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McKinsey Article: Creating a ‘smart city’ from the ground up in India

urban design

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#1 gdvanc


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Posted 16 January 2017 - 04:37 PM

Creating a ‘smart city’ from the ground up in India


The city's name is Palava. It's on FB and YouTube and Twitter.


The developer has a goal of making it one of the top 50 most-livable cities in the world in a country where no city is currently in the top 100. He talks about the choice between 'fixing' an existing city or creating a new one. He points out the challenges of both and considers this a compromise: a new city relatively close (25 miles) to a major urban core.


This is not a new idea, of course (*cough* Las Colinas), but these types of projects always make me think of how I might do something similar near Fort Worth if I had access to a ridiculous pile of cash. For my purposes, I'd want to build something that would supplement the existing core - not 25 miles away but perhaps, oh, across a river or highway. I mean, a large project downtown might have limitations based on existing design and infrastructure, but if we were building from scratch in a greenfield or brownfield practically adjacent to downtown we might be significantly less restricted. We could tie it strongly to the existing downtown to ensure that they support and feed off of one another.


Perhaps this is somewhat the goal of that Trinity River thing, but that might have too much governmental involvement for my purposes. And that's their dream, not mine.


So if you were designing a sort of downtown Fort Worth, phase II given the state of current technology (not just IT and communications, but also energy, transportation, etc.), current demographic needs and trends, your own values and dreams, and so on... what would you do? Keep in mind that if I win a lot of money I may steal some of your ideas. But I'll upvote your post here so it's cool.

#2 Austin55


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Posted 16 January 2017 - 10:59 PM

The Trinity River Vision is, on paper, pretty much exactly what I'd like to see. Being an island gives you a lot of freedom to encourage a more self-sustaining environment.  (see  NYC's Roosevelt Island) The canals and river promenades could make for wonderful public spaces. In my ideal city, I'd make these requirements - 


-Every building must attempt to have some sort of green rooftop, or solar panels. 

-Limit parking as much as possible, perhaps require all garages to be underground
-All city service vehicles would be hybrid or electric if possible. 

-Majority of roads would be pedestrian malls, only the main thoroughfares designed to carry cars and be 2 lanes in width max.

-Streetcar system. Duh!

-Every intersection or block must have at least 1 retail space. Major roads would be lined with retail. 
-Bike sharing stations on at least every block, (or stationless bike shares)
-If my city had no existing historical buildings, I'd find endangered buildings from other cities and relocate them to my city. 
-Lots of public art, especially sculptures. I love sculptures. 

-Interesting but hidden alleyways, for example the alley in downtown FW behind 5 guys. To encourage exploration. 

-A decent chunk of housing, perhaps 20% or so, would probably need to be market rate, otherwise it will get expensive fast. 

-At least one truly iconic landmark. Not sure what that'd be. I adore Seattle's Public library, so maybe something like that. 

Basically, I'd take the rivers and canals of the Trinity River Vision and plop the architecture and streets of Portland's Pearl District over top of that. 

In Fort Worth Clearfork could also have been made into an interesting area, it has close proximity to downtown and was quite a large open area. I think it will be a nice development, but not quite as urban and ideally walkable as some places. 


#3 gdvanc


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Posted 17 January 2017 - 01:15 AM

Well, I'm going to leave TRV to you. I'm not as high on it as some are. Not that I don't think it can't be a nice place and won't benefit the city. And it does fit in this discussion if that's what you want to build.


There's one quote from the article I'd like to mention:




When we started building Palava, we began with the classical definition. We used the notion of 5-10-15, which means everything you require daily should be within 5 minutes of walking, what you need every three to four days should be within a 10-minute walk, and things you use within a week to a month should be within a 15- to 20-minute walk.


Now, I like this notion. My goal for this new development would be to make it somewhat self-contained - to minimize the need to drive to other parts of the city. I'm not anti-car - hell, I live in the suburbs - but I want this to be a development to try something new in the Fort.


Based on somewhat-dated articles I just read, people tend to go to the grocery store a couple times a week; given that and the above quote, it sounds like if this were primarily a walking neighborhood the stores customers would need to live no more than .6 miles away (which I believe is not atypical for a 10-minute walk). Based on the same dated articles, depending on various factors, it requires 2,500 to 5,000 people to support a typical grocery (with most quotes more on the higher end of that range). Well, we're not necessarily looking for a 50,000 sq ft store. Probably something smaller so maybe on the lower end of that population range.


Ok, the math is already giving me a headache, but whatever numbers you choose there seem like a density requirement a little higher than I can reasonably expect in Fort Worth this early in the 21st Century. So I'll let go of the "walking only" dream and provide some parking spaces. This is also perhaps an opportunity to invest in a service such as grocery delivery to help minimize auto traffic and parking needs. 


Anyway, I haven't made much of a point yet. Ultimately I'd like to have a large residential population and for people to be able to do most of what they do without having to drive much. This will obvi require some density and efficient ways to move people around and, when practical, to deliver to them what they need in order to prevent unnecessary trips. I'll try to expand on that at some point.


I am picturing a large, open central mall. Hm. Hopefully retail all along that with residential above. Bike stations. Bike taxis. If it's long enough, perhaps some modern take on a cable car. Or an actual cable car. No monorail, though.

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