Sydney could go Dutch |Cityhub

When it comes to cycle-friendly cities, Sydney could learn from the Dutch. Photo: Alfredo Borba/Wikimedia Commons
When it comes to cycle-friendly cities, Sydney could learn from the Dutch. Photo: Alfredo Borba/Wikimedia Commons

Joan Henson at CityHub Sydney interviewed me for the article Sydney could go Dutch. Excerpt immediately below. Full interview below that.

University of Sydney transport analyst, Professor David Levinson says that while “Sydney is slowly moving in the direction of Utrecht, in that more road space is being dedicated for bike lanes… the movement is too slow to achieve significant progress.”
He says that the City of Sydney’s 2030 target, that 10 per of all city trips be made by bike is not supported by the proposed network. While the target covers three to four times as many cyclists as today, the network “is not three to four times as large or more protected.”

BIKESydney president, David Borella, says road space needs to be reallocated to walking and cycling, as unprotected cyclists are “frightened to cycle in, and even walk near big traffic flows.. Important though they are, separated cycleways alone will not get us there”.
“You can’t ‘be Utrecht’ if you don’t first build off-road cycling trunk routes,” he says. These could include: incorporating cycling paths around the airport in projects like WestConnex, and building a City West Cycle Link, through the Rozelle rail yard, “which would be gamechangers for cycling.”

Professor Levinson says cyclists cannot travel between Green Square and other neighbourhoods via separated and protected bike lanes. Though it is “possibly the best precinct in Sydney for biking, the point is not simply what you can do in a neighbourhood.”
Green Square, which in May won the Green Building Council of Australia’s highest rating, incorporates low speed streets, pedestrian-only zones and separated cycleways.

Planning visionaries needed
Mr Borella thinks ‘going Dutch’ can happen when politicians and community members realise that it is not impossible to shift “heavily car-centric cities”. He says changes in planning laws can promote developments with better walking and cycling infrastructure, while a new street design guide (as in Auckland) can enable engineers “to create a connected network of walking and riding streets, particularly as we are now building a second road network underground”.
Professor Levinson gives a Dutch mindset to Sydney topography, suggesting that narrower streets, less suited to cars, can prohibit them for most uses.
Similarly main streets, with on-street parking, should have space for separated cycling lanes as, “what is more important, storing cars 23 hours a day or moving people?”
He says there are strategies yet to be envisaged to plan the transition: including promoting and regulating e-bikes, planning protected bike lanes from station entrances, and school cycling strategies.


The full interview below.

Questions in blockquote. [abridged]

Answers in plaintext.

1.Although Dutch cycling has become somewhat of a fantasy on social media, is there any hope for Sydney cycling aficionados having an Utrecht-styled Sydney (are we moving in that direction– why/why not – specific egs)?

Sydney will not achieve Utrecht-like conditions anytime soon. But Sydney is slowly moving in the direction of Utrecht, in that more roadspace is being dedicated for bike lanes. But the movement is too slow to achieve significant progress. I am pleased to see Sydney hopes to be a more bicycle friendly place. However the City’s plan as laid out is insufficiently ambitious. So much more can and should be done. Given the climate and topology and density, Sydney should be one of the world leaders in bicycling, but it remains a laggard, stuck in the mid-20th century. A 10% target in 2030 (3-4x as many bicyclists as today) is good (better than today’s baseline), but the network that is proposed doesn’t support that, it is not 3-4x as large or more protected.

2. Does Green Square provide a close-ish example to Utrecht? How? Are there better Sydney examples that come close?

Green Square is possibly the best precinct in Sydney for biking, but the point is not simply what you can do in a neighbourhood, but where you can get to, and it remains difficult to travel from Green Square to other places on bikes on separated and protected bike lanes. This includes obvious destinations like the University of Sydney. Certainly people can get there, but not easily or conveniently.

