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Re: [carfree_cities] The 7th Int.'l Expo. of Architecture, Venice, Oct. 2000

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  • Doug Salzmann
    ... Planners of the 20th century, in many places, also lost the 40-70% of space in the urban cores that were devoured by the automobile over the course of the
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 26, 2001
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      T.J. responded (eloquently, I thought) to a question in Hillel's book:

      >I can't resist responding to the question you pose on page 32:
      >"...what have the planners of the 20th century lost that enabled previous
      >generations of planners to create such lively and meaningful urban spaces?"

      Planners of the 20th century, in many places, also lost the 40-70% of
      space in the urban cores that were devoured by the automobile over the
      course of the century.

      -Doug
    • sharch@inter.net.il
      Dear T.J., Thank you for taking the time to look at my book and for your comments. ... of ... This is interesting but I feel it already presupposes the
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 28, 2001
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        Dear T.J.,

        Thank you for taking the time to look at my book and for your
        comments.


        For your consideration:
        >
        > CITY= a fixed place that maximizes the opportunity for multitudes
        of
        > 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
        spaces will
        > depend on proximity to roads well-traveled. However, while the
        best
        > pedestrian streets may have suffered a few decades of automobile
        traffic
        > before being pedestrianized, they were all carfree a hundred years
        ago;

        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.

        and
        > the mix of traffic then present moved at a pace that was much less
        hostile
        > to the large number of pedestrians that defined that mix. What if
        the
        > primary traffic that you want to keep pedestrians in touch with was
        not
        > 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
        previous
        > generations of planners to create such lively and meaningful urban
        spaces?"
        >
        > Nothing much more, or less, than the collective memory of how
        pleasant,
        > vibrant and socially relevant public streets can be when they're
        filled
        > 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.


        Imagine the
        > following as an alternate to your ninth point ("Never entirely
        separate
        > 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.

        Public spaces
        > 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.

        Agreed.

        Yet
        > there is a growing awareness that the needs of automobile traffic,
        for
        > space and for speed, are in direct conflict with the needs of non-
        motorized
        > traffic for human density

        Tame the car then, don't kill it.


        >
        > I found it interesting that you seemed most pleased (in your
        comments on
        > page 45) with the proposal put forth by Plesner Architects, the
        conclusion
        > of which reads like a sales pitch for carfree development: :^]
        > "...Transport we have not mastered. It has mastered us, and has
        nearly
        > destroyed the wonderful human qualities of most cities of the
        world... We
        > can create a public and private urban transport infrastructure,
        which
        > leaves the surface of the earth free for people on foot, and free
        from the
        > tyranny of the wide, traffic-engineered, noisy, smelly, dangerous,
        ugly and
        > 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
        medieval
        > city, and compared contemporary "real human needs" to
        those "catered for by
        > the medieval city". I seem to recall you stating something (in a
        previous
        > message) to the effect that you felt it was inappropriate to look
        to
        > medieval cities for insight into how to create better cities
        today. Please
        > explain.

        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.
        I look
        > forward to your reply. I also look forward to having an informed
        > discussion with someone with your insight and experience about
        several
        > 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.


        Sincerely,

        Hillel
      • sharch@inter.net.il
        Hi Doug, Please read my response to T.J. s remarks. Hillel ... previous ... spaces? ... of ... the
        Message 3 of 5 , Jan 28, 2001
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          Hi Doug,

          Please read my response to T.J.'s remarks.

          Hillel



          --- In carfree_cities@y..., Doug Salzmann <doug@t...> wrote:
          > T.J. responded (eloquently, I thought) to a question in Hillel's
          book:
          >
          > >I can't resist responding to the question you pose on page 32:
          > >"...what have the planners of the 20th century lost that enabled
          previous
          > >generations of planners to create such lively and meaningful urban
          spaces?"
          >
          > Planners of the 20th century, in many places, also lost the 40-70%
          of
          > space in the urban cores that were devoured by the automobile over
          the
          > course of the century.
          >
          > -Doug
        • T. J. Binkley
          Hi Hillel, ... Correct. I m quite fond of many of the collective acheviements 20th-century mankind. ... I m especially grateful for modern plumbing and sewage
          Message 4 of 5 , Feb 1, 2001
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            Hi Hillel,

            >I realy don't believe you are suggesting a return to the pre car
            >period.

            Correct. I'm quite fond of many of the collective acheviements
            20th-century mankind.

            >I'm just reading... 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.

            I'm especially grateful for modern plumbing and sewage systems. :^] Do
            you imagine that Jerusalem was ever busier, or noisier, than it is right now?

            >... 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 hear this accusation levelled against the New Urbanists quite
            frequently. I'm curious, which human needs have they neglected, or failed
            to understand?

            >I believe that
            >with the rules set by "Intimate Anonymity" you can plan good cities
            >using modern technology.

            What are some of your favorite examples of modern technological
            improvements over the sort of building done in say, 19th-century Paris?

            >The city will not look like a medieval city
            >but will function for it's inhabitants like one.

            Isn't it interesting that so many people have so much affection for "the
            look" of the old medieval sections of many cities? Why do you think that is?

            Cheers,

            T.J.
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