Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Re: [carfree_cities] The hard activist yards vs. the fantasy and vision

Expand Messages
  • J.H. Crawford
    ... In the first instance, there s nothing experimental about carfree cities. That s the way everybody lived just 100 years ago. In the seccond instance, we re
    Message 1 of 10 , May 3 11:48 AM
    • 0 Attachment
      Mike Lacey said:

      >I think San Francisco needs to be held up as an example to all those
      >who think changing our existing cities is a pipe dream, and that the
      >only way forward is to ruin virgin land with experimental car-free
      >cities that may or may not work.

      In the first instance, there's nothing experimental about carfree
      cities. That's the way everybody lived just 100 years ago.

      In the seccond instance, we're continuing to tear up virgin land
      at a terrific rate by building sprawl. If these sprawl developments
      were replaced by carfree cities, the amount of land consumed would
      decline by about 80% and the new areas could be served by
      much more efficient rail transport and would be built as mixed-use
      cities in which far less travel is required to meet life's
      daily needs.

      In the final instance, the concepts of the reference design ARE
      applicable to existing cities. I see the redevelopment of the
      world's auto-centric cities as carfree cities as one of the
      most important tasks of the 21st century. We are, however,
      going to need more room to house our growing population,
      until we actually achieve ZPG, so, unless we rebuild at higher
      densities, we're going to have to occupy more land for urban
      uses. I believe that we will need to rebuild at higher densities
      in order to achieve carfree cities, but it's a big, slow job.


      ###

      J.H. Crawford _Carfree Cities_
      postmaster@... http://www.carfree.com
    • Mike Lacey
      ... Yes but most communities then were not planned on mass they grew up in a more organic fashion, and I believe are more beautiful places as a result. ... But
      Message 2 of 10 , May 3 2:47 PM
      • 0 Attachment
        --- In carfree_cities@egroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <postmaster@c...>
        wrote:
        > In the first instance, there's nothing experimental about carfree
        > cities. That's the way everybody lived just 100 years ago.

        Yes but most communities then were not planned on mass they grew up
        in a more organic fashion, and I believe are more beautiful places as
        a result.

        > In the seccond instance, we're continuing to tear up virgin land
        > at a terrific rate by building sprawl. If these sprawl developments
        > were replaced by carfree cities, the amount of land consumed would
        > decline by about 80% and the new areas could be served by
        > much more efficient rail transport and would be built as mixed-use
        > cities in which far less travel is required to meet life's
        > daily needs.

        But there is more than enough room within our existing city limits
        for such development. It breaks my heart to see so-called "New
        Urbanist" communities like Seaside, where once was pristine
        coastline, now there is a soul-less legoland.

        >
        > In the final instance, the concepts of the reference design ARE
        > applicable to existing cities. I see the redevelopment of the
        > world's auto-centric cities as carfree cities as one of the
        > most important tasks of the 21st century. We are, however,
        > going to need more room to house our growing population,
        > until we actually achieve ZPG, so, unless we rebuild at higher
        > densities, we're going to have to occupy more land for urban
        > uses. I believe that we will need to rebuild at higher densities
        > in order to achieve carfree cities, but it's a big, slow job.

        Population growth is one of the most bogus argumunents for churning
        up virgin land. In the US, urban density is so light. SF is the
        second most densely populated City in the US, its population density
        is 15,000 / sq mile,
        Denver is 3,000 / sq mile
        Oklahoma City is 750/ sq mile
        Comapare to
        Paris 53,000 / sq mile
        Netherlands (the whole country!!) 750/ sq mile.

        Population density is not a problem in the US. In fact our cities are
        too lightly populated - they need to fill out from the inside. The
        last thing we need is yet more cities.
        In SF, everytime a parking lot is turned into a four story apartment
        the place fills up before it is built. I'm sure the same applies in
        New York, Chicago, Philly etc. The potential for density increase in
        exsting cities is almost infinite, the demand is enormous.