3. What are the Dutch approaches that fit Sydney, and what approaches would be dismissed as unsuitable for Sydney (described by one social media user as ‘Dutch cycle-‘splaining’)/ challenges? Design problems or stakeholders that provide a challenge? How could these be met?
• Rob Stokes said shape of road network an issue
• Narrow streets compared to Melbourne

Western Sydney is a huge opportunity, the streets and rights-of-way are wide and could easily accommodate bike lanes. In the crowded parts of older Sydney, it is obviously more difficult, but it’s not like Sydney is some medieval city, like say Utrecht or Amsterdam, lots of space is given over to on-street parking that could easily be reclaimed for movement. The more narrow the streets, the less suited they are for cars, the more that cars should be prohibited on them. In areas built before the automobile, it would be relatively straight-forward to prohibit private cars for most uses, (still allowing trucks for deliveries, emergency access vehicles, and access for the disabled e.g.), and require people to use public transport, walking, and biking to get around. No one is entitled to drive a car inside an office building, shopping mall, or a campus, why should high density urban centers be any different?

To start, think about the network: Every major street (say a street that warrants a traffic signals) which also has on-street parking has demonstrated space for separated bike lanes. What is more important, storing cars 23 hours a day or moving people? The value of the network increases non-linearly with its connectivity. Even most streets without on-street parking have space for bike lanes.

Similarly, every block that has on-street parking should dedicate at least one parking space to bicycle parking, particularly for shared bikes. Bike parking is cheap to install and signals priorities (i.e. bikes are valued, and the space for them should come from car parking spaces rather than the footpath), and should lead rather than follow.

4. Some of the rationale behind the cycling infrastructure, culture, etc of Utrecht is already part of City of Sydney planning ideas or have been actioned. What influence have places like Amsterdam and Utrecht had on Sydney planning policy? What about non-Dutch places, like Copenhagen?

The firm of Jan Gehl, a famous urban designer from Copenhagen, has worked in Sydney and for the University of Sydney, and written reports. I cannot answer what influence he has had.

• Approaches that seem to crossover: e.g. bringing cycling routes closer to businesses (City of Sydney Cycling Strategy and Action Plan and Utrecht merchants’ sales off the pedestrianised zones viewed as better); City of Sydney advocating lower speeds to state government and low-speed streets at Green Square which received 6 Green Star rating
5. What international research or cycling ideas seem to have influenced the City of Sydney’s cycling rationale/goals, proposals, and actioned items? Home-grown ideas taking flight overseas?

Unfortunately, there is still a “it can’t work here” mentality for things that work everywhere else. I have not seen any local ideas adopted in the more advanced cycling countries.

7. Why do you think Dutch cycling culture, infrastructure, thinking is so admired by cycling groups, environmentalists, and others? [even City of Sydney:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HfOAAWFol8%5D

Because it is better than here (and elsewhere). Bicycling is a normal mode of transport. You can see the evidence in their much higher rates of bicycling.

8. Which specific Sydney routes could be improved by a different outlook on cycling, and how? Or how could City of Sydney approach be improved?

Among these which I am familiar with should be included in a protected bike lane network are Regent St/Gibbons St/Wyndham St and Abercrombie/Wattle, but there are undoubtedly more. Generally, the separated bike lane network should be as dense and complete as the arterial street network. It is nowhere near that. The networks appear to be performative, signaling that ‘we like bikes’ to the non-bicycling community, while not being serious about what it takes to provide an environment where nearly everyone can safely and comfortably bike some of the time.

9. In your cycling expertise is there a perspective to this that I have missed? Or statistic/expert/cycling-challenged Sydney location/cycling-blessed location/approach to cycling infrastructure that I should know (or something I have misunderstood)?

Regulation is still hostile to bicyclists, including heavy fines and futile helmet laws. Helmets are indicator of danger. Biking should be normalised as in Europe, where helmets are not required. Every time someone puts on a special uniform to bike, they are “othered” from the general population, and their life is devalued. (There is research on this)

A strategy for promoting and regulating eBikes would be good. Also promoting and regulating scooters, skateboards, and other wheeled vehicles (micro-mobility).

