by Ben Gray
Historically, before horses and cars, mobility was walking. Now, many of us would like walking to be a bigger part of everyday life. With Renata it can be our primary transport and we can use a public system for the longer trips?
We provide a holistic plan that will conserve land and energy, improve quality of life, and be cost effective. It’s not a government project, instead it will be driven by its effectiveness and profitability. It will fit our long term sustainable vision that will continue to be effective for 200 years and beyond.
Call it a ‘pedestrian-oriented development’.
Size & How it Works
Each city of 20,000 would be on a piece of land about 2.2 km (1.4 mi) long by 700 meters (7/16 mi) wide which would provide 176 acres for the buildings and common areas, and 209 acres for parks and outdoor sports. Buildings will provide 1,400,000 sq m of residential, commercial, and schools. Two subway lines will provide good frequent service. A parkade at one end of the city will provide for 7,380 cars. The subway level will accommodate a bus terminal, taxi stalls, a car share office, and freight. Emergency services and maintenance will be at ground level. A 10 meter wide access road between the buildings and the park will provide access for construction and emergency services from the local highway to all buildings.
Freight will be delivered to a freight loading dock at the parkade by truck and then transferred to the subway for delivery at slow passenger times. This will provide an invisible delivery of freight that is direct and efficient.
The Renata city will have quick response teams of police, paramedics, and fire chiefs who will travel by bicycle. They would evaluate emergencies and direct the appropriate services. For paramedics, stretchers would be pre-located in every block and the sick or injured person could be stabilized and moved to the ambulance loading location by the time the ambulance arrives. Fire assessment could be done quickly and again the appropriate equipment directed to where needed, as necessary. Police would patrol on foot, with bicycles appropriately located for quick response to locations some blocks away. Foot patrol is cheaper so more police per 1000 population will allow police to be personally familiar with the residents for a whole new level of community policing which has been proven to work in many city neighborhoods around the world. Even most social issues will be handled better in a community where people interface more.
What is wrong with our cities now?
Simplistically, mixing pedestrians with car and truck traffic is a hindrance to both. We can’t change that which is done, but in new developments we shouldn’t want to perpetuate a system that we know doesn’t work?
People living in Renata communities without a car will still have access to all services and be able to do everyday chores, like picking up groceries or taking the kids to hockey practice (as opposed to most LRT passengers who need a car for other services once they arrive home). This is great for lower income people.
Compare a Renata Satellite city of 20,000 people with any other city of this size. There are cost savings for land and infrastructure as a result of density and the absence of roads, lanes, and parking. There are shorter water, sewer, and other utility service lines. Services from garbage collection to sewer maintenance, snow removal, pothole repair, policing and emergency services will be cheaper. With the same tax base but less cost, taxes can be less and still provide free subway service. And a two kilometer double subway line instead of many kilometers of roads and street lights will cost less to build and less to maintain. It’s cheaper for everyone.
This community will be an example of a giant step toward our future of sustainability.
In a Nutshell
Renata provides the mobility to make density practical.
Research has suggested that today’s average shoppers are only willing to walk 300 meters from a car or public transport. With our subway close, the whole Renata city becomes a Supermall.
Unimpeded walkability will improve safety, physical fitness, and social interaction. When people are able to easily walk to work, to the store, or just for fun, the rate of vandalism and theft will drop. When people are able to talk to their neighbors they will feel more connected to their community, leading to a higher quality of life and safety for all.
Parks and gardens easily accessible to all.
What you see is a town planning study and not a building design proposal. Town planning is about spatial organization, building footprints, and heights. This is a model to express our ideas and later they will be used as an underlay for architectural design proposals.
Great cities require a local gathering place to meet, mingle, exchange ideas, and do business. Renata features a large public square 150 meters wide and a broad promenade 50 meters wide to attract and connect people.
A beautiful modern city, highlighting the environment. Making life easier and more enjoyable.
What comes next
Regional & Intercity Rail
8 cities appreciating & respecting farmland
In the depiction above, there is a group of eight Renata cities with 160,000 people. They are connected by regional rail to each other, to the industrial areas, and to Intercity High Speed Rail (HSR). A dense urban area, without congestion, nicely woven through farmland.
A comprehensive vision
It’s not just about reducing the cost of the first and last mile, or replacing cars, trucks, and airplanes. It’s our ability to progress toward sustainability with an improved quality of life.
Modern, mobile cities for Sustainability
They go hand in hand.
The September 1969 issue of National Geographic had an article entitled “The Coming Revolution in Transportation”. The Boeing 747 and the Supersonic Concord had flown, Hovercraft were operating as ferries, electric cars were on the market with a 50 mile range, and automatic controlled car driving was being tested.
Some selected quotes from that article:
“In New York City a truck moves at a slower pace today than a horse drawn cart did 60 years ago.”
“A fourth of downtown Los Angeles is paved for use of automobiles.”
“Americans expend more energy and wealth on transportation than in any other field.”
What have we learned since 1969? It’s been 46 years, but as at this writing we would be hard pressed to show significant gains on the situation described in that article; or even changes that will produce significant gains someday in the future.
One statement made in the article may be the crux of our dilemma: “Don’t forget, innovations will have to be superimposed on a system which already exists.” That kind of thinking is limiting our ability to address the issues. If we accept that statement, we are doomed with the unfixable.
Copyright © Ben Gray. All rights reserved.