Wednesday, 17 December 2014

More internecine bickering re town planning

DBC Reed has spoken, here:

"Well that's telling you, Frank Lloyd Wright and Fred Pooley: just have big densities in the middle than spread out as you go out a bit."

Why didn't they think of that?

One reason might be different methods of getting about. Some people might want to jump on one of those new-fangled train things and commute for the bearable 40 mins and live 20 miles out in the country. You could call the intervening space, I dunno, a green belt.

If small groups of houses are 20 miles apart, then that is what we would call "spread out" and that is exactly what I said.

The relevant question is, how "spread out" is "spread out" enough to give people the enjoyment/illusion of being surrounded by fields and woodland while keeping the real benefits (convenience, cost, environment) of being not too far from the city centre in terms of travel?

I know about this stuff, as I keep my eyes open, and the answer is "Having villages twenty miles apart is fucking ridiculous, of no benefit to anybody and of great harm to nearly everybody.

The combination which gives the highest overall benefit i.e. number of people multiplied by optimum greenery/travel balance is having a 'branches' layout for the whole town. At the outer ends of the branches, you can thin them out a bit, so that each suburb is surrounded with its own little mini-green belt, between a few hundred yards and a mile wide."

Many European cities are laid out like this, whether intentionally or otherwise and it just 'works'. The London commuter suburb I live in now is, coincidentally, exactly like this, it is nearly surrounded by (public) woodland or fields and even though this mini-green belt is in places only a hundred yards wide, it does the trick.

In an ideal world, even in the densely populated/built up inner-urban bits, you have public parks aka "green lungs". The principle is the same, it is a question of degree, with mini-green belts/very large parks in the very outer suburbs (see e.g. Roundhay Park in Leeds), and smaller public parks in the inner-urban areas (see e.g. Woodhouse Moor in Leeds).

The original post even has diagrams illustrating all this.


DBC Reed said...

Hardly internecine bickering on my part, just pointing out some big talent (with LVT connexions) has come up with some interesting ideas worked out in major plans.
I dunno why you think commuting by train across a Green Belt from metropolises to more countrified locales means I want villages 20 miles apart.Edge of Green Belt places like Reading, Chelmsford, Crawley, St Albans etc are not villages but save for the Green Belt would be connected to London by Ribbon Development if the sacred principle of laissez faire or anarchy in its polite sense were adhered to.The Restriction of
Ribbon Development Act 1935 is quoted extensively on the Net.Without some such (which amount to a Green Belt) all your scattered settlements would be linked up by buildings-lined roads that then sprout stalks at right angles in a good old mess.NB Joe Chamberlain
saw that laissez faire competition and private water companies were bringing Birmingham to a standstill and poisoning people in the 1870's. Modern proponents of laissez faire must hark back to a previous era, probably that of Gothic horror.