[iDC] Re: iDC Digest, Vol 22, Issue 13

John Saccà aqueduc at gmail.com
Wed Aug 16 04:51:12 EDT 2006

2006/8/15, Eric Gordon <Eric_Gordon at emerson.edu>:
> Instead of creating experiences within a seemingly predefined urban
> context, we need to begin focusing on the specifics of urbanism.

Thank you for bringing this up.  I don't just want to explore the
urban space already made for me by urban planners.  I don't just want
to have a more playful experience of choking on the car exhaust fumes.
 Has anyone read J. H. Crawford's book _Car-Free Cities_
(htttp://www.carfree.com/)?  Can art help me transform my city into a
car-free city?

> American urbanism is distinct from European urbanism, which is distinct from Asian
> and African urbanisms.

I don't want to live in endless American residential neighbourhoods
where you have to drive to the supermarket just to buy a carton of
milk, and spend half your day driving to work and back again, and
where the only public social space is the shopping mall.  Nor am I
content with the London or Paris model in which, although I can walk
to the corner shop for milk, or to meet my friends at a local cafe or
pub, and although public transport is good enough that I don't need a
car, most of the jobs are still in the city centre and most of the
affordable housing is still in the periphery, so again I spend half my
life commuting, this time on the Underground, Metro or bus.  It
sickens me to see Cairo adopting and exaggerating the worst apects of
American and European urbanisms: it's one of the most polluted cities
in the world, cars are the undisputed masters of public space (traffic
lights are nonexistent or ignored), American-style malls are cropping
up everywhere, Egypt's elites are building American-style residential
suburbs for themselves, and everyone else spends half their life
commuting in cars, buses and the overcrowded Metro.

How can we fix this mess?


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