        Mike
      • J.H. Crawford
        ... Christopher Alexander proposed in _A New Theory of Urban Design_ a methodology for achieving the qualities that are common to areas that grew organically,
        Message 3 of 10 , May 4 9:30 AM
        • 0 Attachment
          Mike Lacey wrote:

          >Yes but most communities then were not planned on mass they grew up
          >in a more organic fashion, and I believe are more beautiful places as
          >a result.

          Christopher Alexander proposed in _A New Theory of Urban Design_ a
          methodology for achieving the qualities that are common to areas
          that grew organically, over a period of centuries. I agree that in
          general these areas are the most beautiful of all urban environments,
          but it is worth remembering that Amsterdam's famed 16th-century
          "Grachtengordel" (canal belt) was perhaps the world's first
          PUD (Planned Unit Development). This area was masterplanned, on
          paper, in about 1600 and built out, in close accord with the plan,
          over the following 75 or so years. I think that this shows that
          modern planning failures are not the result of all-at-once planning
          so much as a lack of understanding about how to make nice urban
          areas. While gridirons are very easy to design and lay down, they
          do not, IMHO, make for especially nice cities, although they can
          be pretty good, as in the Baixa area of Lisbon, a master-planned
          redevelopment following the devastating 1755(?) earthquake. From
          the drawings I have seen, the earlier, medieval development must
          have been even nicer.

          >But there is more than enough room within our existing city limits
          >for such development. It breaks my heart to see so-called "New
          >Urbanist" communities like Seaside, where once was pristine
          >coastline, now there is a soul-less legoland.

          There's plenty of room within most existing American cities
          for redevelopment at higher density (Warning: don't try this
          in Manhattan!). Most European city centers do not have much in the
          way of brownfield sites, however. I've not seen Seaside, but
          I think the characterization as soul-less is probably a little
          harsh. Remember also: some of the most beautiful landscapes in
          the world are man-made. Take, for example, the rice terraces
          of Bali. 100% human-transformed landscape, beautiful beyond
          description. We don't have to make ugly places. It's just a
          bad habit, left over from the 20th C.

          >Population growth is one of the most bogus argumunents for churning
          >up virgin land.

          It's a very real argument in many parts of the world. I agree that
          most US cities could simply draw a line around the city, somewhat
          INSIDE the outer limit of existing development, and say: "no more
          development outside this line." Most cities in the USA, when seen
          from the air, have huge patches that are ripe for development, many
          of them in or near downtown.

          >Population density is not a problem in the US.

          Please remember that we're not talking only about the USA on this list.
          The issue, however, is also that in places like China, people would
          prefer to have more than the current 50 or 100 square feet per
          person. Given that Chinese cities are already pretty dense, this
          can't really be achieved without using up some non-urban land.
          China has to minimize this becuase most of the land under
          consideration is agricultural, a commodity in short supply there.
          When China was considering the adoption of American auto-centric
          development patterns, the prospects for China continuing to feed
          itself were very grim. It appears that China has stepped back from
          this decision, although this has not been formally announced as
          far as I know.

          >The potential for density increase in
          >exsting [US] cities is almost infinite, the demand is enormous.

          Agreed.

          Latest statistic from Europe (I think) is that for every parking
          space removed from a city, THREE new pedestrians appear.


          ###

          J.H. Crawford _Carfree Cities_
          postmaster@... http://www.carfree.com
        • Mike Lacey
          ... Yes, I agree. Much of Paris was planned too (Hausman). ... And many other cases: Barcelona, San Francisco, Edinburgh NewTown district. Gridirons are not
          Message 4 of 10 , May 4 12:56 PM
          • 0 Attachment
            --- In carfree_cities@egroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <postmaster@c...>
            wrote:
            > I think that this shows that
            > modern planning failures are not the result of all-at-once planning
            > so much as a lack of understanding about how to make nice urban
            > areas.

            Yes, I agree. Much of Paris was planned too (Hausman).

            > While gridirons are very easy to design and lay down, they
            > do not, IMHO, make for especially nice cities, although they can
            > be pretty good, as in the Baixa area of Lisbon

            And many other cases: Barcelona, San Francisco, Edinburgh "NewTown"
            district. Gridirons are not in themselves problematic, and in my
            experience can often be pedestrian friendly.

