Design Ordering Systems

Economic Environmental Cultural

Functional Aesthetic









Design Ordering Systems: during the past twenty years of practice in urban design, we have developed a detailed series of methodologies whereby the relative merit of our design and planning ideas are evaluated according to five different ordering systems that we have developed and have come to trust over the years: function, environment, economic, aesthetic and socio-cultural. These ordering systems are a form of checklist firmly embedded in our process, and we believe that an idea's relevance and usefulness increases according to the number of different systems that it engages. For instance, an idea that concerns itself with only aesthetic-born issues is not as useful as an idea that fully engages not only image, but also explores social, economic, and environmental issues as well. A park with flowers is fine, but a park with flowers that also promotes meaningful social interaction, increases adjacent land values, mitigates erosion and promotes urban water harvesting as it winds its way through an urban fabric is a richer, more layered and therefore more useful concept.

We use these systems as a means of authenticating the relevance of our ideas. Our solutions must be comprehensive, multi-layered and interconnected to effectively satisfy the complex range of determinants of design that are inevitably present in all urban environments. 

I will now discuss how the landscape architecture solutions can improve the urban fabric within each of these management systems.