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Fwd: Re: interview

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  • J.H. Crawford
    Hi All, Is there anyone who wants to take on this interview? I really don t have the time or energy right now. Regards, ... J.H. Crawford
    Message 1 of 7 , Aug 1, 2005
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      Hi All,

      Is there anyone who wants to take on this interview?
      I really don't have the time or energy right now.

      Regards,



      >Delivered-To: 8-mailbox@...
      >Date: Mon, 01 Aug 2005 13:26:32 -0400
      >From: ninapsg@...
      >X-MB-Message-Source: WebUI
      >X-MB-Message-Type: User
      >X-Mailer: AOL WebMail 1.1.0.13360
      >Subject: Re: interview
      >To: mailbox@...
      >X-AOL-IP: 205.188.212.218
      >X-Spam-Flag: NO
      >
      >Hi,
      >
      >Thanks for writing back. I am going to write an article about carless places such as Venice and Makinac Island where visitors can enjoy time without the noise, pollution, hassle of an automobile. Here are some questions I would like to ask you...
      >What is special about carless places?
      >How does it knit the community together?
      >Why are carless cities a great place to make your vacation?
      >Does a carless environment slow down thte pace of life?
      >How does a carless environment affect the attitude of residents?
      >How does a carless environment affect the attitude of Visitors?
      >Any suggestions of great carless locales that people can go to for a vacation ?
      >
      >Thanks!
      >
      >Nina
      >
      >-----Original Message-----
      >From: J.H. Crawford <mailbox@...>
      >To: ninapsg@...
      >Sent: Sun, 31 Jul 2005 00:10:11 +0000
      >Subject: Re: interview
      >
      >
      >
      >Hi Nina,
      >
      >More details, please?
      >
      >Regards,
      >
      >
      >
      >>Hi,
      >>
      >>I am writing an article for travelnewstoday.com about carless vacations. I was
      >wondering if I could speak with you about the advantages of a car-free vacation
      >and suggestions of places to go in the world to enjoy your holiday without a
      >car. You may contact me via email or telephone at 310-698-2631
      >>
      >>Thank you for your time,
      >>
      >>Nina Porzucki
      >>Travel News Today
      >>818-907-0967
      >
      >
      >
      >------ ### -----
      >J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      ><mailto:mailbox%40carfree.com>mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
      >



      ------ ### -----
      J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
      mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
    • Huang Eu Chai
      Well, I lived in Venice for close to 9 years and studied transport at the university there as part of my training as an architect and town planner, but... I m
      Message 2 of 7 , Aug 2, 2005
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        Well, I lived in Venice for close to 9 years and studied transport at
        the university there as part of my training as an architect and town
        planner, but...

        I'm not sure if they'd want to interview someone else other than you
        though, since I'm just a humble civil servant working on the other
        end of the earth!

        Eu Chai
        (Singapore)



        --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@c...>
        wrote:
        >
        > Hi All,
        >
        > Is there anyone who wants to take on this interview?
        > I really don't have the time or energy right now.
        >
        > Regards,
      • chbuckeye
        ... I d certainly like to hear your thoughts on what you learned in Venice!
        Message 3 of 7 , Aug 3, 2005
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          --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "Huang Eu Chai"
          <eu_chai_huang@l...> wrote:
          > Well, I lived in Venice for close to 9 years and studied transport at
          > the university there as part of my training as an architect and town
          > planner, but...
          >
          > I'm not sure if they'd want to interview someone else other than you
          > though, since I'm just a humble civil servant working on the other
          > end of the earth!
          >
          > Eu Chai
          > (Singapore)


          I'd certainly like to hear your thoughts on what you learned in Venice!
        • J.H. Crawford
          ... Actually, I haven t spent more than two months total in Venice over a span of 15 years. I ll be back in October, but only for a week. It s too expensive
          Message 4 of 7 , Aug 3, 2005
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            >I'd certainly like to hear your thoughts on what you learned in Venice!

            Actually, I haven't spent more than two months total in Venice
            over a span of 15 years. I'll be back in October, but only
            for a week. It's too expensive for me!


