Policies and Regulations

With Policies and Regulations

For them to be effective, policies and regulations need to be constantly updated according to changing urban and economic conditions and new living trends. These can also be implemented to preserve existing urban cohesion. As an alternative, deregulation may result in negative urban impacts. Each urban fabric presents particular physical, economic and social conditions. In order to enhance densification, urban models require specific tailoring and calibration. Planning regulations that only take into account densification or economic growth clash with environmental targets.

The more specific policies are, the more impactful they can be. For instance, the regulations that allow for multifunctional buildings in Shanghai and Suzhou have instigated the proliferation of a big variety of multi-programmatic vertical towers. The economic subsidies by the Chilean local authorities for the repopulation of the central area of Santiago in the 1990’s, led to some 20 years of sustained construction and densification of the area. In London, the area of Canary Wharf has been retailored as an alternative center, with special policies to integrate lower and higher income dwellers. 

Do these regulations actually design the urban scenarios or are they just a framework to facilitate the development of the city? Are the physical social and economic outcomes the ones that these regulations expected? To meet future zero carbon targets, how can regulatory strategies negotiate urban development and be flexible enough to allow for design innovation?

Design Operations


Urban regulations seeking densification need to expand the options in which properties may be adjoined, merged, and reconfigured. Land ownership should expand into more flexible and dynamic administrations so as to recalibrate the relationship between built and open areas, its uses, and the degrees of private and publicness properties offer to the city.

Project Descriptions

18- Merged Plots/ “Expanded Gardens” – Santiago

Detached blocks are connected to form a continuous row, merging neighbouring plots, so as to maximise green space.

Based on the shape of the meandering row, various types of gardens and courtyards emerge across the site. Also, multiple connections to streets surrounding the urban block become  possible.

Original Project:Typical medium-rise detached blocks, Providencia, Santiago

19- Semi Public Alleys/ “Cross the Block”  – Santiago

A typical townhouse row is rotated, creating a semi public alley across the urban block. 

Access to units at different levels is provided from the semi-public alley. The width and “right of way” can be calibrated to also provide the option for vehicular access.

Original Project: Typical townhouse row, Santiago