Roadform & Townscape (1992) – Jim McCluskey

Roadform & Townscape (1992)

Lately my research interest is topics about townscape design. And I find a great book entitled Road form & Townscape second edition written by Jim McCluskey. This book examines the design process of road based on perceptual and urban form approaches. Here, roads are more than just routes in moving by vehicles, it has the properties of a place, a location in which people enact part of their lives.

One of characteristic of different road types which is discussed in this book is townscape alignment and its elements. Townscape alignment is that appropriate for areas where the needs of the pedestrian are dominant and vehicles are constrained to travel at low speeds. So that it is one which can be enjoyed at walking space. Environment which can be enjoyed by walking will give pleasure to pedestrians. At the same time it allows vehicles to circulate at a pace without disrupting the environment. It can be concluded that townscape alignment is concerned with increasing the sense of place.

Basically, form in townscape can be  manifested into static and dynamic space. A static space is one which conveys a sense of rest and completeness (circular or square), whereas a dynamic space implies movement and change (linear). Plaza as an enclosure space is the example of static space, and the corridor of great street is the example of dynamic space. The size of outdoor spaces also has a proportion and scale suitable for its intended use that person feels comfortable in the space. The proportion theory is similar to theory formulated by Japanese architect Yoshinobu Ashihara in his book entitled Exterior Design in Architecture.

Elements of townscape are all concerned with the feelings and emotions evoked in the individual. It may be feeling of pleasure of emerging form (view). It is necessary for the landscape designer to have a vocabulary of elements which can use to evoke a specific response. The concept of townscape is developed by Gordon Cullen, and it is on that work the elements explained in this book is based. During the design process, to integrate all aspects of road design so that the end product will be a coherent whole, a unique part of the outside environment which people will enjoy. This requires a good understanding of the various disciplines involved.

McCluskey, Jim. 1992. Road Form and Townscape (second edition). London: The Architectural Press.