Definition of Urbanism


In many of his public comments on architecture, Paul Rudolph referred to “urbanism” as one of the guiding principles in his work. In this 1992 article published in the Italian journal, Arca he articulates that explanation.

“Urban design is remodeling, adding, subtracting, reworking, relating and reforming three-dimensional spaces for human activities, including all pedestrian and vehicular systems. Urban design deals with the old and the new, the expanded and the contracted, the hum-drum and the extraordinary. It brings people together. It separates people. It commemorates its history. It never lies, but portrays life three-dimensionally, as it really is. At its best, it creates related and usable exterior spaces, provides means of “getting there” and a “there” once you are “there”. It is the mother art of civilization, for it allows and, indeed, demands ideas, thinking, reactions to opportunities of the moment, executed in the spirit of its time, but demands respect for its earlier efforts. The new depends on the old and is responsible for the future. If the old is ignored, misunderstood, the future will mock the seemingly new and reveal for all to plainly see the false thinking expressed. All the other arts are handmaidens to urban design.”

Rudolph, Paul Marvin, 1918-1997. "Architecture and Society." Arca No. 62 (July/August 1992): 3-5.