February 02, 2014

In the Footsteps of Robert Moses

In the Footsteps of Robert Moses is a fantastic, long journey charting the influence of one man over New York.

Moses was the head of planning in the city for the middle half of the 20th Century, and his legacy is in the reworking of many parts of the city in service to the motor car.

I first read this sometime in 2012, I think, on a train journey down to London. At the time, I wrote a long blog post of my thoughts as I read it, but managed to lose the draft. I've harboured dreams of rewriting it ever since, but have only just found the time to re-read it.

No epic, rambling blog post this time I'm afraid, although the talk of expressways carving their way through neighbourhoods still evokes memories of Seattle's Alaskan Way Viaduct and sends me off exploring potential futures to try to better resolve the legacy of the Shankland Report No.7 here in Liverpool.

The Shankland Report was the 1960s plan to run a network of inner-city motorways through the city, as happened in many other cities. It wasn't realised in the end, but much of the land was purchased and so while we escaped the elevated motorways, many of the ground-level main thoroughfares have ended up just as wide, and formed just as harsh a barrier.

We need to find ways to make those barriers more permeable, and to allow the pedestrian, more human life to move through them more easily, as that will perform a much better job of revitalising North Liverpool than Liverpool Waters.

Posted by Adrian at February 2, 2014 09:47 PM | TrackBack
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