Skycourts and skygardens: towards a vertical urban theory

Pomeroy, J. 2016. Skycourts and skygardens: towards a vertical urban theory. PhD thesis University of Westminster Department of Architecture

TitleSkycourts and skygardens: towards a vertical urban theory
TypePhD thesis
AuthorsPomeroy, J.

The public realm has given birth to alternative social spaces that have been created as  a  means  of  replenishing  the  loss  of  open  space  within  the  modern  city.  The  creation of more hybrid building forms and typologies that balance open space within  high  density  development  is  a  phenomenon  increasingly  being  realised  in  Asian cities, and has started to redefine the tall building within the city. This thesis focuses  on  two  semi-­‐public  social  spaces  that  cross  the  urban-­‐architectural-­‐landscape boundaries -­‐ skycourts and skygardens.
It  considers  them  in  light  of  their  social,  economic,  environmental  and  spatial  contribution to the urban habitat. The thesis argues that they are ‘alternative’ social spaces that form part of a broader, multi-­‐level open space infrastructure that replenishes the loss of open space within the urban habitat. It sets out to illustrate how such semi-­‐public spaces can be incorporated into high-­‐rise structures, and be suitably placed into a hierarchy that supports the primary figurative spaces on the ground or, in their absence, create them in the sky.
It was observed that skycourts and skygardens have become another social space within  the  urban  vocabulary  of  the  city,  yet  currently  remains  predominantly  managed by the corporation or landowner that controls them. They are differentiated  from  their  public  counterparts  by  the  fact  that  they  can  never  be  truly public unless they become ceded to state ownership and permit the individual, group or association the freedoms of speech, action and movement that one normally finds in the public domain of the street and the square.
Despite  not  being  public  spaces,  skycourts  and  skygardens  have  evolved  given  changing social, spatial, environmental, cultural, economic and technological needs that  have  engendered  public  domain  characteristics.  This  may  bode  well  for  society’s co-­‐presence and may enhance urban life quality as well as the natural and built environment.

PublisherUniversity of Westminster
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