Tuesday, January 5, 2010

More urban planning / transportation engineering articles/videos

Some videos showing you urban planning / transportation engineering related facts.

This is a video of the Key System, a streetcar system which was spread throughout the East Bay during the first half of the 20th century. This was quickly dismantled as General Motors, Standard Oil, and Firestone Tire popularized the bus and quickly soon, the automobile. (I still need to finish this before school starts):

This is a movie called Taken for a Ride. It discusses the history of how General Motors, Standard Oil, and Firestone Tires was able to ruin American public transportation (aka the Great American Streetcar Scandal):


Next, a book that I need to borrow out of UC Berkeley's College of Environmental Design Library (if it has it!):

Great Streets, by Allan B. Jacobs, I believe describes the qualities of what makes a good street. According to Amazon.com reviews:

"With its thorough chronicling of building heights, tree spacing, relative widths of streets, sidewalks and cartways, this book will undoubtedly serve as a welcome reference tool for designers and urban planners. But for the lay reader, it is also an oddly poetic attempt to capture the undefinable quality that makes a street truly "great." To make his point, Jacobs, chair of the department of city and regional planning at UC Berkeley, uses text and 242 graceful line drawings to explore the magic of some 15 great streets, most of them European, including Barcelona's Ramblas, the Boulevard Saint-Michel in Paris, Via dei Giubbonari in Rome and even Venice's Grand Canal. Other well- and lesser-known examples appear in a second section comparing types of streets--boulevards, commercial strips, small-town main streets and residential roads. Finally, Jacobs analyzes those factors that make streets great: buildings of similar height, interesting facades, trees, windows that invite viewing, intersections, beginnings and endings, stopping places and, to be sure, space for leisurely walking. These are necessary qualities, but, as Jacobs warns, do not ensure a great street. "A final ingredient--perhaps the most important--is necessary . . . the magic of design."

Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Seems to be a book promoting urban contextualism...

And finally....
This is like the most fastest lecture on the history of city planning in the Western World I've heard in my life, taught by famous city planner Sir Peter Hall, who is lecturing at Wurster Hall at Cal's College of Environmental Design's 50th Anniversary. I warn you, if you don't have a heavy city planning background (I don't), you'll feel lost in this lecture (I certainly did at times):

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