What is the most important feature of the property (I mean a flat, house, appartment or bungalow)? More important than the amout of rooms or how well it's decorated? It's a location!
Would you like a penthouse in a desert? A small house by the sea is a dream of millions. But our cities are far from being a dream come true. Some people live next to the park or a lake, but most are not. I was thinking - how should have our cities been built to make everybody happy with their property.
In the past, people took what the nature gave them - a cave, leather drape for a door, a branch as a weapon. With time people started making their own tools and build their homes. But we still build cities randomly - where there's some place not too steep and not too wet and not too dry. I think with time people start making their cities according to the plan larger than just "filling the area with buildings packed as close as possible to each other like in Tetris".
Most poeople like fresh air of the forest. So a city must be a forest. Many like lakes. There should be lakes in the forest. Cities should have good bycicle infrastructure. Bycicle roads in a forest. Cars and roads are still needed. Transporting heavy stuff or lazy people is important. Quickly. So we need highways in a forest.
For a biker a 100 m. detour is more annoying that to a car driver. So we build straight and convenient bycicle roads, without traffic lights! Cars can drive around a bit without much trouble.
Now the houses. Current high building are an efficient use of land but that is not a priority anymore. They are a problem for disabled people, for firefighters, for moms with children, for elderly - effectively for all of us at some stage in life.
So we build a 2-3 storey houses. In which arrangement? Currently every house is isolated from it's neighbors. Often with a fence. Everybody has their own garden, their own lawnmower, own drill, vacuum clener, Internet connection, phone line, network router, printer, etc. This is very ineffective. It's a share nothing architecture. I suggest to build houses arranged in a circle around a central shared area.
This shared area may have a small playground, a common house used by everybody in a circular block, a common garden. In a house there can be a set of instruments and tools, a large table with chairs for everybody in a block, storage shelves for common and private stuff. People should be encouraged to share things they don't use everyday with their closest neighbors. Why not? Of couse, you can have your private juice maker if you like. I can't convince you. You either support the idea of sharing or you don't.
Parking is underground under the buildings. With space for visitor cars and bikes. Cars can be shared as well, by the way.
So we have circular districts of houses with a common shared house in the center located in a forest with bycicle routes to other circular districts, but in which arrangement?
Current cities are either circular (like Moscow) or square (like New York). Circular are more natural as they evolved around a palace, castle or church. We always have a center or a downtown in every city, where there are more of everything (government institutions, restaurants, entertainment, shops) and the property prices are higher. This leads to traffic into and out of the center, parking problems, pollution, waste management - all the city problems we heard of so much.
My suggestion is to disperse all that can be usually found in the center equally thoughout the forest-city. There will be a bakery for each X of the circular districts, a kindergarden, school, cinema, hospital and everything else. Yes, this way we need more of these facilities and they will be smaller. Different facilities will have a different dispercity level, of course. But they should not tend to be situated close to each other. Or maybe we can have islands of public service buildings for every X of the living blocks.
Do you imagine a homogenous city consisting of neighborhoods in a forest? Such city can be easily expanded in any direction by just adding living districts with some islands of public service areas. These areas should be reachable in 5-10 minutes by bike.
Would you live in such a city? Let me know in the comments.