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Spatial divisions of society
Sevilla Buitrago, Álvaro
Spatial divisions of society.
The encounter of architecture and urbanism with parcelisation is marked with the sign of a historical debt. Parcelisation is a tremendously powerful design tool. Architecture and urban planning attest to its capacity to shape sociospatial relations across a range of scales and contexts. From Renaissance palazzi to modernist slabs, from nation-wide agrarian reforms and Haussmann’s Paris to Christopher Alexander’s new theory of urban design and Michael Webb’s Suitaloon — most of the historical revolutions and experimental projects that have shaken these fields have relied, consciously or not, on a critique and restructuration of inherited divisions of land and space. The layout of parcel patterns has a series of implications including forms of property, the divide between private and public realms, the distribution of spatial contents and uses through zoning, typological decisions and so forth. The behaviour of any urban structure depends on the tissue of plots that configures the urban fabric and many of the challenges urban design faces today —complexity, urban vitality, social equality, etc.— hinge upon the forms of land division and distribution we adopt.
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