Research is the systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. (Oxford English Dictionaries, 2020.)What exactly is research in the broad field of performance of urban design, and what methods have proven to be appropriate and useful? There can be very narrow definitions of what constitutes “proper” research and natural scientists will most likely give a different answer from that provided by social researchers or engineers. Some may insist that research is only research when it proves or disproves a hypothesis and uncovers new facts, for example, about the performance of a specific neighbourhood, group of buildings or the work of a particular architect. Research is a systematic investigation and is likely to be an important factor in any urban design process. Geoffrey Makstutis (2018; 20) notes, “It is seldom, if ever, that an architect begins to design without first undertaking some form of research”. Urban design itself is an interdisciplinary research process in that, throughout the process, information from a variety of sources is gathered and evaluated continuously to develop an appropriate design proposition. Understanding the requirements for the future performance of a place or neighbourhood, gathering information, and understanding the local conditions of the site context or the history of the area all constitute elements of the initial research. Research usually has its foundation in asking a pragmatic question. Aksamija (2021) notes that “The ways in which the researcher asks that question are important, and if one applies the most appropriate and rigorous methods, the answers are likely to represent an original contribution to knowledge”. Muratovski notes that research in the performance of a building or a particular public place is “the process by which one can understand the world in a verifiable and consistent manner”  (Muratovski, 2016). This means that merely collating existing information is not in itself enough to constitute research; the aim is to say something meaningful and new because of the data gathered and analysed. For example, a new interpretation or evaluation of the performance data collected. In this context, the term “originality" denotes examining material that has never been studied previously or providing new interpretations of well-known material (Lucas, 2016). This paper discusses the appropriate methods that can be used when researching place performance in urban design; thereafter, it explores the process of inquiry in the research-informed environmental design of green urban futures.
Architecture; City planning
Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning
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Research Methods in Urban Design: A Framework for Researching the Performance and Resilience of Places.