Environmental & Social Solutions
by Gilles Gauthier
The Gauthier’s Linear City brings several solutions to our ecological and sociological problems.
This architectural research aims at increasing the quality of life by bringing the country-side to the city and a public transportation more efficient than personal cars, that are a major source of noise and pollution.
It does so through a realistic and affordable transition.
The solution provided is the Linear City. We construct in height and linearly, while offering multiple architectural variations. The advantage of this linearity is to make efficient the public transportation, since it eliminates the multiple connections of the existing systems.
Three basements receive three systems of public transportation juxtaposed and interconnected (Metro, train, TGV).
We all live in a provincial park which offers the beauty, tranquility, clean air and an exceptional view.
We must clearly understand that the project of the Linear City is only a continuation of buildings of about 340 units connected to each other and the project may stop and restart when new needs arise. So at first, no need to remake the city completely, this can only be only one attractive building. With time other properties will be added in order to become a neighborhood, a village, and eventually a new city.
These new buildings can be constructed by different constructors and they will be part of a general plan, defined by the town planners and politicians.
Organization of a building
Each dwelling has an arrangement, a surface or a distinct configuration. Each dwelling has a large private terrace and has a view that only a national park can offer. It while shares a larger terrace where a swimming pool, a sauna, a small park and a playground for children could be found. These stages provide a protected playground for children, which can be monitored from the terrace.
This group of approximately 100 residents form small communities that encourage a social life and may restrict the loneliness problem that we find in our modern cities.
Every floor provides different services such as: mailboxes, fire station, workshops, storages spaces, vending machines (newspapers, pure water, various products), four garbage chutes providing easy recycling (paper, glass and metals, composting and various garbage).
The height of a residential property may vary between 12-16 floors. The building can add commercial floors under the residential ones, resulting in some variation in the height, as a mountains chain.
When present, the commercial area, at the main floor there will have shops and on the upper floors offices and factories. It is thus possible to live directly above the workplace, which will encourage some owners: by an economy of time and displacement, the ease for work mid-residence and mid-office, in the proximity of the children or a resting place, etc.
Each building regroups 328 apartments accommodating around 775 residents plus the commercial floors. On the rooftop, we find a community park with games, a pool, a wading pool, a sauna, a picnic and sun-bathing areas, a shaded area, a gazebo, a small restaurant-bar as well as a reception room. The roof of the upper terrace with its activities, recreates the sociological benefits offered by the village, while taking advantage of public transport and conveniences of the city. Footpaths will link the different roofs to one another as well as indoor corridors.
A landscaping surrounds the building and integrates, if necessary, outdoor recreational activities. We could therefore find: a bicycle trail, parks and footpaths, equestrian trails, private gardens, various sporting equipment, historic sites, and areas for certain public activities, and some buildings including the structural frame of the linear city which does not allow to host. A programming document and plans describe the city and its components.
Organization of the city in modules
The group of 7 buildings create a module which provides the services that its population can justify: subway station, sports facilities, parks, and shops, etc. And so on, a group of modules would necessitate the services of a small town: train and subway stations, recreational and education services, hospital, services and shops for the population area, etc. Finally, (e.g.: for every 2 million inhabitants) we should find all the services and advantages found in large cities with its high speed trains and subway station.
The public transportation system is distributed on three interconnected levels, will serve the passengers and freight for the short distances (metro), medium distances (suburban train) and long distances (high speed trains). The rental of small electric vehicles and the use of small carts will make the transport of freight more effective than the car.
A quick and easy access to these vehicles is provided in the train wagons and elevators. A referral services and storage areas for train wagons and elevators. is also planned to rapidly move goods without slowing the circulations. The suburban trains and high speed trains circulate outside the Linear City and they enter only to stations.
The Linear City, using very little space, should provide the most interesting places of the country, which frequently corresponds to the encroachment of national roads.
We must regularly discontinue the continuity of buildings to allow the passage of animals, the transportation is then underground.
Initially, the cars will be stationed in the basement planned for public transportation and the Linear City should be connected to the existing road networking, by rapidly connecting to the existing city center. And furthermore, to encourage its first occupants, there will be buses that will stop and will link the Linear City to the existing city center. This implantation process will promote the development of the Linear City because it will be advantageously connected to the existing town centers and by providing public transportation to its inhabitants, and this from the very beginning.
As the number of residents will justify it as the number of inhabitants will be justified buses will be gradually replaced by the metro, commuter train, and high speed trains. An underground channel will be reserved for the circulation of emergency vehicles and special services.
To reach these destinations that they do not serve public transportation, occasional rental of vehicles will become less expensive than purchasing. We will find rental centers the extremities and outings of the Linear City. Of course, this new city will offer different small electric vehicles required for the transport of goods.
