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  1. #1
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Default How would you go about designing an ideal city?

    This was started in another thread, but I'll continue it here:

    I first asked: How would you go about designing an ideal city? What would be considered and how?

    Which resulted in the subsequent discussion:

    Quote Originally Posted by INTPness View Post
    Oh gosh. Good question. So many things to consider. I'm giving you the very "quick" version. If it were reality, I'd take years to map it out and consider/analyze everything.

    For me, I actually like when something is "presented to me" and then I can react according to what has been handed to me. So, if someone said, you have to build a city in northeast Arkansas. Then, I can go and research the topography, the weather, the wind, is it tornado country, earthquake country (how strong do we have to build the structures), what is everything we need to take into consideration, airports, location relative to other major transportation hubs, etc.

    But, since I don't have a "real" location to think about here - I guess I'm just going to consider...well, everything. I'm analyzing from all angles. Should we build "up" (highly concentrated with high-rise apartment buildings), or should we build "out" (sprawling suburbs, etc.) Do we even have a choice based on the location? I'm probably starting (at least on paper) with the essentials that every city needs - and that's where my sketch would begin. In the heart of the city, when pencil first hits paper, I'm putting a police station, a fire department, a hospital, a government building (courthouse, etc.), a library, etc. I'm going to have a "downtown" commercial area - where shops and businesses can move in and where people can walk and talk. I'm putting in benches, nice looking landscape, etc. My residential streets will shoot off from this downtown area and they will be a system that "makes sense". I live in a city now where there is, for example, 8th Street and 8th Avenue. So, you can be on the corner of 8th and 8th, or 6th and 6th. That's stupid and I'd like to talk to whoever thought of that. Streets should be very easy to navigate and understand for newcomers, visitors, and tourists. Like, I think in San Diego, the downtown area has lettered streets running one way (A, B, C, D Streets) and numbers running the other way. Simple, basic, and maybe uncreative, but it works. It's very easy to understand.

    I'm putting an airport on the outskirts of the city. I'm putting a K-12 school somewhere - I'd have to research why it's better to put it on one edge of the city (keep traffic out of the center of the city?), or if it's better to put it downtown, etc. I'm putting a nice park here and there. I want it to look nice and pleasant. But, more than that, I want it to work well for the people that go there. I want it to function properly. I don't want even one single thing where people can go, "What in the world were they thinking when they constructed this city?" Nothing will be thrown in at the last minute, or done haphazardly. It will all be well thought-out on paper first, consulting with experts in various fields and in city planning to make sure that everything has either (a) worked well in another city in the past, or (b) will work well this time, in this city.

    And I want something about the city to stand out. There has to be at least one thing that is unique or different about this city. Maybe a really good zoo in a small city (which is rare) - which would cause incoming traffic, but would also spur tourism and growth. A great water park/amusement park. A world renown rehabilitation center for women recovering from too many corns on their feet, or - something like that. Something that establishes the city as "the very best" in this particular area.

    There's so many other things to consider too: location will largely dictate industry and types of jobs, etc, etc, etc. It goes on and on and on. A Ti dream, really. So much to analyze and map out. It has to come together spacially as well, on paper.

    1. Function (easy to get around, things "make sense" to the newcomer and to the residents, people have everything they need, including peace, stability, safety, infrastructure, etc.)
    2. Aesthetics (looks fresh and appealing - a place you'd want to come back to or even stay)
    3. Everything else will fall into place once those things are established
    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    Shouldn't the first thing to consider, be the people who are likely to live there in the first place and their lifestyles? You can't necessarily assume that current western lifestyles are 'ideal' either..
    Quote Originally Posted by INTPness View Post
    Well, sure, the people should definitely be considered as a foundational piece of the puzzle. That's why I mentioned that I want it to work and function for the people. That proper function will vary depending on who those people are. If you're saying it might be a city for "only old people" - well, I don't know many cities like that. I suppose I assumed a population that was reflective of the overall population. And, I don't make any assumptions that cities here in the U.S. are "better" or "worse" than other parts of the world. That's not for me to decide or to pass judgment on. I can have an opinion on things like that, but that doesn't mean my opinion is correct. I guess that's why I said I like something to be "presented to me" (an actual location and the specifics involved - who will live there, what is the weather like, etc, etc, etc.). Once those parameters and variables are "given", only then can I begin to speculate on what would be best for that specific city, in that specific location, with that specific population. If I'm given all that information up front, then absolutely, I'm going to design the city with all of those things in mind.

