Walkable Cities: Prioritzing Design, Dealing With Suburban Awfulness

formby

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In Britain zoning has been a disaster. 20th c. planners thought they knew better than the centuries of accumulated knowledge, this combined with the venality of property developers and the cluelessness of local councils.

There does seem something of a revival though, especially in Manchester and Liverpool (the cities closest to moi) where many of the old city centre Victorian warehouses (many historic and dating from the industrial revolution) have been turned into flats, making for a vibrant city centre after hours.

 
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doghouse

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In Britain zoning has been a disaster. 20th c. planners thought they knew better than the centuries of accumulated knowledge, this combined with the venality of property developers and the cluelessness of local councils.

There does seem something of a revival though, especially in Manchester and Liverpool (the cities closest to moi) where many of the old city centre Victorian warehouses (many historic and dating from the industrial revolution) have been turned into flats, making for a vibrant city centre after hours.

In my opinion it really bottomed out post war when you had the zoning zealots and utopians get together.

I do like some modernist architecture, but the planning aspect was an unnatural abomination.
 

Pimpernel Smith

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The concept of ''the suburbs'' is a large delta ranging from the North Paris ones, Rio ones, the multi-multi millionaire ones of Wassenaar here in The Netherlands, the uniformed sprawl of the USA to the tree lined utopia of a stately home estate for the working class in the UK. People have been writing off the suburbs for quite sometime, they're not going away yet!

The authors betray their elitist pretensions as living in the city as ultimate in green living credentials. Really?

What about those city dwellers who drive out of the city to do their grocery shop at much larger hyper-markets with car parking which they don't have in the city?

Those that don't work in the city?

Or people like me who have several trees in their garden? Do I have to move to an apartment in the city to be green?

Why did people move from the cities in the first place, if the suburbs were so impoverished and crap?

Would I want to live in a heritage zone in Amsterdam where there is no sound proofing and cannot be between me and my neighbours?

Would I want to live in what became of the Barratt suburban housing estates of the 1970s in the UK?

The issue with the UK, along with poor and brutal urban planning was corruption - in the cities that is. Colin MacInnes was writing about this in 1959. Hence everyone who could moved out....into the suburbs. With some exceptions of course.

The revival of the Victorian warehouses is not only in Liverpool....over the river, Birkenhead and in Ellesmere Port the Telford built ones.

It all boils down to how much quality you can afford to live and where, in the suburbs or urban environment.
 

formby

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In my opinion it really bottomed out post war when you had the zoning zealots and utopians get together.

I do like some modernist architecture, but the planning aspect was an unnatural abomination.
Well, greedy property developers, egotistical architects and corrupt, incompetent council officials have done more damage to British town/city scapes than the Luftwaffe ever did.

Good architecture must be in context. It should respect its surroundings. That doesn't mean it shoud slavishly copy it, but it should, acknowledge and respect it. You have to wonder at the mindset that places a brutalist monstrosity in the vicinity of a Medieval Cathedral, or near a Georgian Terrace. Its vandalism, albeit of the high-minded (handed?) sort.

Britain has some beautiful architecture, its 26 Medieval Cathedrals for example, it also has some of the worst, too often within shouting distance.
 
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formby

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The concept of ''the suburbs'' is a large delta ranging from the North Paris ones, Rio ones, the multi-multi millionaire ones of Wassenaar here in The Netherlands, the uniformed sprawl of the USA to the tree lined utopia of a stately home estate for the working class in the UK. People have been writing off the suburbs for quite sometime, they're not going away yet!

The authors betray their elitist pretensions as living in the city as ultimate in green living credentials. Really?

What about those city dwellers who drive out of the city to do their grocery shop at much larger hyper-markets with car parking which they don't have in the city?

Those that don't work in the city?

Or people like me who have several trees in their garden? Do I have to move to an apartment in the city to be green?

Why did people move from the cities in the first place, if the suburbs were so impoverished and crap?

Would I want to live in a heritage zone in Amsterdam where there is no sound proofing and cannot be between me and my neighbours?

Would I want to live in what became of the Barratt suburban housing estates of the 1970s in the UK?

The issue with the UK, along with poor and brutal urban planning was corruption - in the cities that is. Colin MacInnes was writing about this in 1959. Hence everyone who could moved out....into the suburbs. With some exceptions of course.

The revival of the Victorian warehouses is not only in Liverpool....over the river, Birkenhead and in Ellesmere Port the Telford built ones.

It all boils down to how much quality you can afford to live and where, in the suburbs or urban environment.
Well, the late Ian Nairn used to rant (Outrage!) about the homogeneity of British suburbs endlessly in the Architectural Review back in the day, or was it from the cockpit of his Gloster Meteor? Anyway, he coined the term Subtopia to describe what he considered was a loss of sense of place. A context argument in effect.
 

sirloin

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One thing is having a place to walk, we can all agree that's the goal for a livable city, it should also feel safe to do so.
I have a few colleagues whom are urban architects. They have recently started talking about, how wanting to wanting to stay/play/walk is not so much having about if it is safe from crime, but if it feels safe. And if it feels safe, is something that is measurable to if it feels safe for a woman to walk there. No fun walking a long way from the bus, on a dimly lit path - so ppl might be more inclined to stay inside, take the car etc.
I guess Jan Gehl is famous for investigating and consulting in large cities around the world, into how the space between the buildings, is a place that invites towards walking, biking and help overall improving quality of life.
 

Untermensch

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We cannot have a sensible conversation on the subject unless we define "vibrant".

Because where I live, "vibrant" = hordes of noisy, smelly, violent, pot-smoking, drug-dealing ethnic savages (and their white clients)
 

formby

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The architect who 'modified' the 1st building is Daniel Libeskind who is the child of Holocaust survivors.

The archtect involved in the 2nd is the late Zaha Hadid.
 

InstaHate

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We cannot have a sensible conversation on the subject unless we define "vibrant".

Because where I live, "vibrant" = hordes of noisy, smelly, violent, pot-smoking, drug-dealing ethnic savages (and their white clients)
Jazz cabbage is wonderful. Much better than alcohol, though it comes in behind coffee. Shame on you for implying otherwise. Embrace the herb, mon
 

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Is that Libeskind sticking things into existing structures? This is what he did to the museum that I've been a member of for 10 plus years. Incidentally, the top of the crystal had a restaurant that has since shuttered and is only an event space. The original entrance is behind the tree and you walked into an impressive foyer. The new entrance is sterile like going into an amusement centre with a massive gift shop. After years of popular outcry they decided to reopen the old entrance and now you can enter from both sides.
 
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