Open Journal of Civil Engineering

Volume 8, Issue 2 (June 2018)

ISSN Print: 2164-3164   ISSN Online: 2164-3172

Google-based Impact Factor: 0.92  Citations  

An Integrative Socio-Technical Enterprise Approach to Urban Design/Planning for Sustainable Development

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DOI: 10.4236/ojce.2018.82015    522 Downloads   1,178 Views  


Human society locally and globally needs to better understand and respond to ever-more complex, interwoven problems: environmental degradation; climate instability; persistent poverty; disparities in human health; growing income/wealth inequality; economies and infrastructures vulnerable to climate shock; and mounting socio-political unrest. Cities are where most people live, urbanization is a strong upward global trend, and cities bring all these problems into sharp, compelling focus. Since outcomes stem from processes and systems, we argue transformative changes depend on re-imagining the Urban Design, Urban Planning and Urban Development Practice (UD/UP/UDP) process. While there has been insufficient attention to process innovation— with technological aspects tending to dominate UD/UP/UDP work—emerging systems views of cities, and disenchantment with existing modes are enabling. We propose an empirically based integrative frame to tackle recognized conundrums, and inform an adaptive UD/UP/UDP process—from concept through design, assessment, planning, implementation, project functioning and monitoring. The frame contemplates six domains (6-D): 1) Project ethos, concept, and framing; 2) sectors, topics, and issues; 3) Varying spatial and temporal scales; 4) Stakeholder interests, relationships and capacities; 5) Knowledge types, modes and methods; and 6) Socio-technical capacities and networks. The frame, process and outcomes constitute a socio-technical enterprise (STE) approach to UD/UP/UDP work, with implications for education, training, and professional practice. We highlight the pivotal role Integrators and Universities play, and the scalability of STE knowledge/capacity networks. The case of Greater Mexico City/Central Mexico Urban Region illustrates the utility of the approach in a hyper-complex, climate-change vulnerable regional context.

Cite this paper

Downs, T.J. (2018) An Integrative Socio-Technical Enterprise Approach to Urban Design/Planning for Sustainable Development. Open Journal of Civil Engineering, 8, 183-204. doi: 10.4236/ojce.2018.82015.

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