rethink / relandscape / rehabilitate
re-planning permission project for Oxford Street, London & Bygdøy Allé, Oslo.
What kind of world do we want? GET involved! REDESIGN! Read on…
That’s what this whole thing is about. We have come thus far… stumbled thus far, ended up here at this point with our technology leading the way. Some of it is fantastic and some of it is crap and outdated, and some of it was a bad idea in the first place.
Do you or your friends make digital art, paint, illustrate, cartoon?
I’m a product of this society and was driven here and there, went on holidays, benefited from…etc the family car. Roads are to some extent what have increased our life expectancy. They have enabled trade and sped up our lives… all that etc, etc… I acknowledge that… etc…
But I resent stepping out of my house, or almost any house in a city, in every city, and what I experience are cars lining tarmac with barely a tree or bush in site. And why is it like this? It seemed like progress I suppose. Some people will still believe that it is… but think about it… Why not step out of your house into a meadow, or onto a tennis court, or an allotment, or a children’s play area, or a bandstand, bowling green, nature reserve, bird sanctuary, field of deer… you get the idea. Wouldn’t it be great to have deer stampeding past your door on your way to work in the city.
You might say ‘move to the countryside for that’, and you’re entitled to want to cling onto this system. You’re entitled to enjoy the buzz and bustle of a city alive with fossil fuel burning. You are entitled to want to drive your shiny investment. I am relieved to find out there is a growing movement for carfree cities. There are many websites and here are some links provided by the World Carfree Network.
Please follow this link for the UpTrees post on Bygdøy Allé. If I met you on April the 1st there… this will make sense of it.
A bad history lesson
It’s amazing now to think that only a hundred and fifty years ago people would just throw their rubbish out of their windows into the streets. The situation was pretty horrendous. If we were to walk about in those days you’d look at these people and wonder why they put up with the stench and junk everywhere. Then municipal rubbish collections were put in place when it became too much for the ruling classes to bear, – when it infringed on their lives. (It wasn’t until the stench from the Thames made meetings in Parliament unbearable, that they did something about cleaning it up, even though it had been a problem for years).
If we’re lucky enough to get that far, in a hundred years – and there’s still ‘progress’, if we come to our senses soon we’ll be looking back on this time and wondering how did we live like this?
Will it take a prominent politician to have a kid with chronic asthma before changes take place? The kid who can’t leave the house because of air pollution from cars and industry?
Oxford Street & BYgdøy Allé Replanning permission
So the idea… This is Oxford Street, London as we know it. You may like this kind of design…
Below is my version of what is actually possible. OK… the giant Sequoias might take a few hundred years to grow but they are dramatic so that’s why they are there. Let’s also imagine London will still there in 700 years.
Here’s a Map link to where this section of Oxford Street is.
It’s a picture I share with many of you I’m sure. This impression is the best I could do given the time and skills I had. Please design something more idyllic or inventive. Here’s some more inspiration: the venus project. (they have some beautiful visions and ideas however their take on resources is totally out of wack).
So you might be looking at this and thinking for example “this is brilliant for you who has two working legs but that is a disabled person’s nightmare”. Well my response is that muddy track isn’t a muddy track but kind of looks like one. All the drainage etc is taken in hand as it is with the current design. Also.. you may be thinking – ‘this guy is a hippy’. Well… maybe 15% hippy, what ever that is, – someone who’s sensitive to the natural world and would like to live closer to it day to day.
A friend of mine commented – ”I quite like the idea of integrating lots of material not just soil and grass but glass, wood, plastics and metals within the urban environment. Mixture of old, contemporary and structuralism”.
And I say absolutely – YES! Minus the cars.
So you say – “this is Oxford St, shopping central. I’m rich – how am I going to get all my shopping home. I can’t carry it down your mock muddy track”. OK. Well – either there’ll be an even better transport system underground, or there might be a cycling taxi lane, and this vision might be a part of a revolution where people shop less because we have to use less resources anyway. Or… better my design!
BYGdøy Allé as we know it in 30 years… (?)
The chestnut trees on bygdøy Allé are being threatened with the axe. They are apparently too big and can’t cope with the pollution from cars and buses.
Pick a section of Oxford Street or bygdøy allé and inspire us!
Have you got a vision, an idea and can you express it for this Replanning Proposal?
Send me your design along with the original screenshot and exact google map location. I’ll post it up here to fill in the entire length of the street. Please feel free to write a little piece about your idea too.
Email to: email@example.com
When the street is completely designed we’ll hand it in to the Planning office in London.
Here’s a link to an excellent blog by Matt Mellen with more detail of a transition to a healthier city. The dreamers are out there…
You know what… I don’t really for a second believe a planning permission proposal of this kind will be accepted. Not in the very near future anyway, but then maybe I’m being negative. It’s a glimpse – a vision of another way. There are no excuses for living in nonsense. Some people need to see to understand and that is the beginning. The slave trade was something we developed and it became inconceivable not to live without it, but it was abandoned – (at least the formal slave trade was abandoned), and now we can barely believe we could be so brutal and stupid. I think we will think of these days in that way, how we filled our cities with motors, allowing them to dominate our space, pollute our bodies and separate us from each other. If we get that far… is always a dark thought I hear. The holy electric car is not the solution either for our cities. Replacing petrol and diesel with batteries however silent and pollution free they might be will not bring peace and the greater vision I am seeing here.
You don’t have to have trees in your section but it aught bear nature and people’s wellbeing in mind. By all means think technology. Think seasonal. Think financial if that drives you but I would love to screen your ideas!
RehabRd the World
I’d like to start a number of RehabRd projects across the world. Please feel free to start a thread. Some suggestions…
BROADWAY, NEW YORK, NY, USA.
Arch de Triumph, Paris
I’ve never been to India. Perhaps someone can suggest a suitable Road to transform.
Your Road, your high street
Or what where you live? Get your street involved. Let’s go bananas – redesign the whole thing… why wait for ‘them’.