    But, if those variables are not given and I'm only asked "how would you design an ideal city", then that's very broad, and I have to then begin with very basic things - every city needs a, b, c, etc. If you have something specific in mind (e.g., an Eastern city with a population of 8 million in a relatively small area, large elderly population, etc), then I can begin working off of that information.
    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    My point was that a city is not merely a series of structures and services in a particular geographic region (with its associated climate).
    How to put this another way... How malleable should an ideal city be to the lifestyles of its citizens? The fact is that there is feedback between the structure of a city and the lifestyle of its citizens. But the structure is still somewhat inelastic, so you also have selection effects where people who like or dislike a city will move. But this is still limited to the range of choices available (subject to citizenship, employment, family etc). What system would be used to shape the city over time based on the preferences of the citizens? (answers to this question would need to be more specific than say, constitutional democracy)
    But there are other questions too: Would an ideal city have citizens with radically different lifestyles to known modern or primitive models?
    Quote Originally Posted by INTPness View Post
    I see. Your question is a little more clear now. And it's a much more complex question (or set of questions) than I originally thought. At first, I was just "toying around" with some very basic ideas of how a city might be physically constructed from scratch. But, your questions are much deeper than that.

    It's likely that you've given this more thought than I have. I will say that I believe a city should be "created" by the people who live in it. I was talking to a Polish man today and he said that America is one of the most rule-based societies in America: you can't chew gum on this side of the building, you can't walk on the grass unless it's after 9pm, you can't smoke a cigarette in this building or that building, but you can smoke over there (on Tuesday's and Thursdays), if you want to apply for a driver's license you have to fill out paperwork, stand in line for 45 minutes, take a vision test, then go stand in a different line for 30 minutes, take a written test, then wait 1 hour for someone to call your name for a road test. It just goes on and on and on and it drives you insane. I told him how much I hate that part of my own society. It's etched in my brain sometimes - so much that I often don't even think about it - I just blindly act like a robot out of habit.

    Why is it like that here? Because "we" have made it that way. It's a result of a people's cumulative actions over time. Some time ago, you could smoke in public buildings. Then, someone decided they wanted to sue about that right. And so the law was changed. Then people began smoking outside the door of the buildings. Then maybe a building caught on fire from one of the cigarettes. Now there are laws that you have to be 25 feet away from the building before you can light a cigarette. It's like laws and regulations just keep accumulating higher and higher until you are so limited in what you can do, that you might as well just stay home and watch TV. I exaggerate, but we're losing some freedom in the process - freedom to be human, to light up a cigarette wherever you feel like it, to walk on the grass and laugh and play and act like a real person. But, I can't complain too much as I'm part of the society myself - so in some way I've probably helped to create it. It's a result of our cumulative actions over time. But, I guess I'm going down the "constitutional democracy" road here.

    I'm a little unclear though, on the meat of your post. On one hand, I would say, "of course the people should be able to shape their own city! If they aren't going to shape it, who is? Someone from the outside?" So, I'd almost say that a city should be "totally malleable" to the lifestyles of its citizens - but cumulatively. In other words, I live in a city, but I myself cannot (and should not be able to) go outside and decide I want to reorganize the streets to my own liking and start reconstructing everything. Nor should I decide that I'll break a law because I don't like it. But, cumulatively, we as the citizens, should be able to do those things (make change). And being that it's cumulative, every individual within that society will be left wanting to some extent. No one person will have everything exactly the way he wants it, because everyone's ideal is just a little bit different. And we see that in practice every day - everyone complains at some point about something. If someone was fully content with their city, they'd never have a complaint.

