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Re: [carfree_cities] Building a Carfree City from Scratch

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  • J.H. Crawford
    ... I don t have hard figures on this, but consider this: The amount of land required to provides homes and workplaces to a million people living in a carfree
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 11, 2000
      David Schneider-Joseph raised some questions about costs:

      >What would be a very rough projected cost of building a carfree city from
      >scratch, including the cost of land?

      I don't have hard figures on this, but consider this:

      The amount of land required to provides homes and workplaces
      to a million people living in a carfree city is very roughly
      the same as for an auto-centric, sprawling development. However,
      in a carfree city based on the reference design, more than 80%
      of the land can remain in open space uses.

      Because the human uses are concentrated, the aggregate length of
      utility runs is far shorter, probably on the order of 30% of
      what is required for sprawl development.

      The amount of paved area is only about 30% of the developed area,
      or about 6% of the enitre site. It's hard to come by reliable
      figures for sprawl development, but the comparable number would
      be over 25% and perhaps much more. (An oft-cited figure of
      70% of land in downtown areas being devoted to the automobile,
      and thus paved, does not appear to have a sound research basis.
      Clearly, this figure is reached in some areas, such as the
      heart of Houston, but the figure for a metropolitan area as
      a whole is surely far lower.)

      The cost of the buildings themselves should be quite reasonable.
      The four-story buildings proposed do not require elevators
      and can use relatively simple construction techniques except
      in earthquake-prone areas, where all masonry construction must
      be thoroughly reinforced.

      The additional cost, of course, is the construction of the
      public transport system. Given that metros cost very roughly
      the same amount per mile as urban freeways, and given that
      the routes are as short as reasonably possible, the construction
      cost of the inter-district transport system should be comparable
      with a freeway-based system. The cost of the rolling stock
      would be much lower than the cost of the reequired number of
      cars and buses for auto-centric development. Rail rolling stock
      often lasts as long as 50 years, but 20 years is really stretching
      it for cars and buses.

      Energy costs for operating the transport system should be much
      lower than for auto-centric transport.

      The one uncertainty in this picture is the freight delivery
      system, which has never before been built, although all of
      the necessary components are relatively standard. It would
      surely be fairly expensive (perhaps on the order of the
      cost of the metro), but given the total picture, these
      costs would be moderate.

      I belive that one of the next steps in moving towards carfree
      cities is to develop a sophisticated computer simulation of
      both auto-centric and carfree cities, so that these questions
      could be answered with some precision.


      J.H. Crawford _Carfree Cities_
      postmaster@... http://www.carfree.com
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