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View Poll Results: If you were to create a compact city (using the image below), which of the following designs would y
1 0 0%
2 3 9.38%
3 3 9.38%
4 10 31.25%
5 8 25.00%
6 0 0%
7 0 0%
8 5 15.63%
9 1 3.13%
Other (explain) 2 6.25%
Voters: 32. You may not vote on this poll

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Old November 10th, 2012, 07:09 AM   #1
fieldsofdreams
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Alternative Urban Planning: Compact Cities

I went to an exhibition last Wednesday in San Francisco, entitled Grand Reductions: 10 Diagrams that Changed Urban Planning (more details here), and I was particularly interested with this set of images from an exhibition area called "The Medieval City":



Note: it is one image I took, with nine separate designs joined together in one

It particularly interests me because it seems like early city planning involved fortresses and compact cities located inside them. Comparing those with large metropolises of today, it seems like compact communities are becoming much more rare as such communities are being integrated or consumed upon by the larger cities close by. I then ask a question for you:

If you were to create a compact city, which of the nine designs shown in the picture I have taken would you want to use, and why?

A follow-up question would be this:

Should you choose not to follow any of the designs you see in the picture, how would you design your compact city?

As always, SSC rules and regulations apply. Enjoy!
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Old November 10th, 2012, 01:04 PM   #2
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I wouldn't pick any of those designs, because they all look too planned. A city is best grown naturally, and if a new city has to be built from scratch for what ever reason then I think it would be best just to use a small city format such as Sheffield (UK)
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Old November 10th, 2012, 02:19 PM   #3
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Who says a city has to grow naturally? The Greeks and Romans, who were excellent city builders, would disagree with you. The haphazard city is a thing of the Dark Ages.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 02:33 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Greco View Post
Who says a city has to grow naturally? The Greeks and Romans, who were excellent city builders, would disagree with you. The haphazard city is a thing of the Dark Ages.
They may have been excellent city builders, but the only examples we have now have been hugely altered and expanded so its hard to tell of any social problems, operational issues or cultural problems that may have arisen due to the 'design' of the cities. But my understanding is that it was only really the ceremonial parts of the cities that followed a strict design rather than the entire area including peoples homes etc?
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Old November 10th, 2012, 03:10 PM   #5
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Then you dont know much about Ancient Cities. Even the first cities in the World (such as Ur) had grid plan. As I said funny streets are a thing of the Dark Ages when civilization was at its lowest. And as for problems, these were no different from today.









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Old November 10th, 2012, 05:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Greco View Post
Then you dont know much about Ancient Cities. Even the first cities in the World (such as Ur) had grid plan. As I said funny streets are a thing of the Dark Ages when civilization was at its lowest. And as for problems, these were no different from today.









But they are Just road plans. Its not "Here is the residential sector, here is the commercial sector and here is the industrial sector" and..."The residents will travel along the transverse roads in their private levitating vehicles between the sectors"
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Old November 10th, 2012, 05:31 PM   #7
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You said that only certain parts of Ancient Cities were built on grid plan, as you can see from these plans, entire cities, from top to bottom, were built on grid plan and if you knew anything about ancient urban centres (which you clearly dont), youd know that there was no such thing as residential, industrial or commercial centres, private dwellings often doubled as offices and industrial units, streets themselves were used for a whole range of things too.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 06:21 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Greco View Post
As I said funny streets are a thing of the Dark Ages when civilization was at its lowest.
Boston has something to say about that.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 06:36 PM   #9
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I went with the third one, it reminds me of Palmanova, Italy.

image hosted on flickr

Palme di Euforbio, su Flickr
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Old November 10th, 2012, 07:53 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poshbakerloo View Post
I wouldn't pick any of those designs, because they all look too planned. A city is best grown naturally, and if a new city has to be built from scratch for what ever reason then I think it would be best just to use a small city format such as Sheffield (UK)
Sure, those cities were planned naturally as well, despite the grid networks around them, because most of the older cities had walls surrounding them that guarded the city from outside invaders. A small-city format such as Sheffield is a good idea since you can mix-and-match where you want to place your city center, as well as the residential, commercial, and industrial areas. However, if you advocate for a natural-growing city, then maybe other governments will not fully advocate of that because there will always be competing interests in building a city's neighborhoods to begin with. Your main opponents would be real estate developers, city officials, and possibly the environmental regulators.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 07:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Greco View Post
Then you dont know much about Ancient Cities. Even the first cities in the World (such as Ur) had grid plan. As I said funny streets are a thing of the Dark Ages when civilization was at its lowest. And as for problems, these were no different from today.









Very interesting, and similar-looking, grid cities. Looks like the gridded cities we know today were emulated from the first cities in the Mediterranean and the Middle East. It seems like we need to owe them a big thank you for laying out such plans that we have adopted today... And those cities seem to be compact too.

