Author Topic: Designing my own city...  (Read 2316 times)

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Offline Kristine

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Designing my own city...
« on: March 10, 2013, 04:39:19 pm »
If you could design your own city - right this minute with the tech we have - what would you do...

My city would have these... Large trucks/trains would drop off things outside the city limits or at special depots and then goods would be distributed inside the city with these... Saves on pollution and road maintenance...
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBjG-FNan2k" target="_blank">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBjG-FNan2k</a>

All house roofing materials would be white or houses would be covered by earth with plants growing on them.  Power would be supplied by solar, wind farms, hydroelectric, or geothermal systems. mass transit would be given special roadways and electric vehicle charging stations would be as plentiful as gas stations. 

what else could we add...

Offline chitoryu12

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Re: Designing my own city...
« Reply #1 on: March 10, 2013, 05:10:23 pm »
Reminds me of the original concept of EPCOT. Not the theme park, but the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. Walt Disney's design for the City of the Future (TM).

(click to show/hide)

The basic city was arranged like a spoked wheel, with the downtown and commercial center forming the big, dense center of skyscrapers. Vehicles are banned, with exclusively foot traffic. The main roads for cars and supply trucks run underneath the city (presumably the same way the Utilidors under the Magic Kingdom were built, with the theme park sitting on a 20 or 30 foot tall dirt mound with the tunnels at actual ground level), with all supplies delivered discreetly through the tunnels and brought up to the surface from the storerooms. Most of the housing for the planned 20,000 citizens would be apartments on the outer rim of this center.

After that was the "green belt" of parks, community centers, and churches. On the opposite side of this belt would be low-density residential areas designed like flower petals: a vast green area with light recreation spots and playgrounds (and paths for electric carts) with the houses along the outer rim. The PeopleMover (a sort of light rail system involving motors in the tracks moving the mostly inert vehicles) would be used to get to work from the homes; cars would only be used for trips out of the city.

Nobody owns land or has anything like municipal voting rights; both houses and apartments are rented and all residents are required to have a job to remain living in the city. As new technology is developed, workers would enter the homes during the working hours and add new appliances or different ideas for housing to use them as a test bed.

Along with the commercial and residential areas, there would be the EPCOT Industrial Park where major corporations would rent out space to work on technological developments that would be tested around the city. Guests would have the chance of touring the labs and factories, with Walt hoping that they would encourage similar technological growth back home.

There's some other details. It would be connected to the Magic Kingdom and an independent airport via one long monorail track running north to south. There's a 30 story hotel in the center of the city, favoring multiculturalism and incorporating areas with shops and restaurants themed to different countries and regions. Disney hosts and hostesses would also be multicultural, so someone would always be available to speak to guests in their native language.

Nobody really knows how it would have succeeded, since Disney died before anything beyond land purchases could be made. Walt Disney World does incorporate a lot of his ideas, though: the Reedy Creek Improvement District owns the land with enough independence to decide on land use without the cities of Kissimmee or Orlando mucking about. The whole area they control is almost 40 square miles and has independent utilities, a fire department, etc. They even have enough power to build a nuclear power plant in Walt Disney World should they so desire (which they don't at the moment). The monorail is a practical transportation system around the Magic Kingdom and adjoining hotels, and Epcot got a lot of inspiration from the multicultural aspect (every land is staffed almost exclusively by natives, so the France pavilion is staffed by the French). The underground tunnels were incorporated into the Magic Kingdom, as well as the generally "behind the scenes" nature of any work or deliveries done in the parks and resorts.

There's also the town of Celebration just on the border of WDW, which is owned by Disney but replaces the futurism concept with "new urbanism". Small town with short commuting distances (so there's a lot of electric vehicles and Smart Cars), state of the art hospital, etc. Someone once compared it to the town from The Stepford Wives, in that it's TOO perfect.
« Last Edit: March 10, 2013, 05:12:39 pm by chitoryu12 »
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Offline Art Vandelay

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Re: Designing my own city...
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2013, 08:54:58 pm »
I have to say, things like banning cars and property ownership simply isn't feasible for anything beyond a single small town. In anything larger than a small town, people need their own vehicles and to own property, even if it just leasehold. That's not to mention the idea of having everyone's houses altered while they're at work. The cost to do so and the dissent it would inevitably breed would simply be unmanageable.

