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A review of the urban design literature indicated that so far no serious effort has been made to comprehensively identify the knowledge base of urban design. Rather, there have been some piecemeal and narrowly defined approaches and rules of thumb developed by individual pro- fissional and theorists in special circumstances and for special purposes, which do not seem to qualify as the comprehensive knowledge base of urban design. Although urban design is seemingly embarrassed by a wealth of design theories, these seldom amount to anything more than statements of beliefs put forward by leading practitioners and academics in the field. Thus it appears that the theoretical basis for modifying the environment is impoverished in the extreme, and that there is little systematic positive theoretical basis for design practice. For a study of the knowledge base of urban design, the analysis of these concepts seems to be relevant and necessary. Such an analysis is needed to justify goals and indicate the means to achieve goals and the tools to develop and learn the means. ‘Means’ are the knowledge and ‘tools’ are the language of urban design. Both epistemological concepts deal with the very foundation of a field.
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