A strategy for promoting bike to train and metro and express bus stations would be good. This includes more bike parking at stations, and protected bike lanes radiating out from station entrances.

A strategy for promoting biking to school (and Uni) would be good. This includes protected bike lanes radiating out from schools in all directions.

Bikes should be counted continuously at intersections (not just 2 times a year), just as cars are. There are technologies to do this, and TfNSW can be called on to do it. Electronic signs displaying bike counts on key routes is also a good marketing tool, and is used in other countries.

World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research 2020 Conference

The submission website for the World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research (WSTLUR) to be held in Portland, Oregon USA from 13- 16 July 2020 is now open.

For details about the call for papers please visit the following link
http://www.wstlur.org/symposium/2020/callforpapers/index.html

Submission deadline is November 15th, 2019 for full-length original papers (not published and not presented at previous conferences or journals) in the field of land use and transport, we are also looking for short conceptual or methodological original pieces. Please visit the above link for detailed information regarding symposium theme sessions as well as the general call for papers.

Selected papers will be published as part of a special issue in the Journal of Transport and Land Use (JTLU).

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact conference chairs or theme leaders chairs.

I am leading a theme

Networks and land use

Land use and transport networks co-evolve. How does the growth (or decline) in transport networks influence land use patterns and vice versa? How do network structure and land use patterns affect accessibility? How can future design consider transport networks and land use patterns together as technology changes?

For more information or questions please contact:


The full Call for Papers is below:

Call for Papers

We are pleased to announce that the 2020 World Symposium on Transport and Land Use Research (WSTLUR) will be held in Portland, Oregon, USA, July 13-16, 2020. We seek original, full-length submissions on all the themes described below. Theme leaders will be in charge of the paper review and selection process. Questions about the specific themes should be directed to the theme leaders identified below. Papers must be submitted by November 15, 2019. WSTLUR membership is not required to submit a paper.

Each conference registrant may be a co-author on multiple papers, but there is a limit of one presentation per registrant. Sessions will be developed from high-quality papers received and authors of a select number of papers will be invited, based upon their conference paper reviews, to resubmit their papers for a second round of reviews for publication in the Journal of Transport and Land Use.

Submissions are open now. Submit your paper. Submission deadline is November 15, 2019.

Discounted registration rates at the symposium will be available for registrations from developing countries as well for students. WSTLUR will be offering a limited number of scholarships to students. WSTLUR is seeking submission from diverse disciplines and will be welcoming case studies especially from developing countries.


Paper Themes

Affordable housing and transport

How can transport system design, planning, or policy improve, address, or interrupt existing issues experienced by residents of affordable housing? What is the relationship between location efficiency and gentrification? How do the travel behavior and social mobility of low-income subsidized housing residents vary from those of naturally-occurring affordable housing residents? How can planning address the needs of low-income residents to improve their ability to live, function, and move around? This interdisciplinary track seeks papers under the broad umbrella of transport and low-income residents and/or affordable housing. All disciplines are encouraged to submit with topics including, but not limited to: economics; travel behavior; housing; policy analysis or development; gentrification; design; environmental; engineering; transit; location efficiency; transformative technologies; transport demand management strategies; informatics and communication; and equity.

For more information or questions please contact: Kristina Currans, University of Arizona, curransk@email.arizona.edu; Andrew Guthrie, University of Memphis, guthrie1@memphis.edu

Networks and land use

Land use and transport networks co-evolve. How does the growth (or decline) in transport networks influence land use patterns, and vice versa? How do network structure and land use patterns affect accessibility? How can future design consider transport networks and land use patterns together as technology changes?

For more information or questions please contact: David Levinson, University of Sydney, david.levinson@sydney.edu.au; Jie Huang, Chinese Academy of Sciences, huangjie@igsnrr.ac.cn

Integrated land use-transport models

This theme calls for papers that integrate land use models with transport models. All levels of integration from loosely coupled to tightly integrated are welcome, as long as information from one model is used in the other model. We are looking in particular for novel model designs, new ideas for model integration and models that use innovative data sources.

