vertical neighborhoods
i am doing a thesis on vertical a mixed use vertical neighborhood developement in mumbai. can anyone name a few successful neighborhoods and also mixed use vertical structures which are successful.
Meera Venkat
vertical neighborhoods
Meera, "Vertical neighbourhoods" sound wonderful but do not work in practice (I remember reading a magazine article about a proposal for a "Mile high village" back in the 1980s).

Quite apart from being an obvious terrorist target, skyscrapers usually have only a very small area on any one level and this automatically restricts interaction between levels.

Modernist (Brutalist) multifloor housing blocks were built back in the 1960s in Britain, America and elsewhere and most have either been demolished or are empty and vandalised, because people do not want to live in chickencoops in the sky.

Today, a number of tower blocks have been renovated, but they no longer have free access and are therefore a type of vertical "gated community".

And in Britain, "Broadwater Farm" a multi-level housing estate which had walkways between the blocks at various levels above ground, became notorious back in the 1980s when a mob killed and almost completely cut off the head of a policeman who was trying to stop the mob from attacking firemen.

The problem with vertical housing is that parents in flats above the ground lost control of their children running about in gangs on the ground and anti-social behaviour became normal rather than the exception. If you have ever read the rather unpleasant book "Lord of the Flies" by William Golding, you will know what I mean.
Frank John Snelling
vertical neighborhoods
Meera, a good book to read is "Utopia on Trial" by Alice Coleman [Professor, King`s College, London]. Published in 1985 by Hilary Shipman, London.
Frank John Snelling
vertical neighborhoods
Hi Meera,

Been to this exhibition recently and found some good examples of contemporary highrise developments. Try these may have to use chrome browser to do the translation if needed...
Sriraj Gokarakonda
vertical neighborhoods
Dear Frank,

Highrise is the contemporary trend though I am not very sure if it is the need of the hour. High rise housing of over and above 20 floors high has been the trend in China, India, Singapore and in many other Asian countries because of the limitations on the availabitliy of space which is already well connected to cities and highways.
Sriraj Gokarakonda
vertical neighborhoods
Dear Sriraj, I can understand the pressure for more and more and more urban housing as modern cities grow and grow. But there will come a tipping-point in such growth when the infrastructure will collapse under the weight of population numbers. I say this because the age of the mega city is a brand new phenomenum which is being tested to the limit, in the same way as humanity always tests what appears to be a good idea to the limit.

For example, when cathedrals were being built in the Middle Ages in Europe, quite often they collapsed during construction, because nothing was known about the science of civil engineering and so everything was `trial and error`. So when a cathredral fell down, the master builders (mimars) added reinforcement and carried on building until such time as the building did not fall down.

In other words, the fact that Humanity now has the relatively new science of Civil Engineering and Reinforced Concrete has only been around for about 150 years, means that again both materials and knowledge are being tested to the limit without much thought for the future.

For example, in Post World War Two Britain, large areas of major cities were bombed flat by Nazi Germany and so this `blank canvas` was seen as a golden opportunity to build urban areas nearer to the Garden City / Utopian vision of prewar modernists.

And this utopian vision was coupled with the urgent need to provide urban housing and so even in the 1960s some 15 years after World War Two, tower blocks were still being built on `bombed-out` urban sites.

However, there was a horrifying gas explosion at Ronan Point (a newly built tower block) in London, because a quarter of the building simply collapsed like a pack of cards.

The reason for this collapse like `a pack of cards` was because postwar tower blocks were built like a house of cards using large concrete slabs as walls. The investigation found that the problem was poor construction methods, because the workers were not trained or properly trained to locate and lock these slabs together.

So Ronan Point was "a wake up call" which burst the `factory-manufactured building` balloon and so the building of tower blocks fell out of favour. And to illustrate the problems inherent in building tower blocks, I have read in the past few years about how tower blocks built in the Post War (WW2) buildng boom were now literally falling apart because bits of concrete were falling off these Tower Block buildings onto the street below.

Therefore tower blocks should be built extremely carefully and there must be provision for a life-time of repair and maintenance in the years ahead.

Given that most if not all of the tower blocks built in Britain were designed and built for working class people and given that these tower blocks were owned and supposedly maintained by local government. Then these tower blocks were built for political and social reasons as a reasonable solution to housing shortages, but these tower blocks were not maintained by local government and the people who lived in these "chicken coops in the sky" became alienated and in particular the children who were brought up in these tower blocks ran wild in the streets below and so a culture of anti-social behaviour gradually developed.

And this culture of alienation has now taken such a firm grip in the minds of the urban poor that Britain today now has what is called "an underclass" (below the working class) and this underclass because many if not most are unable to find employment when they leave school, because the usual low paid "starter" jobs have been taken by young adult white "migrants" from the European Union and so this homegrown `underclass` is forced to live on the dole (State charity).
Frank John Snelling


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