Urban Nature - Introduction

The working title for my thesis is: 'Urban Nature - The Living Edge.'

The title might make you think I am in the landscape, city planning, or urban design department rather then the "design in architectural context" department.

[As a side note on this, whenever I try to explain what my department is and what we do there, I generally get confused, blank stares. It's hard to explain only because we don't focus on buildings, though small buildings or interiors may well come into play. That apparently sounds very strange to people who associate architecture with buildings; all I can really say is that we focus on architectural interaction at the human scale.]

I am not in the landscape/urbanism department, however, and with very good reason. While I think it is important to look at urban design from a systems point of view (considering many factors at a large scale--like traffic flows, water runoff, paths and lighting, etc.), I believe that my department has an extremely valuable viewpoint in zooming straight into the perspective of people.

Ulrik Neilsen from Gehl Architects gave a short lecture last semester about the approach of their office, which is people-based. He pointed out that pedestrians are basically invisible in the urban planning process. There is lots of data on vehicular traffic, but almost no data on pedestrians. There is no such thing as a 'department for public life', but plenty of departments for transportation, parking, highways, inner city traffic, etc....

So allow me to define a few of my primary actors:

Human: an upright, walking being with a groundspeed of approximately 3 km/h. Engages 5 senses but 75% of all impressions are through eyesight, experienced from an average height of 1.65m. Requires stimulus at a rate of 1000 stimulus/hour to prevent boredom.

For purposes of this project, Humans shall be divided into categories as follows:

Runners: Similar to above but with an average groundspeed of about 8 km/h. Primary use of sight and sound while engaged in running; sensitive to extreme heat and cold but moreso to heat. Can be spotted by expensive neon-reflective clothing.

Bikers: Human mounted on a two or three-wheeled transportation apparatus that enables speeds of between 10-20 km/h in typical city biking conditions. Motion is created through peddling. Three-wheeled bikes often used by Family Units. Two-wheeled units are skilled at weaving through other Humans and Runners with the assistance of a bell.

Family Units: Groups of Humans connected through partnership or DNA and often found travelling together. Family units often consist of parents with children (shorter, undeveloped versions of Humans) and transport themselves in several ways. If the child is severely undeveloped, it may be pushed around in a children's S.U.V. (called 'prams' in Denmark) by it's mother or father. If the child is more developed, it is often seen inside a three-wheeled bike with one of its parents. At a certain point, the child is deemed developed enough to walk on its own or bike in tandem with a parent.

Waterfowl: feathered, flying game including primarily ducks, geese, and swans. The term may include saltwater shorebirds, waders, gulls, pelicans, and herons. Small to large bodies with variable wingspan. Reproduce through laying eggs.