam is to strive for a mixed -use program at the site, reflected by a combination of uses (offices, housing, culture, retail). This paper presents a theoretical framework to study practices of interaction around the Zuidas project and two other case studies, the Forum 2004 project in Barcelona and the Ørestad project in Copenhagen. It will state that without norms that help converging the action of individual actors into integrated projects, ambitions for multiple intensive land use will fail in practice. Norms and their evolving character are crucial to understand how a promising concept of multiple intensive land use can be embedded in practices. This topic is part of a PhD research project that I am currently conducting at the University of Amsterdam. This study applies an institutional framework to investigate how norms - that structurally influence orientations of actors in practices - hamper or promote the concept of multiple intensive land use. It shows how innovative practices can influence norms to realize a successful application of the concept.
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A recent planning device aimed at dealing with land scarcity is the propagation of multifunctional land use. This paper describes the evolution of urban planning concepts and their links to economic theory. We argue that the most distinctive feature of multifunctional land use is its emphasis on return to diversity. This concept is rooted in the modern economic theory of agglomeration. Empirical evidence is shown to provide some support for the quantitative relevance of return to diversity, but is still to a large extent in its infancy. More evidence is required for policy purposes aimed at identifying the optimal extent to which multifunctional land use projects have to be pursued.
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During the last few decades mixed-use development has become an important planning paradigm in various European and North American cities. However, the concept of mixed-use is ambiguous in both theory and practice. In this paper a typology of mixed-use developments is revealed to identify its major components. This typology is then applied to the case study area Eastern Docklands in Amsterdam which is a major urban transformation area in which the concept of mixed-use development has been implemented. It is concluded that in this area there is a good deal of mixing between housing and employment, but it is still unclear whether the strategic goals are reached.
Full-text available
In this paper, we define measures of urban diversity, density and segregation using new data and software systems based on GIS. These allow us to visualise the meaning of the multifunctional city. We begin with a discussion of how cities have become more segregated in their land uses and activities during the last 200 years and how the current focus is on reversing this trend through limiting urban sprawl and bringing new life back to the inner and central city. We define various indices which show how diversity and density manifest themselves spatially. We argue that multifunctionalism is a relative concept, dependent upon the spatial and temporal scale that we use to think about the mixing and concentration of urban land uses. We present three examples using spatially smoothed indicators of diversity: for a world city – London, for a highly controlled polycentric urban region – Randstad Holland, and for a much more diffusely populated semi-urban region – Venice-Padua-Teviso. We conclude by illustrating that urban diversity varies as people engage in different activities associated with different land uses throughout the day, as well as through the vertical, third dimension of the city. This impresses the point that we need to understand multifunctional cities in all their dimensions of space and time.
This chapter focuses on the issues in current city planning and rebuilding. It describes the principles and aims that have shaped modern, orthodox city planning and rebuilding. The chapter shows how cities work in real life, because this is the only way to learn what principles of planning and what practices in rebuilding can promote social and economic vitality in cities, and what practices and principles will deaden these attributes. In trying to explain the underlying order of cities, the author uses a preponderance of examples from New York. The most important thread of influence starts, more or less, with Ebenezer Howard, an English court reporter for whom planning was an avocation. Howard's influence on American city planning converged on the city from two directions: from town and regional planners on the one hand, and from architects on the other.
In a time of great agricultural and rural change, the notion of 'multifunctionality' has remained under-theorized and poorly linked to wider debates in the social sciences. This book analyses the extent to which the proposed transition towards post-productivist agriculture holds up to scientific scrutiny, and proposes a modified productivist/non-productivist model that better encapsulates the complexity of agricultural and rural change. By combining existing notions and concepts, this book (re)conceptualizes agricultural change, creating a new transition theory, and a new way of looking at the future of agriculture.
Indicators to assess sustainable land development often focus on either economic or ecologic aspects of landscape use. The concept of multifunctional land use helps merging those two focuses by emphasising on the rule that economic action is per se accompanied by ecological utility: commodity outputs (CO, e.g., yields) are paid for on the market, but non-commodity outputs (NCO, e.g., landscape aesthetics) so far are public goods with no markets.Agricultural production schemes often provided both outputs by joint production, but with technical progress under prevailing economic pressure, joint production increasingly vanishes by decoupling of commodity from non-commodity production.Simultaneously, by public and political awareness of these shortcomings, there appears a societal need or even demand for some non-commodity outputs of land use, which induces a market potential, and thus, shift towards the status of a commodity outputs.An approach is presented to merge both types of output by defining an indicator of social utility (SUMLU): production schemes are considered with respect to social utility of both commodity and non-commodity outputs. Social utility in this sense includes environmental and economic services as long as society expresses a demand for them. For each combination of parameters at specific frame conditions (e.g., soil and climate properties of a landscape) a production possibility curve can reflect trade-offs between commodity and non-commodity outputs. On each production possibility curve a welfare optimum can be identified expressing the highest achievable value of social utility as a trade-off between CO and NCO production.When applying more parameters, a cluster of welfare optimums is generated. Those clusters can be used for assessing production schemes with respect to sustainable land development.Examples of production possibility functions are given on easy applicable parameters (nitrogen leaching versus gross margin) and on more complex ones (biotic integrity).Social utility, thus allows to evaluate sustainability of land development in a cross-sectoral approach with respect to multifunctionality.
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.