Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Picture Pages: Where We All Become Urban Designers


Occasionally I like to tool around Google Earth examining the fabric of other cities, noticing the time periods of various districts, the types of businesses that populate areas, where uploaded user photos are geotagged. Sometimes I even look at Dallas, where I found this picture perfectly named: Ciudad Moderna by Panoramio user: Ricardo David Jusino.

But what in the world?! There aren't any people there. It's a plaza. In a City. Certainly there would be people. Perhaps this is what Jan Gehl is referring to as the "Abandoned City." Never worry. Photoshop to the rescue where sunken plazas and brutal modernism can bend reality like Neo's spoon into the land of dreams. Where lonely architect up late on a Sunday night, working toward a deadline strategically places a leggy, blonde model.

Let's draw some theoretical people just like every architectural rendering you've ever seen. Now we can all ignore the physical properties, objective regularities, and contextual dynamics, let alone detailed design elements that make for empirically proven urban public spaces.

Now quit asking us questions about the planning and design. Of course it works, look! There's people in the drawing! There even doing people like things!! That one's tying their shoe!

I'm still waiting for the graphic (literally) depiction of the bum defecating in a corner. Let's keep this in mind every time we see pretty architectural renderings.

Apparently everybody comes in two's in this version of imaginationland...and perfectly spaced apart, as if that is somehow people actually use open space.

Who is to say this is even in Dallas. It could be in Mumbai for all I know...

India seems to like importing failed American experiments, looks perfectly in place.

The landscaping just looked way too brown and seasonal. Let's give it a tropical brightness. You can't tell it in this photo, but everyone here has malaria.

And my personal favorite, the silhouetted dystopia...ahhh, people running, little girls flying away, that leggy blonde making herself comfortable! What is going on?!