Planned Cities are vastly better than unplanned cities.

I have had the joy of living in Columbia, Maryland and Almaden, California. I worked in Reston, Virginia and have visited Scotia, California. This is what I’ve learned.

Columbia is an example of a truly outstanding design. It is based on small “pods” of homes and businesses that are interconnected by bike trails and roads. Every home is within walking distance of stores that sell basic necessities. This becomes crucial during snowstorms when all the roads are undriveable. Designed by James Rouse. It is home to the Merriweather Post Pavilion concert venue in Symphony Woods. Across the street is a Shopping Mall and Lake Kittamaqundi… sail boats and canoes for rent. Columbia is home to Howard Community College and Hobbit’s Glen golf course. Yes, he planned for everything… and it’s all within biking distance.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columbia,_Maryland
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Rouse
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lake_Kittamaqundi
http://www.merriweathermusic.com/

Almaden: During the 1960s IBM built a disk drive factory in the rural farmland near San Jose, California. Then they build homes for the employees, a golf course and a swim and racquet club. They believed that they could attract a higher quality employee if the living conditions were ideal. It worked. The concept of a the database was invented there. One of those truly epic ideas…
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Almaden_Valley,_San_Jose,_California

Reston was a city built by Robert E Simon. Note his initials in the name of the city. Located near Dulles Airport it is a popular location for corporations. It is easy to fly into Dulles and take a taxi to a meeting. Having an airport close by was convenient for shipping our finished products to the customers. I worked for a defense subcontractor and Reston is close to the Pentagon and Washington, DC.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reston,_Virginia

Scotia was built for the employees of The Pacific Lumber Company. Their plan was to harvest 1% of the trees every year and plant a new tree for every one harvested. That “100 year plan” was designed to ensure that there would be work for the mill employees forever. In a hundred years, the new trees would have grown up and be big enough to harvest again. Sadly, Charles Hurwitz used junk bonds to do a hostile takeover of the company, cut down all the profitable trees, looted the pension fund, hid the money in Texas and then declared bankruptcy. Now the company has been purchased by the Fischer family and they have returned to sustainable logging.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scotia,_California
http://www.jailhurwitz.com/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Fisher

There is a lovely coloring book of The Headwaters Forest.
Link: http://www.jailhurwitz.com/pdfs/hfcb_cover.html

On a personal note: If you and your friends drive over Blossom Hill Road from Los Gatos, California at night and you put Pink Floyd’s “Division Bell” CD in the stereo… when you crest the hill and can look down on the sparkling lights of the city of Almaden… the band sings…
The grass was greener
The light was brighter
With friends surrounded
The nights of wonder
it’s all true and a really emotional experience…
You see, it appears that the lyrics describe what is actually happening… Cosmic…

I had the blessing of attending many rock concerts at Merriweather Post Pavillion.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merriweather_Post_Pavilion
The Grateful Dead played there Six times while I was living on the east coast and I went to all six shows.
One night there was a thunder and lightning storm at dusk. Torrential downpour… all the power went out and we were treated to a drum duet played by Bill K and Mickey Hart. It appeared that they were incorporation the thunder into their music. A traditional tom-tom fill is “da da da, de de de, du du du, boom”. They used the flash of lightning to predict when the thunders boom would sound…
As a special blessing, half the audience on the lawn area went home… That solved the overcrowding problem. The rest of us stayed and danced in the mud.

Sadly, the audience forced management to prohibit the Grateful Dead from playing there.
One time there was a concert near July Fourth and the members of the audience set off too many fireworks after the concert. Since it is possible to buy rockets that fly up into the sky and explode in South Carolina (not too far away), that year there was a danger of setting Symphony Woods on fire. Oh Well… it all worked out because about that time the Grateful Dead became really popular and needed RFK Stadium to satisfy the demand for tickets.

Back to main page: http://vandergreg.blogspot.com/

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One Response to “Planned Cities are vastly better than unplanned cities.”

  1. ch4wordpress Says:

    unplanned cities are natural though. No city that has been part of important things is totally planned. It can’t be, growth of a city can’t be planned.

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