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The boulevard as a type of urban linear space
The boulevard as a type of urban linear space

The Historical Boulevards of Poltava (Ukraine) and Mons (Belgium)

Author(s): Oksana Chebina, Lyudmila Shevchenko
Subject(s): Fine Arts / Performing Arts
Published by: Historický ústav SAV, v. v. i.
Keywords: linear space; boulevard; boulevard circle; the elements of formation;structural components of spiritual intelligence;

Summary/Abstract: FORMULATION OF THE PROBLEMLinear landscaping structures occupy a special position among the range of urban green areas. Running through particular parts of the city, they form relatively narrow but elongated strips of urban greenery. This scheme of planning provides the residents of the neighborhoods with a brief daily recreation, gathering them in the local areas, attracting them to urban public facilities or parks and coastal zones. Today, these places not only constitute urban interior spaces, but also serve as a platform for environmental experiments related to the integration of natural elements, or even the testing of technological innovations. The spatial organization of cities has studied by a number of authorities; particularly noteworthy are the works of K. Lynch, R. Venturi, A. Brinkmann, V. Shymko, B. Hlazychev and others. The results of the studying architectural composition and aesthetic features of separate structural components (including linear pedestrian zones or narrower walkways) have beeen highlighted in the theoretical writings of C. Sitte D. Brooks, A. Verhunov, M. Belov, V. Petrov and others. Contemporary studies are aimed at the organization of the object-spatial environment of linear green spaces, based on a “total synthesis” of design with different kinds of design and artistic activities – architecture, urban design, landscape and graphic design, monumental and decorative art. The landscape of the urban environment is addressed in the works of J. Simonds L. Verhunova, A. Mikulina, L. Zaleska, I. Rodichkina, A. Belkin, V. Kucheryavyi, N. Kryzhanovska and others. Further information about these objects is partially covered in online resources, or journals such as Proektinternational, and Landscape Design.LINEAR SPACES IN THE CITY STRUCTUREOrganizing harmonious comfortable spaces in the structure of dense modern cities, or creating conditions for public recreation in a polis, are important issues nowadays, whether for architects, urban planners, or urban and landscape designers, or in fact for ordinary citizens. The place of the human individual in these spaces changes over time, as do the physical parameters and the ideas about the convenience of object-space environment. Today, with technology an increasing force in our lives, we can see the attraction of new comfortable urban spaces, such as free public space, that were popular within Europe in the postwar period. Such parts of a city include linear spaces that permeate the urban framework, connecting important social, cultural and historical sites which attract residents, creating green corridors from residential areas to forest or park areas and coastal zones.The importance of having and preserving such spaces is often emphasized by researchers working towards a statement of principles and methods of organization that would prove in accordance with the current level of urban culture in the 21st century. These spaces include linear urban areas for recreation and general pedestrian movement, such as promenades, boulevards, gardens. Organization of their territory is based on the environmental approach and the laws of deep spatial composition in which movement transpires in a certain scenario along the main compositional axis that ‘threads’ vast visual images. This scenic and consistent visual perception is typical for both the day and night life of urban space.Linear spaces of the city designed for recreation suppose a perception at a slow pace. It is somehow different to a fast visual perception from a moving vehicle, as it provides an opportunity to capture details, colors. As remarked by John Simonds: Slow movement engenders interest in detail. When we are in a hurry we tolerate few delays, but it moving leisurely, we welcome deflection and distraction. We have little interest in motion and take pleasure instead in things seen or experienced.An important aspect of ensuring the availability of the city’s linear recreational spaces for all categories of the population is their physical accessibility. The structure of modern linear spaces actively includes ramps, escalators, elevators, moving walkways that create a highly comfortable space for people with limited mobility.The effective and socially acceptable implementation of such spaces is achieved through the cooperation of different spheres of design – whether addressing the urban landscape, ecology, ergonomics or graphic form. Therefore, the formation of linear urban spaces involves landscape composition, elements of urban design, sculpture, decorative and super-graphic compositions, street furniture and advertising units, visual infopoints and various temporary installations.For a comfortable and attractive space, the necessities include functional planning, original designer’s solutions, taking into account environmental components, ergonomic parameters, and interconnection with the city planning system.THE BOULEVARD AS A TYPE OF URBAN LINEAR SPACEDerived from the German word Bollwerk, it is a protective structure, fortification (15th century). The term originally means a platform for an armed fortress wall, a place occupied by a bastion or curtain. Later the term gained the more general meaning of “city fortifications”. Then, with the destruction of city walls and defensive structures, it meant a place for walks or a broad roadway lined with trees on both sides, situated largely in dependence on the previous location of the walls and fortifications.According to historical information, the first boulevards were built back in the classical period, a prime example of which is the system of the Grands Boulevards in Paris, established during the reign of Louis XIV. In the nineteenth century, after the systematic and large-scale demolition of the old city walls, a number of boulevards appeared throughout Europe. In Paris, after the demolition of the old fortifications of Thiers in 1920, a second circle of boulevards was introduced, known as the “Périphérique” or the “Boulevards of the Marshals”. Here the boulevard takes on a lively air.Colors are gay, spirits are light, the smile is quick and the heart is glad on the boulevard in Paris/. In German-speaking countries boulevards are often known as “Rings”. One of the most famous and largest is the Ringstrasse, the circular boulevard in Vienna, the organization of which was entrusted to Otto Wagner. These actions led to extensive theoretical discussions and were the basis for the works of Camillo Sitte, the famous Austrian architect and city planner. As a result of the relatively open use of the word during the last third of the nineteenth century, the term boulevard became interchangeable with the term Avenue, as mentioned by Baron Haussman in his theoretical treatises...

  • Issue Year: 49/2015
  • Issue No: 3-4
  • Page Range: 198-2015
  • Page Count: 18
  • Language: English