    But, I guess what I don't understand about your question is that you want an explanation that is more specific than a constitutional democracy. How would a people or a citizenry have any power to change or shape their environment (to fit their cumulative lifestyle) if they didn't have power or input through some sort of voting system or democracy? Or is that what you're asking? Are you basically asking if there is a better system than this that has not yet been introduced in the world?
    Now the point is that this is a broad question - while discussion of structure is certainly relevant, it must be relevant to those who will actually live there. A city is not merely a location, it is a superorganism.
    While this thread is not in the philosophy or politics forums, such discussion is welcome (think Plato's Republic).

  2. #2
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    Now the point is that this is a broad question - while discussion of structure is certainly relevant, it must be relevant to those who will actually live there. A city is not merely a location, it is a superorganism.
    While this thread is not in the philosophy or politics forums, such discussion is welcome (think Plato's Republic).
    It'll be interesting to see where this goes. It's definitely good discussion material.

    I'll add that, just like a city is a "superorganism", on a smaller scale so is a business (some businesses are small, others are much larger). These "organisms" (cities, businesses, etc.) must be able to be reactionary and pliable in nature. If there are a lot of layers/levels of beauracracy, it becomes very tedious to implement change and to shape the city or the business how the people intend to shape it. It also becomes tedious and difficult for the city/business and its people to react or adjust to environmental changes or other things that come up that may require "fast action".

    I liken it to a boxer: one who is in shape, light on his feet, he is very reactionary. He's able to react quickly to whatever is thrown at him - he's mobile. He can adjust quickly to changes in his environment, especially unexpected ones. If he comes into the fight out of shape, overweight, etc, it quickly becomes evident that he can't move quickly. He can't make proper adjustments in a timely fashion. He's weighted down by all this "stuff", he's lethargic, and he becomes "a sitting duck". He's vulnerable. And just like a superorganism that is "weighted down" by layers and layers of beauracracy, he's quickly going to get left behind and his weaknesses will be exposed. So, with a city or a business, if they are not able to be light and quick on their feet and adaptable to changes in technology, environment, etc, they won't "thrive" nearly as much as they could. They will suffer, as a whole, to some extent. Worst case scenarios: a business goes bankrupt, a city becomes a ghost town where people no longer want to be. More often, the results maybe aren't this extreme. The business "keeps its doors open", but it's not thriving, it's just barely hanging on, doing just enough to get by, just enough to make payroll, etc. And we hear about cities that have similar issues. These organisms are usually loaded with inefficiencies, thick layers of beauracracy, and a sort of drone mentality (each individual is told to "just keep turning the crank, just keep doing your one little part, and everything will keep working).

    When organisms reduce inefficiencies, and rid themselves of unnecessary layers, and allow the individuals to think on their feet and create and have input, etc, then the organism is "a fine tuned machine" - it's like the boxer who is ready for anything that comes his way. This is actually what allows innovative new start-up companies to enter a dominated market and to compete effectively. The new start-up is young, fresh, has very few "policies and procedures" and mind-numbing rules. It's people are not robots, instead they are creative beings who are encouraged to innovate and to affect change in the industry they are entering. Meanwhile, the big corporation who has been dominating the industry for years, many times has become so big and so overloaded with "stuff" (roles, job descriptions, policies, etc.) that it becomes less mobile, less reactionary. It's very slow on its feet.

    That's all I have to add for now. Good discussion.
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
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  3. #3
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    My Ideal City: A Lesson in Being Amazing

    By Saturned, an INFP


    First, I would like to say, that I feel a little wonky because there are no parameters really... other than "design an ideal city". So I am going to assume that parameters have been given, and here they are:

    1. We are on a tropical moon that is orbitting a gas giant. The gas giant planet has rings, like Saturn. But this gas giant is BLUE, so it's totally different.
    2. This city is located on the southern continent on the moon.
    3. This city is located next to an ocean and that is incorporated into the city design.
    4. This moon also has a moon, and between the gravitational pull of the planet and this smaller moonite, there are considerable tide forces at work. We must be cautious.


    Location: Is everything. The majority of the city is located on a convenient cliff that is high enough that the highest of high tides during eclipses don't overrun the city. It is also conveniently positioned in that armies attacking by land are bottlenecked for easy pickings.

