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Old January 20th, 2011, 10:25 PM   #1
nr23Derek
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Failed Grand Plans

Know any really bad examples of failed grand plans? Here in the UK the 1960's saw mass demolition of our cities in an effort to build the new brave new modern world we were all going to enjoy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Anglia Square in Norwich. A 1960's abortion built on Magdalen Street in the north of the city.

Thing is the Magedalen Street area used to contain some of the oldest buildings in Norwich, typical medieval structures. Of course back then it was a dirt poor slum, but today it would have become a highly desirable historical place to live. But being the 60's they got the bulldozers out and built this - together with a concrete flyover for the inner ring road.

(all photos me)







The flyover







Anglia Square was planned to be much bigger than it is, as with many 1960's grand plans it was to be built in phases. They started on phase 1 and cleared the area ready for the rest (or at least put planning blight on it) but then sort of lost interest and didn't even manage to finish phase 1.

It's sat there ever since, generally hated, not quite full of pound shop type places. A few years ago they announced plans to demolish most of it but it's still there. Even if the plans do go ahead though, the flyover is to stay.

If your curiosity is tweeked, I have a small site dedicated to the whole sorry mess here

So, does your city have anything to match this mess?

Derek

Last edited by desertpunk; March 22nd, 2013 at 01:39 AM.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 10:44 PM   #2
Alrayyan
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Yes !!

Its in Doha - Qatar.

An area named Al-Bidda & Wadi AlSail

It used to be the heart of the old city, if left till today it would have made a great historical center in the middle of the city, however it still lays a barren land.

The story goes that since its location to the sea was desirable it was planned to become a great hot spot of office buildings, a hotel etc. and the residents (locals) moved to a housing scheme at a north-western further inland location. the housing units were built and the residents relocated, the old houses demolished and it stayed that way for over 35 years. The only remaining sight on the area are the trees that used to be in the courtyard of a once lively residential area.

The grand plans might have failed, but they are now going to turn the area into a huge park, what a waste.

One of the Projects:


The area:
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Old January 20th, 2011, 10:53 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nr23Derek View Post
Know any really bad examples of failed grand plans? Here in the UK the 1960's saw mass demolition of our cities in an effort to build the new brave new modern world we were all going to enjoy.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Anglia Square in Norwich. A 1960's abortion built on Magdalen Street in the north of the city.

Thing is the Magedalen Street area used to contain some of the oldest buildings in Norwich, typical medieval structures. Of course back then it was a dirt poor slum, but today it would have become a highly desirable historical place to live. But being the 60's they got the bulldozers out and built this - together with a concrete flyover for the inner ring road.

(all photos me)







The flyover







Anglia Square was planned to be much bigger than it is, as with many 1960's grand plans it was to be built in phases. They started on phase 1 and cleared the area ready for the rest (or at least put planning blight on it) but then sort of lost interest and didn't even manage to finish phase 1.

It's sat there ever since, generally hated, not quite full of pound shop type places. A few years ago they announced plans to demolish most of it but it's still there. Even if the plans do go ahead though, the flyover is to stay.

If your curiosity is tweeked, I have a small site dedicated to the whole sorry mess here

So, does your city have anything to match this mess?

Derek
Grim, Grim, Grim. Dude I live in Norwich, even though I'm a born and breed Kiwi from Christchurch.

Everyone - Norwich is a stunning and beautiful city - I've just walked in from a fantastic meal out - but Derek is right - Anglea Square is just vile
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Old January 20th, 2011, 11:06 PM   #4
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There were supposed to be five or six more of these mini-cities built across Minneapolis, housing a total of 30,000 people in 12,500 units. Cedar Riverside Plaza-- with its highest tower, McKnight-- by Ralph Rapson, was the only one that ever got built:

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Old January 21st, 2011, 01:19 AM   #5
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the crack stacks lol. Anyways, has new york city ever had failed grand plans? I can't seem to think of any.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 08:14 AM   #6
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The Burnham Plan for Manila.



