Magazine article New Internationalist

Shapes of Cities

Magazine article New Internationalist

Shapes of Cities

Article excerpt

1 THE COSMIC (OR HOLY) CITY

THE CITY REFLECTS beliefs about the universal and social order. Characteristic design features are a monumental axis - a temple, cathedral or citadel, for example - some dominant landmarks and reliance on a regular grid. Baroque 'ideal city' plans tend to fit this model(f.1)

2 THE PRACTICAL CITY

THE DESIGN OF COLONIAL and company towns and the grid cities of the US are motivated by practicality. A city, according to this model, is made up of small autonomous parts linked together into a great machine which has clearly differentiated functions and motions.(f.1)

3 THE ORGANIC (OR WALKING) CITY

THIS CITY IS A LIVING THING, evolving in a natural way to fit the landscape. It has a definite boundary, an optimum size, and a cohesive individual internal structure. All destinations can be reached by foot in 30 minutes, and it is rarely more than five kilometres wide. This model is typical of medieval towns, and can still be found in the centres of older European and North African and Asian cities.(f.1,2)

4 THE TRANSIT CITY

AT THE END OF THE NINETEENTH century trains and trams allowed cities to expand outwards. …

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