    There is a sub-section of the city that lays within the cliff itself, and that is connected to an underwater section of the city that no one knows about. (Think of the almost opening scene to Disney's "A Little Mermaid.")

    Design: The upper city's main design is that of a spiral. The walls are pure white diamarble and glisten in the light. In order to arrive at the center of the city you must traverse the spiral in its entirety. The residents of this upper level live within the walls themselves. Their homes and businesses have small slits in them to let in the light, and to unleash a torrent of arrows at a foolish invading army. There are gates hidden within the spiral only accessible by the few who know about them. At the center is a fortress that reaches into the sky like a mountain. There are no gates or doors to this castle. If you need to reach it, then you must either climb its walls or ride on a pegasus.

    The lower city's design is to camoflage itself on the bottom of the sea. Specially crafted glass that is clear on the side within the city, and white like sand on the outside, protects it from being discovered. The people down here live in bubble houses and ride sharks to work or play. They create gardens out of coral and clown fish.

    There are specially designed cloud defenses that float above both sections of the city. These people ride on pegasusback to work. They are cleverly concealed within clouds.

    The Government Style: Many different styles have been tried out on this particular moon before. The most impossible to deal with? Dictatorship. The most ridiculous? An elected Queen government. The happy medium? Governyourselfocracy.

    People have common sense in this city.

    Units of Money: Glitter is in high demand in this city. It's very small, compact, and lightweight.

    • 1 piece of glitter = 1 piece of glitter
    • 10 pieces of glitter = 1 sequin
    • 15 sequins = 1 shiny button


    Points of interest to visit when you come for a visit:

    Zoo: You can frolic with land animals in the upper levels, swim with the sea animals on the lower levels, and fly with the animals on the upper levels.

    Stadium: Join us for an exultant evening on every Friday when the weekly Blitzball tournament game is on.

    Orchestra Hall: Because an ideal city is not ideal without a strong strings section. Every Thursday is "Violins Only Night."

    Observatory: Good news everyone! We have an observatory!

    Planetarium: Learn about constellations and planets and comets.



    The End.

  4. #4
    Senior Member INTPness's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Saturned View Post
    My Ideal City: A Lesson in Being Amazing

    By Saturned, an INFP


    First, I would like to say, that I feel a little wonky because there are no parameters really... other than "design an ideal city". So I am going to assume that parameters have been given, and here they are:

    1. We are on a tropical moon that is orbitting a gas giant. The gas giant planet has rings, like Saturn. But this gas giant is BLUE, so it's totally different.
    2. This city is located on the southern continent on the moon.
    3. This city is located next to an ocean and that is incorporated into the city design.
    4. This moon also has a moon, and between the gravitational pull of the planet and this smaller moonite, there are considerable tide forces at work. We must be cautious.


    Location: Is everything. The majority of the city is located on a convenient cliff that is high enough that the highest of high tides during eclipses don't overrun the city. It is also conveniently positioned in that armies attacking by land are bottlenecked for easy pickings.

    There is a sub-section of the city that lays within the cliff itself, and that is connected to an underwater section of the city that no one knows about. (Think of the almost opening scene to Disney's "A Little Mermaid.")

    Design: The upper city's main design is that of a spiral. The walls are pure white diamarble and glisten in the light. In order to arrive at the center of the city you must traverse the spiral in its entirety. The residents of this upper level live within the walls themselves. Their homes and businesses have small slits in them to let in the light, and to unleash a torrent of arrows at a foolish invading army. There are gates hidden within the spiral only accessible by the few who know about them. At the center is a fortress that reaches into the sky like a mountain. There are no gates or doors to this castle. If you need to reach it, then you must either climb its walls or ride on a pegasus.

    The lower city's design is to camoflage itself on the bottom of the sea. Specially crafted glass that is clear on the side within the city, and white like sand on the outside, protects it from being discovered. The people down here live in bubble houses and ride sharks to work or play. They create gardens out of coral and clown fish.

    There are specially designed cloud defenses that float above both sections of the city. These people ride on pegasusback to work. They are cleverly concealed within clouds.