I wonder, though, if such practices can continue to be developed over time as neighborhoods need to focus on local development rather than just relying on neighboring cities to make them unique.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 08:00 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Northsider View Post
Boston has something to say about that.
Hahaha yep, I've been to Boston, and it seems like many of the narrow, winding roads were actually horse pathways to begin with... And while it preserves the city's old charm, it seems like the same roads compete with automobile traffic... I wish some of the narrowest alleys could be converted instead to more pedestrian walkways so that more people can walk to and from work instead of driving through them.
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Old November 10th, 2012, 08:01 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fab87 View Post
I went with the third one, it reminds me of Palmanova, Italy.

image hosted on flickr

Palme di Euforbio, su Flickr
Very nice image! With that, how would you develop your compact city using the model I have provided?
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Old November 10th, 2012, 10:00 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by poshbakerloo View Post
I wouldn't pick any of those designs, because they all look too planned. A city is best grown naturally, and if a new city has to be built from scratch for what ever reason then I think it would be best just to use a small city format such as Sheffield (UK)
Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Greco View Post
Who says a city has to grow naturally? The Greeks and Romans, who were excellent city builders, would disagree with you. The haphazard city is a thing of the Dark Ages.
Quote:
Originally Posted by poshbakerloo View Post
They may have been excellent city builders, but the only examples we have now have been hugely altered and expanded so its hard to tell of any social problems, operational issues or cultural problems that may have arisen due to the 'design' of the cities. But my understanding is that it was only really the ceremonial parts of the cities that followed a strict design rather than the entire area including peoples homes etc?

The thing with those nine examples, is that they seem preety much militarily conceived, they are like fortress. Their layouts are very rigid and that's what you've got, that's all.

As you said, the grid has been used since ancient times, and has been continuosly used until present day. For example it had been used in the 19th century expansions of many european cities, being Barcelona the most prominent case. Also it was used in the development and expansion of most cities of the United States. It was used in the famous plan of 1811 in NYC or in the foundation of most cities in the expansion of the USA inland, such as Chicago.

One advantage of the grid system is that permits the endless expansion of the city, and can be flexible enough to allow different uses and conditions, for example you can merge two or more blocks if needed.

One remarkable example are the cities founded by the spaniards in their conquest. Founding cities was the primary form of conquesting territory, something they were very effective at. They founded hundreds of cities in just a few decades, during the 16th century, from Argentina to Mexico.



Caracas

I give the example of Caracas. It is thought to be founded on july 25th 1567, as one of the latest of the cities founded in that first wave of conquer (which is remarkable, since New York, one of the oldest cities in the US, was established in the first decades of the 17th century, Boston was founded in 1630 and Philadelphia in 1682)

This is the first plan of Caracas, a small layout of 5x5 blocks. Typicall of the spanish settlements, it has the Plaza Mayor, in the center of the city with the main institutions, The Cathedral, the Cabildo (government) around it. The plaza itself was used as a market, and the wealthiest people of the town would live around or near it. The geography of the region is represented in a much minor scale than the city itself.




From that first layout, the city would grow, in a form that is as natural as european medieval cities, but instead of a random layout, it would grow by expanding the grid. Eventually, other plazas would appear, but the Plaza Mayor always remains as the center of the city. Some geographic features could allow to distort the ortogonal grid.
This is the city by early 19th century.






Most latin american cities would continue to grow following the original grid, until the first decades of the 20th century. Then, some of them began using other models. In the case of Caracas, private developers made urbanizaciones (urban developments) using whatever layout they want. Often, those urbanizaciones were disconnected between themselves. This is Caracas by 1950. The area of the city by the beggining of the 20th century, developed following the grid is marked in red.



Bogotα
Most cities in Latin America followed a similar development.

Bogotα, Foundation, end of 16th century, end of 19th century







Buenos Aires

The first map is the Layout of the Foundation, The second one is the city by 1750. As you can see, two centuries later, the city still hadn't filled the layout planned by the foundation.
Unlike other cities, Buenos Aires kept growing following a grid until today, although the grid could have been deformed or changed the
orientation.



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Old November 11th, 2012, 04:27 PM   #15
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Example of a well planned city.

Bonifacio Global City, Philippines

Masterplan




This is the city now:
Quote:
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image hosted on flickr


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image hosted on flickr


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Old November 20th, 2012, 04:49 PM   #16
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Urban planning to the next level... Phils has at least a taste of 1st world charm at mm in bgc,eastwood,alabang,makati,ortigas...
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Old November 21st, 2012, 08:09 AM   #17
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Hahaha yes, and that's what I really aim for. By the way, I've lived close to BGC: I was in Mandaluyong City for 18 years, and I've seen the rise of the Megamall, Shangri-La, and The Podium right before my eyes while Manuela (now Starmall) and EDSA Central were already built.

I am deeply fascinated though with the original city layouts for Latin American cities: those are strikingly similar to what communities in the Philippines look like, with a plaza in the center of town, a church, some houses, and a few businesses surrounding the park.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 08:42 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fieldsofdreams
Hahaha yes, and that's what I really aim for. By the way, I've lived close to BGC: I was in Mandaluyong City for 18 years, and I've seen the rise of the Megamall, Shangri-La, and The Podium right before my eyes while Manuela (now Starmall) and EDSA Central were already built.
Nice to hear that, and where on earth are you now? Btw just roamed around BGC, I would say its amazing... First Worldish in the truest sense of the word... Just amazed how Embassy of Singapore lowrise has gotten into that throng of skyscrapers and to think its right in the middle of the crowd. Must have been paid well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by fieldsofdreams
I am deeply fascinated though with the original city layouts for Latin American cities: those are strikingly similar to what communities in the Philippines look like, with a plaza in the center of town, a church, some houses, and a few businesses surrounding the park.
Yes exactly the Spaniards way...
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Old November 21st, 2012, 09:00 AM   #19
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My location says it all. And by the way, I'm about to post even more photos of my region... As seen from a local.
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Old November 21st, 2012, 09:28 AM   #20
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Oh I see I guess I have to use a computer in that case coz it dont appear on my phone, am just using an android app of ssc...
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