The Origins and Evolution of “Urban Design,” 1956–2006
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March 2006 is the fiftieth anniversary of the First Urban Design Conference at Harvard—an event that, under the leadership of José Luis Sert, marked a beginning of the self-conscious pursuit of urban design as an intellectual discipline and as a professional focus distinct from architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning. This issue of Harvard Design Magazine critically examines the ideas and goals expressed in that first conference and at how those have and have not been affirmed by historical actualities since then. A recognition that, since designing a city is within no one person’s powers, urban design has to occur in more small-scale and indirect ways pervades these essays, even as they affirm the need for all design professionals to think as if they were urban designers to advance civilized life.