Revistes Catalanes amb Accés Obert (RACO)

ETHICS - Virtues, sins and the "good life" - 10 ethical approaches to urban design

Pedro Brandão


Urban Design ethics may seem out of site, with the end of modern radical ethics about the perfection of a “new world” and the growing of individualism in our times. It’s only apparent though - with today’s new expectations about social and environmental responsibility, in the pursuit of “life quality”, the “good life”, all main fields of ethical thought are getting more directly concerned with urban matters:
Public or common Interest. It clarifies political ethics about cities. Governments must regulate conflicting interests (profitability and quality of life) protect scarce goods (land and environment) and safeguard intergenerational values (heritage).
Public Place, urban space. The ethical matrix of urban settlements, as the first and most lasting element of urban fabric, and the founding condition for social life, must favour interaction and the expression of citizenship.
Professions as service providers. Design professions are recognized as trustable, knowledge based, and problem solving. Urban Design answers to needs and desires, with the sense of “care”.
Ethical approaches to Urban Design are being brought to light, in a range including good wishes, statements and proposed rules, before a true ethical reflection illuminates professional practices. In this lecture I’ll try to enlarge the scope of the matter; and to demonstrate how Urban Design has a relevance of altruism and joy.

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