City as a Canvas: Thoughtful Reflection
“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.” — Abraham Maslow.
When I reflect on 2023, I can say that it was a year full of major choices that changed my life. Moving to Newcastle to pursue my master’s degree in urban design was one of my primary goals. Never have I been happier with a choice. Living in a new country has taught me how to be more independent and has been a great learning opportunity. Above all, it has taught me of how to make use of my strengths and overcome my weaknesses.
Understanding that Urban design is the process of reshaping a community’s physical layout while taking into account a wide range of objectives and needs through a clear inclusive decision-making process is a big take away. Urban design addresses the practical and aesthetic qualities of the physical environment at a variety of dimensions, from the individual streetscape, park, or block to the larger community, city, or region. It does this by combining the techniques of architecture, planning, and landscape architecture.
Figure 1: Area around the town wall during dusk. Shot by Nishita Valli Patti Nataraj.
Journey so far
Urban design so far has been very exciting yet challenging. Designing for people and their needs is very intriguing. To be empathetic towards the users of these spaces that we design, is a key skill. During the course, we were exposed to various tasks and had an immense opportunity to engage with some esteemed artists and architects who shared a lot of their insights with us. This helped us to understand the ground reality of the area we were documenting. A hands on learning experience allowed us to understand different perspectives of each scenario. This in turn allowed us to sensibly design in urban spaces and helped us bring out the best of what the site offered. Above all this helped me personally understand how urban areas play a major role in public’s everyday life. It is a highly liable task to cater to citizens needs, in terms of design.
Tools to Express Design
Multiple tools were used to express our thoughts. One of the means by which we explored our thoughts was through the blog. This allowed us to get a deeper understanding into real life precedents and exposed us to various designers who have generated few explicit designs. Therefore, This allowed us to explore Urban design in various dimensions and gave us a chance to understand the stakeholders in a better way. This is something that was an entirely new experience for me personally and enjoyed it thuroughly.
Looking forward to whats’ next
I have adapted to the new lifestyle slowly and starting to understand the do’s and dont’s of designing in public places. One of the main ways to do that is to feel a sense of belonging in a region that we are designing for. Having conversations and trying to engage with localites really gives us a lot of insights to the place. This helps us to develop a sense of the place allowing us to interact with the spatiality of the area.
Figure 2: Ariel view of the Collab corridor, Design Studio.