- In the last journal I mentioned my interest in efficiency and explained a little about urban sprawl. Expanding on those, I'll get to the idea on which I want to focus.
- A sloppy city that suffers from bad road layout and a lot of urban sprawl is a result of bad planning. Something to consider is how old the city is. When a little town begins with a poor design, it's not a big deal at the time. It's so small everyone can probably just walk to the market or saloon (it's at this point you should figure out how old I'm talking about). But as dirt roads are paved and more businesses and houses are built, things are only slightly inconvenient. Tearing down the old town to start from scratch would be costly and require a lot of work. So the poorly designed town is the foundation for the big city it will someday become. The poor design isn't a problem until it's too late to fix it.
- When it is first built, the small town might have a bad design for good reasons. The settlers might have needed shelter quickly and had no time to plan. The town might have been built to support one industry (ex: fishing) but later shifts to an economy supported by another industry (ex: mining). Technological limits might force people to build in a poor design. Say a train track needs to be built, but there is a mountain in the way. The most efficient path would be through the mountain, but the resources don't exist at the time to make a hole through it. A path around is built at the time. Decades later when the technology exists to make a hole through the mountain and fix the track, it doesn't happen. The poor design is already done and breaking it to start over would be a lot of work. What is the downside to this? Let's use simple math and terrible price guessing (like monopoly). It costs $5000 to drill through the mountain, but the builders only have $2000 and that's just enough to build a track around the mountain. The fuel and time costs of going around the mountain are only $3 a trip. With value of the train cargo, that's not a really big deal. But when one train makes that trip each day, it takes only four and a half years for the money wasted by the trip to add up to the amount needed to make the hole so the track can be fixed. It can be ignored, but over decades of use, the money wasted adds up to large amounts.
In order to ensure this never happened, a new city would have to have a lot of planning in advance (this is where my interesting idea comes into play). So in terms of planning, what would the ideal city look like? What things would need to be considered when planning it? For one thing a mass transportation system such as a metro would have to be planned to have efficient, helpful paths yet still have a system in place to keep transportation running while maintenance is done on some of the tracks. The city and businesses would have to be laid out in such a way that pedestrians have a minimum travel distance from their metro stop to their work. For those who would use the road, the roads would have to be arranged to be an efficient path that promoted a smooth and safe flow of traffic. The water, municipal waste systems, and electrical grid would have to be laid out in the most efficient manner that would also allow for low maintenance costs. The amount of jobs provided by businesses and the amount of people that can live in the city would have to be balanced out.
- Even when the city is made, it will have to be maintained to keep its efficient integrity. New businesses and housing will have to be carefully placed so as not to disrupt flow of traffic and resources. It would take a lot of planners, but I wonder what the place would look like.
5 years, 10 months ago
01 Feb 2013 23:57 CET