Thursday, May 29, 2008

Planning 3 Module 2: Ekistics

Human settlements are no longer satisfactory for their inhabitants…
�economically speaking
- don’t have the means to satisfy their basic needs
- remain homeless or live in houses of very low quality
�social point of view
- man appears to be lost in the big cities
- feels abandoned by progress in many small towns/villages
�political level
- new types of societies and new types of people have not found their corresponding political institution.
�technical point of view
- most settlements don’t have the facilities indispensable to their proper functioning in spite of the technological achievements
- the ugliness of human settlements around

creating better conditions for tomorrow can be understood better if we look into the different elements of the human settlements…

Human Settlements & their Elements

Human settlements are settlements inhabited by man. Human settlements should satisfy man.
Human settlements consist of:
a. the CONTENT (man, alone or in societies)
b. the CONTAINER (or the physical settlement, which consists both natural and man-made or artificial elements)

When taken together make up the human settlement whose largest possible dimensions are defined by the geographic limits of the earths surface.

The total surface of the Earth:
�the largest possible container of man
�the whole cosmos of man
�the cosmos of the anthropos
�the anthropocosmos

Such definition of human settlement implies that it is not merely 3-dimensional but 4-dimensional. . .
- man & society change continuously and by so doing, create functions which unlike shells (which can be conceived in 3-dimensional terms) require a fourth dimension ---TIME in order to be carried out
- a 3-dimensional conception of a settlement is very like a film which suddenly stops and arrest all the figures in their movements. A still photograph of a building looks real only if there are no human figures in the pictures; if people have been arrested in the process of walking in front of the building, then the picture is frozen, unreal.

A human settlement needs both categories of elements in order to come into existence…
� man alone or in groups, if not settled anywhere cannot be said to form a settlement or even a part of one.
� once he does settle somewhere even temporary, we have a temporary, elementary settlement in which a pattern of relationship between man and his container comes into existence for a certain period of time (one day, many days, or one season) regardless of whether the container is a natural one ( a cave) or man-made (tent or a building).

Nature alone, without man, cannot be said to form a settlement or even a container, since it has no human content…
� a man-made settlement is only the corpse or the abandoned shell of a settlement, which must be considered dead as in any other corpse.
� some people call dead settlement a “settlement” but this is no more correct calling the shell of a snail a snail.
� term is used in many such cases for reasons of simplicity, but this is not accurate and should be used with care to avoid confusion.

2 basic elements of human settlements (Doxiadis)
This can be further subdivided into 5 categories (in hierarchical order)
(Container)� NATURE – providing the foundation upon which the settlement is created and the frame within it can function
(Content)� MAN – an individual, Homo Sapiens
- biological needs (oxygen, nutrition)
- sensation and perception (5 senses)
- emotional needs (satisfaction, security, sense of belonging)
- moral values
(Content)� SOCIETY – a group of individuals sharing the same culture, values, norms, and traditions
(Container)� SHELLS or the structures within which man lives and carries out his different functions, the built component.
(Container)� NETWORKS or the natural and man-made system which facilitate the functioning of the settlement, or links within the settlement, roads, communications systems, utilities, etc.

Hierarchy of human settlements…
� a hamlet, a neighborhood, a small village
� a community, a town
� a city, an urban area
� a metropolis
� a conurbation – a composite of cities, metropolises, urban areas
� a megalopolis – merging of two or more metropolises with a population of 10M or more; a 20th century phenomenon (Megalopolis - concept coined by Jean Gottmann for urban complexes in the Northeastern United States.)

… a hierarchy of settlements is characterized by a few large cities, some medium-sized cities, and many small settlements.

go to Module 3:

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