Example of elevated garden city concept for a block

This is an example of how the elevated garden city could look for an entire block in the city.

The key things that are a little different and more practical than initial concepts are:

  • The elevated garden is only one floor high and most of the buildings look out over the garden open space.
  • All foot and cycle traffic is on the elevated garden level only
  • There is no need for multi story car parking as ground level with no foot traffic is car park/delivery truck pick-up/drop-off (much cheaper given the number of car parks)
  • Using more area in the city to build on (no need for car parks on side of road or foot path so buildings can have larger area – more urban density)
  • Better flow of cars – no pedestrians, bikes, multi floor car parks to go up and down
  • Better flow for pedestrians and cycles – no motor vehicles to get in the way – much faster to wander around town
  • Greener – easier for bikes, less energy for cars (no up and down buildings)
  • Easier for people to come into town – instead of one park outside a shop there could be 12-20 directly under a store. It doesn’t have to be a grey car parking building but could have advertising/window displays to draw people up to the shop/restaurants etc
  • Much better use of space as no need for delivery alleys etc that can take large chunks of land
  • All building services (air conditioners, wiring, piping etc can be on the ceiling of the car park) – easy access for maintenance etc
  • For the same number of car parks/rentable space it could be about the same price as conventional block design.
  • Much more iconic than a normal city block!
  • Lots of creative ways designers could go with the general idea to link up different blocks with variation on the theme

About grant

Grant Ryan is an addicted inventor/entrepreneur (YikeBike, SLI-Systems, GlobalBrain) and is on the board of Canterbury Development Corporation and Ministry of Science and Innovation.
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2 Responses to Example of elevated garden city concept for a block

  1. nick says:

    I don’t think this block concept works as well as the initial images. Firstly you are creating an environment that could be done at ground level anyway. Effectively what is happening is you’re raising ground level one storey up so cars can have free reign underneath. This same block design could be achieved more easily with a simple underground carpark, or if the CBD is to ban traffic then it would be easy to recreate this block design.

    I also wonder about what happens to retail at ground (“car level”). Wouldn’t most shoppers want to be up at garden level in a nicer environment shopping?

    What was magic about the inital concept is you’re turning wasted space (roof-tops) into unique park/movement spaces. What could be interesting is if you have a central park space like this image and then green roof parks on all the surrounding buildings. So the buildings morph into the gardens, and it becomes hard to tell what is gardens and what is building :).

  2. Ashlin says:

    I love this idea and want to see it come to fruition. Hopefully the powers-that-be can have the courage to let it happen.

    I’ve noted some comments on here about the potential for the street level to become cold and deserted. However, I think perhaps people are reading to much into the drawings and are forgetting that there will be much the same lighting as any existing city as each new building will only block the same amount of light as an equivalent-height old building. The only extra overhanging objects would be the pathways between buildings and these could have a high glass or transparent plastic component to maximise light transmission.

    Regarding the street-level retail space, I think we need to acknowledge that future generations will spend far less time physically shopping than our current population and retailers will have to adapt to rely less on foot traffic regardless of what happens.

    I think perhaps we should look at concentrating the retail space in the CBD to a well-designed, multi-level City Mall to give it a shot at competing with the suburban malls, which of course succeed because they are essentially one big building with lots of carparks and concentrated retail space. Perhaps we just need a central mall, such as Cashel Mall was intended to be, with plenty of parking nearby and covered, concentrated retail space. The rest of the CBD street-level can be offices, bars, restaurants, theatres, art galleries or whatever happens to fill the space.

    Future generations may shop less in physical stores but they will likely still want to congregate in bars, restaurants etc. That is where the CBD can excel, particularly with a high resident central population, plenty of green space, elevated entertainment venues etc.

    Let’s make this happen.

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