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Designing cities for human scale


When you look at this photo of the Phoenix City Hall in 1901, what do you see? Maybe an old building, possibly the palm trees, maybe the the lawn. I see the sidewalk.

I'm a Graphic Designer, not an architect, or a city planner, but I notice design. And you really don't see much design like this nowadays. This is human scale. Please take another look at the sidewalk.

Note the angle. This sidewalk goes to the building from the street corner. This is how humans walk to places - they don't walk using right angles, they choose the shortest path. If you've ever seen signs that say "keep off of the grass", or where the grass is worn from where people prefer to walk, you have seen failed design. The sidewalk should be where people walk, people should not be told where to walk because of the placement of the sidewalk.

Now take a look at that post in the front. It's there to keep vehicles out. This path is wide enough for vehicles, but it's meant for people. Having a space that is shared by humans and vehicles is a recipe for disaster.

I've lived in Phoenix, and Los Angeles, all of my adult life. And like most people, I have driven everywhere. So, don't get me wrong, I like cars, but it's nice to see human scale every once in a while. And human scale is returning to American cities, like Phoenix. So, I will speak not only for the trees, but also for the humans.