“How to Define an Urban Site” Andrea Kahn discuss how you cannot seclude an urban site. Kahn states: “The point is not that drawing boundaries is impermissible...but that the permeability of those boundaries has to be constantly reasserted.”
Two different types of urban spaces that Kahn argues about, one that is bounded space, where everything is contained in its proper place with obvious boundaries, the second is a looser and more porous site, which offers undefined boundaries and variation of scale. Furthermore, Kahn encourages designers to design loosely with multiple overlapping boundaries and spaces. "Urban sites are dynamic rather than static, porous rather than contained, "messy" like da Vinci's Milan sketch rather than "neat" like the ideal plan of Palmanuova."
Representing Urban Sites
A designers drawing reveal how the designer is thinking not what they are thinking about.
"That in the most profound sense, representation is not about depicting reality, but about making knowledge."
Each site has a unique condition that needs to be revealed not only through facts and figures, but through the designer’s analysis and generation of ideas. An example of this would be a parti. While site drawings and models are important, knowledge of the site is actually derived from conceptual representations.
The way that a site map is done or constructed manipulates the way that reality is revealed through the representation. No matter how you approach your interpretation there is no wrong way to evaluate the site.
"Site representations construct site knowledge; they make site concepts manifest design."
Five terms that theorize sites in an expressive ways for urban design are mobile ground, site reach, site construction, unbounded site, and urban constellation. First, mobile ground a designer must consider all different interests and agents, due to the variety of the site. Such as, the direct context, the multiple players (workers, residents, politicians, preservationists, and ecologists), and the context demographics. Each of these pose different needs to a site. Mobile ground is a place where the activity around can be diverse and dynamic. There is no set in stone, specific use for the defined space. This reminds designers that the site is subject to change at any time. Second, Site reach can be defined as measuring the extent, range, and level of interactions between a localized place and its urban surroundings. And there are defined spaces but there are interconnected uses to the defined spaces. For example there is no physical barrier between defined spaces allowing for interconnected activities to take place. Third, Site Construction can be defined as a study process that gives a better understanding of the site through consciously selective viewing. And the way that you approach the site analysis will be reflected in the rest of your design. With organizing the site information (politically, economically, formally, historically, spatially, etc.), should be easily revealed, and should map out for itself. Fourth, unbounded sites have its boundaries that you cannot avoid the site’s surroundings, which can be incorporated to create aesthetic views and permeability. By blending boundaries you can create a more porous environment which will encourage free movement within. Finally, Urban Constellation can be defined as blurring the line between context and site by demarcating site interactions across multiple fields of urban operation. Combining the knowledge of the local place with the knowledge of the greater place you reinforce the understanding of the site as it’s constructed.
Everything that you put connects you back to your design from your site analysis, "For urban design what matters is gaining understanding of the city in the site"