Old and New Visions


In the 1950s, Louis Kahn was proposing car parking towers ringing Philadelphia’s CBD. Today that city holds international design competitions soliciting buildings that will celebrate cycling, like this 3rd place getter, by Swedish architects "We Are You". It turns bicycle parking into a kind of facade treatment.

And while, in the 1950s, happy healthy young families were rushing to buy into the prototypical car-space subdivision, Levittown, today a consortium of developers are offering "Bicycle City", the first in a promised chain of bicycle dependent subdivisions/intentional communities. The architect on their advisory board uses the language of the new urbanism to relay her vision for what might actually come to fruition—developers willing. This is a project to watch! The concept may prove to be mostly rhetorical—ala Celebration—or perhaps little more than developer greenwashing. But I’ll admit to feeling uncharacteristically optimistic in this case.

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