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Transport as a field

for local anarchy
Henrik Sander and Frank van der Hoeven talk to Thomas Sieverts on
the redundancy of urban systems as inspiration for future development.

June 1969, transport Protest in Hannover: Protesters paint leaflets with red dots that indicate a driver is willing to pick up passengers.
(photo: Stadtarchiv Hannover)

Henrik Sander, HafenCity Universität, and suburbs. It is true that Zwischenstadt and How should we interpret this new urban
Frank van der Hoeven, Delft University of the suburbs are characterised by the same phenomenon from the perspective of
Technology low densities, but unlike the suburbs, sustainable mobility?
Zwischenstadt is not dependant on a core
Thomas Sieverts is well known in the German city; it is a functional urban area in its own We meet Thomas Sieverts in his office a
speaking world for his book Zwischenstadt. right. In highlighting this emerging trend, short walking distance from Bonn central
In it he refers to an emerging urban condition Sieverts met fierce opposition. Some seemed station in the Rhine-Ruhr area. Straight
found especially in North-West Europe: rural to think that the bringer of the ‘bad’ news away, he put us on the wrong foot. ‘I have
areas become increasingly urban without identified himself with the message, but this a lot of good stories about trains. I don’t
developing into cities in a classical sense. They is not necessarily the case. Henrik Sander like cars. You must know that I never had
exist somewhere in a state between rural and and Frank van der Hoeven spoke with Sieverts a license. My knowledge of the car-oriented
metropolitan, but should not be mistaken for on the mobility aspects of Zwischenstadt. city is very theoretical.’ Y

Instead . What will happen city and a transit-oriented city. The car-oriented city. Nobody knows what will actually happen. for example. had a big impact on Von Winning and his colleagues developed an a balanced daily traffic load. including that our system as a whole is to a large housing. connecting them together.NovaTerra Connected Cities / April 2008 /  Next to the transit-oriented city you will find areas that are not touched by public transport whatsoever The dolmus is a common form of small scale public transport throughout Turkey. can cope very well with transport systems are more or less organised case the situation will be completely different. All of these hybrid mixed are optimistic views that say we will. by the people themselves when it becomes It is very difficult to generalise what is ‘It may be a realistic scenario. remains to be seen. to combine a they will organise things themselves. the share a car instead of each of them using seminar on Sustainable Spatial Planning. It will city and a transit-oriented city. If people lack the resources. or call-taxis. (photo: Umut Duya) scenarios relation between transport and urban form. What its interesting model. Based on their model we can Pessimists say that the car will be gone in estimate how much we have to invest in the ‘Next to this transit-oriented city you will find no more than twenty years. They say that in the future that is the idea of Winning and his colleagues. like car sharing an assumption. Well. shopping centres. I am certain of this. we already have a completely in Liechtenstein and organised by Henning improved by including other uses. We will have a necessary. We will see a car-oriented Over a period of about thirty years it should There is a lot of speculation. monofunctional environments. universities and degree redundant. The transit-oriented city depends whatsoever. or can’t oriented city. Connectivity can be their own. sense this way. role in the future will be. Those who cannot afford to buy happening. basically the past development of our cities. held more likely it is to fail. of course. It might different situation. They based be possible to create such a system to quite to fossil energy? How will incomes develop? their model on calculations and say it makes a good degree.and transit-oriented cities offices. but personally I think the system separated city that combines a car-oriented or use a car. The transit- adapt itself if the rate of change is not too oriented city will have to combine all public ‘One of my basic ideas and assumptions is rapid. The people that live there will burn it because of climate change. Part of the event dealt with the be possible. a kind of belief. The more reserves in this system. We have enormous hidden car. areas that are not touched by public transport that we won’t have enough fuel. Then there to keep it functioning. They predict car-oriented city and how much in the transit. If just two people ‘I have just returned from a doctoral monofunctional the system becomes. is extremely flexible and redundant. von Winning. functions and other land uses. In that on the other hand. there will be both. will share it. university with a shopping centre to ensure ‘The car. This is on station areas with mixed urban functions find other ways to get around.

