Drawing lessons from the classics was one of the fundamental steps to kick-start the global transformation of Pontevedra. Here are some of the publications about town planning and smart mobility that helped give the city a new shape.
Clarence Perry (1929)
This New York town planner and sociologist identifies the “neighborhood unit” as the 5 minutes on foot that may be used to define distances in large metropolises. The city should be conceived for a plurality of uses, schools should be located within an 800-metre range from students’ residences –shops within a 400-metre range– and motorized vehicles should be diverted to the outer rings, while city center streets should guarantee pedestrian safety and discourage unnecessary traffic.
Jane Jacobs (1961)
A well-known activist and writer, Jacobs attacks the predominant city specialization policies of the 1950s (administration, health, shopping, leisure…) that force residents to use private vehicles to move around, to the detriment of public transport networks and more natural forms of mobility. Her proposal includes multiple uses and smaller blocks designed with pedestrians in mind. Sidewalks and public spaces should be at the heart of the city; the best places for children to play outside.
Reuben Jacob Smeed (1961)
The director of the British Transport Research Laboratory relates the number of victims of traffic accidents with traffic density and shows that the number of drivers –and therefore congestion– increases when new measures are introduced to relieve it.
Francesco Tonucci (1991)
This Italian educational psychologist revisits and updates Jane Jacobs’ theories. Children should be allowed to explore their cities and play outside in the streets and squares. Children should be regarded as the adults of tomorrow: if they learn to respect public spaces, they will become responsible individuals and teach coming generations to do the same.
Peter Hall (1988)
This professor at Berkeley and University College London wrote a history of town planning in the 20th century where he advocated that it was much more than physical design and suggested that the economic, social and political dimensions should be carefully integrated.
Donald Appleyard (1981)
The Berkeley professor stated that urban spaces should work as areas of coexistence. Together with Colin Buchanan, he established that each street should not exceed 2,000 to 3,000 vehicles per day in residential areas (Benito Corbal in Pontevedra registered peaks of up to 20,000 vehicles per day back in 1997). Recent studies (Chesterman, 2009) recommend only 1,500 to 2,000 vehicles per day.
Juan A. Santamera and Felipe Manchón. Ministry of Public Works, Transport and the Environment (1995)
These engineers published the first complete and meticulous guide to rationalize the use of urban public spaces to maximize residents’ enjoyment. It contains numerous examples as well as visual material for town planners.
José Martínez Sarandeses. Ministry of Public Works (1999)
This architect from Pontevedra combines urban and architectural reform with environmental quality to generate useful, comfortable spaces and redress the mobility imbalances derived from motorized vehicle priority models, which alienate walkers and change the public nature of streets and squares.
Alfonso Sanz. Ministry of Public Works (1998)
A digest of pioneering European experiences (most of them Dutch and Danish) aimed at introducing alternative mobility models in cities where traffic was excessively dense and applying them to the Spanish context. A different approach to age-old problems.
Sir Colin Buchanan (1963)
British civil engineer and author of one of the most remarkable and generally accepted reports about city traffic. He introduced the concept of “environmental capacity”, which characterizes a street depending on the amount of traffic it can accept without affecting residents’ quality of life.