Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 October 2022
This book sets out to consider the potential of urban design in terms of care in cities. It is concerned with how urban design supports the diverse inhabitants of cities in meeting their needs and developing capabilities, enabling them to thrive and flourish into the future. It is also concerned with the role of urban design with respect to care practices and relations – with its potential to condition the dependencies of people on others, to foster patterns of interdependence, and to enact care for future generations.
For a long time, the potential of design with regard to care or caring was principally explored through particular spaces associated, for example, with the care of children, the elderly, refugees, homeless people, disabled people and the sick. The result is a rich and still rapidly growing corpus of studies of typologies of care-centred architecture – from the hospitals, hospices, historical asylums and day centres of healthcare, to the nurseries and schools of childcare, to the residential settings of care in families and communities (see, for example, Briller and Calkins, 2000; Nord and Högström, 2017; Worpole, 2009). Though important exceptions exist (such as Mitchell et al, 2003), the significance of urban design was not considered to the same degree. Hence, relatively little emphasis was placed on the relevance of the locations of particular spaces of care in cities relative to other land uses for care. Similarly, relatively little emphasis was placed on the role of various aspects of urban form and qualities of urban places and infrastructures with regard to how people are involved in and practise care for one another and in communities.
This relatively narrow focus on the potential of design regarding care has been gradually broadening in recent times, however. Since around 2010, an increasingly wide array of urban places and infrastructures have cropped up in literature as important ‘spaces of care’, encompassing streets, cafés, museums, allotments and other urban green spaces (see, for example, Munro, 2013; Artmann et al, 2017; Mangione, 2017, 2018). There is rising interest in how morphological characteristics of neighbourhoods shape caring relations, including the accessibilities and porosities of infrastructures and amenities (Barnes, 2011; Kullmann, 2014; Bates et al, 2017).