North America » United States

Mega York Metro Matrix Pentagram
  New York Megalopolis Urban Metropolitan Structure MegaYork Metro Matrix
  Mega York plays its own Music. The Mega Metropolis that runs from Boston to Washington (and beyond) is set along the East Coast of northern America. Its setting corresponds to the Coastal Plain located between the Appalachians ridge and the capes of the Atlantic Ocean. The buffer zones between these three ecosystems, the inland maritime ports and the mountain foothills are especially significant for urban settlement.

The location of its main ports (New York, Baltimore, Philadelphia, Boston, Wilmington, etc.) is t the upmost point of the large gulfs where those can easily been crossed and inland access is achieved for maritime trade. The axis that links those ports (surprisingly straight and tilted to almost 45 degrees) conform the main axis of the Metropolis. These Main urban centers (sub-metropolises of their own) are located on this 600 km (400 miles) line, distant of around 50 km (30 miles) from one each other.

The two secondary lines that complement the ports and the foothills axes are the center-plain axis and the capes centralities. The final fifth, somehow marginal, axis is the first valley line of the Appalachians: the most accessible valley.

The waterway system does not run perpendicular to the topographical ecosystems. Instead of running northwest/southeast it does mostly North/South (IE: Hudson River). This diagonal direction with respect to the main directionality of the Mega-metropolis introduces a peculiarity in the Green Infrastructure system as well as to the urban settlements that will require special attention.

The result is a five axial system that form a geographical Pentagram where Mega York Metropolis is inserted. The urban centers are the notes of the system: a Pentagram where Mega York Metro-Matrix structure plays its own music.
Phoenix upside down. The conversion of the American nightmare
  Phoenix Metro Matrix TOD American urban nightmare metropolitan high density
  The problem with Phoenix is:

1) There are no 'Centralities': It is an ever-growing metastasis of urban continuum.
2) The urban centers are not (but for exceptions: Peoria, Avondale, Mesa, Chandler, Queen Creek) close to rail accessibility. TOD Centralities should be created on strategic new rail stations. (See Map, though 16 km span is too far apart. The ideal would be between 5 and 10 km. apart)
3) The rail system can be extended to reach historic centralities and provide for new ones: Scottsdale, Apache Junction, etc, (In dotted black line in the map)
4) There is not a Green Infrastructure network. Just some isolated 'cerros' of difficult construction access. Green should be networked.
5) The urban continuum should be re-qualified with specific functionalities (see UDE/BUD structure) to provide for sense of place for every part of it. That requires urban scale design (1:5.000 versus 1:50.000 metropolitan) and a more detailed policy design.
Washington DC 4M (Metro-Matrix Mental Map)
  Washington DC Mental Map Metro Matrix Urban Metropolitan Strategic Structure
  L'Enfant Plan is incomplete.
First of all he did not understand Montesquieu's 3 independent balanced powers of a Democracy: Legislative, Executive and Judiciary. The Capitol and the White House dialogue at both ends of the triangle, but the Supreme Court is not placed at the third angle, as it should be. The third angle is where Jefferson memorial is placed. Too late to revise that decision. But if we extend the 'other' triangle we find a potential site in Virginia shore that would open up a lot of other possibilities to respond to the Second mistake.
The Second mistake is the lack of an extended design to to the west shore of the Potomac. The Perspective of the Mall, beyond Lincoln Memorial, is unfinished. No design of the scenario of the Capital in the other side of Virginia. Arlington Cemetery Bridge is asking for a twin he was never granted. The intention was there when the Diamond was put in place. Lost afterwards when the west shore was returned to Virginia.
Is it time to revise both mistakes.
MARYLOOP: Washington DC/Maryland Metro-Matrix Metroloop Snapshot
  Washington DC Baltimore Maryland Maryloop Metro Matrix Metropolitan Plan
  Snapshots are quick Metro-Matrix approaches to specific urban areas or metropolises. They are an introductory analysis that will require much more research both to contrast the hypothesis and to define a more precise proposal regarding layout of matrix lines, location of centralities and other infrastructures as rail tracks intermodal stations, etc.