I guess my ideal city ("ideal" meaning as good as it'll get) would be a bit like Canberra, but with a higher population. It was built up post-industrial revolution and was always planned rather than simply allowed to grow as it will, so everything is very organised and apart from maybe the city centre, roads are top notch and even property is leasehold rather than outright ownership. The biggest problem is that it lacks any sort of self-sustaining economy outside of the federal government. Almost all big commercial developments are government contractors and industry is almost non-existent. If a city with that high a level of infrastructure, more people (population of around 4-6 million people) and with a strong non-government economy were possible, well that'd be as good as it can get if you ask me. All of this experimental stuff like freight tubes and the like sound nice in theory, but without even a working prototype in existence, basing an entire city around them is just a tad risky. It's best to stick to things that are proven to work.

Of course, the problem there is that when the government is no longer responsible for around ~99% of the economy, private interests become large enough to start lobbying for various things and that can fuck the most carefully laid plans for city growth. Especially so considering the democratic system leads to politicians with very short-term interests. Then there's the fact that this model simply cannot be applied to any city that wasn't founded on it from the very beginning (i.e. pretty much all of them) without just demolishing the entire thing and starting from scratch.

Offline Meshakhad

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Re: Designing my own city...
« Reply #3 on: March 11, 2013, 10:58:06 pm »
My ideal city would almost certainly have cars, along with buses and a proper subway system. It would utterly lack one-way streets. And it would incorporate modern technology in its streetlights to limit light pollution.

It would also have a shitload of sushi restaurants.
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Offline Cataclysm

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Re: Designing my own city...
« Reply #4 on: March 11, 2013, 11:06:26 pm »
Electric trains!

Also, people should have separate bins for trash, recycling, and compost, and probably should have to separate different recyclables.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2013, 11:08:31 pm by Cataclysm »
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Offline chitoryu12

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Re: Designing my own city...
« Reply #5 on: March 12, 2013, 12:26:00 am »
Biggest thing for me is mass transit and limiting the need for cars. A car is an expensive proposition that can require a lot of hassle and paperwork, and far too many cities are designed to screw over anyone without a vehicle. Take my own area, for example. The Sanford/Lake Mary/Longwood area is by no means rural and is at the foot of Orlando itself, but it's designed purely for vehicular traffic. It can take up to 4 miles of driving just to get out of the suburbs sometimes, which can take hours for someone on foot (my usual pace on a bike has me covering 2 miles in 30 minutes, so it'll take me about an hour just to get to an urban area from those homes). Buses are slow to the point of ridiculousness if you're not on one that uses the interstate, and the actual urban areas outside of downtown Orlando are endless strip malls, big box stores, and occasional tracts of land where everything suddenly disappears in favor of trees, apartments, and roads leading to suburbs. You can seriously go for almost a mile without seeing anything but cars passing by and trees. And this is typical of Central Florida.

Compare that to, say, New York City. I'll admit to being an NYC fanboy, but that's probably because I've spent so many years living without a car in a car-centric town and being forced to either beg for rides or bike for half an hour just to get to what I consider a "nearby" area. NYC has an excellent mass transit system despite the jokes at its expense, and a Metrocard is far cheaper than owning and driving a car even down here, to say nothing of the difficulty in driving through Manhattan and dealing with their gas prices. One thing I always miss the most after my regular trips up there is the ability to just get on a subway and go wherever I need to go. I spend a lot of time at home not because I'm some recluse, but because I'm basically stuck most of the time with no way to reliably get anywhere unless I want to spend literally almost the whole day biking or trying to take a shitty Lynx bus.
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Offline Art Vandelay

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Re: Designing my own city...
« Reply #6 on: March 12, 2013, 12:41:22 am »
Good rapid transit is a must in any large city, simply because there are no roads in existence that could accommodate every resident in the city travelling by car. It's not just a matter of convenience, it's a necessity to keep everything running. Though in low-density areas, they tend to have rather shitty coverage and cost way more money than they're worth.

I've always wondered in monorails would be a good alternative to subways. They're electric, so they can go underground just fine, and what they lack in capacity they can make up for in speed, so they should be able to service just as many people. Maybe they just cost a lot more than trains.

