Urban Design: The Composition of Complexity, 2nd Edition (Hardback) book cover

Urban Design

The Composition of Complexity, 2nd Edition

By Ron Kasprisin


304 pages | 277 Color Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Paperback: 9781138085657
pub: 2019-08-19
Available for pre-order
Hardback: 9781138085633
pub: 2019-08-19
Available for pre-order

FREE Standard Shipping!


Urban design is a process of establishing a structural order within human settlements; responding to dynamic emergent meanings and functions in a constant state of flux. The planning/design process is complex due to the myriad of on-going (urban) organizational and structural relationships and contexts. This book reconnects the process with outcomes on the ground, and puts thinking about design back at the heart of what planners do. Mixing accessible theory, practical examples, and carefully designed exercises in composition from simple to complex settings, Urban Design is an essential textbook for classrooms and design studios across the full spectrum of planning and urban studies fields. Filled with color illustrations and graphics of excellent projects, it gives students tools to enable them to sketch, draw, design, and above all, to think.

This new edition remains focused on instructing the student, professional and layperson in the elements and principles of design composition so that they can diverge from conventional and packaged solutions in pursuit of a meaningful and creative urbanism. This edition builds upon established design principles and encourages the student in creative ways to depart from them as appropriate in dealing with the complexity of culture, space and time dynamics of cities. The book identifies the elements and principles of compositions and explores compositional order and structure as they relate to the meaning and functionality of cities. It discusses new directions and methods, and outlines the importance of both buildings and the open spaces between them.

Table of Contents

Part One: Human Settlement Dynamics: Foundations for Spatial Compositions Ch 1. Introduction Ch 2. Theoretical Considerations (or Not) Part Two: The Making of Spatial Composition and Structural Order Ch3. Engaging Design Ch 4. Design Composition: Relationship, Elements, Principles and Structure Ch 5. Compositional Transformations: Spatial Activators for Creative Problem-solving Ch 6. Typologies in Urban Design Ch 7. Urban Design Explorations Appendix I. Drawing Types for Urban Design Appendix II. Experiments in Design Composition Appendix III. Working with People: The Politics of Urban Design

About the Author

Ron Kasprisin is an architect, urban planner/designer, artist and academic with over 40 years of experience as a practitioner in urban design as Kasprisin Pettinari Design, and over 25 years of academic experience as Professor Emeritus in Urban Design and Planning, College of Built Environments, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington. Ron is an accomplished watercolour painter with national recognition, awards and exhibitions. Ron lives on Whidbey Island northwest of Seattle, Washington in Puget Sound, a part of the larger Salish Sea, where he conducts painting workshops at Kasprisin Ridge Studios, Langley, Washington.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Design, Drafting, Drawing & Presentation