Homes are functional machines, although most people don’t consider this factor when designing a new home, or only as a side note. Lets, for a moment, discuss the functional aspects of what humans have to deal with when functioning in a home solely from their point of view, and assume there is a fitting design to solve their daily and weekly tasks in order to save humans the maximum amount of time, thus providing extended opportunities to enjoy life. This is a ‘house as machine’ examination!
Architecture is fundamentally connected to humans. That which is not connected is not architecture.
To understand function and how it influences the way something looks, one need only look at the human machine, and in this article the eyelashes and eyebrows. While the conclusions here are based on observation they hold within them a fundamental logic which is hard to deny.
Time, that is the time it takes to travel to a job, determines where people focus on in their search for a place to live. Thus a city like New York City has it’s own CBD (Central Business Districts) of Midtown and Downtown, with extensions on the upper East/West Sides and infill throughout, along with growing CBD developments along the river banks of the Hudson and East Rivers, especially with regards to Newark, NJ and Downtown Brooklyn, NY.
When it comes to choices for a residence, there is a curve of acceptable ‘time to commute’ for a particular job. Those on the outskirts of this curve might travel 2 or 3 hours each way, not because they want to but only as a necessary evil in their life to pursue their own interest and priorities. This is why the current commuter system fails, in that providing express service is just not enough to harness the potential of land just beyond the more acceptable half-hour commute, and why there needs to be ‘super express’ service to new core areas to help increase housing and opportunities while providing the ‘time connection’ people demand for their daily lives.
An important issue for many cities dealing with circumstances initiated by others in the past, like a blighted looking city filled with parking lot scars, etc. From my experience I’ve witnessed many cities do the wrong thing in order to encourage development. The point of this post is, if you do something, it could have a negative impact on your city, so make sure you do the right thing. Continue reading “Helping Cities Grow: What to do.”
Hastened by the rapid growth of humans on this earth, our needs far outpace our ability to think rationally about what is required by us and what is required by our earth. It must be understood that we can not just allow our cities to bleed out and merge with other urban areas indefinitely for a multitude of reasons, the loss of nature, the total inefficiency in first building and then maintaining such a beast, and the probable lack of quality housing which itself needs maintaining.
So if we set goals, perhaps we can address the real issues facing our society.
1) To build in such a way to allow infrastructure to be easily maintained, first by limiting how much infrastructure we build by building it ‘more efficient.’
2) To provide housing that in it’s core can be refurbished without extra effort, to ensure it’s bones serve future generations.
3) To preserve nature, both on the outskirts of urban areas but to incorporate it into those areas.
4) To build housing that serves all the needs of humans, of privacy versus public, of closed versus open, of fully functional while relaxing, interconnected while remaining unique an special in it’s place.
5) To create infrastructure that has built in a highly efficient transportation system for all things, goods, people, utilities, in such a way that they inherently can ensure weather and the elements that normally cause decay, and to do so in a way to encourage identity rather than ubiquitousness.
6) To reinforce hierarchy within our urban environments, to encourage pride and identity of one’s place, in order to help with it’s maintenance.
7) To create vehicular systems that allow quick transportation of all individuals without the need of individual vehicles, but to also offer the infrastructure to support vehicles that can be securely storage from criminal activity and weather, to help ‘ween off’ individuals from their dependency.
8) By removing vehicles from the street scape, to encourage nature scapes within all communities, to fully integrate nature and the urban environment in such a way that reinforces safety and beauty.
While there is always the danger of creating a ‘utopian idea’ that is doomed for failure, the notion that we shouldn’t think about how we plan for the future is pure folly and has obvious ramifications, like heavy taxes to afford maintenance of the monster, air and environmental pollution, horrible neighborhoods and housing, dangerous streets due to overcrowding of vehicles, etc. There is a way to take what we know about urban living and infuse this with new concepts that both respect the human individual, the environment and the mechanism that is the city to create a balance that is truly functional and beautiful. Why wouldn’t us humans try to achieve exactly this?
In future posts, I will break this down with examples for each item, to begin to establish in concrete terms what it means to use efficiency to create a better more affordable world.
It’s long overdue, that is, the re-design of our urban fabric. What we have today stems from century old thinking and technology as well as the notion of building only what is required for today. Continue reading “Designing a better Urban Residential Block”
There will be a time when there will be a machine, itself larger than a section of a house, that will act like a self running factory. This machine will extrude a house who’s walls and floors are made of a synthetic new material. Continue reading “There will be a Time… Future Homes.”
I’m in the market to buy a new house and I’m looking all over New York City and region to find the right combination of things that will protect my investment, yet the neighborhoods around where I live are very mixed, some are great and, expensive, Continue reading “Property and Home Search”
Based on the previous post, lets look at what defines a neighborhood. Certainly in most neighborhoods there is an implied center, perhaps a linear street filled with shops, that becomes the focus of people’s daily needs. Continue reading “[architecture] Building Brick Neighborhoods”