Since the 1785 Jefferson American Grid most of American urban development is established by this reticular system. Colonial America nevertheless followed a more organic approach as a natural settlement process on the East Coast. The linear location of the main centers (Boston, New York, Trenton, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington DC) of the huge conurbation determines the dominant directionality of an almost perfect straight NE-SW diagonal line.

The increase of traffic and the need to multiply transport infrastructures has created a parallel system of highways and rail-tracks to that main directionality. The Atlantic Cost and the Appalachians parallel lines create the secondary transversal directionality. Both form the natural reticula. Waterways nevertheless, run across the natural reticula in a north/south direction.

The existing rail tracks from Baltimore to Frederick and back to DC create the potential loop for a commuter train system that will allow for the TOD location of the expected new settlers in the area the next 20 years: 1 million? Future extensions of the rail system as well as the reticular road system will allow for a sustainable development of 30.000 inhabitants TOD centralities away from the family house extensive urban sprawl.
Los Angeles structural shift
  Los Angeles double reticula matro matrix metropolitan strategic structure
  Los Angles is given around the world as the example of how metropolises should not be. An everlasting sprawl of low-density housing bound to the private car as solely mean of transport. This planning ‘aberration’ will be able to go on as long as gas will be affordable. Energy abuse, as far as there will be no regulations against it, does not affect the thriving Los Angeles economy (GDP similar to Spain). The argument of unsustainability if such was the usage behavior of the 7 billion car owners there will be in the planet in 2050 does not affect individual attitude of Los Angeles residents.

However Los Angeles does not need to be like that. Its industrious past has left an important legacy of rail tracks all over the metropolitan structure. Those tracks, put to passenger commuter service would provide a numerous set of residential and productive centralities in the urban continuous BUD typology. Transport and land use should be integrated to have a success story.

If that is possible and simple why doesn’t it happen? Los Angeles has discussed many times the alternative Transit based metropolitan strategy. Words have not turn into action. It is neither the possibility nor the capacity that is missing. It is the value system and life style priorities of its residents. It is the Social Capital what is missing.
Saranac Lake Master Plan (1988)
  Saranac Lake Master Plan 1988
  (Under the direction of Roger Simmonds)
In 1987, Saranac Lake was already at a crossroads. From a brilliant past of the Olympic games to an uncertain future in search an economic base, Saranac Lake is a city in search of a future. The master plan was not about how to allocate growth, but rather the search for an economic base that would sustain a twilight future. The touristic appeal for a natural environment for a potential demand (22 million) of the Atlantic coast megalopolis had to be worked out through facilities and services to make it real. Economic development was the underlying important issue, with social equity and physical sustainability following behind. The local authority had consciously understood the challenge. The Master Plan was a piece of that puzzle.
30 years latter, the puzzle is unresolved.
Academia analysis of metropolitan phenomena and planning methods.
  Los Angeles Metro Matrix Metropolitan rail tracks assets
  Academia, University scientific research, does analyze natural phenomena to extract recurrent behavioral laws and provide the basis for reliable action. In the case of Territorial Development research includes human and social behavior, urban development, planning and management shaping human artificial environment.

The Regional Studies Association Conference, in collaboration with UCLA, presented advanced research using both social and physical sciences’ approaches. Other presentations focused in specific phenomena deserving academic research.

Such is the case of the Metro Matrix phenomenon. Metro-Matrix is a modern approach to manage metropolitan development being applied and proposed by the World Bank to harness the explosive growth of many developing metropolises around the world. As a new method of metropolitan development, part of the Academic Curriculum of Milano Politecnico, it is open to performance analysis and discussion for scholars in advanced research institutes.

This is the presentation made at the Conference: an invitation for research on the new approach made to scholars on metropolitan phenomena, as well as professors teaching planning methods to future professionals and practitioners.