عنوان مقاله [English]
Academicians or practitioners of urban design are usually dealing with practical problems in conformity with established design processes–whether by virtue of academic curriculum or administrative bureaucracy. This processes are a sample of what Kaplan (1964) called it “reconstructed logic” in contrast to “logic in use”. While, according to his account, the latter is the real logic of the researcher (here practitioner) the first one is just an objective formulation of it, for communication with others or introducing it to them. But he believes that the reconstructed logic cannot reflect or receive completely the logic in use in every context and regarding all the scientific (or practical) problems, in priori. Therefore it needs to be edited and evaluated in any new case; and therefore it is yet dependent on the researcher`s logic in use.
But sometimes it seems that the designers fail to make this vital intervention in the processes as an articulated logic, because of not having any deep commands of its constructing principles. This problem seems prevailing, especially within students of master university studios in Iran, where the graduate students, mostly without comprehensive philosophical insight (as it is usual for this discipline in this grade) set out their practical projects in urban design. This problem may cause the design process remain a subjective matter, reducing the articulated process to a representative tool; or on the other hand the secret magic of the process may deprive the designer of practical and intellectual independence, and thereafter spoil the students` creativity. Of course this problem, in the long run affects the professional practitioners, who are usually the graduates of planning faculties.
On the other hand, Persian literature in urban design comprehensively investigates the professional planning methods from many viewpoints, but rarely it deal with the basic logical principles shaping those processes such as logical and philosophical texts which are usually inaccessible to master students of design. Therefore, concerning this missing concept in Persian literature on planning, this article tries to elucidate the logical structure of design process by distilling its logical function; while it tries to be as simple as possible until the outcome can be used by graduate students or new professional learners.
For this aim, first, this article draws upon Hakim’s (2000) classification of research to two categories: “theoretical research” and “policy research”. While policy researches usually evaluate implemented policies, but sometimes they also concern with prediction of the results of newly made policies. Design processes may be claimed to be in harmony with this sense, and therefore its logic may be explicated using policy research evolutionary structure.
The mentioned structure, here, is derived from a model introduced by Crotty (1998) for describing the logic of social research evolution. This model, which is not unique in this regard, identifies the research process as a link within a broader series. This series consists of 4 hierarchical components: epistemology, theoretical perspective, research method (here process) and research techniques; where each of them affect the next one. This hierarchy is helpful in acquiring a general understanding of the method, its components and determining precedents, without being confused in philosophical conundrums.
The applicability of this model to urban design processes is then tested on two renowned family of planning and design processes: the so-called rational processes and communicative ones. The first case is said to be primary based on objectivist and positive epistemology, which confine the domain of the adoptable theories to positive theories.
Substantially they prefer theories capable of quantitative modeling and prediction of material conditions and benefits; and procedurally they use technocratic models with clear-cut steps which may be planned in prior to action. Therefore, at the level of process they usually combine mostly quantitative (or objective) techniques especially those appropriate for prediction and a priori and a posteriori evaluation.
On the other hand, communicative planning and design is based mostly on a constructive (and somewhat subjective) epistemology, which prescribe adoption of substantial theories in pragmatic linguistics, hermeneutics and like; while procedurally they may suggest to follow democratic-communicative theories (especially in politics or sociology) which seek consensus-making. Then a communicative design process is usually constructed of linguistic techniques oriented toward acquisition of beliefs, personal evaluations or seeking consensus.
This two-case analysis shows how this model may guide a (young) designer to adopt the most convenient kind of process or modify an available process according to context, while it may avoid from irrelevant and conflicting intervention in it. On the other hand this kind of active assessment of the process, would not let its constructed logic dominate to be one-sidedly the designer`s logic in use.