Monday, 6 October 2008

Everything nearby

The map of Assen on the left was part of the presentation given by the City Architect, Wybe Nauta, as a part of May's Study Tours.

Note that each area of housing within the city is built with its own facilities so that everything is within walking and cycling distance.

For instance, the blue areas show shops, which are spread throughout Assen, but note also the lack of out of town shops to compete with these and encourage driving.

Primary schools are much more numerous than secondary schools and are not shown on this map.

Everything is, of course, linked by a remarkably fine grid of high quality bicycle paths which makes the experience of collecting your shopping, or going to work or school or travelling to sport facilities an attractive activity without using a car. The level of subjective safety is always very high. The city is considered to be compact - the map shown covers an area which is barely more than 7 km from west to east - however, density is actually very low.

It's different for villages. They have some shops, but people also make longer journeys to get to shops in the cities and these trips are also often made by bicycle. However, the facilities for them are of course first class, so routes to secondary schools, for instance, are well used, and well maintained.

Where it has been made convenient and safe, as it is in the Netherlands, cycling is an attractive mode of transport. People cycle in the Netherlands for much the journey lengths and for much the same purposes as people drive cars in other countries (proven some years after this post when figures for journeys in London came to light).

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