1st Edition

Temporal Urban Design Temporality, Rhythm and Place

By Filipa Matos Wunderlich Copyright 2024
    256 Pages 11 Color & 86 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    256 Pages 11 Color & 86 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Temporal Urban Design: Temporality, Rhythm and Place examines an alternative design approach, focusing on the temporal aesthetics of urban places and the importance of the sense of time and rhythm in the urban environment.

    The book departs from concerns on the acceleration of cities, its impact on the urban quality of life and the liveability of urban spaces, and questions on what influences the sense of time, and how it expresses itself in the urban environment. From here, it poses the questions: what time is this place and how do we design for it? It offers a new aesthetic perspective akin to music, brings forward the methodological framework of urban place-rhythmanalysis, and explores principles and modes of practice towards better temporal design quality in our cities. The book demonstrates that notions of time have long been intrinsic to planning and urban design research agendas and, whilst learning from philosophy, urban critical theory, and both the natural and social sciences debate on time, it argues for a shift in perspective towards the design of everyday urban time and place timescapes. Overall, the book explores the value of the everyday sense of time and rhythmicity in the urban environment, and discusses how urban designers can understand, analyse and ultimately play a role in the creation of temporally unique, both sensorial and affective, places in the city.

    The book will be of interest to urban planners, designers, landscape architects and architects, as well as urban geographers, and all those researching within these disciplines. It will also interest students of planning, urban design, architecture, urban studies, and of urban planning and design theory.

    List of figures

    List of tables


    Chapter 1: The need for a paradigm shift

    Why the sense of time and rhythm is important for design

    The problem of our cities: new conditions and challenges

    The problem with growth-led development

    The problem with design: obsolete aesthetics hinder innovation

    The intermittent loss of temporality with Covid19

    Ways forward: an intellectual and aesthetical review          

    A doughnut spatial economy: an alternative model

    Temporal Urban Design: an alternative aesthetic

    Cultural and social place-temporalities as temporal heritage to design for

    The need for methodological innovation and interdisciplinarity

    The need for a paradigm shift

    Chapter 2: Time and temporality in urban design

    Incorporating time in urban design studies

    Planning cities and time

    Governing and delivering through time

    Mapping through time: time-geography and urban mobility studies

    Managing through time: planning for slowing time in the city

    Taking stock of urban design research on time

    The significance of senses of time in urban design


    Chapter 3: Time and temporality in philosophy and in science

    Time or temporality: early conundrums in philosophy and science

    The first temporal conundrums: origins of the Western discourses

    The dialectics on time: Aristotle and Plato

    The early Christian times

    The dialectic in the Middle Ages: presentism or eternalism

    The progressive and instrumental times of the Middle Ages

    Eternalism or Presentism: early to late modern physics

    Eternalism: the absolute time

    Presentism: the crumbling of time

    Quantum time: on spacetime, time and rhythm

    The time of the mind, experiential or relational time

    Critical debates on the experience of urban time: Bergson and Bachelard

    Time as duration: intuition and memory, and its distortion in space, by Bergson

    Time as discontinuous and creative, by Bachelard

    Duration, temporality and rhythm

    Temporality: as concrete duration and refrain, by Bergson

    Temporality: as created by rhythms, by Bachelard

    Listening to rhythms to understand temporal existence

    Temporality: phenomenological time, rhythm, rhythmanalysis, assemblage, refrain and territoriality

    Temporality: as the phenomenological time

    Distaff theories of time and temporality: Deleuze and Lefebvre


    Chapter 4: The urban temporal condition: understanding rhythm in urban space

    Time constructs in society and space

    Temporality as a sense or as a process? Time, rhythm and urban space

    Temporality as a sense: experiential and representational time

    Temporality as a process time through the rhythms of everyday life

    Rhythm, refrain and territoriality

    The coincident accent on rhythm to express time in space

    Towards the territorialisation of time: paradigm shifts in urban critical theory

    Place as temporal: sense of time, sense of place or atmosphere?

    Chapter 5: Temporal Urban Design: situating the theory

    The case for a turn towards Temporal Urban Design          

    Manifesto (Thoughts on cities/notes to the urban designer)

    What defines Temporal Urban Design?

