Misguided Utopias

Posted by: on Jan 13, 2014 | No Comments

Foster-SkyCycle   Over at Dezeen I got to read a bit more about Norman Foster’s highly touted Sky-Cycle concept, and while I completely understand the appeal, it makes the kinds of mistakes that led to its conception in the first place. The problem, obviously, is London’s congested streets, and the immense danger cyclists face on these streets (RIP Mary Hansen, can’t believe its been 11 years), but separating them out and adding another hard layer of connectivity simultaneously ignores the real problem and neutralizes the actual benefits of cycling. Sure, there are “200 points of entry” onto the system, but in our current system, there are as many “points of entry” as there are places to mount a bicycle. To reduce the range of bicycles to 200 distinct point-to-point vectors simply turns bicycles into false cars, lacking the power and the speed as well as the flexibility and spatial improvisation that makes up for that lack of power and speed.

A real innovation would be a way to challenge and reorganize the spatial configuration of the shared surface, not simply peel off a layer that makes biking worse and cedes the ground to automobiles.