[Exhibition] The Agency of Urban Form: Five Studies, Five Solutions

The Library is pleased to host “The Agency of Urban Form: Five Studies, Five Solutions”, featuring works developed as part of the YSS3250 Cityscapes and Urban Form module taught at the College. This exhibition runs from 11 January to 18 February 2021.

About the exhibition

What influences change or the morphogenesis of urban form? How has Singapore’s built environment developed over time, and what evidence can we see of this in the extant cityscape? In YSS3250 Cityscapes and Urban Form, students develop a spatial and visual literacy with respect to urban morphology.  They learn about the agents, ideologies and processes associated with the production of urban form. They ponder the intended and unintended consequences of urban planning and design decisions.  And they critically reflect on the extent to which cityscapes do or do not shape life. In YSS3250 Cityscapes and Urban Form, students explored these themes using geospatial mapping, place-based analysis, and projective reasoning.

Exhibition Design by

Victoria Marshall, Casual Instructor, Urban Studies, Yale-NUS College

Joshua Rommel Hayag Vargas, Class of 2023, Yale-NUS College

Raphael Hugh Chang Jia Yi, Class of 2023, Yale-NUS College

Course Instructor and supervisor

Victoria Marshall, Casual Instructor, Urban Studies, Yale-NUS College

Jane Jacobs, Head of Studies, Urban Studies, Yale-NUS College

About the course

The course provides students with an understanding of cityscapes and urban form, as it relates to questions of urban change, human experience and urban design. Urban built environments are the result of a range of processes that reflect everything from design principles, to cultural taste, to political ideology, to economic behaviour, to technological capability. The course provides students with the analytical tools to better understand the formation of cityscapes and their spaces, over time and in place. The course tackles these topics through a range of scales and through the urban elements of street, square, block, mega-enclosures, verticality, and spaces in-between. Students learn how to see and make sense of the built environment, including its patterns and processes. They also learn how to analyse and represent the spatial character of the built environment, including how to intervene in that environment through a pattern agency exercise.

About the pattern agency exercise

Students were assigned one of five linear sites and the exercise was comprised of two phases. All of the sites are located in south-west Singapore with each being three kilometres long, and following either a canal or the Rail Corridor. Students were asked to study how and why the urban forms evident in their study area changed over time. This process, or urban morphogenesis, is the focus of the first phase of the pattern agency exercise. Students used geospatial analysis, hard skills in fabrication, comparison of historical maps, and archival literature. Through this analytical research exercise students developed skills in urban spatial reasoning and interdisciplinary argument-building. The second phase of the pattern agency exercise required students to come up with a proposal for morphological change in their study area. Students imagined themselves as design consultants for a hypothetical friends’ network that represents the place’s community and power structures. They formulated design, policy, and programmatic proposals, utilizing their understanding of the quality of places and design techniques to substantiate them. In undertaking this exercise, students gained skills in projective thinking, design studio practice, and visual representation.

 

Images and exhibition write-ups are courtesy of Urban Studies, Yale-NUS College.