The Aborted Plan of Daniel Burnham
http://traveleronfoot.wordpress.com/...aniel-burnham/

The United States occupation of the Philippines in 1898 ushered a new phase in Philippine architecture. America established an American-style of government and urban planning that served the needs of secular education and public services.

In 1904, the Chicago-fame architect Daniel H. Burnham came to the Philippines on an invitation from the government to plan a modern Manila. The city then had a population of only a hundred thousand, but Burnham envisioned it as a metropolis inhabited by millions, with multi-laned avenues radiating from its central districts. He proposed that the old moat around Intramuros be reclaimed, that Luneta be enlarged into a 30 acre-park, and that a seaside boulevard be built from the Manila waterfront to Cavite.

Burnham’s vision for Manila was a government center occupying all of Wallace Field, which extends from Luneta to the present Taft Avenue. The Philippines Capitol was to rise on the Taft Avenue end of the field, facing toward the sea, and would form, with the buildings of different government bureaus and departments, a mighty quadrangle, lagoon in the center and a monument to Rizal at its Luneta end.

The Burnham Plan, which the London Times called “a miracle by an Alladin,” was approved by the Philippine Legislature, which agreed to set aside two million pesos every year for the execution of the plan. When the fund had reached some 16 million, however, President Manuel L. Quezon decided to use the money on irrigation projects instead. Quezon noted that rice fields were more important than fine structures for Manila.

Of Burnham’s proposed government center, only three units were built: the Legislative Building (originally intended as the National Library) and the building of the Finance (currently the Museum of the Filipino People) and Agricultural (Tourism Department) departments, which were completed on the eve of the War. By then, Mr. Quezon had doomed the Burnham Plan by creating a new capital outside Manila, which was named after him –Quezon City.

The Legislative Building was started early in the 1920s. Construction was sporadic, lasting until 1926, and cost about six million pesos –a bargain price today. When the building was half-finished, the Philippines solons decreed that it was to house, not the national library, but the legislative session halls and offices. Later, the national library was allowed to occupy the basement.

According to Nick Joaquin, the building (Legislative) along with the old Jones Bridge was undoubtedly our happiest achievement in the neo-classic manner. For a moment in our history, the style of the Romans suited our temper perfectly and we created a structure that had grace and dignity. The postwar edifice still glows with the serene spirit of the original and stands as a memorial to Burnham’s glorious dream and to the days when we felt like noble Romans, gravely founding a republic.
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Old January 21st, 2011, 08:44 PM   #7
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Pretty much the entire plan for post-war Coventry.

The ring road that cut off the entire city centre and most of the roads leading into it, making dozens of dead end streets.

The multi level pedestrianised precinct, that failed so utterly they've added in ramps, escalators and all sorts just to try and get people to use the upper level. No-one does

The numerous buildings where the interesting facades face minor or service roads but the main roads get brick walls

The creation of more public squares than any one city could know what to do with, again cutting off roads to create them leaving dingy little alleyways leading to them

Towers built directly in the middle of pedestrian routes, again leaving small alleyways for access

Donald Gibson should hang his head in shame
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Old January 21st, 2011, 10:13 PM   #8
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Copan Building, in São Paulo, Brazil.

Copan was one of the great projects presented by Oscar Niemeyer to celebrate the 400th anniversery of São Paulo. The idea was inspired by New York's Rockefeller Center and the plan was to build a set of commercial and residential buildings, galleries, leisure areas, malls, public swimming pool, hotels, restaurants, hanging gardens, etc. But the company in charge of building it went bankrupt during the construction. So only the main residential building was finished.


