Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Davenport lectures on urban morphology in Greenways class

Continuing a blog account of Dr. John Davenport's class, "Greenways, Mobility, and American Public Life," on this day, Dr. John lectured on urban morphology. Here are some notes:

"Accessibility to mobility" is exemplified by land values increasing as you get closer to the rail line, trolley or highway.
1970 to Present:
the satellite community and "jet" epoch

Use of resources increased exponentially, e.g.:
1914 - 14 tons of paper / 1000 people
1985 - 90 tons of paper / 1000 people

Satellite commuter zones with countryside inbetween city and 'burb; also realted to communities locating aside national forests and parks. (Not always good combo when residents complain about natural phenomena like forest fires, wolves, etc.)

(BTW, near rivers are often old "buffalo routes," or are otherwise migration routes for animals generally.)

Axiom of Historical Lumpiness: major change happens in chunks, e.g. invention of cement leading to other significant changes at the same time.

Axiom of Historical Lumpiness: people carry old cultural forms and styles rather than adopting new ones.

Fitting into urban morphology: why greenways now?

Fed Funding has emerged to combat:
congestion and low urban densities
high fuel prices
carbon emissions

Human Powered Transportation
1/2 of all trips in U.S. could be done in a 20 minute bike ride
1/4 in a 20 minute walk

But doesn't buying cars and building roads drive our economy?
The money would shift into a different industry.

From 1900-1974: a doubling of travel distance; 74-97 double again.

Gentrification is a negative impact for lower income residents.

Earliest greenways in the U.S., e.g., Brooklyn's Prospect Park by landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead, and provided access to city parks.

Olmstead designed Boston's Emeral Necklace to help drainage. Established multiple uses of greenways.

Benton MacKaye proposes "Open Ways" in early 1900's; (also proposed Appalachian Trail) drawing from network theory.

In 1960's ecology becomes prominent in planning and design. In '69 Ian McHarg publishes "Design with Nature" which incorporates ecological inventories, assessing a landscape, before designing.

An interest in wildlife corridors follows,

Greenways are linear: they are long and provide access for many: high ratio of edge to interior; extends range of animals as well; and humans for transportation.

It begins to be noted that nature is cities too, and something to be planned for, accommodated, and celebrated.

In the 1980's there was a rising popularity in outdoor recreation and interest in open-space conservation spurred many greenways projects.

In 1985 the President's Commission on American Outdoors proposed a national system of greenways: "We have a mission.... fingers of green...."

250 estimated greenways in U.S. in '89, and 3,000 today.

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