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Thread: A city as an idea (photos and commentary)

  1. #1
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    A city as an idea (photos and commentary)

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    (Dan) 10 October 2009: Images now hosted in the Cyburbia Gallery. See http://www.cyburbia.org/gallery/show...y.php?cat=6484



  2. #2
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    Nice picture.

    Real nice example of a designed military city. Where is it? Italy or so?

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    Cyburbian Plus
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    Interesting that the redoubts are still there.
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  4. #4
    Talk about a gated community...

    The *idea* of a city being a defensible enclave to subjugate what? The countryside generally? Some rich and valuable natural resource? The approach to a state? The serfs and peasants and nomads and gypsies?

    And how does it differ from this city?

    Last edited by Gedunker; 03 Jan 2005 at 10:22 PM.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Palmanova is a bit northeast of Venice and northwest of Trieste, just off the road to Hungary.

    It was built for defense of the Venetian Republic from Turkey and Austria, which occupied it in 1797.

    Military cities tend to have rigid geometries. There is one in the Saudi desert perhaps built about 25 years ago by the Army Corps of Engineers.

    Population is 5400.

    The design is often ascribed to Francesco di Giorgio, who produced an engraving that must have been the basis for this layout. His design had the duke's castle sitting smack in the middle of the central square...I mean 'hexagon'.



    The pattern reappeared frequently in France with Vauban. A surviving example is Neuf Brisach in Alsace. Fortifications of earth were better able to resist exploding ordnance after this was invented by Shrapnel.

    Desiring to experience its spaces first hand, I went out of my way to find Palma Nova. Dullest city in Italy.

    At least there's no sprawl.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian H's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ablarc
    At least there's no sprawl.
    I really didnt want to pick on the pic, because I enjoy the pictures so much (and have picked on my share)... but there does appear to be sprawl at the bottom of the picture, just outside the buffer zone.

  7. #7
    Mexcaltitan. Where the Aztecs rose from the sea?

    http://geography.ucdavis.edu/njralla...o2-073_jpg.htm

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by H
    I really didnt want to pick on the pic, because I enjoy the pictures so much (and have picked on my share)... but there does appear to be sprawl at the bottom of the picture, just outside the buffer zone.
    Lol, H; in Italy even the sprawl looks dense; in the U.S. this would qualify as urban. It is suburban, yes, in that it is outside the main body of the city, like St. Denis in Paris; but the actual building density is what you would have found in an American town, ca, 1900.

    http://www.cyburbia.org/forums/showthread.php?t=15293

    .

  9. #9
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Gedunker
    Talk about a gated community...

    The *idea* of a city being a defensible enclave to subjugate what? The countryside generally? Some rich and valuable natural resource? The approach to a state? The serfs and peasants and nomads and gypsies?

    And how does it differ from this city?
    Gedunker, Palmanova differs from the battleship in that its function is purely defensive, whereas the battleship is built for mobility and therefore has an offensive purpose; it goes out and attacks.

    Defense as a form of subjugation sounds like a vaguely Marxist notion. In fact almost all cities were gated until modern offensive weaponry made fortifications untenable.

    The oldest continuously inhabited place on Earth is the city of Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan:



    Like Jerusalem (“eye of the needle”) it is gated: so much so in fact that it has only one access point. Just outside this point the chaotic (can I say sprawling, even cancerous in the gigantism of footprint?) “suburb” lurks, exploiting the business opportunities offered by approaching travelers.

    A recent and contrasting planned suburb is visible in the photo’s upper left, providing the usual tedium that comes from the application of abstract and prototypical planning principles.

    The mound on which the city sits is not a natural formation but the result of 6000 years of accumulated debris (a tell) which has steadily elevated the city. Though as a whole Erbil dates from the time of Abraham, no individual cell is more than one or two hundred years old; buildings are made of mud and are periodically rebuilt. Thus the overall organism resembles you: no individual cell in your body is more than about five years old (except maybe your brain cells), yet you are you; and five years from now when all your cells have been replaced, you will still be you (unless dozens of your cells are replaced at a time with much bigger units, in which case you will gradually turn into a monster. If great portions of you are removed—as parking lots remove parts of a city—you will eventually be dead.).

    The similarity of form that Followthe$$ points out is an example of what in biology is called convergence: the development of similarities in unrelated organisms living in the same environment. This is why dolphins somewhat resemble sharks, and why cities in Italy can look like others in Mexico or Iraq.

    The convergence of their shape and area is due to flat topography and especially the limits of convenience for a person on foot without public transport. This is the unit size that Leon Krier recommends for a town.

    Btw, we bombed Erbil during the recent unpleasantness. I'm pretty sure the damaged parts were rebuilt according to the genetic blueprint.

    .

  10. #10
    Cyburbian ablarc's avatar
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    Here’s Erbil on a recent map:



    The city measures 1420 x 900 feet, or (astonishingly) about mile by about 1/6 mile. Many suburban malls are bigger than that, even without their parking lots.

    Sometime after the aerial photo, Saddam apparently ruined the city by running a kind of boulevard through the center. Wonder if that central square was graced with a statue of the great man?

    I guess it’ll heal up sometime in the next 8000 years…

  11. #11

    other forts in odd places

    city as an idea... I came across the plan in italy a while ago doing reaserch into ideal cities. Stranger still Hokkaido in Japan has a fort turned park. wikipedia it : Goryokaku.

    sorry no photo still new user

    I like the idea of huge parks in cities. How about a city with 50% evend distribution of parks/woodland? see my homepage for an idea of what I mean.

    LOVE C:

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  13. #13
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    I've been to Palmanova. Interestingly, when you are on the ground, it does not feel as regular as it looks form the air. good engineering/surveying, given renaissance technology. I don't know if it's the dullest town in Italy but it certainly is no barrel of laughs.

    Re. the question of utility of 'defenses as offensive means', when you consider the plodding pace of advance of field trains and foot-slogging armeis in general, there is a rpemium on beign abel to take the msot expeditious route. A fortification sitting astride your lines of communciation makes resupply (especially of troops) and retreat very rpoblematic. Hence, you tend to ahe tor educe the fportifications first, which takes loads of time. Palmanova and similar fortifications with earthen bulwarks were of strategic consideration well into the 19th century (i.e. during the Risorgimento).

    The picutre of teh japanee city if anything looks strnager, beign immersed in otherwise 'modern' suburban context.

    And, yo, Ablarc, where you been? Jaws and I have had to be the grumpy old architectural aesthetics men around here with some shifting support from BKM for MOTNHS!!
    Life and death of great pattern languages

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    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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