Integration-Isolation

May 2010

Integration-Isolation

May 27, 2010 7:36 PM
Pawel Dudko

Integration-Isolation

Authors: Karolina Czochanska, Pawel Dudko
Consultant: Halina Lapinska PhD
Translation: Rafal Modzelewski BA

City: Bialystok, Poland

Planning and Design Principles (summary description):

  1. The main idea of our project is to create urban spaces that combine two crucial factors: integration of people and nature, and isolation from the disadvantages of the city.
  2. The important matter is to preserve a structure of an urban city with it's unique elements, such as: frontage, squares and districts.
  3. To make living in the city more comfortable, individual car transportation is to be reduced.
  4. The above mentioned changes are to be implemented into the city of Bialystok, Poland, where we live and study.

Analysis

Bialystok is a city located in the north-east of Poland. It is the capitol city of the province Podlaskie.
Podlaskie is considered to be one of the most green areas of the country. The majority of it’s surface is covered with forests. Around 30% of the area of the province is under legal protection. The Polish part of the Bialowieza Forest biosphere reserve (also a World Heritage Site) is in Podlaskie.
There are four National Parks (Bialowieza, Biebrza, Narew and Wigry), three Landscape Parks (Knyszyn Forest, Lomza and Suwalki), 88 nature reserves, and 15 protected landscape areas in Podlasie. The province constitutes a part of the ecologically clean area known as "the Green Lungs of Poland".

One of the advantages of the city is a developed system of green areas, as shown below:

The city mainly consists of green areas. The south part of the city and it’s urban district is connected with the city parks and suburbian forests. At the north there are large forests used for recreational purpoues, such as: cross country runs, BMX dirt competitions etc. Another green trail crossing the city is the dell of the river Biala.
Such a layout of greenery provides proper air circulation and a beneficial microclimate. This ensures the well-being of city habitants and is a place of active leisure.
Moreover, the buildings in the city centre are closely connected with the greenery, frontages are accompanied by lines of trees. Small squares covered with trees and hedges are a very tipical phenomenon.

One of our goals is to organize and expose green areas of the city. Individual car transportation is, in our opinion, both an obstacle and one of the main barriers between people and nature.

The following schema presents the main and the most extensively utilized roads in Bialystok. Considering their negative effect on the surroundings, we envision several steps of the reduction of the communication system.

The following schema shows that the highest density of roads can be seen in the city centre (outlined with a red line). Because this is characteristic of most cities, not only Bialystok, this area will be of most interest to us, and will serve as an example on which we will be presenting our concept in several stages.

It should be noted, that the city has a functioning system of bus mass transit, it’s developed structure allows easy access to any area of the city.

City Centre - Communication

The communication solutions and the general idea will be presented in the area of the city centre, as it is a typical element of the majority of the cities.

The featured template, which will be presented on a fragment of the city centre, may also be adapted for other urban systems.

The basis of our idea is the reduction of the road system in the city to a bear minimum required for communication. Considering the forecasted decrease in individual car transportation, the cutback of a portion of the roads should not pose a problem, on the contrary, it may positively influence the living conditions in the city centre and increase the role of pedestrian and bicycle communication. An additional element, which offloads individual car transportation, is the development of public transport (busses and trams).

The following outlines present a gradual reduction of the road system. Stage 0 – the existing stage shows a very dense net of roads leading to residential quarters. Please notice the road marked orange which is a ring road of the city centre.

Stages I and II present the removal of roads of less importance as well as a gradual reduction of main roads. This will lead to an improved communication in the park’n’ride system, easier resupply of shops and services, as well as emergency roads. The space left between roads ensure a reasonable distance from institutions and assume pedestrian or bicycle accessibility.

The parking lot system enables inhabitants and visitors to find parking spaces. The car is used only to reach a particular spot, than the journey may be continued on foot or by bike.
Parking lots are situated no more than 500 meters from one another, which means reaching ones destination in no longer than 5 minutes.

The next step is to hide the roads under the surface (it is possible due to favorable terrain conditions. At this stage individual car transportation plays a strictly functional, simplified role. Therefore, such actions will not only not decrease the road capacity, but will improve traffic. This will alleviate the problem of traffic fumes (the tunnels will be ventilated using proper filters), improve the quality of pedestrian communication and eliminate the problem of noise.

People who will not use individual car transportation will have public tram lines located on the main roads at their disposal. This form of transportation is more eco-friendly and less arduous to the inhabitants. Moreover, trams underline the urban character of the area. The tracks may be blended with the pavements – they do not require separate roads.
Tram lines are designed for comfortable access to every area of the city, including the ring road of the city centre, where bus transport will allow access to other parts of the city. Communication nodes are located on the ring road no further than 1000 meters from one another, enabling easy choice of the forms of communication.

Moreover, tram lines and pavements located in the place of roads facilitate emergency access and the resupply of shops and services.

