Author Archives: Adam Sambuco

[Adam, Ben, Steffen, Yiren] P2: Final – Urban Harmony


P1: Final – Cincinnati Transit Hub

SQ Schematic Diagrams

Site Diagram-04Site Diagram-01

Site Diagram-02



Further research on urban planning in China

New Cities in Asia, General Urban Planning, and Site-Specific Facts and Advice.

Eclectic Considerations


P2-1 Research: Urban Forms & Patterns

All Models Diagram

Urban Forms & Patterns

When it comes to the optimum design of a city’s structure, very little is taken as undisputed fact. Some urban forms are created for the express purpose of solving a problem than another designer may not see as a problem at all. Cities can be laid out in innumerable ways, but in general they can roughly be fit into one of three categories: concentric zone model, sector model, and multiple nuclei model.

The concentric zone model was first described in the 1920s by sociologist Ernest Burgess. The main idea behind this model is simple. The city starts in a cluster and builds outwards, expanding into a series of zones, based on price of land, which surround and connect to the core. This makes the Central Business District of the city the most accessible location, due to the fact that every branch begins there. Moving outward are the factories, transition, residential, and commuter zones. One example that fits this development perfectly can be found in Chicago. One criticism of this model is that it is typically only ever found in America. Another inconsistency is that while the concentric plan centralizes the overall city, it forcibly decentralizes other industries such as shopping, manufacturing, and entertainment. One last issue with this model is that it assumes an unchanging landscape, where in reality topography and geology often have a profound impact on city development.

The second type of urban pattern is the sector model. It is similar to the concentric zone model in that they are both centralized, but it is different in that it allows for a bit more complexity of industry-specific development. Proposed by economist Homer Hoyt in 1939, the sector model suggests that broad types of city program organize themselves in wedges rather than circles. These wedges coincide with what is important to each industry such that the manufacturing development forms linearly along transportation to and from the city with the high-income residential being opposite and the low-income residential being adjacent. However, like the concentric zone pattern, the sector pattern ignores barriers to development such as terrain. Another problem with this simplification is that it breaks down when leapfrog development begins to happen within each wedge, diluting its simplicity. Despite its flaws, this type of development can be seen clearly in multiple locations in Europe, and it is particularly common in the United Kingdom.

The third major classification of urban structure is the multiple nuclei model. It was developed in 1945 by geographers C.D. Harris and E. L. Ullman. This model bears little resemblance to the other two, as it describes a city which has no single CBD but rather multiple distributed points of centralization. It was conceptualized in order to describe more complex and large cities because the other two explanations were often found to be gross oversimplifications in the real world. The multiple nuclei model proposes that even if a city begins with a single CBD, it develops other major centers which attract different activities. For instance, an airport may serve as a node which develops more hotels and storage facilities, whereas a university would develop more bookstores, restaurants, and residential areas. While making strides in the right direction toward describing a city’s complexity, this theory naturally makes some assumptions as well, one being again that the land is flat and another being that resources are evenly distributed.

While there are other models in place which attempt to describe human behavior in cities on a broad scale, most can generally be considered to fit within one of these three main groups. One needn’t look for a superior version of urban structure when dealing with analysis, but rather should consider all aspects of each model.


Harris, Chauncy D., and Edward L. Ullman. “The Nature of Cities.” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 242.1 (1945): 7-17. Print.

Holcombe, Randall G., and Carl Pope. “Urban Sprawl: Pro and Con.” PERC Reports 17.1 (1999): 3- 9. Property and Environment Research Center. Web. 9 Oct. 2014.

Hoyt, Homer. The Structure and Growth of Residential Neighbourhoods in American Cities. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Govt. print. off., 1939. Print.

Loessin, Jon. “Changing Cities: Three Models of Urban Growth (Land Use).” Wharton County Junior College. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 Oct. 2014. <>

Midterm: Schematic Design (E5)

Lines, Zones, and 3D Form (E4)

Space Syntax (E2)

Calatrava’s WTC PATH Station (E3)

Santiago Calatrava’s new station for PATH trains is located at the World Trade Center in New York City. It has undergone numerous problems with construction, and the current goal for the completion of the project is 2015. When finished, it will be about 800,000 square feet, and it will serve over 200,000 commuters daily.

The design also includes restaurants and retail areas located in it’s “oculus” zone, which is above ground within Calatrava’s typical bird design. While I could not find detailed floor plans for the building, the site plan and the video located here show that it is a highly linear space. The above sections are therefore quite descriptive in showing the main axis, oculus, supplementary spaces, and stairs down to the subway platforms which opposes the main axis.

Digital Simulation (E1-B)