Apology for Architecture, or the Planner's Craft

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Desert Research 163 subjecting them to the actual climatic conditions of the Negev. By using this unconventional research tool, we have identifi ed patterns in the design-climate relationship that are of practical use to urban designers. Stated in the form of a very general recommendation, it could be argued that neighborhood scale planning should strive to create a 'selective' urban fabric — recognizing that the value of a 'compact' street geometry depends, for example, on the axis orientation of the street in question. When walking along a street that runs north-south, a pedestrian is likely to benefi t from higher walls and closer spacing during most hours of a hot summer day, because the effect of deep shading is so dominant in the overall energy balance. As the direction of the street changes, though, the balance between the direct and indirect effects of the sun, along with effectiveness of ventilation due to changing wind patterns, is altered as well — so that for an east-west oriented street axis, the advantage of compactness becomes negligible. In fact, there is good reason to widen the spacing between buildings on the opposite sides of such a street, because — as in Neve-Zin— it can facilitate solar access to their south-facing windows, and thereby contribute to energy-effi ciency on an urban scale. Obviously there is much more to successful and humane urban design in the desert than these simple relationships. The infl uences of vegetation, building materials, and heat-generating activities in a dense urban setting, and peoples' subjective perceptions of comfort and their related patterns of behavior are but a few aspects of the larger question. But the use of systematic methods can, and is continuing to, contribute to our understanding the basic realities of the desert climate — knowledge which, when applied together with wisdom, can benefi t future desert dwellers and builders.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Desert Experience in Israel. Communities, Arts, Science, and Education in the Negev
EditorsPaul A. Hare, Gideon M. Kressel
PublisherUniversity Press of America
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)978-0-7618-4840-0
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2009


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