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Title: The construction of urban design values in volume housing production
Author: Choy, Nicholas Yeung Chung
ISNI:       0000 0004 7656 2317
Awarding Body: King's College London
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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My research explores the interrelationships between agencies involved in volume housebuilding, and their influence on the discourses and the actualities of housing quality in residential developments. The empirical focus is on urban design codes; as a planning tool with responsibilities and interests spread across a broad cluster of public and private agencies, they are intriguing artefacts of complex governmental processes. Though research on design codes has been done in the past, much of it addresses issues from planning and policy perspectives, focusing on best-practice and promotion. My research incorporates a suite of constructivist social theories to re-situate the process of design coding within the political relationships between institutions, individuals, central and local governments and private companies. Using the concepts of field and capital articulated by Bourdieu (1983, 1986) and governmental rationality after Foucault (1991, 1998), I investigate the way design values are co-constructed by these different parties, and the manner in which they attain force and effect within the contemporary UK political and cultural economy. I will also utilize approaches associated with actor-network-theory (Latour 2005) to evaluate the technical artefacts of design coding, to track their active contribution to the construction of design values, and how they interact with larger assemblages within the built environment. The empirical program includes in-depth interviews and two case studies of active design coding projects in order to develop a detailed and socially charged account of a process often portrayed and understood in “objective” disciplinary terms. Design codes are typically assumed to be a value-neutral tool, a technical instrument capable of delivering a broad range of styles and transparently communicating different design agendas. This thesis interrogates that assumption and examines how design codes, like other governmental technologies, are part of specific historical and political circumstances, and as such are the site of contestation and the embodiment of a multiplicity of values, whether by design or not.
Supervisor: Herrick, Clare Beatrice ; Imrie, Robert Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available