City Builder Book Club: Chapter 8

Part 2: The conditions of city diversity 

Chapter 8: The need for mixed primary uses

Chapter 8, p 173-174

I am discussing 2 different kinds of diversity.  The first, primary uses, are those which, in themselves bring people to a specific place because they are anchorages.  Offices and factories are primary uses.  So are dwellings.  Certain places of entertainment, education, and recreation are primary uses.  To a degree (that is, for appreciable proportion of their users), so are many museums, libraries and galleries, but not all. ….. (p174)Secondary diversity is a name for the enterprises that grow in response to the presence of primary uses, to serve the people the primary uses draw…

Chapter 8, p179

One land-use economist, Larry Smith, has aptly called office buildings chess pieces. ‘You have used up those chess pieces already’ he is said to have told a planner who was trying to revitalise an unrealistic number of spots with dreamy plans of new office buildings. All primary uses, whether offices, dwellings or concert halls, are a city’s chessman.  Those that move differently from one another must be employed in concert to accomplish much. And as in chess, a pawn can convert to a queen. But city building has this difference from chess: the number of pieces is not fixed by rules; if well deployed, the pieces multiply”


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