The Case Against The Centralized City

Kerwin Datu suggests that transit in cities of the future should no longer be organized around a distinct center. "Rather than think of a city as a centre surrounded by suburbs, think of it as a patchwork of specialised districts woven together."
August 19, 2010, 6am PDT | George Haugh
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Datu asks "what is the center?" Often it is a historical, commercial or financial district but he pointedly argues that there is no need for either of these to be "at the centre of a large city, nor in the same place, and it would make for better planning if we abandoned the myth of the city centre altogether."

He argues that the importance of the city center around the world is more often than not the result of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Most older city centers have been subject to an upward spiral of infrastructure investment which has fortified their hollow pre-eminence within the metropolis.

Datu states that rather than reduce congestion, increased public transport merely increases a city's commuting capacity, most often with an intense centralizing effect.

"Large cities today need to be planned not in concentric circles, but as tapestries. We still need differing degrees of intensity across urban areas, but these should be planned as an orderly modulation of intensity throughout the metropolis."

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Published on Thursday, July 29, 2010 in The Global Urbanist
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