Urban Planning and the Instruments of Planning
As city planning involves the provision of public and private spaces for the city’s inhabitants, thus changes in society and lifestyle naturally alter the texture of urban environments and methods of planning. Architects use plans to shape their ideas and constructions, while maps are created to document, represent and provide orientation.
The location, and the shape of public and private places in the urban texture, must necessarily therefore respond to several concerns: the local climate and environment, the materials available there, the needs of the community, the economy, and even military, and other symbolic representations of the society and its leaders. Modern urban planning was born in the 19th century and can be seen to have begun with the reshaping of Paris by Georges-Eugène Haussmann, who looked back to the architectural vocabulary of European Absolutist power in order to reflect the contemporary emerging hegemony of industry, trade, commerce and banking, and their trustees, the bourgeoisie. He created the new Paris on a grid pattern, with wide, open, axial boulevards, streets and squares, which were lined with majestic-looking public and private buildings. The new city plan, characterised by impressive public buildings and separate residential areas, reflected the constantly moving rhythm of life in the service of commerce and consumerism.
Haussmann’s work represents a turning point in European town planning and was also extremely influential in Arab and Ottoman city planning; however, city planning in Ottoman and Arab lands was also informed by the transmission of ideas of European architects and directives that came via Ottoman mediation.
Outline map of Damascus in 1918
See Database entry for this item
Indicating urban growth to the fin de siecle
Map made in 2005
Museum of Islamic Art at the Pergamon Museum, State Museums, Berlin, Germany
The map depicts different sections of the city according to diverse social, cultural, economic, public and private purposes.