02 October 2007

[urban_design] The Grid

979. The subject of city layout and address structures is one I've not touched on often of late (well, at all actually) but one which I keep mad keen interest in.

Latterly I was delighted to find an article in Wikipedia about that mainstay of the anglo-American city, the gridiron; read all about it here. The biggest takeaway for me was that, despite the prepoderance of such a grid plan in modern cities and the apparent lack in older ones, the gridiron type of street plan actually goes back a heck of a long way back–to the Indus Valley civilzations.

Grid plans actually seem to date, in the US, from the time of the original layout of Philadelphia which was design with wide straight streets and big blocks as a way to prevent the firetrap problems of cities that grew more organically.

And latterly, even though Europe is (at least to me) not known for griddled towns, there is at least one that qualifies–a town created in the 1960's, the "new town" of Milton Keynes.

While its more of a wobbly, wavy grid, MK's structure is that of the grid, with wide boulevards laid out to get you from one area of town to another, including wide roundabouts, as the map here will show:

This map was nicked from www.mkweb.co.uk, to which all credit goes. Read about Milton Keynes at Wikipedia here.

A net of H (Horizontal) roads mesh with V (Vertical) roads as a top-level in a street hierarchy, highly untypical for a European city–at least from an American perspective.

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