Form and reform: affective form and the garden suburb

Lee Stickells

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

2006 Downloads (Pure)


This thesis establishes the concept of affective form as a means of examining urban design – being the intersection of architecture, planning and landscape – in relation to techniques of governance. Affective form broadly describes a built environment where people are encouraged to amend, or govern, their actions according to particular socio–political ideas. Exploration of the concept’s application as a theoretical tool is undertaken here in order to generate a means of discussing the ethical function of urban design. The emergence of notions of affective form will be located in the eighteenth century, alongside the growing confidence in the ability for humankind to effect social and cultural progress. In a series of examples, stretching throughout the twentieth century, the implicit relation of planning, architectural and landscape form to social effect is discussed. The language, and design models, used to delineate affective form are described, alongside discussion of the level of intentionality apparent in the conceptions of urban form’s social effect. Critique through affective form allows an analysis that brings together the underlying utopian elements of projects – the traces of ideology and sociological theories – with an evaluation of the formal concepts projected. As the second area of investigation, the city of Perth in Western Australia provides a contextual focus for the examination of concepts of affective form. Through a series of appropriations of urban design models a suburban archetype emerged in Perth of a planned, homogenous field of low–rise, single–family, detached dwellings within a gardenesque landscape. The process of appropriation is described as a continuing negotiation between local expectations and the implicit conceptions of affective form within the imported models. Connecting the two primary concerns of the thesis, the ability of form to influence social change and the
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2004


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