Offline chitoryu12

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Re: Designing my own city...
« Reply #7 on: March 12, 2013, 04:06:09 am »
From what research I've done, monorails require those large beams due to how they essentially straddle them rather than simply running on top (I go to Walt Disney World regularly, so I've been seeing monorails up close since I was practically a baby). It would require more tunneling to put them underground, which is more expensive and takes longer.

Not to mention that the technology is just plain there. Light rail has been built for decades (and runs on infrastructure dating back centuries), whereas monorails are new and ones that aren't on elevated tracks are even newer. It's just easier to build a traditional light rail system. Not to mention that light rail can be made electric as well.
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Offline Art Vandelay

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Re: Designing my own city...
« Reply #8 on: March 12, 2013, 05:12:25 am »
From what research I've done, monorails require those large beams due to how they essentially straddle them rather than simply running on top (I go to Walt Disney World regularly, so I've been seeing monorails up close since I was practically a baby). It would require more tunneling to put them underground, which is more expensive and takes longer.

Not to mention that the technology is just plain there. Light rail has been built for decades (and runs on infrastructure dating back centuries), whereas monorails are new and ones that aren't on elevated tracks are even newer. It's just easier to build a traditional light rail system. Not to mention that light rail can be made electric as well.
Even rapid transit monorails (as opposed to the painfully slow theme park variety) are quite a bit smaller than most subway trains, so they should fit in even smaller tunnels. What I can imagine would be the biggest issue would be points. Those things are stupidly bulky and would likely require a lot of maintenance. Though that's just speculation of my part.

Though I'm not really a fan of light rail of any sort, to be honest. It's not much better than buses in terms of speed and capacity, but with all the inflexibility of being on rails. Sure, it takes up less space, since it can be built on roads, but as I said, if you're going to do that then you may as well just use buses.

Offline chitoryu12

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Re: Designing my own city...
« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2013, 02:07:05 pm »
The big problem with buses is that they're restricted to road conditions. Even if separate lanes are built for them, they still have to deal with stops at intersections or due to crashes. Underground or elevated light rail only has to stop if something is wrong with the train or track immediately in front of it, and they can travel at much higher speed. They can't shuffle off to a station on a totally different line in an emergency without track switching, but they're designed to go to important areas very quickly and you can probably walk it from there. I've spent enough time using the NYC subway to trust that I can get to my destination through a combination of walking and trains faster than I would a bus or car.

Also, the WDW monorail isn't that slow. Top speed of 55 miles per hour, average speed of 40. It'll get you around the ring of the Seven Seas Lagoon in maybe 10 minutes assuming it's not "rush hour". The express running directly from the TTC to the Magic Kingdom is even faster. The only difficulty is that they're more concerned with safety and getting everyone aboard than speed, so there's more instances where the trains need to slow down or stop to let the one ahead get far enough down the track.
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Offline Art Vandelay

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Re: Designing my own city...
« Reply #10 on: March 12, 2013, 08:29:26 pm »
The big problem with buses is that they're restricted to road conditions. Even if separate lanes are built for them, they still have to deal with stops at intersections or due to crashes. Underground or elevated light rail only has to stop if something is wrong with the train or track immediately in front of it, and they can travel at much higher speed. They can't shuffle off to a station on a totally different line in an emergency without track switching, but they're designed to go to important areas very quickly and you can probably walk it from there. I've spent enough time using the NYC subway to trust that I can get to my destination through a combination of walking and trains faster than I would a bus or car.
If you're going to build underground or elevated track, then you may as well just use normal trains. They're just as fast and much higher capacity. If your city isn't dense enough to warrant heavy rail, then chances are you can't possibly justify the astronomical cost of elevated/underground rail. Especially underground. Digging out an entire network of tunnels is just ludicrously expensive. The only place light rail really makes sense over heavy rail is when the tracks are on the roads. However, as we've both said, that's just silly when buses do that particular job both cheaper and better.
Also, the WDW monorail isn't that slow. Top speed of 55 miles per hour, average speed of 40. It'll get you around the ring of the Seven Seas Lagoon in maybe 10 minutes assuming it's not "rush hour". The express running directly from the TTC to the Magic Kingdom is even faster. The only difficulty is that they're more concerned with safety and getting everyone aboard than speed, so there's more instances where the trains need to slow down or stop to let the one ahead get far enough down the track.
That still sounds pretty slow by monorail standards. Most regular trains'll go faster than that. Though I've never been to Disney World and probably never will, so I guess I can't really comment on the quality of its monorails.

