August 01 2011

How To Redevelop American Cities: Ideas from Garden City Theory

The following is a critique on the design of the American city. The proposal is not an end in itself but rather a type of skeleton to allow the rest of society to grow upon. It draws some ideas from Garden City theory in its use of clusters that provide town and country except the clusters are radically denser than the garden city proposals. It would also combine facets of New Urbanism and Transportation Planning.

1.      First, as per the Garden City, there would be the Civic Center surrounded by the central park in the middle of each cluster;

2.      Next, instead of pushing commercial establishments to the outside of the cluster it would be intertwined with the park and civic network, mostly on the ground level. Only noxious industries would be set aside for development elsewhere. This way, a vibrant, enjoyable, novel, walkable space is created that people actually want to go to;

3.      Residences, as in New Urbanism, would be placed in proximity to the main commerce and civic centers, perhaps above them, thereby diminishing automobile use and eliminating the side effect of rush hour. The keyword here is “mixed use.” This would not be done willy-nilly, rather Architects, Urban Planners, and Engineers would collaborate and undergo extensive analysis of the vernacular conditions and surrounding environment to realize the best way to organize each cluster, in other words not all clusters would be entirely concentric;

4.      Finally, maglev trains would connect these dense clusters, averaging maybe 300,000 people, to each other. These can travel as fast as 310 mph. Maglev trains would provide the bulk of the inter-cluster transportation and each cluster would have access to it.

In addition to no rush-hour, everyone would live near their work, enjoy a central city park/commerce wonderland, and rapid transit to anywhere one desired to go in the Continental United States. Concentrating population in clusters would open up vast areas of land outside of the cluster for conservation, watersheds, and nature walks.

The population pattern in the United States is tailor-made for this type of development. Now all we need is the insight, the will, the funding, and the action.

Do you think this course of action is feasible? If you were to redesign society, what would be your course of action?

Jeff P Jilek

Jeff Jilek has earned a B.S. in Architecture with a Minor in City & Regional Planning from the Ohio State University. He has been involved with architecture since his junior year of High School when he attended Eastland Career Center’s Architecture program. Sustainable Design is something that he is most interested in but also has taken many college level courses in psychology, political science, and philosophy. He will be attends Arizona State University for continuing education. He is pursuing both his M.B.A and Master of Architecture degrees. He blogged about pertinent issues in design and how design relates to global dynamics, culture, and economy.

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This entry was posted on Monday, August 1st, 2011 at 3:49 pm and is filed under Environmental Design, Landscape Architecture, Urban Planning and Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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