For each city, an analysis of the transition should be adapted to achieve, eventually, the creation of a new modernized downtown area.
At first, a monorail train could connect the Linear City to the existing city center. This type of transport is inexpensive, and can be dismantled and relocate elsewhere.
The Economic Potential of Linear City
The government, being the largest landowner of the roads and the lands could only act that as a property developer and allow the reconstruction by various contractors. The government realizes a considerable profit by selling the buildings to the users in the form of condominiums. The profit could reach 30% of the sale price (15% of normal profit of any promoter and 15% of the land value if it belongs already to the government). This project at gradual transition, would provide a long-term boost to the economy while giving its residents a magnificent living environment. The interesting city develops its general development plan of urbanism of the Linear City and invites the constructors to participate.
Several construction elements of the Linear City are repetitive, the construction cost could be significantly reduced by an industrialization and a mechanization.
By providing an effective transportation system, we avoid buying automobiles and oil which contributes to reduce negative commercial balances. In addition, by stopping buying cars, we greatly reduced the cost of living of every citizen. The consumption of gasoline, reduced to almost nothing, would eliminate global warming as well as preserving this limited resource.
The linearity of the city helps to reduce the cost of a multitude of goods and services: the roads and their maintenance, the aqueduct and sewage networks, (gas, electricity, cable, telephone, mail, etc.) the protection and security systems, etc.
The 95% reduction of land use will help to protect the agricultural land, essential to future generations, while decreasing the desertification and protect animal and plant life.
In order to provide an average house of 40 square meters for each person, a workplace, the facilities required for transportation, the services and leisure activities that we currently use, in an American metropolis and its suburbs with between 500 and 700 square meters per capita, Paris and its suburbs takes 300 square meters per capita and Sao Paulo uses 175 square meters. For the same functions the Linear City only use 20 square meters per capita a reduction of 95% of land. This reduction in the use of private land and excessively long aqueduct networks it would greatly reduce our consumption of potable water, resource which is considerably at risk.
The selective collection of waste could be simplified and more efficient. Its functioning would be done by various garbage chutes directly connected to wagons and thus forwarded to the processing plant.
The utilization of new technologies, ecological strategies and materials may very well favor the Linear City and will dramatically reduce the cost of air conditioning and heating.
The cost of government services being reduced, the amount of income taxes and other taxes might reduce the national debt.
Improving the Safety
The links between buildings would make high buildings more easily evacuated during fire, both horizontally and vertically. The integrated fire system to a incombustible construction would reduce the damage and the loss of life caused by the fires. A combined module monitoring center with the use of cameras will put all public areas under surveillance and fast arrival of help. Subterranean lanes reserved to certain vehicles would allow quick access for fire fighters, ambulances and policemen. The public transport system would make of car accidents thing of the past.
Diversity and Architectural Conservation
The plans and documents of this project provide only an architectural programming, describing the functioning, the dimensions and an analyze the main elements. The modulation in 7 buildings allows of architectural variation and promotes membership. The building design, the landscape designs, the housing and public buildings outside city should be left to professionals of different countries to provide diversity. The decrease in built-up areas and the construction of several public buildings outside the Linear City might justify and amortize the enhancement a higher quality of architecture.
We must also conserve the buildings and sites of historical or architectural value. Such places could also accommodate public uses. Specific activities may not be integrated in the Linear City, which would create sectors outside cities dedicated to certain vocations (E.g. agriculture, resort areas, mining and forest village, marginal specific needs, attractive sectors of our existing cities, etc.).
For people that prefer a conventional home, but wishing to enjoy the advantages of the Linear City, we could combine the supports to the single family houses by the Japanese architect Kiyonori Kikutake. These supports can be piled up on a triangular structure the individual houses..would also be appropriate for the Linear City.
The mechanization of agriculture as proposed by the Japanese engineer Tetsuya Hanamura.
The engineer Arturo Soria y Mata had already thought of a linear city in 1882. Along with our current technologies, we might rethink and improve the way we are living in order not bequeath to future generations environmental disasters and unpleasant places to live.
I believe that the Linear City provides a realistic and attractive solution to the problems that we must overcome. Obviously, such a development is done in collaboration with VL urban planners and local professionals. My copyrights are all offered free as a contribution to our future.
I am open to any suggestions for the improvement of the project to accommodate 9.5 billion of human planned for 2050 and who hope, legitimately, to live according to the North American model. We must not forget that we live on a planet which has its ecological laws to respect and that we must respect them if we wish to continue to live on this planet in a pleasant way.
And those who ignores this reality by claiming that it is only a utopia, we can quote Le Corbusier who said ” It’s good to know that the utopia is never anything other than the reality of tomorrow …”