After spending so much of the 20th century making America highway-dependent, sensibilities have changed and we’re now discussing removing highways in some places. See this item in the New York Times, “Once So Chic and Swooshy, Freeways Are Falling out of Favor.”
We’re looking at “walkscores” this week as part of a little assignment. Note that the walkscore.com website includes travel time maps, which show how far you can get in any direction from a particular address in a given amount of time. Maps based on this idea of isochrony go back at least to the 1880s, and sometimes covered whole countries or the world, as described in this Atlas Obscura article: “Traveling Back in Time With Colorful Isochrone Maps.” Contemporary maps based on the same principle are helpful tools for urban commuters today. Check out the cool maps in this Washington Post piece: “Leaving Town at Rush Hour? Here’s How Far You’re Likely to Get from America’s Largest Cities.”
Today we were discussing the rise of the motorcar and the good roads movement of the early 20th century. Read this entertaining account in Atlas Obscura of the 1919 military convoy from D.C. to California that helped to convince Eisenhower, who went along for the ride, that America could use a better system of national highways.
Just for fun, here’s a link to the Berlin clock shop I mentioned in class the other day. Clocks and watches remain symbols of craftsmanship and status today as in the late Middle Ages. Check out these beautiful machines: Exclusive Wohnraumuhren.
Here is a prep sheet that includes the essay prompts that are fair game for the midterm exam.
These land use maps on the Bloomberg website, based on 2017 U.S. Dept. of Agriculture data, are super interesting. Note how little land, relatively speaking, is urbanized.
Check out this story from last year on APR’s Marketplace. It’s about, among other things, the cultural attractions, or lack thereof, in Milton Keynes.
Give a listen to this NPR story: “Will Morocco’s Chinese-Funded ‘Tech City’ Ever Break Ground?”
We’re talking about New Towns this weeks. Here are some examples of how to do it badly – whole new cities built from scratch in China with hardly anyone living in them.
Here’s another story along the same lines: the Chinese government built a replica of Paris that is now mostly abandoned.
And here’s one more article about these places; the author says the Chinese New Towns are sparsely populated, but certainly not empty, and the term “ghost town” is an exaggeration.
Urban planning and its consequences are contentious. Compare and contrast these two articles, from Quartz and Reason respectively: