« 75 Percent Of What | Main | Life, Death, Utility »

All The World Explained In One Simple Image

I almost never write about this kind of thing, but this image right here is very important. Very important.

October 7, 2004 | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8345160fd69e200d83456e2b869e2

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference All The World Explained In One Simple Image:

» Even Sucher wouldn't go quite that far without a few drinks from City Comforts Blog
All The World Explained In One Simple Image. "Very important." Yes. Actually. But All The World Explained? I'd prefer the understatement of All The Urban World Explained. [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 7, 2004 7:48:08 PM

» Parking Lot Primer from Snarkmarket
Via Matthew Yglesias, a simple illustration of urban vs. suck-urban design. I mean, sub-urban design. I'm particularly struck by it because I've been driving in San Francisco this evening, and am amazed by the life on (some of) the streets.... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 8, 2004 3:19:33 AM

» Gift Basket from Tom Jamme's Blog
Sweet Blessings, a new Christian-based online shop featuring cookie bouquets, candy bouquets and gift baskets, opens with a campaign to donate a portion of all profits to Habitat For Humanity. The devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, while not a... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 7, 2005 4:48:03 AM

» Gift Basket from Tom Jamme's Blog
Sweet Blessings, a new Christian-based online shop featuring cookie bouquets, candy bouquets and gift baskets, opens with a campaign to donate a portion of all profits to Habitat For Humanity. The devastation of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, while not a... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 7, 2005 4:50:09 AM

» CaminoBrowser.org Launches from about the Camino
which is Mozilla.org's Mac OS X native browser, now has it's own domain and website. It's meant to be the [Read More]

Tracked on May 17, 2006 3:24:29 AM

» India - Gujjars save the shared tradition in remote hills of JK from Qasim Mohammad
the family tradition every Thursday evening Qasim Mohammad Kassana and his family go to the mazaar [Read More]

Tracked on May 23, 2006 10:10:48 AM

» Record-breaking laser is hot stuff from he record for
he record for the fastest rise in temperature has just been topped. [Read More]

Tracked on May 25, 2006 11:05:23 AM

» Two CBS journalists among 4 dead in Baghdad bomb (Reuters) from CBS were among
people killed when a car bomb hit a U.S. military patrol in Baghdad on Monday. [Read More]

Tracked on May 30, 2006 12:27:14 PM

» Wittman Back With Wolves As Assistant from re-hired Randy
coaching staff and am grateful for this opportunity,' Wittman said in a statement released by the team. [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 5, 2006 1:17:05 PM

» Retailers Post Better-Than-Expected Sales from report better-than-expected
report better-than-expected sales in May; outlook for consumer spending [Read More]

Tracked on Jun 6, 2006 10:57:51 PM

» Hez unleashes a bigger bomb from Lebanon war yesterday
the bloody Lebanon war yesterday by firing a new kind of rocket that penetrated deeper into Israel than ever [Read More]

Tracked on Aug 1, 2006 9:11:13 AM

Comments

Wow, that blew my mind.

How do ex-urbs fit in? Is that what happens if you rotate the parking lot and building 90 degrees and get half and half?

Posted by: dstein | Oct 7, 2004 10:43:42 AM

Is there anyone interested in this kind of thing who hasn't read Life and Death of Great American Cities where Jane Jacobs pointed this out in 1962?Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer | Oct 7, 2004 10:47:08 AM

Cute, but the urban parking lot is way too big. What kind of weird city has huge parking lots behind each building?

Plus, the urban building should have more character and be taller than the suburban building.

Posted by: ostap | Oct 7, 2004 10:47:59 AM

Agreed - excellent and concise graphical depiction of what makes a street scene feel urban and human-scale rather than suburban and built for cars.

Just as an FYI (and a place Matt could get to easily on the Washington Metro, and I'd love to hear what he thinks about it), a new redeveloped "instant city" area around D.C. is the new downtown Silver Spring, MD. I have a house near there and like it a lot. Certainly it's not perfect. Because it's "instant city," the stores, restaurants, etc are mostly national or local chains (Borders, Starbucks, Austin Grill, Potbelly Sandwiches, etc.) which gives it a mallish flavor. Even so, I think it works - it's human scale, it's convenient, there's variety, there are lots of families and pedestrian traffic. It's less than a year old now - it'll be interesting to see what it looks like in, say, five years - whether an "instant urban environment" like this, popular at first, has any staying power.

Posted by: Richard Riley | Oct 7, 2004 10:48:38 AM

I live just outside of Chicago. Chicago is obviously a very "urban" city. I have traveled a few times in the last year to LA. I really like LA a lot (for the food). LA is attacked often as being one giant suburb. I do not find that, and I find LA a lot more urban than people want to give it credit for, and the image explains a lot. For all its sprawl, most of LA (that is not Orange County or the Valley) comes right up to the curb. Yes there are strip malls, but there are strip malls in Chicago too.

Posted by: Vital Information | Oct 7, 2004 10:49:45 AM

Cute, but there should only be 3 parking spaces to serve 10 businesses in the urban drawing, and plenty of parking - even at Christmas! - in front of the the suburban building. The difference is all about space - plenty of elbow room in the suburbs, people and buildings packed cheek to jowl in the urban areas.

