No 5 (2012)

CItyMaker. Designing Grammars for Urban Design

The research was developed within the framework of a research project called City Induction (Duarte et al., 2012). The goal of the project is the integration of design support tools to formulate, generate and evaluate urban designs. This thesis focuses on the development of generation tools for urban design, corresponding to the more design-oriented component of City Induction. It defines the theoretical model for an urban design tool called CItyMaker and presents two prototype implementations as proof of concept. As such, urban designers will find the main contributions of this thesis in the discussion of design methods and conceptual tools to support an efficient, flexible, interactive, and responsive urban design process. Although integrated into the research, all the methods and tools developed in this thesis were designed to be autonomous, that is, to work and be used independently of the other City Induction modules.This thesis is aimed at two different types of readers: those interested in shape grammars and those interested in urban design. The former will find extensive and detailed concepts that address (urban) design synthesis using shape grammars for design exploration. The latter will find the conceptual basis for the development of generative design tools for urban design. It encompasses a design method using design tools based on shape and description grammars as the generative formalism.

For those interested in shape grammars the thesis may represent a step forward towards a more extensive use of the generative properties of shape grammars in urban design. In particular, a method has been developed to implement shape grammarbased codes embedding a conventional reflective design method. From the point of view of the urban designer, the thesis will provide a design method for urban design and a supporting generative tool with an interactive and responsive working environment. The approach shown here is responsible for creating an environment which enhances awareness of the effects of design decisions throughout a progressively evolving urban design process.

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PhD thesis

José Beirão