Thursday, August 27, 2009

Kill the Street

A great post by Tom Vanderbilt on How We Drive, pointing out what hindsight has made glaringly obvious: all those matte paintings of streamlined towers separated by wide open expressways during the mid-twentieth-century modernist/urban redevelopment era were lying about the freedom of the automobile. In real life, there just isn't enough room on even those spacious roads for all the cars you'd need.

Some choice quotes after the jump.

A wretched kind of "modernism" this! The pedestrians in the air, the vehicles hogging the ground! It looks very clever: we shall all have a super time up on those catwalks. But those "R.U.R." pedestrians will soon be living in "Metropolis," becoming more depressed, more depraved, until one day they will blow up the catwalks, and the buildings, and the machines, and everything. This is a picture of anti-reason itself, of error, of thoughtlessness. Madness. -Le Corbusier
There would be no pub on the corner, since no building would interfere with the requisite junction visibility requirements. There would be no crossroads, since these would be banned on traffic flow and safety principles. Indeed, there would be no ’streets’: Just a series of pedestrian decks and flyovers. -Stephen Marshall

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