For more information or questions please contact: Rolf Moeckel, Technical University of Munich, rolf.moeckel@tum.de

New mobilities

How do newly emerging disruptive technologies shape or change transport and land use systems? How can we integrate technological and land use strategies to achieve long term planning goals such as equity? What is the role of land use in smart cities? Specific topics include the connection between land use and transport systems with Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and new ICT-enabled products and services such as automated vehicles, new energy technologies, big data applications, ridesharing systems, real-time traveler information, and smart cities in general.

For more information or questions please contact: John MacArthur, Portland State University, macarthur@pdx.edu; Gonçalo Correia, TU Delft, G.Correia@tudelft.nl

Freight issues

Freight demand is becoming more diverse with e-commerce derived flows adding to the more traditional freight movements. These flows, destined for both residential and office locations, and including a new range of commodities (e.g., groceries and fast food) are creating both challenges and opportunities for shippers, carriers and retailers. New logistical processes are being introduced to address changes in freight demand, for example, parcel lockers, mobile distribution centers, and new modes of freight transport such as autonomous freight delivery. City planners need to keep up with the dynamic freight environment and ensure that land use policy and infrastructure are deployed based on a solid understanding of trends in freight demand and new logistical processes being introduced to meet consumer demands. This call for papers targets research that addresses topics such as, but not limited to:

  • Interactions between land use, freight transport and e-commerce
  • Freight parking demand and supply requirements (e.g., curb space demand management)
  • Incorporating freight transport into “complete streets” design
  • Zoning and development planning considering freight
  • E-commerce impacts on land value
  • Freight corridor planning and deployment
  • Trends in logistics sprawl
  • Freight data collection that allows characterization of spatial patterns of freight intensity
  • Analysis of freight villages, industrial parks, and other forms of “logistics land”
  • Relationships between freight, socio-economics and labour trends
  • Land use implications of freight automation
  • Land use requirements for a diversity of freight modes (cargo bikes, delivery vans, freight crowdsourcing)

For more information or questions please contact: Andre Romano Alho, SMART MIT andre.romano@smart.mit.edu ; Matthew Roorda, University of Toronto roordam@ecf.utoronto.ca

Latin America

As the Global South region with the highest rates of urbanization and very high levels of income inequalities, Latin America can provide leading examples and cautionary tales regarding land development and urban transport. Diverse papers on Latin America are welcome, although we are interested in contributions that examine:

  • Land development impacts of transport sector policy reform,
  • Transport and travel behavior impacts of land and land use policies,
  • Health effects of transport investments and their interaction with the built environment,
  • Specific cases of transport and land use integration, around mass transit and other modes, and
  • Evaluation of national and regional incentives (financial or otherwise) aimed at encouraging increased transport and land development integration

For more information or questions please contact: Erick Guerra, University of Pennsylvania, erickg@design.upenn.edu; Daniel Rodriguez, University of California Berkeley, danrod@berkeley.edu

Accessibility and quality of life (NECTAR Special Session)

Accessibility, the ease of reaching destinations, is a comprehensive performance measure to monitor the land use and transport systems performance in any region around the world. Transport planners across the globe often advocate transport investments to increase accessibility and promote (local or regional) economic development. A more comprehensive approach would be to promote quality of life. The goal of this session will be to explore the relationship between accessibility and quality of life and how planning for accessibility can improve the quality of life for individuals in a region.

Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Accessibility impacts on travel behavior including mode choices, travel time, and activity space.
  • Accessibility impacts on urban development and changes in demographics in a region.
  • Accessibility and its link to job informality in the developing world.
  • Planning for accessibility and equity.
  • Access to transport services versus accessibility through transport.
  • Accessibility to traditional and non-traditional destinations such as fresh food, healthcare services, and recreation and entertainment facilities.
  • Comparable analysis of accessibility across different cities and its impacts on quality of life of individuals.

For more information or questions please contact: Karst Geurs, University of Twente, k.t.geurs@utwente.nl; Ahmed El-Geneidy, McGill University, ahmed.elgeneidy@mcgill.ca, Geneviève Boisjoly, Polytechnique Montreal, gboisjoly@polymtl.ca

Public transport

The increasing demand and range of urban mobility make public transport systems a critical solution in accelerating the transition to sustainable urban development. Governments all over the world are investing more and more in improving the infrastructure of public transport systems. With the development of new tools, technology, ubiquitous data, and new transit modes (e.g., paratransit, shared mobility, and micro-mobility), the planning and operation of next generation public transport systems becomes an emerging question for researchers, planners, operators, and decision makers. The key is to better integrated different modes and networks of public transport systems to solve the accessibility, efficiency, sustainability, equity, and resilience issues. The focus of this call is to share innovative and novel ideas about the next generation public transport systems. Potential topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Ubiquitous data for public transport demand analysis and prediction
  • Big data applications in public transport planning and operation
  • Advanced traveller information systems in urban public transport systems
  • Designing and planning of multimodal urban public transport networks
  • Resilience in public transport systems
  • First- and last-mile problems in urban public transport systems
  • Intelligent mobility solutions/policies for better urban environment
  • Short- and long-term travel behavior analysis and prediction of public transport impacts on behaviour of marginalized groups
  • Crowdsourcing and “human as sensors” in public transport design and operation

For more information or questions please contact: Ehab Diab, University of Saskatchewan, ehd361@mail.usask.ca ; Lijun Sun, McGill University, lijun.sun@mcgill.ca

Emerging data & technologies

The ever-evolving emerging data and technologies such as Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs), Electric Vehicles (EVs) and shared mobility have offered both opportunities and challenges for the transport profession. This “emerging data and technologies” theme calls for bold and a variety of papers that touch upon a wide variety of topics relating to emerging data and technologies, including but not limited to: data related issues and methodologies to address those issues; case studies that use the emerging data to address behavior and policy questions; studies that model emerging modes of transport (CAVs, EVs, and shared mobility etc.) and investigate their implications on behaviors, land use and policies; social and equity issues arising from the use of emerging data and technologies; and development of tools and packages that enable the use of emerging data more accessible.

For more information or questions please contact: Cynthia Chen, University of Washington, qzchen@uw.edu; Brian Lee, Puget Sound Regional Council, blee@psrc.org

Access for all

Designing inclusive communities and public spaces provides both health and economic benefits for all of society. This requires that land use-transport systems and public spaces are designed such that everyone can access facilities and participate in social and economic activities. However, such access is at risk for vulnerable groups, such as people with disabilities, those who are aging, people with chronic conditions, and people on the lowest incomes. We welcome papers addressing limitations in access to transport systems and public spaces for the above groups, and policies and interventions to improve access. Papers may apply both quantitative and qualitative approaches, including participatory processes, interdisciplinary efforts, and innovative approaches for measuring the benefits and challenges of implementing inclusive designs that build greater access for all.

For more information or questions please contact: Dick Ettema, Utrecht University, D.Ettema@geo.uu.nl; Amy Parker, Portland State University, atp5@pdx.edu

Megaregions

This theme calls for papers that explore empirical, technical, conceptual, and theoretical topics related to megaregions, mega-city regions, super-city regions, and city-cluster regions. Particular emphasis will be given to the relationship between emerging megaregional form and interregional transportation investments, such as high-speed rail and air transportation networks. We also welcome studies related to both megaregion and emerging transportation modes such as Shared Mobility, AV, and SAV.

For more information or questions please contact: Junfeng Jiao, University of Texas, Austin, jjiao@austin.utexas.edu; Ming Zhang, University of Texas, Austin, zhangm@austin.utexas.edu

PhD Dissertation Theme

If you have developed your dissertation and defended it between July 2017 and April 2020 and your dissertation is on transport and land use, WSTLUR will be hosting a special session for you to present your dissertation. You will need to submit a two-page abstract through the online system.

For more information or questions please contact: Raktim Mitra, Ryerson University, raktim.mitra@ryerson.ca, Manish Shirgaokar, University of Colorado, Denver, manish.shirgaokar@ucdenver.edu

Other topics

All other papers on transport and land use issues that do not fit into the categories described above.


More information

For more information or questions please contact: Kelly Clifton, Portland State University, kclifton@pdx.edu; Yingling Fan, University of Minnesota, yingling@umn.edu


Looking forward to seeing you in Portland.

Gradial: Or the Unreasonable Network

The reasonable network adapts itself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to itself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable network.1

The physical location of network infrastructure is one of the most permanent decisions cities make. The Cardo Maximus in the old city of Jerusalem is still a main north-south shopping street, constructed when Emporer Hadrian rebuilt the city in the 130s CE.

A street right-of-way, once created is seldom destroyed. A segment of that infrastructure is designed to be optimal at a moment of time, with a particular land use (either the realized development of today or an imagined place of tomorrow), enmeshed within a particular network context of all the other nodes and links, compatible with a particular technology. That it functions at all when land use, networks, and technologies change radically, as they do over centuries, is testament to the general flexibility inherent in networks. But the implication is that if it is optimal for the world in which it was designed, it is unlikely to be optimal as that world changes.

Some adaptations do occur. Streets designed for horses were adapted for streetcars (trams) and bicycles and cars and buses and pedestrians.

Still, it may be the best that can be done. Embedded infrastructure, the dictionary example of sunk costs,2 cannot adapt much to the world around them. Instead we expect the world to adapt to the infrastructure.

Following Shaw, we might say such infrastructures are `unreasonable’, in that they cannot be reasoned with.

Many, if not most, planned cities have been laid out with a network of streets “with the sombre sadness of right-angles,” as Jules Verne, quoting Victor Hugo, described the American grid in Salt Lake City, of streets at 90-degree angles to each other, in his classic road trip story: Around the World in 80 Days. Street grids don’t plan themselves, so while all street grids were planned, not all plans result in street grids.

Organically developed3 cities are often more naturalistic, radial cities, with streets feeding the city from the hinterlands, allowing more than 4-directions of entry. All roads lead to Rome, as the saying goes. The Romans themselves were a bit adverse to this organic radial system once they got their own growth machine going, laying out encampments and new settlements on the grid system. The radial system leading to and from the town would bend once it reached the town gates. But as cities themselves were generally not conceived of as whole, but rather themselves emerged, often as conurbations of smaller settlements, towns, and villages, there are often radial webs centered on town A overlapping radial webs centered on town B. Rome was famously built on seven hills, which can be read as meaning Rome is a conurbation of seven earlier villages. (See Elements of Access, Chapter 3.3)

Each of these networks typologies has its advantages and disadvantages.

DCMetro
Washington DC Metro. The center is a space, not a point. A `triangle’ is formed by L’Enfant Plaza (Yellow/Green with Orange/Blue/Silver), Metro Center (Red with Orange/Blue/Silver), and Gallery Place (Red with Yellow/Green)

 

We observe that radial networks are optimal to maximize access for many-to-one types of movements (suburbs to central city). So rail transit networks, which serve the high loads demanded by, and making possible, high density city centers tend toward being radial. But when they are large they are usually not so radial that all the branches meet at one junction. From a network design perspective, intersecting more than two lines at a station can lead to other types of conflicts, and many systems are designed with triangular center to avoid overloading a single transfer station. Washington DC’s largely radial Metrorail system, shown in  the first figure, illustrates this design. Cities are spaces, not points.

In contrast, the 90-degree grid is reasonably well-suited to maximize access for scattered trips, what network analysts would call a many-to-many pattern. We see this especially in dispersed point-to-point (suburb to suburb, within city to within city) flows that are enabled by and reinforce the grid. This is the network for the automobile. The Los Angeles freeway grid, the famous Milton Keynes arterial grid, and numerous other  late twentieth century cities have been designed in a grid-like way (though not so orthogonal that Victor Hugo would object). Even though the topology is not as efficient from a distance perspective as say a 60-degree mesh, by remaining out of the city core it can keep speeds higher.

But in response to the landscape that emerged with the automobile, transit planners like Jarrett Walker (2012) have called for more grid-like transit networks, so people can move, via public transport, from suburb to suburb without going through the city centre. This is relatively easy to reconfigure for buses, the very definition of  mobile capital, while very difficult for the more capital intensive rail networks with their physically embedded infrastructure.

Still, core radial lines will always be the backbone of transit systems so long as at least one important center justifies a disproportionate amount of service.

So how can we grid the radial, or square the circle, so to speak?

A better network topology might be the 60-degree, hexagonal pattern. (Ben Joseph 2000) But remaking street grids for existing cities is tough-going, as property rights are well established, and requires efforts like those of Haussmann in 19th century Paris. (Willms 1997).

daganzo
Possible system layouts: (a) hub-and-spoke; (b) grid; (c) hybrid. Source: Figure 1 in Daganzo (2010)

Instead, we have overlapping network topologies, ideally which are grade-separated in some fashion, so trains are radial and don’t intersect streets or motorways, and bus services can be more grid-like, and rapid or express bus networks serve the market niche in-between.

Thus the original street level networks are still topologically grids, but the services running on that grid, while still largely parallel and perpendicular, are compressed near the center, so the bus lines, for instance, bend towards the center, as illustrated in the second figure. The regulatory layer of through streets for automobiles may be constructed to defer to the orientation of bus services.

There are no optimal network configurations independent of the enveloping land use pattern or the technological regime. Similarly there are no optimal land use allocations independent of the network pattern or technology. Finally, there is no optimal mode independent of the land use or network. All three of these systems are interlocking. Moving one requires adapting the others.

The unreasonable network forces the land use pattern to adapt to it, such that relocating network elements is more costly than keeping them in place. Similarly, in many ways the network, designed for a given technology, is very hard to adapt to a different technology. That doesn’t stop people and cities from trying, the misfit we see with the automobile in the urban core is the product of failing to acknowledge this unreasonableness. But as the number of European cities restricting cars in the city center are showing, the unreasonable network wins out over technology too.

The Grid/Radial Gradial network is also Gradual. These systems seldom change all-at-once, instead they gradually evolve over decades, centuries, and millenia.


Notes:

1. This is an adaptation of a famous George Bernard Shaw quote.

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the  unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man.

2. The economist’s adage that “sunk costs are sunk” means that once something has been built, and that money spent, it no longer factors into benefit-cost analysis about how prospective decisions should be made, except to the extent it changes the costs of various options. Logically, you shouldn’t go to a concert just because you bought tickets if you don’t want to go, though if you are considering going to a concert or a bookstore after you bought the tickets, you don’t need to account for paying for the tickets again. You might also consider the `opportunity cost’ of going as the loss from not scalping the tickets. You shouldn’t throw good money after bad. But the sunk infrastructure cannot be unbuilt.

3. Organic development is often largely systematically unplanned, though obviously some degree of planning often goes into laying out a street, even if it is disjoint from any other decisions. When we think of `planning,’ we are generally referring to longer-term more strategic type spatial plans, that consider interactions between prospective decisions, rather than short-term tactical plans that optimize a single decision alone decontextualized from the rest of the city.

Multiple academic opportunities with the School of Civil Engineering, University of Sydney

IMG_4303Multiple academic opportunities with the School of Civil Engineering

  • Join a growing Faculty and be part of a University that places amongst the world’s best teaching and research institutions.
  • Located in the heart of Sydney’s bustling inner west quarter, close to beaches, parks, public transport and shopping districts
  • Seeking outstanding academics to provide leadership and help create a world-class, internationally recognised Faculty for research and education excellence

 

About the opportunity
The School of Civil Engineering at the University of Sydney is searching for faculty members at all ranks and in all areas of Civil Engineering. The School seeks to increase the diversity of its faculty, and encourages women to apply.

 

Details here.