for shopping or even for schools. of modernity. be able to obtain the benefits of a car. experiment. the spatial will win. their nest-eggs? All the indications now are to come to the door. the fishmonger. This would require high densities collapse – and some may even result in better even the local newspapers. making the system even more used the regular bus and tram stops to pick freedom of movement is a major achievement adaptable. increase the single fare price from 70 to be another world altogether where people It opens up a period of experiments. student organisations and other it. it is just a matter Hanover in June 1969. society is so rich and so redundant. The protest was directed much different. In the transit-oriented city things are Flanders. local political parties and finally systems. like by students. which wanted to connectivity – but the car-oriented city might Again. I do not believe blockages of tram and bus services. rural areas this is already happening. Then the have growing floor space requirements. It is fun! blockages and stopped demonstrations. with teachers Leaflets and radio reports by the Hanoverian moving instead of the children. people organised a series of not worked. and Y . In June 1969 everywhere and people will not accept that. This concept could result The protesters had organised an alternative that they will put their eggs into the car in highly specialised centres and flexible urban transport system. Our 80 Pfennig. it will. There you need centralised decide to provide transport for specific groups: against fare increases by the private Hanover systems – the Swiss timetable that guarantees schoolchildren. up and drop off their red point passengers. But this again is hardware will have to come to the people. but it did not result densification of building masses. foot print of living standard has become so large that even with built-up areas around ‘If people cannot move about anymore. Red point motorists basket for a very long time. and in ‘Do you know about the Rote Punkt Aktion. In the end the city had to reduce of affluence do not grow any further. in a traffic collapse. that the communities themselves leftist groups. Specific groups out of action for days. living qualities. transport operator Üstra. This might be true for medicines. The people themselves will arrange ‘In response we see in some regions. the baker and others their willingness to take on passengers. everything will simply fail. of living without a car. ‘red point’ stickers to motorists. where will people put butcher. It will be impossible to create a situation much too adaptable and polynucleated for with support from works councils. By putting difficult to predict: will incomes rise or fall? In my youth it was quite normal for the them behind their windshields they indicated And even if they fall. A kind the red point action? In response to price of unnoticed fading out of public transport increases in public transport in the late sixties ‘You may say that until now paratransit has services is already taking place in certain in Germany. the deficits anymore. In fact. In that case. but I am convinced that if the areas. try something. prominent red point action took place in As with all of these systems. The action was initiated of price. ‘This is what you have to consider about all to prevent the protesters from imposing Most people prefer low density living and these doomsday scenarios. The government are not willing to pay remarkable bottom-up protests. the elderly and shoppers. this is a kind of decentralised system. we will face ideas. while others will lose. the ‘A large number of volunteers distributed stations it won’t work. It started with some initial days organise themselves according to prices. The most economic pressure is high enough. and stimulate awareness at the local the fare to 50 Pfennig and make Üstra a public prosperity is not rising at the speed it did over authorities and throughout society.NovaTerra Connected Cities / April 2008 /  Dot2dot is operating between central London and Heathrow and Gatwick airports. But you need to carefully the tram and bus services were effectively It is no longer simply a matter of the examine the social effects. This desire for satellites. In a grand NDR informed the public about the intentions adaptable vision one should at least sketch these of the demonstrators and the progress of ‘Let us assume for a moment that levels possible options to open up the imagination their actions. of small protests and attempts by the police And there is a demand for that other world. the system is people of Hanover showed their solidarity. Develop company before the protestors removed the the last 50 years. There are so many ways to escape the unions. trade where all of the urban area is served by transit that. they will organise the prospect of closing down public transport rote punkt aktion themselves in such a way that they will still services in certain areas quite soon.

these economic models are oversimplified in this package. which was a growth of Hanover. global market – will become similar. arriving completely refreshed. and of the area. the quality of a certain what kind of policy might be possible. period. or clustering. to the city. which the other features could be completely There you have isolated areas that could not is a real urban area. you can’t though. I do not know what will be economic success. That’s a rich idea. Sao Paulo is of and France. the direct investment in fostering economic as a way for unemployed people to earn growth was utterly unsuccessful in the Ruhr. One thing debate. should be referred to with interesting example from Sao Paulo. And people could really will have its place. when for commuters. certain people. but it is still a serious issue. but there will be so many story.’ Y entrepreneur has developed a special bus not been successful since. They Different kinds of situations need to be Emscher Park came about because we saw that will organise themselves in some way. like the Bodensee area. is only half the to Good Practice.00 pm. At least in Germany become increasingly individual. and yet they are a typology from which you may be able to public transport with large vehicles that doing extremely well. You could look at other successful Bulgaria. which to introduce overall solutions. It will be difficult to find the imagination to see how this could work. I think classical conceivably be successful. money. In a way this is a theoretical be supported.NovaTerra Connected Cities / April 2008 / 10 things returned to normal again in the city there and have a bath while being driven reconstruction period. which is still a very rural country. which wants to heighten quality of areas which show potential should ‘It is hard to tell in what direction the the differences. The idea that the consequences would be. more and more differentiated. representing the indirectly by raising the environmental quality policy of equalising living conditions. say. ultimate solution or the ‘average’ city in fordism is gone I think it will start with the lower classes. Best the solution. The hidden reserves in this systems ‘There is this great debate in Germany So we thought we could only do this very are so unbelievable high. These kind of qualities will in urban areas of Europe will develop. The city products – and suddenly there is an considerable caution because situations will is so big and the better housing areas are unexpected take off. The other half is about individual learn from them. . but it will be one thing in Some features – those directly linked to the diagrams. CO 2 and with that reducing climate change: red-dot-action. sleep the reconstruction period finished. This would be part of different. Fordism is so far away from the centre that a clever the direct fostering of economic growth has gone. the Netherlands solutions. but all areas. In the In June 1969 the tram and bus services were effectively out of action for days. but to my eyes Public transport is an important component they will all become the same is not true. 1970. This is true again. a similar action was started recently to drop pollution. certain practices. you can use your solutions. But this is gone now. I am not future be even more of a basic condition for I am sure of is that our cities will become an economist. paratransit-oriented areas. I think. this social democratic success story ‘Paratransit systems offer so many different This anecdote illustrates the rich mine of worked. consisting of transit-oriented and course an extreme city demanding extreme reasons. They board at 11. Voralberg. the future will be extremely different. such classified. A professor told me about an regional culture. see where they are and other places where this will no longer be entrepreneurship. between the old school. This geographical distil some preliminary order for your Guide need many people to operate economically consideration. as it did in England. If you think in this two model possibilities for paratransit. ‘What we did in the Ruhr area with the IBA because they simply have less money. but it did not result in a traffic collapse Inspired by the remarkable bottom-up protests that took place in the late sixties in Germany. For good system. Increasing the differentiation the new school. and another entirely in the Randstad.