            ------ ### -----
            J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
            mailbox@... http://www.carfree.com
          • chbuckeye
            ... Even more reason for all of us to hear from Eu Chai, eh?
            Message 5 of 7 , Aug 3, 2005
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              --- In carfree_cities@yahoogroups.com, "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@c...>
              wrote:
              >
              > >I'd certainly like to hear your thoughts on what you learned in Venice!
              >
              > Actually, I haven't spent more than two months total in Venice
              > over a span of 15 years. I'll be back in October, but only
              > for a week. It's too expensive for me!
              >
              >
              > ------ ### -----
              > J.H. Crawford Carfree Cities
              > mailbox@c... http://www.carfree.com



              Even more reason for all of us to hear from Eu Chai, eh?
            • Huang Eu Chai
              ... I m flattered! But where shall I begin? As with any city, Venice is such a complicated tangle of circumstances. As far as urban space and human scale is
              Message 6 of 7 , Aug 3, 2005
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                > Even more reason for all of us to hear from Eu Chai, eh?

                I'm flattered! But where shall I begin?
                As with any city, Venice is such a complicated tangle of
                circumstances.

                As far as urban space and human scale is concerned, it is as near
                perfection as one can imagine. However, to actually live in Venice
                itself has become more and more difficult over the last 30 years.
                Venice still has the basic urban structure to be a great place to
                live in, but thanks in no small part to poor foresight of the local
                government, it has evolved into more of a theme park for tourists
                rather than a real living city.

                J.H. Crawford is correct to say that Venice is expensive. This has
                come about because of the priority given to the tourism sector and
                the relative neglect of other trades as well as basic planning and
                governing policies for residents. Anyone who has been there will note
                the omnipresence of souvenir shops, hotels, restaurants, cafes and
                take-aways. Just try looking for needle and thread. Not that daily
                supplies completely absent (there are markets, supermarkets, grocers,
                bakeries and sundries outside of the tourist areas), but the
                proportion of retail and amenities catering to the needs of residents
                is far lower than what should be to sustain a sizeable community.
                This, together with the high cost property and the building trade
                (for renovations) in general, has forced many Venetians to migrate to
                the mainland.

                Nevertheless, there are mitigating forces. Venice is still a
                university town, with a student population of something like 25-
                30000. This has helped to attenuate the push towards a totally "theme
                park" environment by providing the city with a relatively stable
                living community. The lifestyle demands of this population has
                encouraged the growth of trades relevant to this age-group - cheaper
                eating places and cafes, bookshops, youth-oriented fashion, etc, as
                well as the public transport sector.

                On transport...well, as most would already know that everything
                happens on water, including fire-fighting, garbage disposal, police,
                deliveries, and so on. Many residents have both a boat and a car, the
                latter being parked in the main garage in Piazzale Roma (they pay a
                reduced fee as residents). Public transport is by water buses called
                vaporetti, and gondola ferries for crossing the Grand Canal. The
                existence of the latter has influenced the evolution of the urban
                fabric over the centuries, so that opens spaces are found at
                strategic points along the tight frontage of the Grand Canal. This is
                why vaporetto stops seem to be located so conveniently up and down
                the Venetian main street - they have taken over most of the old ferry
                stops.

                I guess that's enough writing for now. Got to get back to work...

                Eu Chai
              • billt44hk
                Thinking about what we can learn from Venice then reading Simon Jenkins in this weeks Sunday Times on the tsunami of developers tower blocks about to hit
                Message 7 of 7 , Aug 9, 2005
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                  Thinking about what we can learn from Venice then reading Simon
                  Jenkins' in this weeks' Sunday Times on the tsunami of developers
                  tower blocks about to hit London (and other British cities) -
                  motivated by greed, egged on by egomaniacal big name architects'- has
                  got my blood boiling today.
                  Approved in the face of all planning sense, by our moronic deputy
                  prime minister -John ''Two-Jags'' Prescott (and Jenkins is saying the
                  planners have anyway abdicated their responsibilities), but also with
                  Ken Livingstone on board, Jenkins treats us to some indignant
                  vignettes....

