Friday, February 24, 2006
UPDATED: For those who don't understand the Transect...
You can download the PowerPoint presentation, complete with notes, by clicking here. (NB: The file is 14 MB.)
The idea of the Transect comes from the environmental movement. It is a geographical cross section through a sequence of environments–for example, from wetland to tundra, or tundra to foothill. Each zone in the section has different fauna and natural life. The New Urban Transect describes the range of natural and built environments from the heart of the wilderness to the center of the city.
The diagram for the Transect show these as Transect Zones: each urban T-zone is a neighborhood with most or many of the needs and activities of daily life within a short five-to-ten minute walk. The Transect reflects the New Urban reaction to the sub-urban way we've been building for the last 50 years, a way of building that mandates the same auto-based, single-use sprawl for most places from the country to all but our biggest cities. In this sub-urban world, only nature (T-1 and T-2) is worthy of our attention — everywhere else we retreat to our houses, cars and backyards.
T-zones have implications for architectural and urban form not so different from the old maxim for clothes, “Don’t wear brown in town.” A tower appropriate for The City doesn't fit on a market square in the Cotswolds. A thatched roof cottage doesn’t work in Piccadilly Circus. A garden wall is different in the Cotswolds than in Mayfair: so are the pavements (sidewalks), the streetlamps on the pavement and the width of the pavement. And none of them are appropriate in the wildest reaches of the Scottish Highlands.
Here’s the Paris transect…
SLIDE (Paris Transect) and for those of you who’ve missed the last 117 issues of Hello!, this is Paris Hilton, with Paris in T-3, and Paris in T-2. Paris is always in fashion, so she dresses appropriately for each T-zone. And there's a practical aspect: her Manolo Blahniks look great on Rodeo Drive, but they get stuck in mud when she's on her country estate.
Here's Paris in T-1... Hank told me I wasn’t allowed to show Paris “au naturel” in the Natural zone, but at the other end, in the Special District, we have the Red Light District.
SLIDE (Pitt Transect) And here’s the Transect for Pittsburgh, with Brad Pitt. As you can see, Brad is au naturel in T-1, and in T-6, the Urban Core, Brad correctly follows the rule, “Don’t wear Brown in Town.” In the Special District he’s illustrating what we call “A Transectual.”
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what's the point?
Posted by: Chris M. at Feb 24, 2006 2:22:49 PM
Posted by: Silus Grok at Feb 24, 2006 3:01:08 PM
I used these in my talk at the Prince's Foundation. Over the weekend, I'll post the comments that went with the slides.
Posted by: john at Feb 24, 2006 4:40:14 PM
The next step, now that the transect has hit the mainstream, is developing a better understanding of the purpose of the transect. Many intimately involved with New Urbanism still don't realize it's a tool for analysis. Many believe it to be a rubber stamp for rolling out TNDs across the country. Unfortunatley many hold this belief, to their detriment.
A related issue is how many have such a narrow view of New Urbanism as being only about new towns. The notion of the village, the hamlet, and the district never enter their minds. There is more to it than that. When the practitioners barely understand that concept it makes it difficult for them to see the bigger picture. This is about changing the overall pattern of development, not just cutesy towns here and there.
Posted by: Ken H at Feb 27, 2006 9:20:16 PM