© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Designers take different approaches when dealing with urban problems. Some find solutions in existing theories, some rely on their creativity, and many take a middle way. The questions here are what they expect from theory and how they follow their expectations. This paper examines the ways in which theory is being applied within the field of urban design following on from recent discussions on this topic. The paper then identifies four models for employing theory within urban design: as servant of innovation, as scientific formulation, as a means to control wicked problems, and finally as the subject for critique. In a comparison, these four models are assessed in relation to their use within both design and research contexts. The final part of this paper examines how urban design professionals employ theory in their work within practice and academia. The paper concludes by examining the advantages and disadvantages of each model, and adds that being confined to one model of employing theory would exacerbate urban problems. Reflecting on the interviews, the paper advocates multiple models be used, specifically chosen according to the problem in hand.
Foroughmand Araabi, H. (2017). Multiple expectations: Assessing the assumed roles of theory in relation to urban design. Journal of Urban Design, 22(5), 658-669. https://doi.org/10.1080/13574809.2017.1298402