The block is no more than the land and building area defined by streets. It is the nature of the interface between the two, which has a critical impact on the quality of the spaces between those buildings. The importance of the block to city life is well rehearsed, and in any case, we seldom find ourselves in the business of making cities from scratch. But we are in the business of making new houses, neighbourhoods and new local centres, and we need lots of them: 250,000 a year to be imprecise. Against the background of a burgeoning housing shortage in the UK, there are varied issues to be reconciled.
The Urban Block charts the fall and rise of the perimeter block as the staple of urban form and structure from ancient times. It takes you through the process of understanding, defining, structuring and designing the block. Carefully selected urban and suburban case examples explain "do's and don'ts" of good block layout and will help you to produce better masterplans, while staying in touch with commercial realities. This is an essential guide for urban designers, masterplanners and architects that will allow you to produce quality streetscapes in a contemporary context.