                  Oh hell I'll just paste in the whole thing:-

                  Prescott Towers, the height of architectural imbecility
                  SIMON JENKINS
                  When members of parliament arrive at work one day next year they will
                  get a shock. Looming over their view up-river will be a stupendous 50-
                  storey tower of luxury flats. It will be higher than the NatWest Tower
                  and the highest residential tower in Europe.

                  Last month it was personally approved by the deputy prime minister,
                  John Prescott, in defiance of all planning advice, local and national.
                  He seems to have gone mad. MPs will be outraged but it will be too
                  late. Prescott tower, as it should be called, will have slipped
                  through every net.

                  Similar towers are being built or proposed along the Thames from
                  Greenwich to Deptford to Bermondsey. One will crowd the Tate Modern,
                  another rise over Waterloo station, another slice the South Bank next
                  to the Festival Hall, and more will dominate Vauxhall, Chelsea
                  Harbour, Battersea and Kew Gardens.

                  The ever-narrowing Thames will seem like a torrent in a canyon of
                  high-rise. "Landmark towers" are also proposed in a ring across north
                  London, from Bishopsgate to Islington to Queen's Park. These are not
                  stumps but giants, from 20 to 40 storeys high.

                  Others are now proposed across Britain. Leeds is seeing two 30-storey
                  "kissing towers". Manchester has a 47-storey Beetham Tower, Newcastle
                  a mooted 50-storey tower. Others are planned for Birmingham, Brighton
                  and possibly Liverpool. The craze for a single totem of modernity is
                  manic. It was in like spirit that Chicago built the Sears Tower,
                  highest in the world, to show the city was somehow "more manly" than
                  New York. Malaysia's giant Petronas Centre in Kuala Lumpur was meant
                  as a slap in the face of the West, yet it is now being out-towered by
                  Shanghai, Pusan, Dubai and other tinpot civic dictatorships desperate
                  for a year in the record book.

                  None of these structures carries civic significance. They are not town
                  halls or museums or strategically placed features. They are merely
                  speculative developments in random very high buildings (known as VHBs)
                  . They have been unleashed by that most lethal political phenomenon, a
                  socialist enthralled by capitalism, in London's case Prescott and the
                  city's mayor, Ken Livingstone. Both are on their backs and purring as
                  property men tickle their bellies. The Vauxhall tower turned
                  Prescott's head when its developer, Broadway Malyan, offered him a few
                  flats on the cheap to tenants of his choice — known in the game as
                  "affordables". They will not be affordable for long.

                  Why London should want to play this game is a mystery. It has nothing
                  to do with economics. There are hundreds of acres awaiting cheaper
                  high-density, low-rise building. VHBs tend to be expensive to maintain
                  and hard to let. A third of the residential towers in Canary Wharf are
                  unsold or are left empty as bank collateral. Even the "Siefert" towers
                  that dotted the London skyline in the 1970s were mostly flogged cut-
                  price to government departments, hardly an economic necessity.

                  Today's towers will either stand empty as vacant assets, like Centre
                  Point, or be filled by new "parastatals", banks and consultancies
                  dependent on government contracts. It was not skyscrapers that made
                  London the financial and (no less important) tourism goldmine that it
                  is. It was the lack of them, the civilised, unthreatening scale of
                  London's streets and neighbourhoods.

                  The towers are aesthetically banal. They strike with one club, a
                  quirky shape (box, step, pyramid, phallus, wedge, shard) of uniformly
                  bleak glass and steel. Their windy footings and servicing zones crush
                  all humanity out of their surroundings. There is not one that does
                  not. The residential towers are like fortified camps, defying all
                  comers. The blocks by Lord Foster and Lord Rogers in Battersea might
                  be creatures from Mars, so hostile are they to their neighbourhoods.

                  The chief sponsor of this so-called "f***-you" planning is Livingstone
                  himself. High buildings policy is one of the few powers he has vested
                  in him. Early in his reign he visited New York and returned with a bad
                  case of "Manhattan syndrome", a belief that skyscrapers are the key to
                  a mayor's virility. With his office in what he himself calls "the
                  testicle" he craved erect phalluses all round him. Developers with fad
                  architects in tow promptly beat a path to his door.

