Recombinant Urbanism develops the urban-modeling techniques, first pioneered by Kevin Lynch, into a comprehensive framework for the fast-growing discipline of urban design. Covering the origins of urban design in North America and Europe, it discusses the main approaches that have evolved to deal with the fragmented contemporary city. It also looks at the influence of participatory planning processes, zoning codes, imagery, finance, and marketing on urban form. Shane describes how the very same forces at work behind the freedom of the individual have also led to a widespread urban dispersal. In the final chapters, Shane brings his argument up to date with an exciting and innovative vision of contemporary practice, in which urban actors combine urban elements in networked cities. While the urban-planning touchstones of pattern recognition, scaling, urban morphologies, and zoning codes remain at the fore, their role is stressed as a transient one. They are presented as ever-changing structures, subject to constant feedback and alteration by a changing cast of catalytic urban actors.
Providing a sophisticated and potent set of tools for urban designers and urban-design students, recombinant Urbanism also recasts urban modeling as an effective method of augmenting standard architectural design practices in an urban context.