Afternoon walk, Enskededalen 7 August 2020

29. Slowdown landscapes: Street fight

What does the street want to be? The street can decide. Also, how cities are about inefficiency, learning from the pack-donkey rather than Le Corbusier

Dan Hill
Dan Hill
Sep 24, 2020 · 18 min read
Ed. See a growing compendium of examples in the casebook for this series: Clear skies, full parks, can’t lose’
Sophie Leguil, founder of More Than Weeds, stands over chalk names of plants on the pavement. Photograph: Jill Mead/The Guardian

Tactics versus strategy

The pack-donkey versus urban planning

The City of Tomorrow and its planning, Le Corbusier (1929)

“Man walks in a straight line because he has a goal and knows where he is going; he has made up his mind to reach some particular place and he goes straight to it. The pack-donkey meanders along, meditates a little in his scatter-brained and distracted fashion, he zigzags in order to avoid the larger stones, or to ease the climb, or to gain a little shade; he takes the line of least resistance…The Pack-Donkey’s Way is responsible for the plan of every continental city.”—Le Corbusier, ‘The City of Tomorrow and its planning’ (1929)

Corb’s Way versus the Pack-Donkey’s Way
Kyoto

Black Lives Matter, and the line of most resistance

“People have always lived on streets. They have been the places where children first learned about the world, where neighbors met, the social centers of towns and cities, the rallying points for revolts, the scenes of repression.”— Donald Appleyard

“The piazza is a space for encoded rituals. You know how to conduct yourself in the piazza, its ideal version, what we call civilized urbanity. The street is the space of indeterminacy.” — Saskia Sassen

Optimising the street for brunch. Photo: Nick Swartsell/Cincinnati CityBeat

“Marches are a tactic. Not much has emerged about strategy, or even specific articulated goals, beyond major reform of police practices and responsibilities.” — Noam Chomsky

“It’s one thing to take a space, it’s another thing to turn a space into something functional that actually serves the community.”—Nikkita Oliver

Ed. Many elements of this piece originally featured in Optimising for Brunch, an essay produced for Disegno Lockdown Paper, in June 2020, though it has been substantially rewritten and updated. Many thanks to the editor Oli Stratford for his insightful and engaged contributions to that piece.

Slowdown Papers

A series of reflections and loose extrapolations, based on the early impact of the Coronavirus

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Dan Hill

Written by

Dan Hill

Designer, urbanist, etc. Director of Strategic Design at Vinnova, Swedish govt’s innovation agency. Visiting prof UCL Bartlett IIPP + Design Academy Eindhoven

Slowdown Papers

The Slowdown Papers are a series of observations, reflections and loose extrapolations, based on the early impact of the Coronavirus COVID–19 pandemic, particularly on the way we make decisions about cities, systems, infrastructures, cultures, and technologies.

Dan Hill

Written by

Dan Hill

Designer, urbanist, etc. Director of Strategic Design at Vinnova, Swedish govt’s innovation agency. Visiting prof UCL Bartlett IIPP + Design Academy Eindhoven

Slowdown Papers

The Slowdown Papers are a series of observations, reflections and loose extrapolations, based on the early impact of the Coronavirus COVID–19 pandemic, particularly on the way we make decisions about cities, systems, infrastructures, cultures, and technologies.

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