Also, the urban pedestrian should be struggling with his 10 bags of groceries, trying to get home, while the suburban parking lot should have a nice SUV filled to the brim, while the pedestrian is happily walking from car to store.

Oh, and where is the screaming lunatic or panhandler on the corner in the urban environment?

Posted by: rvman | Oct 7, 2004 11:01:58 AM

Just as an FYI (and a place Matt could get to easily on the Washington Metro, and I'd love to hear what he thinks about it), a new redeveloped "instant city" area around D.C. is the new downtown Silver Spring, MD. I have a house near there and like it a lot. Certainly it's not perfect.

Richard, I like that area too. I go there several times a month to see movies at the AFI Silver theater.

Posted by: Haggai | Oct 7, 2004 11:06:34 AM

Cute, but the urban parking lot is way too big. What kind of weird city has huge parking lots behind each building?

Cambridge's Central Square does this. As you walk up Massachusetts Avenue, there are a row of closely-packed urban storefronts. In the back (along Bishop Allen Drive), there is a fair amount of commercial and municipal parking.

I think that the point trying to be made is that placing the storefront far from the sidewalk discourages pedestrians (regardless of whether it is convenient to park or not). On the other hand, it has been documented that this is what many designs want-- they are designed to keep out pedestrians, on the premise that if they aren't driving to a location, they must be especially undesirable.

Posted by: Constantine | Oct 7, 2004 11:31:47 AM

David Sucher rules.

Posted by: praktike | Oct 7, 2004 12:06:07 PM

The difference is all about space - plenty of elbow room in the suburbs, people and buildings packed cheek to jowl in the urban areas.

The difference is also about quality of interaction. This is anecdote rather than evidence, but in my very urban environment, I get much more of a village feel and 'experience' than does my sister, who lives in a 'nice, safe' modern suburb. For instance, I do most of my shopping at a handful of corner shops near my house. (And yes, I sometimes struggle with bags, but only for two blocks.) I know the guys who work at the shops, they know me, and we shoot the shit when I'm in there. It's a much nicer experience than piling into the car, going to the big supermarket with my sister, being checked out by some teenage automaton and then going home. I guess with the suburban model there's more convenience, but with the urban one, at least in my case (and I have tried both ways) life just seems richer in the city. There's lots of minor hassles, sure, but there are also loads of minor pleasures, like being able to walk to my local pub, bump into someone I know, have a few beers and then walk home - without having to choose between either drinking and driving (as many suburbanites appear to) or sitting trapped at home staring at Sportscenter, drinking alone.

When I go visit my sister in the burbs, I feel isolated from my environment and from the people around me. And sure, some people like that - no 'crazies on the corner', for instance. But realistically speaking, I suspect that the danger from crazies on the corner in cities is orders of magnitude less than the danger from cars in the suburbs.

Posted by: reuben | Oct 7, 2004 12:06:27 PM

Suburban planners are getting better about requiring sidewalks and providing for pedestrians, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a nice sidewalk flanking the street of a suburban business. Unofortunately, I still live in the burbs, and I walk home every day through a route that is populated by little strip malls, with cars racing by on the street, and no provisions for pedestrians. It's almost as if the planners didn't want/envision pedestrians using the street at all...

Posted by: patrick | Oct 7, 2004 2:18:05 PM

Mildly related story: I was in LA last year and called a cab using my cell phone. I told the cab company to meet me at the bank on a certain street corner. Like a good expat New Yorker, I waited on the sidewalk, waiting for the cab to pull up. For over half an hour. At last I called the cab company and they said the cab had come and gone. After I recovered from my fit of cursing, I realized that the cab had probably pulled into the parking lot behind the bank instead of the street corner. After all, what self-respecting Angeleno stands on the street, like a pedestrian? In spite of their habit of locating the parking lot behind the building, LA-dwellers have managed to move the "psychic center" of the property to the side facing away from the sidewalk, which may be the worst of both worlds.

Ultimately, I somehow managed to hail a random cab off the street.

Posted by: Cog | Oct 7, 2004 4:22:45 PM

The fatter we get, the harder it will be to enjoy an invigorating urban walkabout.

Don't walk, and soon you can't.


Posted by: Yesh | Oct 7, 2004 4:45:40 PM

You have to remember that new urbanism isn't about creating genuine, established metropoles like NYC, Chicago or San Francisco, it's about copying hip, successful small or suburban towns -- think Royal Oak, Birmingham, or Rochester in MI, or someplace like Palo Alto in CA, or the Manayunk neighborhood here in Philly.

Most cities don't have enough mass or density to support mass transit or a large, vehicle-less population, so you need to figure out a way to get people to drive from their homes, park in the "downtown," and still want to walk, shop, and hang out in the area. New urbanism provides an efficient and aesthetically pleasing way to utilize space and solve this problem, while still providing the same kinds of services to be found in the suburbs -- but not in large, older cities. It is, in effect, an optimized hybrid of the two.

Posted by: Tim | Oct 8, 2004 1:12:38 PM

Tim,

What's the basis for saying New Urbanism is about small towns, not cities? There are over 2,000 New Urban projects, and 40% of them are in cities.

If you're going to dismiss something with generalizations, it's good to know about it first.

John Massengale

Posted by: john massengale | Oct 9, 2004 10:36:25 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.