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...x-Copan_ST.jpg


http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...opan%2C_SP.jpg


http://vadevintage.files.wordpress.c..._on_copan1.jpg

Copan nowadays is 140 meters high, has 35 floors, and 1,160 residential units.
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 06:24 PM   #9
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John Evelyn's plan for what is now the City of London after the Great Fire of 1666:

Quote:
Sir John Evelyn proposed that the City of London should abandon its existing street gridplan and be rebuilt along radically different lines. He hoped for Italian-style piazzas and broad avenues. In the end, the commercial pressures to rebuild London according to its former street gridplan prevailed, and Evelyn's ideas were ignored.




If implemented it could have seen similar plans spread over to Westminster and other parts of London radically changing layout the of the city as we know it today.
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 07:13 PM   #10
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Whilst Evelyn's plans never got off the ground, the City today, at least, boosts an electric mix of 21st century skyscrapers (which will grow considerably over this decade) and various grand designs echoing Britain's Imperial pomp. By 2020 it could perhaps be the closet thing in Europe to compare to parts of Manhattan (on a very small scale) in terms of the combination of height and density combined with street level activity in terms of people and traffic.

The same could not be said of Elephant & Castle, which has arguably seen more grand urban plans heaped upon it than any other large district of London, only to presently rank as one of the best examples of disastrous post-war urban planning and design.

By the beginning of the 20th Century E&C was a busy, noisy hub packed with retail outlets and business opportunities after its population ballooned during the 19th Century.

Quote:
The population of the Parish of Walworth in 1801 was 14,847, by 1881 it was 107,850.11 The shift in the nature of the area was first realised with the arrival of the railway in 1862. It brought a large working class population into the area and with it more public houses, shops, theatres, music halls and also industry and large tenement blocks. During this time the area's notoriety for its confusion of traffic was added to by the introduction of horse drawn trams in 1870, electrified in 1903, and then the City & South London tube first in 1890 then again with the Baker Street & Waterloo line in 1906. At this time the population of the area had reached 122,172




Already during this period concerns over traffic in the area, therefore impacting on commutes into the City, was a worry.


Quote:
In the late nineteenth century, congestion came to be viewed more and more as an ill effect of the Victorian metropolis. There was increasing alarm that tortuous traffic flows were a threat to the transaction of business and that poor circulation in the city could have detrimental effects on social well being, as well as on economic success. One writer in an 1870s edition of Building News commented that, "the chief centres in London, the City and Westminster [were] united by an indirect, obstructed, narrow lane - a mockery to be called a thoroughfare... if the streets of a city were compared to the veins of an animal, the Strand constitutes an aneurism in the most vital part of the body." The physical analogy of London to the living body begs the question that if the City is considered its heart then what function has the Elephant and Castle? The late nineteenth century impulses towards improvement were the origins of re-planning the area and attempts to establish its role.

By the end of the First World War radical plans by government to deal with E&C started to be produced.

Quote:
In 1926 the Ministry of Transport (MOT), conscious of the growth in motor traffic and therefore circulation, produced a large scale road scheme to create a southern ring road, which would see traffic diverted at some distance around the Elephant... an orbital route running from a new road bridge at Charing Cross along to Borough High Street, New Kent Road, down to Newington Butts and back up to Waterloo via Kennington. This scheme would certainly have robbed the Elephant of some of its importance. It would have been bypassed, severing it from its historic role for journeys south and entrances to the city.




1929 saw the following plan:





Quote:
This hugely ambitious plan would have turned the Elephant into a giant circus with a central circular commercial boulevard lined with trees and newly built tram and tube stations and a park at its centre. It would have been a slice of Burnham's 'City Beautiful' and would have certainly brought the Elephant great architectural prestige.

None of these came to fruition, and by the time the Second World War was over E&C had been badly damaged during the Blitz. Now there was no choice but to rebuild the area.

The relatively Edwardian and Victorian plans of the 1920s and '30s were yesterdays news however; Britain embraced modernism by looking to Le Corbusier for building designs and US cities regarding managing the car (which in reality meant designing urban plans around the automobile)


Quote:
On May the 10th and 11th 1941 the Elephant and Castle suffered heavy attacks in the Blitz. Around one third of the built environment was destroyed. It was the golden opportunity planners had been waiting for. Rebuilding London had long been in discussion, with many parties submitting plans for reconstruction.