                  Height controls collapsed. Because Canary Wharf had breached the 600ft
                  rule, everywhere could. The cluster policy was set aside in favour of
                  "landmarks", more or less wherever a developer wanted one. Sight lines
                  from Hampstead, Richmond or Waterloo Bridge were forgotten. Only St
                  Paul's retained a modicum of dignity from the rule book. The socialist
                  Livingstone had fought for humane planning in Covent Garden and Coin
                  Street. The Blairite Livingstone fights against it at Spitalfields and
                  Bishopsgate.

                  The public still tends to the view that the loss of the familiar in
                  cities, however sad, somehow "cannot be stopped". The result of the
                  collapse of VHB control shows this is naive. Planning does make a
                  difference. Others argue that if towers are beautiful (which all are
                  to their creators) it should trump planning, as if a concern with
                  settings, views and neighbourhoods were nothing to do with
                  architecture. Yet we would not put the "gherkin" in the middle of Hyde
                  Park or next to Big Ben because it is "original". We retain a
                  lingering sense of public aesthetic.

                  In his new book, The Edifice Complex, Deyan Sudjic charts the
                  incestuous relations between power and architecture, the role mega-
                  buildings play in "unchaining the ego" of their patrons. Not for
                  nothing is architecture the one art that flourishes under
                  dictatorship. Stalin, Hitler, Mussolini, Saddam Hussein were all
                  enthusiasts for building, magnetised by its offer of immortality. They
                  saw in architecture what Sudjic calls the "instinct to control,
                  categorise, shape life as it will be lived in space". In a street a
                  person knows he or she is a Londoner. In a VHB we are ants, impotent
                  and lost in anywhere.

                  To find the centre of power in any society, watch where the architects
                  cluster. They are adept at using an artist's licence to flatter power.
                  They must, because their art is expensive and prominent. It is on
                  public exhibition for generations to come. It also needs to obliterate
                  what went before. Tower builders claim the entire city for their
                  canvass. They demand the right to overpaint Canaletto.

                  Town planning supposedly controls this. It was once a profession at
                  which Britain excelled. It evened out the peaks and troughs of
                  building cycles. It helped cities evolve rather than self-destruct
                  under political or commercial pressure. Planning is democracy talking
                  to architecture. Above all London's planning had a concern for the
                  context of buildings, how new ones fitted alongside old. These
                  concerns are familiar in Paris, Rome, even in American cities.

                  London's planning has lost its way, swept aside in the same tide of
                  greed as did such damage to its skyline in the 1970s. The tide is not
                  motivated by some new vision of the city — it has none — but by a
                  simple desire to make money wherever permitted. But its abuse of
                  opposition is visceral. It accuses those, including less grand
                  architects, struggling to honour London's character, of living in the
                  Stone Age or seeking a "pastiche city". Nothing is more Stone Age than
                  these megaliths. Nothing is more pastiche than these Mies van der
                  Rohe/Philip Johnson lookalikes.

                  Their presumption is on spectacular display at the New London
                  Architecture show at the Building Centre. Visitors are invited to view
                  London not as citizens do, from street level, but as architects do,
                  from the heavenly clouds above. A model of the metropolis is at floor
                  level, so the new towers seem diminutive. Virtually every one of the
                  200 buildings craves "icon" status, a term idealised by the writer
                  Charles Jencks, whose The Iconic Building has the gherkin as a moon
                  rocket on the cover. This is architecture as "musique concrete", an
                  art detached from context or audience.

                  I believe Britons will deplore the towers about to pepper-pot their
                  cities, as they deplored the same rash a quarter century ago. They
                  congregate in streets and patently love them. Today's leading
                  architects simply cannot design streets. They are like artists who
                  cannot draw and composers who "don't do tunes". They do towers but not
                  the spaces in between. They really want to live on the moon. Prescott
                  is there with them.

                  http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2088-1724469,00.html
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