Thoughts on Almere
Bas of amaze.nl sent me this note about Almere as a city we might learn from in building our carfree universe.
On car-free cities / environments
Your ideas on a car-free universe (preferably :) sound very interesting!
And with that in mind, I wanted to suggest
Almere to you. It's not a
car-free city at all, but it has some interesting concepts worked into it.
Almere was founded somewhere in 1973 or so, in Flevoland, a polder which was first just a bit of the IJsselmeer, or the IJssel lake.
And the growth and evolution of Almere differs immensely from any other
city we have here, since it was all planned from the beginning, instead
of evolved and just
done as it is with other (older) cities.
There were a number of principles when designing the city, one of them was that public transportation should always be leading, not cars etc.
So Almere has a finegrained network of buslines, which take you anywhere in the city in a very short time, and the roads for those busses are private, only busses are allowed to drive there. Together with some technical bits (for instance, if a bus approaches a crossing with a normal road, sensors in the road will detect the bus approaching, and will change the traffic lights to red for normal traffic, so the bus can continue unhindered), this makes for a rather effective busservice.
Another principle was that there would have to be
green all over the place.
Bushes, parks, etc are everywhere to be found in Almere.
Mind you, it's not an idyllic place at all, but it has some interesting ideas worked into it.
Oh, another nifty idea is that of the waste processing: there are a number of waste disposal sites, which are connected with eachother and the main depot by a conveyor belt, so waste is collected automatically. No more driving around with big noisy trucks etc.
(this is not implemented in all of Almere, but it is part of the setup of new parts).
There are a number of other interesting concepts wrt Almere, but that's more in the field of urban / city planning than it is of a car-free environment.
Although some of those things do help :)
There's a Dutch language only site of Almere at http://www.almere.nl/
And a PDF with some interesting information: (in english :) http://www.energie-cites.org/PDF/rf_priva.pdf RESTRAINING PRIVATE VEHICLES IN TOWN CENTRES A HANDBOOK FOR THOSE CONSIDERING STRATEGIES
Almere is mentioned here as one example approach.