Outline of the idea

The implementation of the idea will be presented in detail on the example of a residential quarter, situated near the main market square of the city. It was chosen due to the vicinity of main roads and a historical urban system. The purpose of this study is to show that the idea can be adopted to different circumstances.

As in the case of the city centre – the first stage represents the existing condition (Stage 0), and the next stages present the reduction of the road system (Stage I and II).

The next step is to build parking lots. Because of the existing buildings, the logical step is to introduce underground parking lots in place of the reduced road system. In this way the buildings are not compromised and the interference takes place only in the undeveloped areas of the city.
As a result the entire pedestrian and bicycle transportation occurs on the surface and the less demanding function of parking in brought underground.

As the case with parking lots, main roads are brought underground.

Public tram transportation is implemented.

As the area becomes relieved from car traffic, the main pedestrian routs become visible. These routs may be considered public spaces, actively utilized by the inhabitants and visitors moving across the city.

Depending on the particular spot, squares may develop. They will also play the role of public places of recreation and social gatherings.

The effect of the last stage is the division of the city space into two parts, a part which integrate society and a part which isolates from the city bustle.
The integrational part consists of pavements, main roads and squares. Typical urban activity, shops, services, cafeterias and other recreational facilities emerge in this area. The street remains a meeting spot.
Isolation assumes a semi-private space, calm and filled with greenery, inside the residential squares, where inhabitants can relax. This space is suppose to be safe, and of a different quality than the integrational part.

Solution

Residential buildings for modern people require two types of space in their midst: the space used for work and meetings (integration) and a space designated for leisure, to mellow out and to come into contact with nature (isolation).

Because the amount of space taken by roads in the cities is considerable, the quality of the remaining space, used by inhabitants, has to be diminished. The reduction of the space utilized by car transportation, and moving the indispensable part of it underground, will increase the amount of space that can be used by people. In this way, streets may become free of excessive traffic and transform into a place of meetings, leisure, cultural events, commerce and services. The streets, which during the day will serve a purpose of pedestrian, bicycle and tram transportation, will convert into a pleasant, relaxing places, suitable for meetings with friends in the evenings.

Similarly, the residential areas, which will be no longer dominated by parking lots, will be covered with greenery. Gardens filled with trees and bushes are ideal places for spending time in peace and quiet and surrounded by nature. Limited, semi-private space will be perfect for small children who will be under adult supervision. Older children will need playgrounds integrated with the green areas, while adults will find a moment of peace and quiet there.

Architecture will also be helpful in achieving these goals. The ground floors in buildings will be utilized by commerce and services in order not to produce large shopping centers, to enhance the character of the city and to bring it closer to the human perspective. An additional benefit comes from the arcades, which will ensure an efficient and convenient communication even during snow or rainfall. The first floors will be designed for offices. Apartments will be located on the higher floors. Such a layout means returning to a classic pattern which allows a constant use of buildings which eliminates the problem of temporarily vacant buildings.

Another advantage of this approach to architecture and the planning of urban areas is the proximity of functional areas. The maximum assumed space between the frequently visited shops and services is 500 meters. This may be achieved by placing them on the first floors of residential buildings. Such a distance allows the consumers to cover their routes in less than 5 minutes which is possible without considerable effort.

Conclusion

Our project was designed so that the assets of the city may be utilized. The proposed changes may be implemented in several stages until the desirable effect is achieved. The lack of interference in the urban system and the architecture itself, relieves us from having to implement the most difficult and laborious changes. The communication network is constantly undergoing repairs, modernization and adaptation to new requirements, is both the area where changes and visible results are the easiest to achieve.
In conclusion – getting rid of one of the most arduous systems in the city center (individual car transportation) enhances the standard of living and will attract new residents. The new solutions, practical, and respectful of the people’s needs, will foster a beneficial lifestyle and increase the standards of living. The title rule: ‘Integration-isolation’ will allow a freedom to choose the way of spending free time, even in a space as public as a city.

Integration-Isolation
City: Bialystok, Poland
Authors: Karolina Czochanska, Pawel Dudko
Consultant: Halina Lapinska PhD
Translation: Rafal Modzelewski BA

  

 

 

Summary

The main idea of our project is to create urban spaces that combine two crucial factors: integration of people and nature, and isolation from the disadvantages of the city. The important matter is to preserve a structure of an urban city with it's unique elements, such as: frontage, squares and districts.
The above mentioned changes are to be implemented into the city of Bialystok, Poland, where we live and study.

 

Details

Project:
Integration-Isolation

City:
Bialystok, Poland

The Team:
Authors:
Karolina Czochanska
e-mail: czochanski10@wp.pl
Pawel Dudko
e-mail: p.dudko@wp.pl
Consultant: Halina Lapinska PhD
Translation: Rafal Modzelewski BA

 

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