Offline chitoryu12

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Re: Designing my own city...
« Reply #11 on: March 12, 2013, 09:44:09 pm »
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If you're going to build underground or elevated track, then you may as well just use normal trains. They're just as fast and much higher capacity. If your city isn't dense enough to warrant heavy rail, then chances are you can't possibly justify the astronomical cost of elevated/underground rail. Especially underground. Digging out an entire network of tunnels is just ludicrously expensive. The only place light rail really makes sense over heavy rail is when the tracks are on the roads. However, as we've both said, that's just silly when buses do that particular job both cheaper and better.

Do you mean heavy rail as in the American definition (where it's just light rail with a bigger passenger load) or as in big, full size Amtrak trains? Assuming the second for purposes of this paragraph. The reason light rail is used is because the trains are smaller and can more often be made purely electric or hybrid and have a lower speed. Heavy rail like Amtrak is patently ridiculous for transport inside a city, as it takes longer to get up to speed and requires bigger engines and bigger tunnels, as well as stronger bridges. That's why NYC has heavy rail like Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, and other trains entering into the city at a few stations and going to other destinations around the state or country, while the light rail subways and Staten Island Railway operate exclusively within the boundaries of the city. Heavy rail is just plain impractical for anything outside of freight hauling or long distance travel (minimum 30 minute travel times).

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That still sounds pretty slow by monorail standards. Most regular trains'll go faster than that. Though I've never been to Disney World and probably never will, so I guess I can't really comment on the quality of its monorails.

Well, it has just over 14 miles of total track with the ring around the Seven Seas Lagoon taking up the majority of the traffic (the rest of the track is either a long loop running across the property to Epcot and back with a single train and the stuff leading to the garages). When you've got 12 trains with most of them running on a few miles of track (with one and maybe two on the express line between the TTC and Magic Kingdom), you don't really need a huge amount of speed. Outside of the "rush hour", it's faster than taking a boat or bus.
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Offline Art Vandelay

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Re: Designing my own city...
« Reply #12 on: March 12, 2013, 09:53:14 pm »
Do you mean heavy rail as in the American definition (where it's just light rail with a bigger passenger load) or as in big, full size Amtrak trains? Assuming the second for purposes of this paragraph. The reason light rail is used is because the trains are smaller and can more often be made purely electric or hybrid and have a lower speed. Heavy rail like Amtrak is patently ridiculous for transport inside a city, as it takes longer to get up to speed and requires bigger engines and bigger tunnels, as well as stronger bridges. That's why NYC has heavy rail like Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, and other trains entering into the city at a few stations and going to other destinations around the state or country, while the light rail subways and Staten Island Railway operate exclusively within the boundaries of the city. Heavy rail is just plain impractical for anything outside of freight hauling or long distance travel (minimum 30 minute travel times).
Not quite that heavy, I mean heavy by commuter transport standards (though not so much compared to long distance rail). Light rail are essentially trams. low capacity and speed, narrow and with few enough cars to fit within a lane of traffic so it can run on top of a road if need be. Basically, very light by rail standards. Something like the New York subway is most certainly not light rail.

Offline chitoryu12

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Re: Designing my own city...
« Reply #13 on: March 12, 2013, 10:35:16 pm »
I think you're using a very different definition. The only requirement for a train to be "light rail", at least by American and Canadian standards, is that it's a tracked train with exclusive right of way. Rapid transit like the New York City Subway (and all other subways in the United States, as well as the London Underground, Paris Metro, Moscow Metro, etc.) is considered light rail by this standard. "Heavy rail" usually just means a bit bigger version. The stuff you're thinking of is what we would call a tram or streetcar, and they're pretty rare here.
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Offline Art Vandelay

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Re: Designing my own city...
« Reply #14 on: March 12, 2013, 10:44:36 pm »
I think you're using a very different definition. The only requirement for a train to be "light rail", at least by American and Canadian standards, is that it's a tracked train with exclusive right of way. Rapid transit like the New York City Subway (and all other subways in the United States, as well as the London Underground, Paris Metro, Moscow Metro, etc.) is considered light rail by this standard. "Heavy rail" usually just means a bit bigger version. The stuff you're thinking of is what we would call a tram or streetcar, and they're pretty rare here.
I suppose I was. Glad that's cleared up, then.