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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments

Questioning the traditional boundaries between cities, suburbs, countryside and wilderness, this issue of AD explores emergent types of public space in low-density environments. It describes this new form of urbanism: decentralised, in a constant process of expansion and contraction, not homogenous or necessarily low-rise, nor guided by one mode of development, typology or pattern.

While functionally and programmatically dispersed, settlements operate as a form of urbanism; the place of collective spaces within them has yet to be defined and articulated. The physical transformation of the built environment on the one hand, and the change in our notion of the public on the other – due to globalisation, privatisation and segregation – call for renewed interpretations of the nature and character of public space. The concept of public space needs to be examined: replaced, re-created or adapted to fit these conditions. What is the place of the public in this form of urbanism, and how can architecture address the notion of common, collective spaces? What is the current sociopolitical role o such spaces? How does the form and use of these spaces reflect the conception of the public as a political (or non-political) body? And can architecture regain an active role in formulating the notion of the collective? These and other issues are addressed through essays, research projects and built work by distinguished writers such as Bruce Robbins, Albert Pope and Alex Wall, and Practitioners including Zvi Hecker, Vito Acconci, MUTOPIA, Manuel de Sola-Morales, Martha Rosler and Manuel Vicente in a search for new collective architectures within the dispersed city.


This issue of Architectural Design focuses on ways in which urban sprawl – areas of unstructured development with constantly expanding low-density housing – can be redesigned and rethought by interventions from architects and urban designers. Looking particularly at the issue of public place and the way that collective space can be redefined and articulated, this highly topical issue responds to the need for architectural design to engage in social issues and existing urban forms rather than attempting to create idealized conditions or merely iconic buildings.

Table of Contents

Editorial (Helen Castle)

Introduction: Urbanism Without Density (Rafi Segala and Els Verbakel)

The Public and the V2 (Bruce Robbins)

Terminal Distribution (Albert Pope)

Public Lifestyle in the Low-Density City (Alex Wall)

Old Dispersion and Scenes fro the Production of Public Space The Constructive Margins of Secondarity (Bruno De Meulder)

Walter and Asphalt

The Project of Isotropy in the Metropolitan Region of Venice (Paola Vigano)

Intermittent Cities.

On Waiting Spaces and How to Inhabit Transforming Cities (Claudia Faraone and Andrea Sarti)

String Block Vs. Superblock Patterns of Dispersal in Chain (Kjersti Monson)

In Our Beautiful Future (Martha Rosler)

Archipelago of the Negev Dessert A Temporal/Collective Plan for Beer Sheva, Israel (Refi Segal)

Peripheral Landscapes, El  Caracol, Mexico City (Jose Castillo)

Urban Voids: Grounds for Change.

Reimagining Philadelphia’s Vacant Lands (Deenah Loeb)

Urban [IM]plants.

Tactics for Recombining Landscape and Collective Space in Bonheiden, Belgium (Ells Verakel and Elie Derman)

User-Focused Public Space (m)Utopia in Denmark (Serban Cornea)

Royal Dutch Military Police Campus.

Zvi Hecker’s Landscape Urbanism (Rafi Segal)

Ville-Port, Saint-Nazaire.

The Historic Periphery (Manuel de Sola-Morales)

Nam Van Square, Macau (Manuel Vicente)

Mur Island, Graz, Austria (Vito Acconci)


Architecture and Dispersal (Rafi Segal and Els Vervakel with Stan Allen, Marcel Smets, Sarah Whiting and Margaret Crawford)

Interior Eye.

Reinvigorating Childhood (Howard Watson)

Practice Profile.

Kieran Timberlake Associates (Jayne Merkel)


Natural Methods of Interaction Or Natural Interaction in the Everyday Digital World (Valentian Croci)

Spiller’s Bits Putting the ‘I’ back into Architecture (Neil Spiller)

Unit Factor.

Radical Interface AA New Media Research Initiative (Joel Newman, Theodore Spyropoulos and Vasillis Stroumpakos)

Yeang’s Eco-Files.

On Green Design (Part 3) The Basic Premises for Green Design (Ken Yeang)

McLean’s Nuggets (Will McLean)

Product Details

Trade Paperback
Publication date:
Academy Press
Series info:
Architectural Design
3.7 mm
Architectural Design
Number of Units:
Copyright Year:
UPC Code:
Els Verbakel
Rafi Segal
General Architecture
architectural design, urban sprawl, urban design, renovation
Urban sprawl
Architecture Special Topics
Urban Design


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