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Re: FAR Illustrated, at last!

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  • Matt Hohmeister
    Well, Tallahassee (and most other sprawling cities) has plenty of green space. But I don t count green space if it s in the form of fenced-in stormwater ponds,
    Message 1 of 7 , May 1, 2004
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      Well, Tallahassee (and most other sprawling cities) has plenty of green space. But I don't
      count green space if it's in the form of fenced-in stormwater ponds, some of which are
      absolutely huge. The University's 500-some acre campus has a stormwater pond of
      something like 40 acres about a mile south of campus to which stormwater is piped. How
      would stormwater be handled in a carfree city in a rainy area (like the southeastern USA) if
      each district is a few hundred acres of pavement and buildings? Would we need giant
      stormwater ponds on the periphery?

      The point here is that the urban area should be _surrounded by_ green space. In most
      sprawling cities, they keep plenty of woods inbetween developed areas, which end up
      completely unused for hiking/recreational use, and some become homeless campouts.

      There's a tree-canopy recreation trail near my apartment created in a "rails to trails"
      program--this whole area was a military base through WW II, and they probably needed
      rail access. While I welcome a canopied trail convenient to my apartment for quiet, isolated
      jogging, bike riding, or just moping around if I need to get outside, the view through the
      trees is an eyesore. At the end of the trail, you see a massive stormwater pond, the back
      sides of various big-box stores, and a 40-acre, 600-unit apartment complex under
      construction.

      Of course, the presence of fences around everything and the lack of public rights of way
      between private properties makes for very hard walking. In a carfree city, we need some
      sort of regulation limiting the width of private properties to something like 500 feet in any
      direction. Public streets should be within easy reach of anywhere, and you should not have
      to walk around a mall half a mile wide just to get somewhere.

      > In my opinion, "macro" IS the full city. In the case of the
      > reference design, this is a site 10 miles on a side that is
      > more than 80% in green space. Also, don't forget that even in
      > the case of the Amstel skyscrapers and their very minimal
      > amount of green space, there is still a great deal of water,
      > which counts as open space.
      >
      > This is supposed to be handled in the text description of
      > the area; I had in fact omitted it in the case of the Jordaan
      > district description. Those courtyards are also private. As I
      > said in Carfree Cities, you can do whatever you please with
      > interior courtyards, and that the best arrangement is probably
      > all of them, with different arrangements in different blocks.
      >
      > This is the critical point: cities should be surrounded by open
      > green space, and there should be nothing to interfere with
      > access from the city to these areas, and certainly no suburbs
      > in the way.
      >
      > I'll see what I can work in on this; it should be an obvious
      > point, but I guess it needs a mention.
    • look384
      Mattt wrote: Well, Tallahassee (and most other sprawling cities) has plenty of green space. But I don t count green space if it s in the form of fenced-in
      Message 2 of 7 , May 2, 2004
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        Mattt wrote:

        "Well, Tallahassee (and most other sprawling cities) has plenty of
        green space. But I don't count green space if it's in the form of
        fenced-in stormwater ponds, some of which are absolutely huge. The
        University's 500-some acre campus has a stormwater pond of something
        like 40 acres about a mile south of campus to which stormwater is
        piped. How would stormwater be handled in a carfree city in a rainy
        area (like the southeastern USA) if each district is a few hundred
        acres of pavement and buildings? Would we need giant stormwater
        ponds on the periphery?"

        A carfree city would have much less hard surface (roads, buildings,
        etc) than a typical sprawl city. Hard surface generates a great
        deal more stormwater runoff than non-hard surfaces. Sprawl cities
        have many low buildings and lots of road surface, which wouldn't be
        the case in a car free city. Northern Europe has both lots of rain
        and city design similar to carfree design, stormwater isn't a
        problem there. I don't know exactly where it goes, but believe the
        majority of it is just absorbed in the ground.

        "Of course, the presence of fences around everything and the lack of
        public rights of way between private properties makes for very hard
        walking. In a carfree city, we need some sort of regulation limiting
        the width of private properties to something like 500 feet in any
        direction. Public streets should be within easy reach of anywhere,
        and you should not have to walk around a mall half a mile wide just
        to get somewhere."

        Excellent point, and one that is hit upon both by J.H. Crawford in
        Carfree Cities and Jane Jacobs in The Death and Life of Great
        American Cities. Blocks are too large in sprawl cities, which is a
        huge obstacle to walking/cycling, as well as asthetics. They argue
        for blocks no larger than 120-150 meters long. For example,
        Crawford mentions no point should be more than 75 meters from a
        street wide enough for emergency vehicles. These blocks would be
        less than 500 feet long (maximum length), and at times substantially
        shorter.

        Kevin
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