06 February 2007

What is Human Scale?

Human scale has been used an awful lot lately. Some people have wed the term to building height. I think they are being a little too simplistic. What do you think?


Wolfger Schneider said...

Human scale is not only vertical but also horizontal. What is desirable about old Paris is not only that the buildings don't exceed about 6 stories but that the boulevards are wide, tree covered and have sidewalks that beckon one to linger and enjoy.
Human scale is also about diversity that meets human needs without expending inhuman energy or to put it another way, a neighborhood where one can work, shop, play, and get out into the country all within a healthy walking distance. It takes a village. A city can only approximate it.

Michael Davis said...

But please remember that there is a "new Paris" call La Defence" just down the Champs Elysess from the "old Paris" that is very vertical and very dense. We, in Columbia, have our villages to provide the human scale we all seem to enjoy. However, the center of our villages, our downtown, must have the critical mass necessary to provide the amenities desired by Columbians - a diverse night life, great restaurants, a transportation system that works, workforce housing, environmentally sound use of land, etc. With so little land left in Columbia, is there any way for us to achieve the necessary critical mass without adding verticality?