Ethics and Urban Design: Culture, Form, and Environment / Edition 1

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"The city," according to urban design scholar Gideon Golany, is"the largest and most complicated project ever produced byhumankind." In Ethics and Urban Design, he challenges designprofessionals to reexamine their basic assumptions about the urbanenvironment and offers design strategies based on enduring humanvalues. In search of answers to the paradoxical problems of themodern city, Golany takes the reader through the sweep of humansettlements from the dawn of civilization to the present. Hisauthoritative examination of the genesis of the city is illuminatedby instructive examples of early urban centers. Mesopotamia, theIndus River Valley, the Egyptian cities of the Nile, and thecapital cities of ancient China—all are examined in the lightof what made them work as major centers of human activity. WhatGolany finds in the success stories of the past are cohesivesociocultural values that shaped the design of homes,neighborhoods, and cities. These ethical values helped to maintainan equilibrium within the society that permeated its natural,social, and human-made environments. In the present era,conversely, he finds a major disconnection between human values andthe ethics of technology, which has resulted in confusion,imbalance, and dehumanization. To help designers gain a perspectiveon possible solutions, Golany explains leading comprehensive designstrategies, including the valley theory, the urban border zoneconcept, and the regional concept of Patrick Geddes. In the casestudy of contemporary Holland, he details what a small, denselypopulated country has been able to achieve through design planningrooted in environmental ethics. "Future Frontiers for UrbanDesign," the culminating section of this groundbreaking book, openswith Golany’s vision of the future city. He examines theissues of thermal performance and climate as they relate to urbandesign and offers the concept of "geospace"—theearth-enveloped habitat. Buttressing his presentation with detailedinformation on the mechanics of geospace, Golany describes casestudies of the successful use of earth-enveloped habitats in Chinaand Tunisia. He makes a powerful argument for the geospace city asa renewal of ancient traditions that can restore the vitalequilibrium between nature and human settlements that we seem tohave lost. Ethics and Urban Design is a distinguishedscholar’s analysis and prescription for the city; it offers anabundance of stimulating ideas for the architects, designers, andplanners who have assumed responsibility for its future.

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Editorial Reviews

Offers architects, designers, and planners an analysis of some fundamental issues of urban design and some practical options to help restore equilibrium to the natural, social, and built environments. Looks at the rise of cities; urban design strategies from Mesopotamia, the Indus River, and Egypt; modern successes in Europe, Asia, and Africa; the diversified use of underground space; and other topics. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471122746
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 8/1/1995
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 10.00 (w) x 7.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

GIDEON S. GOLANY is Distinguished Professor of Urban Design in the Department of Architecture at Pennsylvania State University and has taught at many universities throughout the world. Among his many honors and awards, Dr. Golany has been named an Honorary Professor of the China Academy of Sciences and a Foreign Director of the China Research Society of Ancient Architecture. He is a recipient of National Academy of Science and Fulbright Research awards. His numerous publications include Vernacular House Design and the Jewish Quarter in Baghdad; Chinese Earth-Sheltered Dwellings: Indigenous Lessons for Modern Urban Design; Design and Thermal Performance: Below-Ground Dwellings in China; and Earth-Sheltered Habitat: History, Architecture, and Urban Design.

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Table of Contents

Ethics of Environmental Design.


Genesis of the City.

Early Urban Centers: Mesopotamia, Indus Valley, Egypt, andChina.


Comprehensive Design.

Contemporary Comprehensive Design: The Case of Holland.


Urban Design Morphology and Thermal Performance.

Soil Thermal Performance and Geospace Design.

Geospace City Concept: A Renewal of Ancient Tradition.



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