The planning terms and concepts architects should know

Here are some planning and concept terms, some that are quite new in Vietnam but are popular abroad.


As architects, we often use words that are complex and confusing to those of us who are not architects. We would like to list some words that are not really popular in Vietnam but that are commonly used abroad.


Arcology: A compound word between Architecture and Ecology, used to describe a closed infrastructure that reduces human’s impact on the natural environment (these are basically the concepts that architects love, but nobody likes to pay to design).


Boomburb: combine between Booming and suburb (suburb), only populated areas with ugly constructions in the suburbs.
Brownfield land: Old commercial or industrial land can be contaminated that real estate insists it is “opportunity”.
Brusselization: The act of increasing a modern high-rise building in the city center without regard to context. The name comes from the fact that the city of Brussels did it.

Community greens: Common green spaces in residential areas. What you usually paint green on your premises in certain areas and call it “sustainable design.”
Conscious city: a city that understands you better than your therapist.
Conurbation: an area formed by many towns and cities to form a district.
Coving: An urban planning method of winding roads and uneven plots. Sounds pretty cool until you drive to the same house four times and realize you don’t know where you are.



Edge city: A kind of secondary downtown district (CBD: Central Business District) on the outskirts of town.

Ekistics: The fascinating science behind urban planning. A term used by people who really care about the power of design (The Power of Design ™.)

Elbow roomer: People who left the city to return to the countryside.


Facadism: An implementation fiercely hated by many architects, it consists primarily of an ugly glass box hidden behind a heritage building’s appearance.

Floor area ratio: Total floor area compared to the area of land for construction.

Fused grid: A type of street network pattern.



Green belt: A policy used in urban planning to retain the “belt” of the natural environment around an urban area, because if there is still a small green strip, we can continue to pretend that we do not destroy the Earth.

Greenfield land: Contrary to Brownfield land, unspoilt land.

Greyfield land: A building or land of no economic benefit.

Grid plan: Grid plan.


Infill: Fills in the gaps between buildings with more buildings.

Isovist: A measurement that refers to the set of points visible from a certain point in space.


Mansionization: When people build huge houses because they can, because they want to show how rich they are.


New Urbanism: An urban design movement that promotes pedestrian-friendly, environmentally sustainable cities and built for the community.

New Suburbanism: Same as above but with suburban area.

NIMBY: An acronym for Not In My Backyard. The kind of people who believe that shelter should be built for the homeless as long as they are not anywhere within a 5-mile radius of their home.


Out growth: An urban area that grows out of an existing town or city.

Overdevelopment: The radical idea that perhaps relentless population growth and construction development could have a negative impact on the world.


Placemaking: Art that creates place rather than beautiful works standing alone.

PLVI: The best land value for your money.

Protected view: When a landscape is super nice and you have to protect it.


Ribbon development: When development occurs along with a ribbon, usually main roads and railway stations, leading to urban sprawl,


Setback: Setback works

Smart City: Similar to a sentient city (Concious city), a smart city uses data collection and information about its residents to manage the city effectively.

Synekism: The dependence of cities under one leader.



Terminating vista: Super important buildings are at the end of the road, so you can’t escape the view.

Third place: first place is the home, second place is the workplace, and third place is all other good community settings for the soul.


Urban prairie: urban land returning to green space. For those outside the US, it evokes a vague image of green fields, with girls in bonnets.

Urban acupuncture: The intersection between urban design and traditional Chinese acupuncture. Including targeting small areas to relieve the pressure on cities while trying to ignore the fact that needles are piercing the body.

Urbicide: violence against the city


Vancouverism: Urban planning tricks that help Vancouver consistently rank as one of the most livable cities in the world.

Viewshed: Just means the view from a certain point, mathematically.


Walkability: A measure of the friendliness of an area suitable for walking.

Wildlife corridor: A green corridor connecting wildlife populations that have been separated due to human development. Increases biodiversity and allows safe migration of animals.


YIMBY: Contrary to NIMBY, YIMBY are wealthy Millennials (people born from 1980 to the early 2000s, aged 18-35 years old) who love urban embellishment and want to grow as much as possible, even then are probably terrible designs.


Zone of transition: The area of ​​transformation and change in Ernest Burgess’s concentric region model.




From outside to inside: Commuter zone, Residential zone, Working class zone, Zone of transition, Factory zone, CBD (Central Business District)


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