Changing Technologies and Urban Form

Major changes in the geography of cities have resulted from changes in transportation modes aided by other technological developments, such as refTiger-ation, that changed living patterns. Changes in manufacturing technology over the course of the twentieth century resulted in a major change in urban land use patterns. The elevator allowed tall buildings. Air conditioning made Singapore and Las Vegas as we know them possible. The set of case studies included in this book show that the increase in the size of ships and the development of con-tainerization resulted in opportunities for major new urban design projects in abandoned dock areas of cities. (Battery Park City, Darling Harbour, Canary Wharf, and the waterfronts of Singapore and Kuching are examples).

What will be the next major technological change that will affect ways of life of people? There has been an extraordinary amount of speculation on how developments in information technology will change patterns of daily life. For 30 years now we have been saying that they will radically change cities and urban forms but very little has yet changed in the patterns of the environment. 'The anticipated changes have yet to materialize' (Anthony Townsend, cited in Peralta, 2002). Radical changes may come when the power of the new technologies are fully exploited (Mitchell, 1999, 2003). Will they have the impact of the automobile on cities? We know that the increase in e-mail usage is correlated with the increase in face-to-face meetings. Is there a causal link?

Will changes in the way we drive cars, or even their very nature, change life? Will new developments in the way we handle wastes - say, through some sort of pneumatic system as already being experimented with in some cities - necessitate changes in the layouts of cities and their precincts? The evidence is not available to answer such questions. What we do know from past experience is that some

Figure 11.10 Two early twentieth century speculations on the twenty-first century city. (a) A 1911 image and (b) a 1928 image.

Figure 11.10 Two early twentieth century speculations on the twenty-first century city. (a) A 1911 image and (b) a 1928 image.

technological changes will come in surprising forms. If we design to allow for change, will that suffice? Or will present patterns of building and demolishing suffice? Will arcologies, as Paolo Soleri suggested, be the future generic urban design model for cities and their precincts? Science fiction writers seem to think so. We do know that past predictions of what our present world would be like have been way off the mark (see Mansfield, 1990, for examples; see also Figure 11.10).

The answer generally given to questions about the robustness of urban designs is that if the design has a strong idea behind it, it will survive changes in political attitudes and fiscal crises. The plan finally adopted, for example, for the Universidad Central de Venezuela in Caracas did not have the power, the boldness, behind it of the original proposal (Figures 7.27a and b). As a result it has afforded so many departures from it for the original design idea to be lost. Strong ideas do not have to be bombastic but they do have to have a powerful driving logic behind them. Battery Park City's design ultimately did (see Figure 11.11). Perhaps it is this lack of a mind-capturing logic that is lacking in the World Trade Center site design. There is no strong central idea to the scheme; it is a fragmented scheme and will most likely be implemented as such.

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

Homeowners Guide To Landscaping

How would you like to save a ton of money and increase the value of your home by as much as thirty percent! If your homes landscape is designed properly it will be a source of enjoyment for your entire family, it will enhance your community and add to the resale value of your property. Landscape design involves much more than placing trees, shrubs and other plants on the property. It is an art which deals with conscious arrangement or organization of outdoor space for human satisfaction and enjoyment.

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