Thursday, July 27, 2023

The Grid

Urban design is a really backward field. Ultimately, streets should be laid out on a grid pattern. Cities have been built on ad hoc designs and city designers' designs which are meant to fit form more than function.

In this day and age, newer developments could be a lot more progressive. Urban design could go though the county or state. Developers plan very large developments all the time, look at some of the planned communities in Florida. Cities should be planned to be about the size of Boise (+/- 50k CITY population). The infrastructure, or some of it, could be laid out in advance, and should center around a grid pattern.

All the central streets should be on a grid layout, with no obstructions to traffic in about any direction (with the exception of necessary large structures such as schools). Bussing should be the primary design objective. Taking a look at historical developments should reveal a lot of backward things when it comes to this.

There's all sorts of things with the the way cities are laid out today. For example, subdivisions which are hard to drive through, thereby displacing traffic and creating traffic patterns. Subdivisions often have cul-de-sacs which make things worse. These places are designed so people are paying to not have traffic on their streets. 

Typical subdivisions don't create much of a community. Access to resources is limited by proximity, thereby requiring the use of transportation to get to distant destinations, as opposed to having local work and shopping options.

If things were designed better, population centers wouldn't have much traffic anyway, and people could get from point A to point B. Side streets can always have slow speed limits and things like speed bumps. If things were designed better, traffic would be minimized, there would be fewer cars (especially on the roads), and traffic would be spread out over the entire area.

This would have an impact on manufacturing jobs. People can buy more domestic autos to offset this.

Better transportation alternatives and design means less parking spaces, which usually aren't used very much anyway. Parking spaces spread things out and make public transportation less practical.

Also, highways don't need to go through a city, especially smaller to medium sized cities. This can be a poor design. A beltway around the outer parts of a city would be sufficient and could tap into other highways.

Large industrial developments and large box stores and warehouses, etc. could go alongside the beltway, thereby minimizing truck traffic through the city.

People who want a really NIMBY lifestyle could live out past the beltway where this wouldn't be causing so many problems.