Thank you for taking the time to look at my book and for your
For your consideration:
> CITY= a fixed place that maximizes the opportunity for multitudes
> strangers to choose their own communities
This is interesting but I feel it already presupposes the knowledge
of the term "community" and the fact that people ought to form
communities. I believe that although people mostly do form
communities, these are not ends but means. People form communities in
order to further their chances for survival, in fact, to satisfy
their natural instinct for eternal survival. I believe that if people
could survive eternaly they would not form communities or cities.
As long as the car
> is the primary means of travel in cities, the success of public
> depend on proximity to roads well-traveled. However, while the
> pedestrian streets may have suffered a few decades of automobile
> before being pedestrianized, they were all carfree a hundred years
I realy don't believe you are suggesting a return to the pre car
period. I'm just reading a wonderful book "The Gospel According to
Jesus Christ" were there is an account of a visit of Joseph, Jesus's
father, to Jerusalem which was Carfree at that time obviously. His
description is of a buisy noisy stinking city, a place were i'm sure
you wouldn't like to walk through.
> the mix of traffic then present moved at a pace that was much less
> to the large number of pedestrians that defined that mix. What if
> primary traffic that you want to keep pedestrians in touch with was
> automobile traffic?
I think people should be in touch with all kinds of traffic,
pedestrian, scootrs, bicycles, motorcycles, cars, light trains etc.
The mix is important and I agree that for too long the car has been
given prority which should be reduced, not elliminated.
> I can't resist responding to the question you pose on page 32:
> "...what have the planners of the 20th century lost that enabled
> generations of planners to create such lively and meaningful urban
> Nothing much more, or less, than the collective memory of how
> vibrant and socially relevant public streets can be when they're
> with people instead of cars.
See my note about Jerusalem above. Also, some of my favourit streets
in Paris cater for both cars and pedestrians. I don't find any
problem with this.
> following as an alternate to your ninth point ("Never entirely
> pedestrians from vehicular traffic..."):
> Transportation is the chief design problem of modern cities.
I must disagree. The chief design problem of modern cities is zoning
and low densities. The second problem is the modern view of buidings
as free standing sculptures instead of the tools for the definition
of urban space.
> will be successful only to the extent that they are an integral
part of the
> circulation network that a city's inhabitants use on a daily basis.
> there is a growing awareness that the needs of automobile traffic,
> space and for speed, are in direct conflict with the needs of non-
> traffic for human density
Tame the car then, don't kill it.
> I found it interesting that you seemed most pleased (in your
> page 45) with the proposal put forth by Plesner Architects, the
> of which reads like a sales pitch for carfree development: :^]
> "...Transport we have not mastered. It has mastered us, and has
> destroyed the wonderful human qualities of most cities of the
> can create a public and private urban transport infrastructure,
> leaves the surface of the earth free for people on foot, and free
> tyranny of the wide, traffic-engineered, noisy, smelly, dangerous,
> boringly straight streets."
You are right. This was my favoured scheme. But for the fact that
during our discussions with the Plesners I criticized what seemed to
me their over reaction to the car.
> I also found it interesting that you compared this scheme to a
> city, and compared contemporary "real human needs" to
those "catered for by
> the medieval city". I seem to recall you stating something (in a
> message) to the effect that you felt it was inappropriate to look
> medieval cities for insight into how to create better cities
Yes, I think the problem which is central to my criticism of "New
Urbanism" is that new urbanists react to the failure of modern
planning by phisicly copying styles of the past. believing in shapes
and materials rather then undrstanding human needs. I believe that
with the rules set by "Intimate Anonymity" you can plan good cities
using modern technology. The city will not look like a medieval city
but will function for it's inhabitants like one.
> Once again, thanks for the book. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
> forward to your reply. I also look forward to having an informed
> discussion with someone with your insight and experience about
> aspects of the reference design described in "Carfree Cities".
Could you help me get a copy of Carfree Cities? I'm certainly
interested in reading and commenting.