Forum 2016 - Infrastructure Space - Detroit (Ruby Press)

309 308 urban area rail based public transport network Modal share in political city: Private motorised % Public transport, walking and cycling % 15 60 km 0 LEGEND: 95% 5% 93% 7% 67% 33% 68% 32% 88% 12% 8% 92% Pop 18,702,740 GDP per capita 4,334$ Pop 7,155,991 GDP per capita 36,789$ Pop 14,302,930 GDP per capita 54,304$ Pop 4,280,544 GDP per capita 37,147$ Pop 13,035,466 GDP per capita 60,881$ Pop 5,430,549 GDP per capita 54,853$ population living 500m from rail based public transport network 30% people per km 2 (average) 26,600 population living 500m from rail based public transport network 40% people per km 2 (average) 10,110 population living 500m from rail based public transport network 36% people per km 2 (average) 4,120 population living 500m from rail based public transport network 33% people per km 2 (average) 3,930 population living 500m from rail based public transport network 12% people per km 2 (average) 1,870 population living 500m from rail based public transport network 5% people per km 2 (average) 580 MUMBAI HONG KONG LONDON BERLIN LOS ANGELES ATLANTA Fig. 2: While Atlanta and Berlin have roughly the same population size, their urban footprint varies by a factor of seven. A third of all Berliners live 500 meters from a rail-based public transit network, while the number drops to 5 percent in Atlanta. people’s living conditions. Bogotá’s transport policies have furthermore taken the locations of public schools into account, the result being that the city now has the highest literacy rate in Latin America. Consider the effect such projects might have on parents who spend four or five hours commu- ting a day in order to reach their pla- ces of work and secure their family’s livelihood. Being denied accessibility, in other words, adversely affects popu- lations. This is by no means a perfect example, but it clearly demonstrates a way of dealing with infrastructure at the macro level in order to foster social change at the micro level. We must understand how to deal with infrastructure at both scales. The broad discussion on sustainability is concerned with how to increase human well-being, but also with how to reduce the energy footprint per person. At the heart of this discussion is the relationship between physical form, infrastructure, and sustainability. Societies have to decide on how to bring these components into a fruit- ful and positive relationship. Choices are to be made. It is a public-policy choice, but it is also a choice of how much one should allow the market to dictate policy. In cities such as Detroit or Los Angeles, for example, the tram systems that were built early on were removed decades ago, turning the car into the primary mode of transportati- on and thus foregrounding the role of a particular branch of industry. Now both cities are spending a tremendous amount of money to reintroduce pu- blic transport systems. By the same token, the effects of such choices can explicitly be discerned when compa- ring cities like Atlanta and Berlin (Fig. 2). Both have a population of roughly five million people, but the difference in size of their physical footprint when compared is vast. Given this differen- ce, one should not be surprised that more than 90 percent of Atlanta’s population use cars to get to work or school, while one-third of Berlin’s population live 500 meters away from rail-based public transport stations. Similar observations can be made when comparing London, New York, and Hong Kong in view of the relati- onship between physical form and inf- rastructure efficiency. London has had a costly investment in sophisticated transit for over 150 years; New York has the same population as London but double the density, with a high- priced and a well-maintained transit system; and Hong Kong is incredibly dense and has a highly efficient public transit system. In London, with nearly one million people commuting into the center each day, a rather extensive system of transport infrastructure is needed to allow the city to function. In New York City, despite having taller buildings and people living even closer together, more people come into the center on a daily basis. In Hong Kong, with an even greater density of resi- dents as well as workplaces, people live not only closer together, in thirty to forty-story buildings, but their relative travel distance to work is also less. What does all this have to do with the theme of infrastructure space? The relationship between physical density