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The BBC has a couple of articles today about designing cities from scratch.  If you had no restrictions caused by existing buildings, what would you do?  Many opinions are expressed in this article, from “build it with all possible technology integrated fully” to “don’t do it at all”.  Personally I like the ideas in the last segment.  This one has pictures that some artist’s impressions.

So what would I do?

The things that spring immediately to mind (in no particular order) are:

  • Wide streets, with separate cycle lanes, bus lanes, and car lanes.  The car lanes would only exist on the outskirts.  In the city centre everyone needs to walk or use public transport.
  • All car parks would be underground, with parks built on top.  They would have good bus links.
  • It should never be more than a ten minute walk to the nearest park.
  • There should be trees everywhere.
  • Free wi-fi throughout the whole of the city.
  • Residential buildings and offices would be in separate areas (who wants to live right next to the office?) but would be very closely interlinked, perhaps in some kind of chess-board pattern.
  • Residential areas would have different characters – there would be a Georgian area, with large terraced houses and sweeping parks, and a more modern area with little detatched red-brick houses with nice gardens, and many others.  This would ensure that the city had some soul.
  • There would be plenty of buildings which could be used for many things, so that people can decide that that street needs a hairdresser, or a butcher, or a bookshop, and make it happen.
  • Rivers and parks.
  • Streets which are mostly-pedestrianised, so children can play.
  • The streets wouldn’t necessarily all be straight or form squares (how dull) but definitely no triangles.  Triangles are very confusing!
  • Solar panels on all roof space would be compulsory.  Perhaps those clever ones that look like roof tiles.
  • All buildings would be built in an eco-friendly way.
A (bad) artist's impression.

A (bad) artist’s impression.

What else would you add?  Is there anything in my list that you disagree with?


The Author

Nicola Higgins is a 30-something martial artist who runs two Brownie packs and works full time. She somehow still finds time to write.

Her favourite genres are near-future and alternate world science fiction and fantasy.

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