Quality Conference location:Cardiff date:4-6 July 2007
Rapid urbanization and regeneration of city areas has placed the quality of urban design high on public agendas worldwide. Hence a basic question: how to deal with the condition of a diversity of actors and multiplicity of opinions and values within the context of enhancing the quality of public space?
The paper deals with two related aspects of this question and looks for critical success factors.
First, how to generate fruitful discussions about the quality of public spaces? Which (kind of) speech acts are e.g. able to transmit ideas and feelings about quality in such a way that stakeholders come to real mutual understanding?
Second, what (kind of) tools can help to ‘formalize’ decisions about agreed qualities into design specifications and transmit them in a reliable way throughout the whole process of a project?
The conclusions are based on a series of innovative workshops. Regarding the questions mentioned two important variables were used:
- a first version of a ‘language for quality’, the hypothesis being it could help to stimulate participation and to foster spatial quality;
- research by design as a technique/tool during the program phase, the hypothesis being this could enrich the product and the process.
Key findings are:
- a clear understanding of the relationships between the different phases of the realization of projects is crucial;
- a ‘language for quality’ needs to contain words as well as images;
- designerly research contributes in a decisive way to the definition of design specifications.
The paper is relevant for planning practice in terms of: workshop as format, indications for a ‘language for quality’, added value of research by design. Scholarships will find new research questions, mainly related to developing tools to communicate about quality, e.g. indicators. Education could find inspiration in the approach.