The Grid: How Relevant Is It Today

Guendoussi, Ahmed (1986) The Grid: How Relevant Is It Today. Master of Architecture thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The aim of this dissertation is to examine the relevance of the grid today. The grid, "oldest known urban regulator" (l), has been the most important urban feature for many of our cities. It has not been a natural or arbitary gesture but a human decision to achieve certain goals and to satisfy certain needs. This makes the difference between a grid city and a non grid city. The grid city was planned and developed according to pre-determinated means. Changes occurred on Societies and were reflected on the urban environment. Because the most dramatic changes occurred after cities' urban patternshad been laid out; their original Efficiency has been reduced and could no longer cope with the new pressures. However, this work is an attempt to examine the relevance of the grid for today in both cases: existing and new situations. The grid, as an intellectual device with long tradition in the art of city design, has been chosen by the speculator, the pioneer, the military man and the colonial to develop urban settlement. The first chapter is an historical examination to understand how and why the grid was used as space control development. It also gives an idea about the spirit of the age in which a grid was adopted. A typical example from each historical period illustrates the philosophy of urban planning and gives the reasons which dictated the use of the grid layout and its advantages. By this historical analysis, I find out whether there has been continuity throughout the history of the grid in using the same reasons. At the end of this chapter there is a summary of the advantages for using the grid and their relevance for today. The second chapter is an attempt to examine the relevance of the grid for today based on comparative analysis between three nineteenth century grid developments: Barcelona, in the South of Europe, Glasgow in the North and Chicago in America. The three cities were great commercial and industrial centres where changes of the last century occurred and affected strongly the grid pattern. By examining them, suggestions will be made to the problems arisen and affecting the grid's efficiency. A fourth city - Milton Keynes - which represents the latest grid development will be examined in order to show whether its plan has recognized these changes, was a response to what makes the existing cities do not work and how it did take into consideration these problems. The third chapter is an Urban design analysis which examines the urban qualities of the grid. The grid has been challenged and criticized for its urban fabric. Glasgow would be a unique example of argue with due to its interesting townscape. Finally, this piece of work ends by recommendations which should characterize a relevant grid especially for a future development. There will be also some proposals in urban design in an attempt to solve some of the gaps of the grid in existing cities.

Item Type: Thesis (Master of Architecture)
Qualification Level: Masters
Keywords: Architecture, Urban planning
Date of Award: 1986
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1986-77462
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2020 11:53
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2020 11:53

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