Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tuesday Urban Linkages

Kaid Benfield at NRDC shows the evidence of people wanting to walk, despite having no facilities to do so in this photo-essay:

walking outside the Fort Totten Metro station (by: Cheryl Cort)

It is the cheapest form of travel and the cheapest to accommodate and probably withholds the most positive externalities of any form of transportation. Yet, we ignore it.

Relatedly, in How to be Stupid volume I:

What this dipshit doesn't seem to understand is that transportation form begets a certain built form. Build transportation to facilitate closer interaction between source and destination and all of a sudden, "slow forms" of transportation aren't so slow. Yes, cars can move faster than people can walk or bike. You are a super genius to figure that out. Now, can you drive to the grocery store and back as fast as I can walk to my grocery store in a walkable urban setting? Figure out the costs of that.

In How to Be Stupid Vol Deuce:

Somebody gave a green light to emerging architecture firms to envision cities of 2030. The results are predictable. Words like "disaster" and "future" are porn for architects who then engage in intellectual masturbation. Or they just regurgitate what they saw in a Phillip K. Dick on-screen adaptation. The Economist apparently understands cities better than architects. See this last paragraph:
But perhaps the whole exercise is misconceived. Cities are perfect examples of the sorts of system that emerge from unplanned preferences even as they seem to demand large-scale planning. The question is whether the patterns of that emergence can be shaped by changing the objects of desire, or whether it is necessary to change the desire itself. If the former, then experts in beautiful buildings and sleek aluminium have a chance. If the latter, the question becomes a whole lot harder.
Bonus points to that writer.

Greater Greater Washington interviewed a favorite of this blog, Chris Leinberger, who dutifully pounds O'Toole and Kotkin:

“O’Toole mistakenly thinks we are seeing the free market at work today in drivable su-urban development…as does David Brooks, Joel Kotkin (who I have recently and will again debate…next time in NYC next month) and others. It is a massively subsidized system today that has engaged in the largest social engineering experiment in US history.

If the subsidies would be taken away and we were given a CHOICE in how to get around and how to live, you would see a very big difference in what land use patterns would look like. How do I know this: The huge price premiums in walkable urban places vs drivable sub-urban…that is the market telling us something profound.”

But but but...those subsidies fund Kotkin and O'Toole's way of life. Keep that gusher flowing like the Deepwater Horizon. If you are part of the problem and profit from maintaining the unsustainable, the bankrupt status quo, you are an enemy of this blog.