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 City & Time > Vol. 1, No. 2 (2005) open journal systems 

Land development: between logic and myth

Jose Luis Miralles i Garcia, University of Valencia

Urban planning already has a long history as a technical and administrative instrument for intervention in cities. But there has existed a permanent dialectical conflict between technical rationality and social protagonist, in the creation and development of these same cities. Whenever planning and intervention processes have centred on technical rationality, planning has been accused of being excessively technocratic and of ignoring the inhabitants of the city. When technical rigor in planning has been relaxed and the plan has been produced from an aggregation of different ideas and wishes, it has paradoxically turned out to be a document that does not describe a coherent will or reality. Poetry in interventions in the country, and in the city can be understood as the artistic knowledge of those who know how to combine elements and materials (both territorial and urban) to generate a product of high esthetical quality. It can also be understood, however as a feeling generated in the observer when perceiving an urban or non urban landscape which has been planned. This is a reflection on the relation between these different aspects, and the advances in ideas and realities that are, methodologically, taking place, both in the search for a balance between art and technology in planning, and the intervention in cities by local administration. Taking some real cases, such as the Olivia General Plan, the QUARTER project, which concerns the implementation of a system of local quality certification, or the social movement, PER L`HORTA, the aim of which is to defend local, natural and historical heritage. We can advance, creating significant methodologies, proposals and methods of intervention with which we can integrate technical methods, sometimes with a high level of complexity, that contain social aspirations and a social understanding of interventions developed in cities as well as in the country. This is examined considering the urban or territorial landscape generated by a project or plan as a synthesis of the dialectical conflict between specialisation and signification. Specialisation represents a form of technological intervention that is continuously becoming more rigorous, complex, efficient, and with a higher capacity to produce changes. Signification represents a clear perception by the public of interventions made in cities, the technological forms of which they are not aware of, or are unable to understand.

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City & Time  ISSN: 1807-7544