    The Government Style: Many different styles have been tried out on this particular moon before. The most impossible to deal with? Dictatorship. The most ridiculous? An elected Queen government. The happy medium? Governyourselfocracy.

    People have common sense in this city.

    Units of Money: Glitter is in high demand in this city. It's very small, compact, and lightweight.

    • 1 piece of glitter = 1 piece of glitter
    • 10 pieces of glitter = 1 sequin
    • 15 sequins = 1 shiny button


    Points of interest to visit when you come for a visit:

    Zoo: You can frolic with land animals in the upper levels, swim with the sea animals on the lower levels, and fly with the animals on the upper levels.

    Stadium: Join us for an exultant evening on every Friday when the weekly Blitzball tournament game is on.

    Orchestra Hall: Because an ideal city is not ideal without a strong strings section. Every Thursday is "Violins Only Night."

    Observatory: Good news everyone! We have an observatory!

    Planetarium: Learn about constellations and planets and comets.



    The End.
    Couldn't have said it better myself. Do you have anything to add to that, Architectonic?
    NTJ's are the only types that have ever made me feel emo.
    ENP's are the only types that have ever made me feel like a sensor.


    There are two great days in a person's life - the day we are born and the day we discover why. --William Barclay

  5. #5
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    Smile Canberra Felix

    The ideal city has already been designed by Walter Burley Griffin and his wife Marion and built in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales. It is called Canberra, the Capital of Australa, the Garden City and the City in the Bush.

    Originally the ideal city was called by St Augustine, the City of God, while Canberra is the City of the Enlightenment, the City of Reason, the City of Freedom of Religion with the Separaton of Church and State.

    And in keeping with our egalitarian nature we don't build on the tops of hills, ridges or mountains and so the Bush follows the ridges and hills right into the city.

    We are two hours from the surf and the snow and the weather is kind as well. Our summers are warm and sometimes hot with low humidity; and our winters dip below freezing at night with brilliant, sunny days.

    We are a safe city, policed by the Australian Federal Police. As well as being a University City with a world class University, the Australian National University.

    We have a vibrant artistic and cultural life with public art finding its home around the city.

    The 'ideal' city is of course utopian and utopia means nowhere. So the ideal city is nowhere whereas I am sitting in Canberra as I write to you.

    Canberra Felix.

  6. #6
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTPness View Post
    Couldn't have said it better myself. Do you have anything to add to that, Architectonic?
    Can I have an artists impression of the city and maybe a tribute song/anthem? So far, it's hard to imagine that it could be better than Canberra.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    Can I have an artists impression of the city and maybe a tribute song/anthem? So far, it's hard to imagine that it could be better than Canberra.
    I have mad Paintshop skills. Don't tempt me....

    Also our theme song is:



    because it is a song so exquisitely beautiful it can bring a tear to this Fi-dom's eye every time she hears it. Actually the entire soundtrack to this movie is epic win.

    I also forgot to list a few details:

    National Muffin: Blueberry
    National Scone: Cranberry-Orange
    National Bird: None because birds are scary.
    National Color: Blue.
    National Mammal: Sea-Panda

    Here is a 5 glitter coupon for the zoo. Pick yourself up something tasty from the concession stands.

  8. #8
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    So no one else has any imagination? That is a shame.

  9. #9
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    Smile The City of God

    Quote Originally Posted by Architectonic View Post
    So no one else has any imagination? That is a shame.
    Please! Canberra was designed by Theosophists. So Canberra is designed on the ancient principles of sacred geometry.

    All of the great ancient cities were designed on the principles of sacred geometry, so Canberra is at once the oldest of cities and the newest of cities.

    Ancient cities were designed by oral cultures while Canberra is designed on the surface by a literate culture, but deep down Canberra was designed on the basis of oral, electronic culture.

    Theosophy means the philosophy of God so Canberra is designed on the philosophy of God. Canberra is truly St Augustine's City of God.

  10. #10
    The Eighth Colour Octarine's Avatar
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    The problem Dear Victor, is that there can only be one Canberra and it will only ever house a small minority of the world's population.

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