Claustrophobic City Streets?

Claustrophobic City Streets?

Postby Nick Della Volpe » Mon Apr 25, 2016 9:53 am

Have the would-be-planners of Cumberland Avenue gone too far with the form-based code? More specifically, why are we forcing buildings to front right on the edge of the sidewalk, up close to the roadway? They apparently want to achieve that old-timey downtown look, or to slow down traffic, much like a tree-line boulevard often does.

They forget that when you build a bunch of 5- and 10-story buildings in that close, you have created a claustrophobic atmosphere that will leave half of the street and sidewalk engulfed in the shadows. That tends to create a sub-conscious, depressive atmosphere. There is no rest for the eye. Once millions of dollars have been invested in new tall close-in structures, it will be virtually impossible to remedy the dark shadows. The "eye" relaxes when presented with a vista rather than a dark tunnel. Ther must at least be a variation in setbacks.

Not convinced? Try comparing, fur example, the wide-open boulevards in downtown Charlotte to some cramped New York City streets.

I say, wake up Knoxville, before it is too late.

Nick Della Volpe, 4th District
5216 Crestwood Drive
Knoxville, Tn 37914
Nick Della Volpe
Posts: 110
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:00 pm

Re: Claustrophobic City Streets? Setbacks?

Postby Nick Della Volpe » Tue Apr 26, 2016 2:41 pm

A continuation of the discussion about re-thinking the current approach.

Constituent comment:
"Please consider requiring a 10-foot set-back for the project in the 1800 block of Cumberland Avenue. I completely support the work being done to the "strip" and am looking forward to having the area look much improved. I believe having buildings set away from the sidewalk edge will make the area more pedestrian friendly and attractive."

".... I agree with you that the sidewalk plus an added setbacks for plants, gardens, sculptures and sitting areas will make the Cumberland corridor more pedestrian friendly. That extra 10 feet would make a difference.

The idea that a concrete chute passing through crowded monolithic tall structures, crowding the sidewalk and casting a dark shadow, is the just the opposite of pedestrian friendly. I fear our planners have been influenced by pretty design articles about the new urbanism, but have not traversed cavernous side streets in places like New York, where people are dwarfed by the tall building environment.

Such places are why people move to Knoxville, a green friendly escape from the concrete jungle. I hope we can rethink the current design by providing people-scale respites from otherwise solid walls of concrete, steel and glass."
Nick Della Volpe
Posts: 110
Joined: Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:00 pm

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