Urban Model For A Crowded Planet – Vision42
Free (open access)
With unremitting growth in world population, it becomes increasingly essential for humanity to devise more rational plans for compact urban development. Ecologically speaking, city dwellers impose a relatively smaller footprint on the earth and consume far fewer natural resources than suburbanites, sparing open land and its watersheds, as well as fuel in transportation. But in democratic societies, people are fairly free to choose where they live, so cities need to be made less congested and more welcoming. It is therefore vital to create more livable and workable urban models as attractive alternatives to low-density development. The sheer size of automobiles grossly inflates the scale of development, leading inexorably to urban sprawl. It follows that dense urban centers with large pedestrian populations can function more fluidly with restraints on motor vehicles, and with the simultaneous introduction of high-quality local public transportation systems. The commercial success of pedestrian streets can also be enhanced with aesthetic treatments landscaping and other pedestrian-friendly amenities features that are relatively affordable, and can create an inviting public realm. New York City’s 42nd Street, with its high percentage of public transit riders, its confluence of a half million people every weekday, and its rich offering of cultural, civic, commercial and entertainment facilities, is in a unique position among cities in the United states for a demonstration of this principle. Results of three technical studies on the vision42 initiative for an auto-free light rail transit mall on 42nd Street support its viability and suggest that the proposal offers prospects for broad application in cities throughout the United States and beyond. Keywords: sustainable urban development, light rail transit, pedestrian streets, urban sprawl, light rail costs, economic potential, traffic diversion.
sustainable urban development, light rail transit, pedestrian streets, urban sprawl, light rail costs, economic potential, traffic diversion.