? The planning department has put together a new collection of 3D renderings of “SOLARE The Lean Linear City”.

Contemplation of a Linear City threads throughout Paolo Soleri’s work and with this first of a series of reports we introduce a small fraction of a rich history on this subject.

[image] from “Macro Cosanti” scroll drawings, 1963.

Page 156 from “The Sketchbooks of Paolo Soleri”, published 1970 by M.I.T.:
The oddest thing about the automobile is that it is a very sophisticated machine devised for the purposes of the most primitive logistics with the sophisticated intent of liberating man from the slavery of time and space.
The result is (1) a savagely convulsive primitivism of interrelation between man and man, man and institutions; (2) an inflation of physical interstices and functions; (3) a progressively widening time lapse between stimulus and response; (4) the poisoning of the environment; (5) a sacrificial heap of metal and upholstery offered to the god of waste; (6) an endless network of cement and asphalt; (7) a systematic butchering and maiming of the software, man, trapped in his hardware, the machine; (8) a mindless depletion of the energetic sources of the earth’s fuels; (9) an insularity of action represented by the busts of men and women visible inside their own moving and mystical cages; (10) an explosion into fragments and a segregation of the urban fabric; (11) the paralysis of ugliness and chaos, a possibly irreversible decadence of the human environment.

? [image] from Paolo Soleri sketchbooks, ca. 1964-1965.

Page 156 continues from “The Sketchbooks of Paolo Soleri”, published 1970 by M.I.T.:
The obscurantism of the automobile age might well go down in history on par with some of the most fierce catastrophies man has brought upon himself. A cultural catastrophe, first of all. An ecological catastrophe. A logistical catastrophe. A social catastrophe. Those are some of my comments on the car now, when my naivety in seeing redeeming features in the idea “car” is all but gone. Only at the service of leisure might the car redeem itself and then only with well-defined limitations. The major reason why the car is an insult to life is its use as a “work” device. Work has a mandatory character: survival; thus the linkage car-survival and, among others, the folly of the commuters’ tide. Eliminate the car as a means of survival, and we can return to the pleasure of the country drive for the sake of leisure and family outings. This would automatically deflate the intrusion of steel tonnage and rubber tires and submission to a major catastrophe.

? [image] from “City in the Image of Man” drawings, 1970.

Page 231 from “The Sketchbooks of Paolo Soleri”, published 1970 by M.I.T.:
Le Courbusier, as a god prophet, saw that, where there is a function demanding large investments and substantial intrusion on the land, you might as well make full and multiple use of the instrument you construct (the road becoming the roof of a continuous building). One of the things that marks an instrument for obsolescence is its narrow specialization. This is certainly a virtue when the instrument is a small fraction of a larger process and its task is so “absorbing” as to veto distraction or secondary actions. One can hardly object to the narrowness of a bench drill or a fan. The aberrant thing comes about when the instrument achieves environmental proportions and becomes a preponderant part of the envelope sheltering and serving man. If the envelope was built in obsolescence (often defined by a mortgage coverage), the expediency of the instrument imprints itself on the people who are tied to its performance. Obsolescent environment makes expedient people.

? [image] from Paolo Soleri sketchbooks, 1989-1991.

Page 231 continues from “The Sketchbooks of Paolo Soleri”, published 1970 by M.I.T.:
The specter of not keeping up with the times because of an environment that is too “permanent” is one of the afflictions of poor perspective. Even though communication time has enormously decreased and production time has been separated from hand manipulation and its “organic” pulse, psychological growth and real knowledge have not left the channel where they develop for a faster one, certainly not much faster. How could they? Biological changes are enormously slow for our limited patience, and the mind can go only so far out without balking. The naked mind is a dangerous and savage mind, a mind of abstraction and segregation, a deadly mind. It is unfortunate, but possibly unavoidable, that the inventible mind, the technologically inclined, tends to be the naked mind. (The most productive age span of discoverers and inventors is in the twenties.) It is the naked mind and the desensitized body that find an obsolescent environment to their liking. They indeed are alike, both sensing the presence of a dark chasm of senselessness only one step ahead of themselves, as if man’s fall reflected itself endlessly on the sloping bastions of a deterministic and indifferent universe.

? [image] from “Two Suns” scroll drawings, 1975.

Introduction from
“BEYOND GRIDLOCK – Paolo Soleri’s Lean Linear City”, written by Tomiaki Tamura:

The project SOLARE: Lean Linear City, proposed by Paolo Soleri, is a suggestion that may trigger a positive change in how we develop the human habitat in harmony with the environment. [the complete text will be featured in the upcoming reports].
This series continues on 8/7/2009.

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