Prioritisation was the key, this was in the 1997 Transportation Plan, which was a catalyst for – I call it the most important Urban Design Plan we’ve ever done as a city, even though it’s a transportation plan – because that prioritisation, walking first, then cycling, then transit, then goods movement, and then the car, priotirized last, has been the key to all our multi-modal city making. To be clear that is not an anti-car message, we don’t ban the car, we very rarely have any places where the cars aren’t allowed, but we prioritise them last, in terms of how we think about our infrastructure, our spatial decisions in the city, and that actually works better for everyone – including drivers.
Kim Dovey & Elek Pafka, The Conversation, November 2, 2016
When we talk about “urban DMA”, we’re talking about the density of a city’s buildings, the way people and activities are mixed together, and the access, or transport networks that we use to navigate through them.
For more from The Conversation on cities, click here.
Quoctrung Bui, Matt A.V. Chaban And Jeremy White, New York Times, May 20 2016
As the zoning code enters its second century, it is worth considering the ways it has shaped the city; whether and where it is still working; and how it might be altered so the city can continue to grow without obliterating everything New Yorkers love about it.
The most valuable visual information that these maps convey is the density of a particular area. Planned right, a dense city can be a positive environment for productivity. Griffiths explains that the clustering effect creates “agglomeration economies.” “If you cluster a whole lot of people close to each other, with skills that aren’t necessarily the same,” he says, “you get opportunities for new creations.”
In accordance with modernist ideals of progress (which encouraged the annihilation of tradition), The Radiant City was to emerge from a tabula rasa: it was to be built on nothing less than the grounds of demolished vernacular European cities. The new city would contain prefabricated and identical high-density skyscrapers, spread across a vast green area and arranged in a Cartesian grid, allowing the city to function as a “living machine.” Le Corbusier explains: “The city of today is a dying thing because its planning is not in the proportion of geometrical one fourth. The result of a true geometrical lay-out is repetition, The result of repetition is a standard. The perfect form.”
The exhibition’s title – Grand Reductions – suggests the simple illustration’s power to encapsulate complex ideas. And for that reason the medium has always been suited to the city, an intricate organism that has been re-imagined (with satellite towns! in rural grids! in megaregions!) by generations of architects, planners and idealists. In the urban context, diagrams can be powerful precisely because they make weighty questions of land use and design digestible in a single sweep of the eye. But as Le Corbusier’s plan illustrates, they can also seductively oversimplify the problems of cities. These 10 diagrams have been tremendously influential – not always for the good.
For more about SPUR and their work in the San Francisco Bay Area click here.