    A new temporal aesthetics for urban place design

    The aesthetics of place-temporality

    Conclusion:  Place-temporality and the principal aspects of its aesthetics and experience in urban space

    Chapter 6: An aesthetics akin to music: a new temporal aesthetics for urban place design

    Music in urban environment research           

    Music, place-temporality and rhythm: experiencing, performing and listening

    The experience

    Performing: choreography and resonance


    The conceptual tools

    Three musical processes: rhythm, performance and tonality (or tonal organisation) 

    Rhythm (as in music)

    Rhythm in urban space

    The temporal aesthetics of places: eurythmia, performativity and tonality as in a place-score


    Chapter 7: Temporal Urban Design: situating research practice

    Temporal Urban Design: interdisciplinarity and inherent intellectual foundations

    Place-rhythmanalysis: a methodology for temporal urban place design

    Researching the temporality and rhythmicity of urban landscapes

    Rhythmanalysis in urban studies

    The focus on place-rhythmanalysis

    Place-rhythmanalysis: ethnography into the temporal phenomenology of places

    Working as a place-rhythmanalyst

    Listening to urban place as a musician in urban places

    The process: the fieldwork

    The process: the analysis


    Chapter 8: A place-rhythmanalysis: the singular rhythms and temporality of Fitzroy Square

    At Fitzroy Square

    An everyday place

    Architecture and public space design

    Nature at the square

    Everyday social and cultural profile

    A residential and communal square

    A multicultural place

    An events place

    A working and institutionally representative square

    An exceptional private-public garden square

    Location and relationship to the wider neighbourhood

    A particular sense of time, or tempo and the aesthetic significance

    Spatial expression of place-rhythms at Fitzroy Square

    Social place-rhythms: societal, cultural and functional

    At Fitzroy Square

    Physical place-rhythms

    Natural place-rhythms           

    Temporal expression of place-rhythms: an horizontal place-rhythmanalysis

    Principles for temporal horizontal place-rhythmanalysis

    An horizontal temporal rhythmanalysis of social place-rhythms at Fitzroy Square

    Physical and natural place-rhythms rhythmanalysis

    Temporal expression of place-rhythms: a vertical place-rhythmanalysis

    Principles for the temporal vertical analysis

    Eurythmia at Fitzroy Square: One day performative narratives

    A place-score on the temporal rhythmic aesthetics of place: a representation and interpretation tool for urban designers

    The rhythmic DNA of one day at Fitzroy Square: intensity and accentuation barcodes


    Chapter 9: Temporal urban design: Situating practice (epilogue)


    Framing the realm of practice          

    Temporary, Acupuncture and Tactical Urbanism

    Participatory Data Urbanism

    Sensorial and Performative Urbanism

    Practising Temporal Urban Design: framing action

    A collaborative route to methodological innovation

    Tactical interventionism

    Craft and craftsmanship in the temporal design of the city

    Craftsmanship in urban place-rhythmanalysis

    Collective urban craftmanship processes in places co-production

    Designing for the Slow and Soft City






    Filipa Matos Wunderlich is an Associate Professor in Urban Design at the Bartlett School of Planning, at University College London (UCL) in the UK. Her research interests are on the temporal dimension of urban place design, sensory urbanism, the interface between urban and musical aesthetics, urban design theory and research by design methodologies. Filipa is the Director of the Master in Research (MRes) in Interdisciplinary Urban Design at the Bartlett School of Planning. She also coordinates ‘Research By Design’ components for both the Sustainable Urbanism and Urban Design and City Planning MSc Programmes. She is an architect, urban designer and musician.

    “The temporal dimension of urban design has for too long been neglected by practitioners and academics alike. That is until now and this wonderful book by Filipa Wunderlich which tackles the conceptual and practical complexities head on. A timeless tour through temporal urban design.”

    Matthew Carmona, The Bartlett School of Planning, UCL

    "In this stimulating book, Wunderlich recasts conventional understandings of time and the city in terms of rhythms, aesthetics, experiences and meanings. In particular, she explores the value we give to time in terms of ecology, society and the vibrancy of urban life. A thorough, perceptive and thought-provoking account, of great relevance to urbanist academics and practitioners alike.” 

    Iain Borden, The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL