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The Life-Sized City

  • Mikael Colville-Andersen
Chapter

Abstract

I have a strange suspicion that we’ve been hacked. As people. As societies. We have been led to believe that big is best. That growth is good. For so many years that you can easily call it a century of living with the Cult of Big. Certainly regarding the economy. You can’t mention the economy without mentioning growth. But I’m not an economist. I work in urbanism. In cities.And the same thing applies. Cities have to be bigger. Broader. They have to sprawl into the distance as far as the eye can see. That is what makes a city great and good. Or so we’ve been told for many, many years. Buildings have to be taller, shinier. Reaching for the sky. Breaking world records. Monuments to engineering and, quite possibly, phallic symbols for the male-dominated industries that design and build them. Roads and motorways have to be longer, wider, go farther. More capacity, improved flow, reducedcongestion. It’s one of the saddest ironies of urbanplanning that the only thing we have learned from a hundred years of traffic engineering is this: if you make more space for cars, more cars come. It’s sad if you think about all the kabillions of dollars we’ve thrown at this for the past century.

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© Mikael Colville-Andersen 2018

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  • Mikael Colville-Andersen

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