The frog, the scorpion and the parking standard :: Blog on today

Apparently, the particular kind of child murder that involves a small family member investing in a car is still very much in the news. But which, of course, is not socially assimilated with infanticide, gradually defined as tragically inevitable fate, psycho-behavioral errors with unpredictable consequences, certainly an ethical issue, but to be handled with scientific and political caution. Perhaps it is the last term of “politics” that hits the case best: complex layering of powers, decisions, adjustments, mistakes and corrections over time, based on the tale of the small village, from which everything always arises in fairy tales or stories. So there is the village with the houses with smoking chimneys, the mothers making lunch, fathers returning from the fields with their cart when the sun goes down, and the children playing running around the road, the farms and the gardens. Suddenly, and interrupting the peace of the country, the sky turns black and threatening chimneys, locomotives, cars and highways descend from the clouds to disrupt life: it is inevitable that someone gets hurt, starting with children, as with all their parents’ behavioral caution are relatives grandparents certainly could not foresee. Completely true? Obviously not, as we have all already understood: wrong, very wrong, that’s not how it went at all.

Let’s go back to the beginning and try to start again with a minimum of criteria by looking more closely and systematically at things. Even if one takes the happy village with peaceful rural families for granted, the appearance of the car that overwhelms the maneuvering baby is much more gradual and deliberately maneuvered, both by relatives and by other subjects, public and private, to whom we can safely distribute the sinners of acts and omissions. The very first sinners are those who, when the chimneys and locomotives and the blowing boilers have already drawn the shapes of the modern city of themselves, insist on re-establishing the kind of an antimechanical village that is too soft to withstand the pressure of the machine. These pressures apparently first break through the concept of the street, and then, aided by inspiration from a designer who is intelligent and foresighted in his own way, spread out over the yard and out into the garden. The model is called «Runcorn Layout» or more generally «Cul-de-sac». The first definition relates to the project that architect Henry Wright perfected for the neighborhood village of Runcorn, New Jersey, in the late 1920s, adapting the modernized “barnyard” sections of his ideal teacher Raymond Unwin (photocopied from an ideal village) to the needs of a vehicle approaching the rear entrance to a number of huts. Cul-de-sac will then be the current name, derived from the old dead end, on the endless reproduction of the real estate market in Runcorn Layout, openly schematized and aggravated by completely inadequate designers and rules imposed at random.

Thus arose, in short, the system which, in suburban areas with villas or buildings, forms a street closed by a roundabout serving two parallel rows of buildings. The street, the roundabout, the inevitable standard depots according to the Traffic Act and the town planning are thus perceptually and practically confused with the threshing floor, the courtyard, the village garden or the neighborhood. Children play with it, every now and then someone uses it as a private space in all respects, customizing it with a temporary installation, from the signature collection kiosk to the artisans’ van pulling it off with housework. But deep down, the place has become 100% a roadway where cars simply can not whiz around but still move, as in their nature and name. Like Scorpio in the fable of the Frog crossing the river, who even in the middle of the waves and in danger of his own life, he can not help but sting, The car expresses itself in the yard unknowingly transformed into a street, also reproducing traffic accidents. It was written at the bottom of the city plan. That perhaps historically we should meditate and correct as much as we can. After all, it is no different than the debate about weapons, which when they enter the drawers of a house sooner or later are used, for better or worse depends on the case, but certainly misplaced.

The Conqueror City – Sardinia: a virtual urban sprawl

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