A caring city is one that understands the dynamic relationship between individuals and their surroundings. But are our cities caring or careless in their design? Carelessness makes cities uncomfortable, ugly and dull, with traffic movement taking priority over pedestrians. This extends to a multitude of steps and stairways making access difficult or impossible for some.
Charlotte Bates argues that we need more caring in our cities. Her book chapter is a discussion based on three case studies that illustrate ways to configure care in the design of urban environments. The examples are of an open space, a hospital complex, and a housing estate.
In each example, people are have the opportunity to come together or to retreat into private space. Intimacy and spontaneity are encouraged so that “caring spaces enable connections to be made”. As Bates says, the notion of caring design challenges the designs based on property-led narratives.
The title of the chapter by Bates, Imrie and Kullman available on ResearchGate is, “Configuring the Caring City: Ownership, Healing, Openness”. Or you can directly download a PDF of the document. It was published in 2016 in Care and Design: Bodies, Buildings, Cities.
The European Research Council funded the research underpinning this chapter.