College Papers

1.3 capitals. According to Montgomery, the crux of

1.3 Literature Review

This summary of readings
covers several key ideas in achieving a more efficient city. These include
readings on urban design and planning. Studying the past and history of
automobiles and urban planning will also aid in providing more explanation as
to why our cities are the way they are today, the impact of cars in our
environment and how they have shaped our cities.

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Happy City by Charles
Montgomery

In Happy City, urbanist Charles Montgomery reveals to its readers what
the essentials are when it comes to making a city that is both happy and
healthy. In spite of covering many topics in his book such as architecture,
city planning, engineering and urban design, Montgomery’s writing informs the
readers about how these aspects of city building can be utilized to design an
urban environment that encourages social interaction along with developing both
social and community capitals. According to Montgomery, the crux of the issue
is essentially, how the built environment around us affects and shapes our
daily interactions with other individuals. Above everything, he questions, “Who
is the city for?” Montgomery also shares his thoughts on traffic-free areas
within cities and how they benefit the well-being and foster social interaction
amongst citizens.

 

 

 

Why We Drive: The Past,
Present and Future of Automobiles in America by Andy Singer

In this book, author,
cartoonist and advocate of car-free cities, Andy Singer writes and illustrates
why cars do more harm than good. He presents facts, statistics and arguments on
why he feels Americans should ditch the car altogether. Singer also
investigates how an improved transportation system can bring the American
citizens more happiness, health, wealth and freedom. In the early stages of the
book, Singer brings forth a quote by Ivan Illich, a Croatian-Austrian
philosopher from 1973, which states that: “The modern American male devotes
more than 1,600 hours a year to his car. He sits in it while it goes and while
it stands idling. He parks it and searches for it. He earns the money to put
down on it and to meet the monthly instalments. He works to pay for gasoline
tolls, insurance taxes and tickets. He spends four of his sixteen waking hours
on the road or gathering his resources for it… The model American puts in 1,600
hours to get 7,500 miles: less than five miles per hour.” (18). Singer also
mentions the social impacts cars have on the American citizens such as how cars
are viewed as “status symbols” (22) or how they are “romanticized on
television, films and popular music.” (24).

 

Connected Worlds – Building
Happiness by Charles Montgomery

Charles Montgomery, author
of Happy City, contributed an essay
to Connected Worlds, a book of urban
solutions published by the British Telecom. In this article, he writes about
how cities are capable of making us happier people by cultivating emotionally
intelligent design and creating communities that are closely connected. A
community where benefits are shared amongst everyone. Montgomery goes on to
elaborate that “many cities have spent the past half-century designing social
connections out of our lives with city planned entirely around private cars,
where homes, workplaces, shops and recreation areas are segregated into
distinct zones” (2). This lead him to state that in the United States,
individuals who live in developments that are car-dependent, report feeling
less trust for their neighbours, as opposed to individuals who reside in
neighbourhoods that are walkable, who feel a lot more trusting of their
neighbours where housing is incorporated with places to work, goods, services
and shops.

 

Car-Free Los Angeles and
Southern California by Nathan Landau

Nathan Landau is a travel
planner whose insights into travelling around Los Angeles and Southern
California is penned down in a book that is designed to act as a guide for a
car-free vacation for visitors to these areas and his experience on how the
cities within South California are changing. He noticed that the cities are
shifting from the automobile age to something different and that the young
people of today show less desire to live in sprawling suburbs. They seek to
live in walkable cities and urban places such as Downtown San Diego. Landau
feels that we are entering a new period of transportation and urban design.

 

 

 

Urban Futures: Critical
Commentaries on Shaping The City by Malcolm Miles; Tim Hall (92)

In this book, Tim Hall wrote
a chapter titled: “Car-ceral Cities: Social Geographies of Everyday Urban
Mobility. This chapter provides introductions on social geography and urban
mobility, the impacts of automobility, health impacts, road safety and social
impacts. Hall writes that the expressway has reshaped the physical, social
geographies of the world, along with their morphologies and economic
geographies as well. This was prevalent during the second half of the twentieth
century and is still on the increase. It continues to have an ominous impact on
cities around the globe. He also elaborates, further into the chapter, about
the various environmental impacts that automobiles have brought onto the world.

 

Car-free Design Manual

In J.H Crawford’s earlier
book titled “Carfree Cities”, a feasible and practical adjustment for car-free
cities was introduced. Mobility within these cities would mainly consist of
bicycling, walking and public transport. In “Car-free Design Manual” however,
the author seeks to contemplate on solutions to merge car-free planning with
innovative and inventive design approaches to accomplish more enhancements in
aspects of urban design. The ultimate ambition of this book is to present
car-free cities at their best and most alluring, in hopes that more individuals
will be open to this idea.Carfree Design Manual also
enables individuals more accessibility to city design. Showing how the design
of city streets are essentially regulated and determined by the people who will
utilise them; resulting in spaces that will fit the requirements and desires of
the people. J.H Crawford also argues that if cars are eliminated from the city
streets, the potential for increased flexibility in design, and that “without
cars, we are free to arrange the intimate, small-scale neighbourhoods that
people seem to prefer”. 

This book is sectioned into
four parts, with part one contemplating the theoretical concerns of car-free
design and planning; which also expands on design constraints and the question
of density within the city. Part two explores the processes in urban planning
and the necessity of this component, this includes freight, passenger
transport, paving, grading, drainage, energy and utilities. Crawford goes in
depth into the planning of the city; laying the ground work, so to speak. Part
three examines the urban elements that create pleasing streets. Crawford goes
into detail on the elements that constitute to making a street look beautiful
and pleasing to the eye. Part four is when designing the carfree city comes in.

The author explores design elements of cities such as, land allotment, district
layout, village information, neighbourhood design,
building layout, design and design techniques. Case examples are also presented
to further inspire individuals.

 

These readings possess many
valuable insights and facts about how cars have affected (and is still
affecting) our cities, and by extension, us. With books that include thoughts
and insights on public transport as well, these readers (and more along the
way) will prove to be essential to my research topic.