            > There's plenty of room within most existing American cities
            > for redevelopment at higher density (Warning: don't try this
            > in Manhattan!). Most European city centers do not have much in the
            > way of brownfield sites, however.

            But outside of the City Centres they often do.
            I apologize for speaking US-centrically. I should no better, I am
            British (lived my entire childhood there). Its just that America is
            such a great case study, the belly-of-the-beast as it were. I tend to
            think of Europe as the solution not the problem. (Though I,m sure
            you'll put me right!)

            > I've not seen Seaside, but
            > I think the characterization as soul-less is probably a little
            > harsh.

            I stand by that characterisation. And Celebration (the Disney-
            owned "new-urbanist" community near Orlando) is worse. If this is new-
            urbanism then I'm not a new urbanist.

            > Remember also: some of the most beautiful landscapes in
            > the world are man-made. Take, for example, the rice terraces
            > of Bali. 100% human-transformed landscape, beautiful beyond
            > description. We don't have to make ugly places. It's just a
            > bad habit, left over from the 20th C.

            True. I suppose I just think we should get our existing cities right
            before we create new ones. I think humans need to be much more humble
            about the consequences of imposing their order on nature.

            > Latest statistic from Europe (I think) is that for every parking
            > space removed from a city, THREE new pedestrians appear.

            I'm very intersted in that last statistic. If you (or anyone) can
            expand on it I would be very interested. There are a lot of urban
            planners in America (and the world!) who could learn from that.

            Mike
          • jym@econet.org
            ... =v= Aiiee!! While better thant he suburban hell that surrounds the city, that s not the best part of Paris. Those big wide boulevards are wall-to-wall
            Message 5 of 10 , May 4 1:57 PM
            • 0 Attachment
              >> I think that this shows that modern planning failures are not
              >> the result of all-at-once planning so much as a lack of
              >> understanding about how to make nice urban areas.
              > Yes, I agree. Much of Paris was planned too (Hausman).

              =v= Aiiee!! While better thant he suburban hell that surrounds
              the city, that's not the best part of Paris. Those big wide
              boulevards are wall-to-wall with speeding cars, and they put up
              thousands of bollards just to keep them off the sidewalks. The
              Arc de Triomphe is nothing so much as an Arc de Triomphe des
              Voitures!

              =v= The best part of Paris is the very center, the old medieval
              city, with its narrow, winding roads and cobblestones. Indeed,
              your best bet in most French cities is just to head for the
              old medieval center of town.
              <_Jym_>
            • J.H. Crawford
              ... Sorry, don t have the source. Anyone? ### J.H. Crawford _Carfree Cities_ postmaster@carfree.com
              Message 6 of 10 , May 5 10:20 AM
              • 0 Attachment
                >> Latest statistic from Europe (I think) is that for every parking
                >> space removed from a city, THREE new pedestrians appear.
                >
                >I'm very intersted in that last statistic. If you (or anyone) can
                >expand on it I would be very interested. There are a lot of urban
                >planners in America (and the world!) who could learn from that.

                Sorry, don't have the source. Anyone?


                ###

                J.H. Crawford _Carfree Cities_
                postmaster@... http://www.carfree.com
              • J.H. Crawford
                ... I have to say that I have a strong personal preference for the medieval areas, too. When I was in Lyon a couple of years ago, I found that the district
                Message 7 of 10 , May 5 10:31 AM
                • 0 Attachment
                  Jym said:

                  >=v= The best part of Paris is the very center, the old medieval
                  >city, with its narrow, winding roads and cobblestones. Indeed,
                  >your best bet in most French cities is just to head for the
                  >old medieval center of town.

                  I have to say that I have a strong personal preference for the
                  medieval areas, too.

                  When I was in Lyon a couple of years ago, I found that the
                  district west of the rivers was the nicest part, with narrow,
                  crooked streets and the oldest buildings. The peninsula between
                  the rivers is 17th C (or so), and while it's nice, I don't find
                  its gridiron layout as enticing as the earlier parts.


                  ###

                  J.H. Crawford _Carfree Cities_
                  postmaster@... http://www.carfree.com
                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.