What is Urban Architecture?

If you live in a town or city, you’ll see urban architecture at every turn. One of the primary ideas behind urban architecture is to maximise urban spaces and make them inherently better, whether that space is to be used for recreational and leisure activities, commercial or domestic use, or just as a space of art and culture. Modern architecture and urban architecture continues to involve in an innovative way, and it is so much more than just the high-rise buildings and skyscrapers that we see in the business districts of the biggest towns and cities across the world. Urban architecture is exciting, functional. Sustainable and offers us a route to maximise space in urban environments where space is always scarce.

For those of you reading this who live in big towns and cities, you’ll be familiar with urban architecture and what it actually means and how it functions. For most urban architects the main goal of any project isn’t to design a structure or a building that is just iconic and serves only offer ‘eye-candy’ to the existing skyline of that town or city. Instead, there is always a genuine desire for urban architecture to serve a real purpose of benefiting society and to improve the space around it.

With space so scarce in city environments and the cost of land at a premium, urban architecture has had to respond to this (and climate change and the desire for sustainable cities) with an approach of repurposing structures and buildings and re-utilising land without impacting negatively on the existing communities and frameworks in place. This can be difficult, especially when you consider the political machinations and bureaucratic red tape that is associated with the complex planning processes in many urban environments.

Of course, urban architecture has to look good and bring a smile to the faces of residents and all who see it, but the importance is weighted more in the direction of its relevant benefits to the society and the positive impact it can have. Bringing little bits of joy to urban spaces is a great way to boost the morale of residents and to make communities feel a part of the greater city. This can be seen in garden architecture in big city environments, bringing warmth and joy and a reason for residents to get involved with local urban architecture, rather than it just be something that is looked at from afar. This holistic approach to the development of urban architecture is a positive step.

Over the coming years urban architecture will continue to evolve at break-neck speed. There is still the need for greater levels of sustainability within urban environments, as we all need to look after the planet better if we are to stop mankind reaching the point of no return. On top of that, 2020 has taught us about the importance of functional architecture that can be used to help implement stringent measures of social distancing when required and urban architecture will have no choice but to explore this in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is an interesting time for sure, and our urban architecture could look very different in 10 years’ time than we anticipated, as a result.