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Factory Explosion Raises Planning Questions

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,911
Points
36
A recent factory explosion in Glasgow, Scotland which killed seven people (all of them workers in the factory as far as I know) has prompted some public officials to call for an inquiry into planning regulations - the factory was located directly across the street from a residential development.

BBC Article

Seems to me the factory was there long before the houses... The article does raise a point regarding the current thinking of "mixed uses" and just how inclusive that should be.
 

SGB

Cyburbian
Messages
3,388
Points
26
Tranplanner said:
The article does raise a point regarding the current thinking of "mixed uses" and just how inclusive that should be.
I'm not sure I've ever heard any of the more famous New Urbanistas advocating mixing residential uses with heavy industrial uses.

Even in the impending NU world, there will be the necessity for some seperation of uses. (Althought I'll really want a good locally owned bakery right next door!)
 

The One

Cyburbian
Messages
8,287
Points
29
Tranplanner said:
A recent factory explosion in Glasgow, Scotland which killed seven people (all of them workers in the factory as far as I know) has prompted some public officials to call for an inquiry into planning regulations - the factory was located directly across the street from a residential development.

BBC Article

Seems to me the factory was there long before the houses... The article does raise a point regarding the current thinking of "mixed uses" and just how inclusive that should be.
Mixed uses involving industrial operations can be dangerous and most likely not a thing of the future. I'll stick with the harmless office/retail uses associated with mixed uses most often....It is important to restrict potential 1st floor uses to those "non exploding" kinds of things.... :-D
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,437
Points
39
We can't plan away every risk associated with human activity. There is a constant risk of a gas leak in the residences across the street that could also cause a catastrophic explosion with the attendant loss of life and property. Does sheer density -- which increases risk by proximity -- mean bad planning? I hope we never get to that point (although I personally know *first responders* who do advocate much, much greater separation even between uses of equal intensity).
 

BKM

Cyburbian
Messages
6,463
Points
29
Not a big future issue, imo.

There won't be too many factories to worry about in the "developed world" anyway. They can be more easily located in low wage, low regulation countries. The occasional accident? not an issue, when the factory is dumping streams of toxic goo right in the river used by the adjoining residential area :)
 

iamme

Cyburbian
Messages
485
Points
14
Tranplanner said:
Seems to me the factory was there long before the houses... The article does raise a point regarding the current thinking of "mixed uses" and just how inclusive that should be.
A house blew up due to a gas leak about 20 years ago around the corner from me. No one was hurt though.

There are dangers in every setting but if you looked at the likelyhood of these things happening, the benefits of mixed use areas more than make up for it. (opinion)
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
I think a bigger issue -- at least in the U.S. -- is methane gas explosions from old landfills being put back in use as something else. The methane can travel laterally and inundate a wall or building foundation or some such. In one freak accident -- in a former landfill that was turned into a park or soccer field or some such -- a ball disappeared into a hole (probably a sink hole, from decomposition, and thus full of methane) and the coach of the kid's team used his lighter to try to illuminate it and, well, it was full of methane. Big kablooie.

They really need to capture the methane as a fuel. Some places do that. But I think all of them should.
 

jresta

Cyburbian
Messages
1,474
Points
23
first responders in some places also want 100 ft. wide residential streets. This makes it easier for them to respond to the kids who've been mowed down by errant motorists.
 

Gedunker

Moderating
Staff member
Moderator
Messages
11,437
Points
39
jresta said:
first responders in some places also want 100 ft. wide residential streets. This makes it easier for them to respond to the kids who've been mowed down by errant motorists.
LOL. Our FD tried to deny a pseudo-new urbanist subdivision (it's really just a very well designed urban infill development) because the 80' right-of-way at the entrance wasn't going to be paved wall-to-wall. Imagine their surprise when they discovered the pavement was a scant 18' 8-!. When they reviewed the subdivision plans, they expected 80' of asphalt. We had a meeting at the site and I asked if any of the firemen could tell me how wide an Interstate ROW was. They couldn't even tell me the width of an Interstate lane.

I always try to keep in mind that these guys have never seen a foundation they couldn't save...
 
Messages
7,649
Points
29
I imagine that increased density, mixed uses, et al will require new policies and new technologies. When the Great Fire of London burned the city to the ground, it had a lot to do with how thatched roofs are not compatible with a densely urbanized environment. That allowed the fire to spread like, well, wildfire. After the fire, they set a new policy in England that you could not use thatched roofs in cities. But they did not outlow thatched roofs for rural areas, only for densely built-up areas. I would think that issues like this will require similar innovations in policy and technology in order to make high density and mixed uses work well. (I would say that a non-thatch roof is a "new technology", so to speak -- I am not using this expression is a technically precise manner.)
 
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