There was, however, one last stab at giving E&C the urban layout its advocates had craved.

Quote:
London Replanned (1942), a high profile Royal Academy publication call[ed[ for a grandiose new capital. It featured an admirable scheme for a large-scale circular park for the Elephant and Castle area connected by yet more boulevards and formalised spaces




Sadly, this was thrown into the dustin of urban design history and instead we got what we have today.

Quote:
It was Abercrombie's large scale County of London Plan of 1943 that provided the blueprint for future development of the city and in particular the Elephant and Castle. Among his system of arterial and radial roads, Abercrombie highlighted the Elephant as a 'gateway' on a par with Hyde Park Corner...

The plan called for a huge traffic circus surrounded by vaguely Stalinist structures that formed axial arrangements and gateway features for travel northwards towards the West End. Roads and cars dominate the scene. According to one reaction, the Elephant would be "better known than it has ever been," central to a system of "majestic" urban highways heading south. The sketch and plan, showing the suggested treatment of the area, became the essential basis of redevelopment during the post-war years.
image hosted on flickr








http://thecarandtheelephant.com/chapter/context

Last edited by kerouac1848; January 23rd, 2011 at 01:01 PM.
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 07:28 PM   #11
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I'm so happy those "mini-cities" were never built in Minneapolis! They are ugly as sin!
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 11:41 PM   #12
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To slightly misquote to point to the introduction page

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Originally Posted by kerouac1848 View Post
Amazing - good account of a prize failed grand plan indeed!

Derek
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Old January 23rd, 2011, 03:16 AM   #13
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I'm so happy those "mini-cities" were never built in Minneapolis! They are ugly as sin!
i totally agree, but the one that was built is now a novelty in Minneapolis. It's so ugly that it's almost attractive. if that makes sense
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Old January 23rd, 2011, 03:26 AM   #14
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E&C in London from then to now, what a travesty.
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Old January 23rd, 2011, 12:53 PM   #15
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Quote:
To slightly misquote to point to the introduction page
Not sure what happened there, but it should be linked to the correct page now!
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Old April 12th, 2012, 05:28 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Davee View Post
Grim, Grim, Grim. Dude I live in Norwich, even though I'm a born and breed Kiwi from Christchurch.

Everyone - Norwich is a stunning and beautiful city - I've just walked in from a fantastic meal out - but Derek is right - Anglea Square is just vile
Im glad you clarified that, it doesn't present Norwich in the best light! Luckily AS is quite a way from the city center so it doesn't seem to effect it much
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Old April 19th, 2012, 02:46 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alrayyan View Post

The grand plans might have failed, but they are now going to turn the area into a huge park, what a waste.


I wouldnt call a green park in the for a city in the middle of a desert a waste, residents need a park. It would make the climate better.
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Old April 19th, 2012, 04:33 PM   #18
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Probably not grand enough, but Wolverhampton, Summer Row.

Proposed large-scale demolition of a large portion of the city centre, which now lies derelict and empty because of the failure of the £300m plan.

http://www.expressandstar.com/tag/summer-row/

This pretty much sums it up chronologically.







There was an in-depth website but it appears to be gone now.
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Old April 19th, 2012, 06:22 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DBadger View Post
Probably not grand enough, but Wolverhampton, Summer Row.
Something similar almost happened in Chester with the Northgate project, except they didn't quite get around to demolition, but it was close.

Although it seems this corpse won't lie down and Chester City Council still seems to think it can pull something off! BBC news

The Northgate development is/was supposed to replace Chester's verion of the Norwich Anglia Square, a development which, while more successful than Anglia Square, was of similar merit.



Derek
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Old April 20th, 2012, 03:03 AM   #20
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Pruitt Igoe - Horribly out of place, horribly thought out and basically a figurehead of failed government policy.



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