Designing My Fair City
Tuesday, March 31, 2009
This is a list I've been building in my mind for a very long time. Basically, every time I engage in urban wanderlust, I end up ruminating on all the things I want to see improved on in my city. If I ever got the big idea to hold my city hostage, this would be my list of demands (barring any assumption that my city can defy the laws of physics)*. But it's important to preface my list by explaining that my city is already quite lovely. We have many walkable neighborhoods, a lot of green space, and a considerable amount of public art and character. Still, there's always room for improvement.
- I want all of my city's waterways to be fishable and swimmable. Water being necessary to sustain human life, I've always considered this to be a top priority and find it fairly unconscionable that we can't even meet this very low standard.
- I want all of my city's green spaces to be connected. I want to be able to wander through our entire park system without ever having to cross a street.
- For every foot of roadway, I want to see triple the space devoted to pedestrian paths, bike paths, and urban railway.
- Whenever road construction interferes with pedestrian/cyclist paths, I want to see a clear, short, and safe detour for pedestrians and cyclists.
- Also, I want more safe ways to cross roads for pedestrians/cyclists, in general.
- I want native plant barriers between roadways and pedestrian/cyclist paths.
- I want commuting by train/bus to be more convenient than commuting by car for everyone.
- I want more public waterfront space. A lot more.
- I want smoking to be eliminated from all public (indoor and outdoor) spaces. Air being necessary to sustain human life, this one seems like a gimme.
- I want roads to be designed for their speed limits and speed limits to reflect the design of the road.
- I want tighter boundaries around my city--an even stronger focus on density as opposed to suburban sprawl.
- I want more and better signage directing me to community/cultural spaces.
- I want a bus schedule at every stop.
- I want an easy-to-find and navigate comprehensive resource enumerating all of the public spaces and events available to me at all times.
- I want more community/cultural spaces open at all different times of the day and night. And holidays too. Presidents' Day should offer me more than the ability to buy a cheap mattress. Public space should be available when the public has time to use it, which often includes after-hours.
- I'd prefer more public amenities: restrooms, public phones, etc.
- And I would love to see wireless publicly available all throughout the city. And actually have it work.
*=The Tick reference:
UPDATE: Interesting commentary on how writing things down can simplify them. After writing this list, it became clear that accomplishing a few of the bigger changes I want would directly obviate many of the smaller changes. I guess that's what planning is all about.
Nothing New byslag at 9:13 AM