To know the path is to rule the system, Frame - Pattern - Circuit analysis (FPC): (new) town development and the significance of "Urban Frame"

K.A. Buurmans, P.G. de Bois

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionProfessional

13 Downloads (Pure)


Understanding in what way the Urban Frame -- the complete system of streets, squares and parks, the “hardware” of the city -- nurtures the development and extent of the individual’s cognitive map is of the utmost importance. This knowledge will help urban designers, planners and politicians getting a better grasp of the town’s socioeconomic functioning as it provides a clear and effective image of the dynamic aspects of urban life. The cognitive map, and for example its modern equivalent GPS tracking, gives clues as to how the urban fabric is actually used. It plots the routes taken and the stops made, in other words, it provides insight into its operation, how it facilitates the “software”: Circuit -- the functional system of projected routes and nodes -- and Pattern -- all possible destinations, anchor points, landmarks etc. The complex whole of individual spatial ritual revolves around two basic notions: (1) the need for insight in the construction of the city as a whole, the “context”; and (2) the need for insight in the parts of that city, the position of destinations, programme and “details”. Through these two notions individual meets collective consciousness: without context no idea where, without detail no reason as to why. They essentially provide the basis for mobility and the allied need for orientation, navigation, “wayfi nding”. Cities have not all developed along the same paths. Furthermore, a great many New Towns and large urban expansion areas have been laid out based primarily on singularly temporal notions. Understanding the manner in which public domain functions in those respective contexts is vital in the light of today’s rapid urban developments. It can be expected that in areas where the Urban Frame does not facilitate use and routing to an optimum extent, the development of a person’s individual cognitive map and his/her insight in the construction of the city in its broadest sense will be hampered. Implementation of individual and collective Circuit will then not be self-evident and the actual functioning of the public domain in terms of socioeconomic spin-off, Pattern, will be compromised. The public domain is subject to this frail and uncertain balance between private and public demands. Various collectively used spaces (e.g. shopping centres, station areas, etc.) are only partly embedded in the public domain and, instead, belong to a private domain. However, what binds these private and public areas, places, streets, is a common need for a relevant and recognisable position with in the context of the city, the Urban Frame. The signifi cance of a place, its “genius loci”, but also its economical viability, comes with the fit between its function and content and to what extent its users are accordingly provided. Within the changing scopes of governance, the question of public domain concerns fi rst of all the Frame, whereas this is precondition for effective implementation of both Circuit and Pattern.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 10th Anniversary Conference European Urban Research Association (EURA)
Subtitle of host publicationthe vital city
Place of PublicationGlasgow
PublisherEuropean Urban Research Association
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007
Externally publishedYes
EventThe vital city: 10th Anniversary Conference - University of Glasgow, Glasgow, United Kingdom
Duration: 12 Sep 200714 Sep 2007


ConferenceThe vital city
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom


Dive into the research topics of 'To know the path is to rule the system, Frame - Pattern - Circuit analysis (FPC): (new) town development and the significance of "Urban Frame"'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this