Urban Design Theory
Spatial Synergy and Supportiveness of Public Space
Professor Dieter Frick is from Technische Universität Berlinis, former director of the institute of urban and regional planning at TU Berlin. He is a representative scholar in the field of urban planning theory in Germany. He is the author of Theorie des Städtebaus: Zur baulich-räumlichenOrganisation von Stadt.
The author defined the Spatial Synergy by four parts: spatial synergy, supportiveness, the importance of public space, and how to achieve spatial synergy.
Spatial synergy is composed of characteristics of physical-spatial organization of the city which support the actions and behaviour of people, particularly in public space (supportiveness).Spatial synergy concerns the relationship between ‘things and things’, while supportiveness concerns the relationship between ‘people and things’. In the context of the city, things are buildings, technical facilities and plantings;people are the inhabitants and other users. Spatial synergy is achieved through a specific way of arranging buildings, technical facilities and plantings to form open spaces (space segments or places). It is achieved through the way these are interrelated (‘relation and communication’) within the urban fabric. It is also achieved through the degree of accessibility of all such defined places within a settlement unit (‘universal distance’). The physical-spatial characteristics that support actions and behaviour in public spaces (supportive characteristics) are simultaneously those towards which urban design should be directed, if it is to fulfil its purpose. In this context the author emphasizes the viewpoint, in contrast to the tradition of the Modern Movement, that public space has to be the decisive component in creating and developing settlement units that are habitable in the true sense.