Let’s Take a Traditional City Break
February 6, 2011
While I’ve been writing all this material on gold standard systems, my Traditional City photo folder has been filling up. Let’s see what’s in there.
These are all examples of walking cities, some ancient, some merely old, some quite contemporary. Before cars, everybody walked. Maybe that was a good thing? Add some electric trains, and you’re pretty much done. I don’t think the Traditional City/trains combo can be improved upon. No proposal I’ve seen is even remotely as good. No existing example comes close. The Traditional City doesn’t have any inherent problems that we need to fix. It is pretty much perfect just as it is. Impossible you say? Do I really mean “perfect”? OK, give it a try. Try to come up with something better. Try to name a problem that needs to be fixed. I bet you can’t. I think there is potentially a place for high-rise buildings, but incorporated into the Traditional City rather more expertly than is now common. I wouldn’t necessarily call this an improvement, and it is certainly not necessary, but it could be done.
It’s so obvious. Just build it. What more needs to be said? You gonna spent your time grumbling and griping, making up stupid exuses for a couple more generations, or are you just going to build it? You’re going to have to build it anyway. You aren’t going to solve your problems any other way. The only real question is whether it takes two years or ten years or a thousand years.
As for how to build it–it’s really simple:
2) Buildings side by side. There can be courtyards, gardens, parks and so forth, but you don’t have the ring-of-grass-all-around, or for that matter a barren plaza. You have to abandon the freestanding-farmhouse-in-the-middle-of-the-field ideal, and also its high-rise equivalent, the Pyramid-of-Giza-in-the-middle-of-the-desert. The buildings are typically about 3-5 stories high, although I think you can add some taller buildings if you are careful about it.
3) No cars. I suppose this is obvious, but you have to repeat it. You have to design it so it is just right without cars. After you do that, you can add a few cars for deliveries, taxis and so forth. Actually, if you design it right so that you don’t need a car, then the cars just sort of disappear. Nobody needs them.
Lotsa Tokyo pics. The sign says: “No Cars!”
Do you see what I mean when I say that bikes are a nuisance in a proper pedestrian city? The fewer bikes the better.
Not too many cars here.
No cars here either.
Life’s better without cars.
Rural France, 1960s.
I actually saved this for some sequel to my The Future Stinks item, but I think I’ll just throw it in here.
Ancient street in Egypt. Hey, it was Really Narrow there too!
Hamburg, Germany. Gorgeous.
Ancient, pre-Columbian Inca street in Cuzco, the capitol of the Incas. These guys had never met a European, but they made their cities the same way. Why is that?
It’s the same reason they made their pants legs about 32″ long. Because it’s the right size, dummy.
More Cuzco, Peru.
A typical European central plaza, without cars of course.
Any hot chicks in gorgeous clothes standing in the middle of the street in your shitty suburb? You gotta get rid of the cars if you want that.
Mmmmm, hot chicks and Really Narrow Streets. You don’t know what you’re missing …
Yes, the Traditional City is even good for your health and appearance! That’s because it’s the way humans are supposed to live.
Are you ready to get up off your motorized wheelchairrs?
Agua Caliente, Peru.
Some Tokyo pics.
Hey, there are 32 million people in this city! In a country with nine internationally-competitive automobile manufacturers! Where are the CARS?
Cars are for … Americans, ha ha ha.
(See what I mean about hot chicks and Really Narrow Streets? I’m not making this up you know. It’s not something that you only see in magazines.)
Look how the street is paved. With beautiful flagstones. You can’t do this when the street is sixty feet wide.
Tokyo, over the top as usual. Not really so genteel, but tons of FUN.
France, I think. Much more genteel. Not quite so much fun. But still pretty fun.
Asian street market. Tons of fun.
This is a pretty wide street but … where are the cars???
A building interior. The Traditional City inspires the most amazing architecture.
No cars here either.
Some traditional Japanese cities, with old-fashioned architecture. Tokyo is a wonderful city, but the old architecture is much better. Unfortunately, it is mostly wood, and Japanese people are a little tired of having their cities burn down and topple in earthquakes. Now they build out of steel framed, steel-reinforced concrete. But can’t you build out of concrete and still make a lovely building? Nobody has to actually see the concrete, you know. Of course you can, but you have to imagine it first.
Wow wow wow …
Central square in Arles, in southern France. Apparently this town has been around for about 2300 years. Where are the cars????
Think about that. 2300 years. How’s that for “sustainability”?
Another example of my principle that cities (villages) and farms should not be combined into some mixed-up goo. The city is a city, without fields and useless “green space.” The farm is a farm without buildings (except for farm buildings). Two separate and distinct patterns that complement one another. The tiniest villages and the biggest metropolises have the same pattern. Really Narrow Streets, buildings side-by-side, no cars. Add some trains and you are DONE.
“Captain, the reason this civilization failed seems quite obvious to me.”
December 19, 2010: Life Without Cars: 2010 Edition
October 17, 2010: The Problem of Scarcity 3: Resource Scarcity
August 22, 2010: How to Make a Pile of Dough with the Traditional City
August 1, 2010: The Problem With Bicycles
June 6, 2010: Transitioning to the Traditional City 2: Pooh-poohing the Naysayers
May 23, 2010: Transitioning to the Traditional City
May 16, 2010: The Service Economy
April 18, 2010: How to Live the Good Life in the Traditional City
April 4, 2010: The Problem With Little Teeny Farms 2: How Many Acres Can Sustain a Family?
March 28, 2010: The Problem With Little Teeny Farms
March 14, 2010: The Traditional City: Bringing It All Together
March 7, 2010: Let’s Take a Trip to Suburban Hell
February 21, 2010: Toledo, Spain or Toledo, Ohio?
January 31, 2010: Let’s Take a Trip to New York 2: The Bad and the Ugly
January 24, 2010: Let’s Take a Trip to New York City
January 10, 2010: We Could All Be Wizards
December 27, 2009: What a Real Train System Looks Like
December 13, 2009: Life Without Cars: 2009 Edition
November 22, 2009: What Comes After Heroic Materialism?
November 15, 2009: Let’s Kick Around Carfree.com
November 8, 2009: The Future Stinks
October 18, 2009: Let’s Take Another Trip to Venice
October 10, 2009: Place and Non-Place
September 28, 2009: Let’s Take a Trip to Barcelona
September 20, 2009: The Problem of Scarcity 2: It’s All In Your Head
September 13, 2009: The Problem of Scarcity
July 26, 2009: Let’s Take a Trip to an American Village 3: How the Suburbs Came to Be
July 19, 2009: Let’s Take a Trip to an American Village 2: Downtown
July 12, 2009: Let’s Take a Trip to an American Village
May 3, 2009: A Bazillion Windmills
April 19, 2009: Let’s Kick Around the “Sustainability” Types
March 3, 2009: Let’s Visit Some More Villages
February 15, 2009: Let’s Take a Trip to the French Village
February 1, 2009: Let’s Take a Trip to the English Village
January 25, 2009: How to Buy Gold on the Comex (scroll down)
January 4, 2009: Currency Management for Little Countries (scroll down)
December 28, 2008: Currencies are Causes, not Effects (scroll down)
December 21, 2008: Life Without Cars
August 10, 2008: Visions of Future Cities
July 20, 2008: The Traditional City vs. the “Radiant City”
December 2, 2007: Let’s Take a Trip to Tokyo
October 7, 2007: Let’s Take a Trip to Venice
June 17, 2007: Recipe for Florence
July 9, 2007: No Growth Economics
March 26, 2006: The Eco-Metropolis