02 January 2009

A pedestrian year

Happy New Year!

2009 brings hope for new things in the quest to redress some of the town's problems and fulfill its potential. We should see some outcomes in the Gosford Challenge process and it would be nice to think that the people steering the planning are prepared to think outside the usual developer oriented approach.

A couple of graphic comments, and a thought about pedestrian oriented initiatives for urban revival from Jan Gehl. (Think Mann Street between Erina and Donnison Streets)

Mr. Gehl’s core message remains so simple it sounds almost like a proverb. It goes like this: “Cultures and climates differ all over the world, but people are the same. They will gather in public if you give them a good place to do it.”
Urban sustainability rarely seems so straightforward, ensnarled as it is in thorny issues of land use and energy consumption, housing prices and unemployment rates, roads and transit lines, density and sprawl. In many of the world’s cities, however – North American cities in particular – there might be no single problem that encompasses them all as fully as the decision made after World War II to give top priority to the automobile in every urban quarter and under essentially every circumstance. And as Mr. Gehl’s clients are learning, there is no more economical or efficient way to begin sorting out this knot of problems than to simply restore people to their rightful place above cars in the urban hierarchy.

The full text of the article can be found here.

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