Friday, December 15, 2006

Homage to Professor

Percy Johnson-Marshall was our City Planning Professor at The Edinburgh University.

Today his words are still vivid on my mind. For example, he said that ''when a city reaches a certain size it presents more costs than benefits''. In relation to metro systems he said that ''when a city needs a metro system, what you need is a new city''.

Nowadays, the Curitiba city municipality (where I live, in Brazil) is debating on the need to build a metropolitan rail system.

As far as I know metro systems implies in population agglomeration, and all its costs associated with urban quality of life.

In my opinion a metro system in itself does not make people happyer. It just transport them faster to their destinations than other modes.


Roman Krznaric said...

Hello Luiz,
I've just found my way to your blog, having followed a link from a comment you made about my essay 'Empathy and the Art of Living', which you found on The School of Life blog. I've enjoyed looking at your photos of Dublin, and am particularly interested in this comment about city planning:
'when a city reaches a certain size it presents more costs than benefits'. This issue about the ideal size of a city is something I've been trying to think about with respect to the topic of Work. How big can a city get before it starts to cause fundamental problems for working life? If, for example, a city is so big that on average people are commuting 15 hours a week to get to and from their jobs, then surely this makes a city too large? Perhaps we might say that a city is too big not when it needs a metro, but when average commuting time goes over a certain threshold limit...I would be interested in your thoughts on this (and also on E.F. Schumacher's view that no city should be bigger than 500,000 people). And if you have any more comments on my essay on 'Empathy and the Art of Living' do feel free to post them on The School of Life blog and we can have a conversation about it...Is empathy possible in a megacity like Shanghai or London? I wonder...
With best wishes,
Roman Krznaric
Oxford, United Kingdom

Mister Martins said...

Hello Roman,

Thank you for your comment. I will think about your points and try to write something about.

Best wishes!