When transportation shapes cities

A history of transportation from Innov the City by Andrew Perrier translated courtesy of Google

Until August 26, the City of Architecture and Heritage in Paris presents an exhibition devoted to the history of transportation in cities. Through a set design in twelve steps, “Flowing – when our movements shaping cities”, offers to browse the history and issues of mobility in cities and in our societies.

It is possible to understand the evolution of transport by a simple analysis of the evolution of footwear: “changing shoes will stagnate when the car will take off,” says the speaker of the exhibition “Move” . Original entry in this frieze of human figures, of homo sapiens to homo mobilis, to immerse yourself in the history of transportation. To understand that ultimately, the history of transportation is a constant renewal. In Roman times already, rivers conditioned the organization of cities, the boats are the only means of transport and communication. Today, shuttles and river freight are back, thanks to the emergence of sustainable development.

Farewell and the return of the tram

In the 19th century, transportation becomes the “sinews of war” to allow the development of cities, especially with the arrival of the train. In parallel, the arrival of the railway will lead to major changes in architectural and urban “stations Palace” will be highlighted by successive expositions. The first transport will emerge, including animal-drawn omnibuses. As is the case today in some sparsely populated areas, one could speak of “transport on demand”, with non-regular lines. Railways are progressively installed to make way for tram, winner of the late 19th century.Again, it is quickly supplanted by the bus, uses less heavy infrastructure. Nowadays, if the bus is still sought, particularly through the BRT (Bus High Level of Service) in urban areas, plans for new trams and tram-trains can not be counted in all cities of the world. Finally appears the subway, which develops first in London before arriving in Paris late.

The zoning of the Charter of Athens
In 1933, the Athens Charter dictates the principles of “functional city”, which created the concept of zoning, separating the residential areas of transportation: it is the beginning of “metro-work-sleep.” The backlash is in 1994 with the Aalborg Charter, which advocates instead a mix of urban functions. The cities are recovering to develop public transport so-called “soft” to rediscover the joy of “crossing the landscape” instead of spending his life in tubes. For that is the subject of this exhibition organized by the architect Jean-Marie Duthilleul: reintroduce the slow transport and distribute again the notion of pleasure associated with travel.


African Oasis:Babylonstoren

An “African Oasis” designed by a Frenchman in a “Cape Dutch” farmstead just outside Cape Town  filled with Western fruit trees, herbs and vegetables – true globalization… from Garden Designnow what is African About this one might ask?

PHOTO BY: Courtesy Babylonstoren

A map of the garden. Image courtesy of Babylonstoren.

Babylonstoren means “Tower of Babel” in Dutch, and the eight acres of gardens at this restored 18th-century Cape Dutch farmstead and hotel in South Africa’s Drakenstein Valley are, like their namesake, both monumental and tantalizingly unfinished. And yet, a walk through the grounds may help visitors do what that skyscraper of legend could not: touch heaven.

“Perhaps people find it peaceful because it’s not aggressive,” says Babylonstoren’s landscape designer, French architect Patrice Taravella. “Beauty is not an objective, it is the result.”

Babylonstoren garden

In the geometric gardens of Babylonstoren, a farmstead and hotel near Cape Town, South Africa, pathways paved with recycled peach pits crunch underfoot beside a gurgling, stone-lined stream that serves as the gardens’ gravity-aided irrigation system. Photo courtesy of Babylonstoren, photo by Cactus Branding

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