Friday, December 5, 2014

How Much Public Space We've Surrendered to Cars

This brilliant illustration shows how much public space we've surrendered to cars. Image: Karl Jilg/Swedish Road Administration

KEY FEATURES OF NEIGHBORHOODS THAT ARE VIBRANT AND ALIVE:
  • The core of the neighborhood is a beautiful place which has been chosen for its inspiring character when you stand there.
  • The heart of the neighborhood and 2/3 of its land surface, is a pedestrian world.
  • Traffic interacts and comes in, only to the degree absolutely necessary: cars are not much in evidence.
  • Density is sometimes as high as can be reached by high-rise apartments, but all buildings are two and three stories high.
  • There are gardens everywhere — the space of the neighborhood is made of positively shaped gardens, public and private.
  • Buildings are rather simple, but always personal, with aspects that identify them by the people who made them.
  • Work is intermixed with living quarters: this applies both to small workshops and to larger offices or studio space.
  • Roads for cars are narrow and discourage speed.
  • Towards the outside of the neighborhood, there may be roads which carry faster traffic around town.
  • Windows are beautiful and large.
  • Houses are long and narrow, so that every room has good light.
  • All entrances to apartments come direct to the ground, never to shared corridors.
  • Some outdoor areas are furnished — seats, low walls, tables — and partly enclosed. There are cafes, shops and other amenities nearby.
By the way, in the coming Village Towns 3/3 of the land surface will become a pedestrian world. What a paradise!

Unfortunately my car is the first thing that meets me when I open the front door of my house
The mailbox outside my bedroom. Every morning at 03:30 the paperboy wakes me up driving up to my bedroom with his old car on free exhaust, and his worn out gearbox making a terrible noise reversing his way back.

I've tried talking with my local newspaper O.A. if the paperboy may park his car on the common parking lot 20 metres away, but they made me the problem, not the car.

We have even surrendered quite much of the natural world to our cars. The image is from the construction of the new E6 by Lake Mjøsa. Ironically this 4-line highway is constructed for the elites living in Oslo, who want to drive in 100 Km/h to their "cabins" up in the mountains to enjoy "unspoiled" nature.

Although "unspoiled". Norway's first national park, Rondane, is now threatened because of too much tourism and the negative influence of all the traffic and the "cabin"-palaces surrounding the park.

Especially the situation for the wild reindeers is critical. 

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