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"The Pack-Donkey's Way and Man's Way"
Transcript of "The Pack-Donkey's Way and Man's Way"
The City of To-morrow and it's Planning
Le Cobusier (1929)
"MAN walks in a straight line because he has a goal and knows where he is going; he has made up his mind to reach some particular place and he goes straight to it. The pack-donkey meanders along, meditates a little in his scatter-brained and distracted fashion; he zigzags in order to avoid the larger stones, or to ease the climb, or to gain a little shade; he takes the line of least resistance."
"A Contemporary City"
"Modern Toil demands quiet and fresh air, not stale air" -Le Cobusier
Opens spaces are the "lungs of the city"
Modernity and city life are dangerous and stressful; open space should serve as
Increase open spaces
City center must grow vertically
Diminish residential corridor planning
Build residences off the streets and facing large parks
Modern streets should be a masterpiece of civil engineering, no longer a job for "navvies" (men who built railways
Services such as gas, water and electric should be dispersed vertically on different stories reserved only for that specific function
Classification of Traffic would contribute to:
(a) Heavy flow of goods and traffic
(b) Lighter goods traffic (vans which make short journeys in all directions)
(c) fast traffic which covers a large section of town
Getting on or off a streetcar like these at Michigan at Woodward avenues was a dangerous proposition in the 1920s, with lanes of traffic between the sidewalks and the streetcars.
Le Cobusier Proposed 3 kinds of roads on different levels:
a) Below-ground there would be the street for heavy traffic. This storey of the houses would consist merely of concrete piles, and between them large open spaces which would form a sort of clearing-house where heavy goods traffic could load and unload.
(b) At the ground floor level of the buildings there would be the complicated and delicate network of the ordinary streets taking traffic in every desired direction.
(c) Running north and south, and east and west, and forming the two great axes of the city, there would be great arterial roads for fast one-way traffic built on immense reinforced concrete bridges 120 to 180 yards in width and approached every half-mile or so by subsidiary roads from ground level. These arterial roads could therefore be joined at any given point, so that even at the highest speeds the town can be traversed and the suburbs reached without having to negotiate any crossroads
"'Traffic running on fixed rails is only justified if it is in the form of a convoy carrying an immense load; it then becomes a sort of extension of the underground system or of trains dealing with suburban traffic.
The tramway has no right to exist in the heart of the modern city.''
"The station would be an essentially subterranean building. Its roof, which would be two storeys above the natural ground level of the city, would form the aerodrome for aero-taxis. This aerodrome (linked up with the main aerodrome in the protected zone) must be in close contact with the tubes, the suburban lines, the main lines, the main arteries and the administrative services connected with all these…"
Direct disparagement of Camillio Sitte's "Planning According to Artistic Principals" (1889)
"The Pack- Donkey's Way And
And "A Contemporary City"
The slow curve is the natural line for pedestrians
Several paths seem to converge at points where on-ramps and off-ramps are separated from the main flow of traffic. Crossing at these points allows the pedestrian to have breaks of median before having to make the next step. This takes longer, but safety is valued over convienience.
This is the network of function over geometry. The paths are trodden out of convenience, but they also gently meander.
Brazillia was conceived and built in the 1950's and 60's, is the exemplar of modernist urban planning. It's got it all: extreme separation of uses, access only by motor vehicle, mid-rise boxy buildings set in vast open spaces, and a conspicuous absence of any history before the mid-twentieth century.
The City of Brazillia
The plan of the city
Le Cobusier's basic principals for modern town planning
1.) We must decongest the centers of our cities.
2.) We must augment their density.
3.) We must increase the means for getting about.
4.) We must increase parks and open spaces.
"Spectacle of Order and Vitality"
The the great central open spaces are reserved for:
-luxury shops, halls of various kinds
-Magnificent forum descending by stages down to the immense parks surrounding it.
Density of Population
(a) The skyscraper: 1,200 inhabitants to the acre.
(b) Low income residents housed in large towers, only taking up 5% of the land space.
(c) High income residents live in luxury buildings low to ground and take up 85% of land space.
A level site is the ideal site for the contemporary city
Traffic on a level site is less intensified, safer and moves quicker
"'The river flows far away from the city. The river is a kind of liquid railway, a goods station and a sorting house. In a decent house the servants’ stairs do not go through the drawing room — even if the maid is charming ."'
Citizens, suburban dwellers and a mix of both.
(a) Citizens are of the city: those who work and live in it.
(b) Suburban dwellers are those who work in the outer industrial zone and who do not come into the city: they live in garden cities.
(c) The mixed sort are those who work in the business parts of the city but bring up their families in garden cities (bedroom communities).
Classify these divisions of residents
Zone areas for them specically
Legal establishment of zoning
City center compact, garden cities in periphery
Zone for "Fresh-air-reserve"
Classification will resolve problems of:
The City, as a business and residential centre.
The Industrial City in relation to the Garden Cities (i.e. the question of transport).
The Garden Cities and the daily transport of the workers.
"The moral, therefore, is that we must increase the density of the centres of our cities, where business affairs are carried on."
types of buildings employed
skyscrapers sixty storeys high with no internal wells or courtyards…
Residential buildings with “setbacks”, of six double storeys; again with no internal wells: the flats looking on either side on to immense parks.
The lay-out must be of a purely geometrical kind, with all its many and delicate implications.
--Satellite cities (gov. buildings)
---The business center
---Railway station and Air Terminal
---Hotels and embassies
''The city of today is a dying thing because it is not geometrical. To build in the open would be to replace our present haphazard arrangements, which are all we have today, by a uniform layout. Unless we do this there is no salvation.''
The City and it's Aesthetic
Wanted whole city ot be a park
Raised Highway Between Sky Skrappers
"'Geomentry is the fundamental basis on which our minds work."'
Le Cobusier believed the solution for social ills lies in mathmatical ordering of the built enviroment
The innate disregard of the preferences of the inhabitants helped to contribute to social decay in housing projects because a forced new order ruptured the residents’ previously existing social networks and natural sense of existence.
Le Corbusier believed that aesthetic and formal considerations would be sufficient to address social problems and inequities. Their solutions were found “through a rationalist and ahistoric process” (Leidenberger, 2006, 455). This means that Le Corbusier put form over the traditions and cultures of the inhabitants.
Le Cobusier's designs were “decontextualizing” and “shocking” (Jacobs, 2006, 8) the lives of the residents, not improving them.
Le Corbusier’s designs as being too flawed because they are too sophisticated. Uneducated inhabitants could not successfully his plans (Birmingham, 1999, 291) which led to their alienation from the process.
Lack of amenities due to financial constrictions
Lack of good transit links to the center, lack of maintenance
Confused management and control issues. This led to the inhabitants’ indifference towards their residences and they would “dispose of garbage bags by ‘air mailing’ them over the balcony” (Helleman and Wassenberg, 6).
Problematic Implementation of Le Cobusier's Designs
“Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them.”
**Organic planning does not begin with a preconceived goal; it moves from need to need, from opportunity to opportunity, in a series of adaptations that themselves become increasingly coherent and purposeful, so that they generate a complex final design as oppose planning with a set end goal.
Architects and planners must become "agents of the community", rather than "social determinists".
Holistic City Planning
Human Scale connectivity
Houston Urban Corridor Plan