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Thread: The Art of the Transect

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    The Art of the Transect

    Andreas Duany has proposed that artistry in urban planning can be distilled to creatively-designed terminating vistas and transects that have as many different zones as possible within close proximity to each other and organized in unique, surprising, and striking ways, especially with dramatic transitions. So, does anyone have any favorite examples of the latter phenomenon?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Can you please be more specific?

    Are you looking for a SmartCode to review?

    Are you looking to review projects developed under a SmartCode?

    In the meantime, here are two websites you may find useful.

    smartcodecentral.com

    transect.org

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    One example is New York's Central Park or the siting of Manhattan on an island. Skyscrapers characterizing T6 exist next to T1 or T2, and the effect adds a great deal of interest to the city.

    I'm interested in knowing some of the favorite rural-to-urban transects around the world that others have.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    The first two examples are just good use of termination to create a memorable street-space.

    Madison, WI. The state building terminates four roads and creates a striking appearance.
    http://api.ning.com/files/dfufMNqQqQ...itol_large.jpg

    Chicago, IL. The Chicago Board of Trade Building terminates the street beautifully and has been featured in numerous movies.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...e_Building.jpg

    The street wall of Michigan Ave against Grant Park is spectacular and relates to your specific request.
    http://www.landmarks.org/images/imag...Streetwall.jpg
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  5. #5
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    While the systemized 6-zone rural-to-urban Transect is applied at the fine grain (within neighborhoods), it's not as fine-grained as some of the examples here. It's used for zoning and some of what people are describing would be spot zoning, which is not advised, as it could be successfully challenged in court. I would be very surprised if Andres Duany ever said we should use "as many different zones as possible within close proximity to each other." Yes, the contrast of Central Park to the intense urbanism around it is something he has cited (though I'd code it as a Civic Space/Special District, not a T-1 Natural Zone). Maybe you're thinking about Civic Zones, where a civic building like a capitol would occur. They're not part of the Transect per se.
    You might enjoy the T-5 to T-2 jump in Pienza, shown in a diagram by Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk here:
    http://www.transect.org/international_img.html
    Numerous American small towns have T-5 to T-2 jumps. You often see Western Main Streets along railways with ranchland beyond. Rawlins, Wyoming is one example. If you consider rivers and lakes T-1 (I do), there are numerous Main Streets (T-5) along them or perpendicular to them. Two of my favorites are Maysville, Kentucky and, just across the Ohio River, Ripley, OH.

    Shoot, I wrote a long response and it was not posted, rookie user error no doubt. No time to reconstruct it elegantly, but:
    There's no way Andres Duany said that. The rural-to-urban Transect (capital T, the six zones) is used at the fine grain of the ped shed but not that fine - you don't use T-zones on every different building; that would be spot zoning. Maybe you're thinking of Civic Zones- a capitol building would be mapped CB for Civic Building and would not have T-zone standards - it would have special standards all its own.
    Duany does use Central Park as a good example of adjacent T-zone jumps. (Though I'd code Central Park as Civic Space/Special District, as it is designed, not "natural.") Another jump is Pienza T-5 to T-2, see here:
    http://www.transect.org/international_img.html
    Any town along a river or lake with a main street along it has a T-5 to T-1 jump. My favorites include Skaneateles NY, Maysville KY, and Ripley OH. There are numerous Western main streets (T-5) along RR tracks with ranchland (T-2) beyond. Example- Rawlins WY.
    Last edited by NHPlanner; 15 Jul 2010 at 8:44 AM. Reason: double reply

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    I should have said that he says a pedestrian shed should encompass a minimum of three zones. And, I extrapolated from that statement a generalization that more is inherently better because that sentiment matches my own.

    I like the variety. I think some of the most interesting places in the world are those that offer that kind of richness. I'll see if I can find some images. I just started a Flickr group devoted to unique Transects, so I hope people will join and start submitting photos.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/2974545...-27393618@N00/
    Bergen, Norway

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/terryde...-27393618@N00/
    Isle of Capri, Italy

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gencali...-27393618@N00/
    Atakule, Turkey

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kh1979/...-27393618@N00/
    The Naturalistic High Line Parkway, New York

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/lawrenc...-27393618@N00/
    Bethlehem Steel

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/schuber...-27393618@N00/
    Gas Works Park, Seattle

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jlpt/21...-27393618@N00/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mcfood/...-27393618@N00/
    Hong Kong

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/eyespla...-27393618@N00/
    Vancouver

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/rexness...l-27393618@N00
    School Vegetable Garden

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/9465316...-27393618@N00/
    Optima Camelview, Scottsdale

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/1331219...-27393618@N00/
    Torino, Italy

  7. #7
    Cyburbian RPfresh's avatar
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    Personally I would rather see integration of uses and gradual transition between districts and neighborhoods than striking differences like the ones in your photos. Like a park shaped like an octopus whose thin tentacles leave maximum visibility and infuse neighborhoods with parkspace and then lead to a larger park. I'm reminded of the Israeli concept that neighborhoods overlap - ie, a street on the outskirts of two different neighborhoods belongs to both those neighborhoods. I think this can be accomplished without compromising the vitality of both areas. And while there's something to be said about a huge expanse like Central Park, I wonder if the parkland would be better used spread out again like tentacles all over the island.

    Besides, waterfronts and quick shifts between industrial and residential neighborhoods can create blight. Transects are cool, but at what cost?

  8. #8
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RPfresh View post
    Personally I would rather see integration of uses and gradual transition between districts and neighborhoods than striking differences like the ones in your photos. Like a park shaped like an octopus whose thin tentacles leave maximum visibility and infuse neighborhoods with parkspace and then lead to a larger park. I'm reminded of the Israeli concept that neighborhoods overlap - ie, a street on the outskirts of two different neighborhoods belongs to both those neighborhoods. I think this can be accomplished without compromising the vitality of both areas. And while there's something to be said about a huge expanse like Central Park, I wonder if the parkland would be better used spread out again like tentacles all over the island.

    Besides, waterfronts and quick shifts between industrial and residential neighborhoods can create blight. Transects are cool, but at what cost?
    In this ecologist's view and using the terminology, transect zones can interdigitate and need not be abrupt edges or transitions. There is no reason to, say, end a T5 at Oak Blvd and start the T4 which is bordered by Maple Ave and 4th St.

    This is not to say I'm a NU disciple or slave to a transect at the expense of thought. Just pointing out that if one thinks with a natural scientist hat on, such things as upthread can be avoided or overcome.

    And in my view many smaller parks are better than one big one, altho in NYC that's pretty good parkland for the area.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    I'm not advocating for abrupt transitions inasmuch as I'm advocating for greater variety and a return to a human scale and a pedestrian orientation.

    I would love to live in a city where all six Transect zones are within walking distance of each other. We've been conditioned to accept the urban form that the automobile has wrought, but developing series' of transit-connected urban villages with roughly 35,000 residents each would satisfy an unspoken need in people I believe. Everyone appreciates the positive aspects of living in small towns, in big cities, and in the country. But, few of us have the ability to enjoy it all. And, urban planners really should be keeping population numbers in each individual pedestrian-shed limited in order to help build community and to minimize crime and other social pathologies.

    In many ways, the suburban, auto-dependent sprawl is a happy accident in that it offers the opportunity to remake the environment in ways that could work much better than had all cities around the world grown organically with ever-growing populations housed in unwieldy cores.

    The best model may, ultimately, be one where the Transect is fractal in a more pronounced way.
    Last edited by Pragmatic Idealist; 16 Jul 2010 at 8:55 AM.

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