We see here in conceptual form, a network of communities arranged in the circuit form (1). We see the centres of these communities. We take into account the local geography. We see they may be on or next to a river.
In (2) we see the first design thing we do within those communities. You know what we design first? The pedestrian systems, not the roads, not the infrastructure – the pedestrian system. The very first question is – how do we walk to the centre where we meet everyone else in the community?
And (3) is an extension of that, a bicycle system. Why do we put these first? Because we walk, we cycle, with our own energy. We are independent, we don’t need imported oil for it. That is why we place that first.
Then in diagram (4) you see the public transport system connecting centre to centre, so that you can now see clearly that you walk to your public transport, you get on, you get off at the centre of another community, and you walk to where you want to be.
In (5), access for private motor vehicles is provided.
This is on the periphery of the circuit. The inner circuit provides priority access for walking, cycling and public transport. The peripheral system provides access for cars – because there are some trips for which cars are more practical – however high volumes of car traffic do not cross the pedestrian and bicycle routes, cramming them out. The whole system is like this – cars that way, pedestrians that way.
In (6) we see the distribution of the land uses.
The black sections are industrial areas where the work performed is not compatible with residential uses. Incompatibility does not occur just with heavy machinery or noise or pollution, but also their social significance. Office buildings that are closed after 5 o’clock and present a blank facade to the street for example are really incompatible with residential buildings. They do not have any meaning after closing. So, the middle land use, that looks like tentacles along the pedestrian way, are land uses compatible with residential uses. You can think of the baker. Walk along the footpath, smell the fresh bread – those are the ‘touchable land uses’. And they are among the ones we should mix with residential areas to enrich our lives. Kids should know how bread is baked and where it comes from. We should not have suburbs with houses only. They are cultural deserts.
Diagram (7) represents the arrangement of densities along the peripheries of these communities. There should be places for people who want gardens so the densities are lower. But as we move closer to the centre the density should increase so there is better utilisation of the public transport system and the average walking distance from homes to public transport becomes smaller.
The average walking system in a circle is 2/3 of a radius. If you have a 1km radius village, then 666 metres is the average walking distance to the public transport stop. If you put higher densities at the centre, the average walking distance becomes smaller. In this model it’s about 400 metres.
This (8) also shows the relationship between industrial and employment areas.
In Europe now, they make wide use of distribution systems where products are transferred by tube from one place to the next. Urban systems can be organised in this way so there are fewer trucks. Our industries can work this way too. Products should be able to be placed on conveyers or tubes and be moved from a factory in one location to a factory in another. That is the new technology and we should plan our system so there is place for new technologies. At the moment we make it very difficult for new technologies. For example when fibre optics were introduced we had to install them overhead, creating lots of problems. Or we have to dig up footpaths. Why is it so? It’s because we didn’t build systems where the introduction of new technologies can take place without trouble and cost.
In (9) we see how the manufacturing system can be related to energy. How waste products can be used to reduce the need for energy production and how energy production can be linked to the national grid. It means those communities move closer to self-sufficiency. Energy systems should be built from the bottom up, not the top down, making communities less vulnerable.
In (10) we deal also with this vulnerability, the open space in the centre is used for dangerous things.
In (11) we look at the relationship between our settlement, our community and the forest. Children have the right to know what trees are like. Here they are used as protective belts along the northern side so the cold winds from that direction go over the trees and miss the settlement. Wind velocity is reduced and the need to use energy for heating is reduced too.
In (12) we see the open spaces. From each of these communities there is direct access to open space – a finger of open space reaches right into the heart of each community.
On the next diagram we can see how it all fits together. Next to it is a model of the Canberra centre.