These file attachments have been under embargo and were made available to the public after the embargo was lifted on 3 February 2012.
This research wants to show how by the historical overlapping of two thoroughly planned paradigms – ‘city’ and ‘highway’ – an unplanned mismatch could come into existence at the intersection of ring roads and city streets. Through a physical analysis of this mismatch and the planned and unplanned reactions in the cases of Amsterdam A10 West and São Paulo Southeast this study discusses possible lessons that can be learned for improving the future interweaving of urban tissue and large scale infrastructure.
In a broader sense the research aims to reflect on the interaction between ‘planned’ and ‘unplanned’ and by doing so on how our everyday environment is a continuous – and sometimes very successful – mismatch between past plans and future projections.
Triggered by the historical overlapping of prewar plans and postwar visions this study uses Amsterdam and São Paulo to illustrate how the autonomous planning of city and infrastructure - and the conflict that this resulted in - still causes problems today. By using the method of ‘mirror cities’ Amsterdam and São Paulo are used to distill on the one hand general problems that arose from a clash of paradigms and on the other hand to research specific alternative solutions for new design initiatives. Working on three scale levels it first points out how – on the scale of the city – the highway plays different roles depending on its planning history: the highway as border, as center, as buffer zone or as entity squeezed into the city tissue. The knowledge of these atmospheres might proof useful in the re-designing of the old ring and in the future planning of new ‘super rings’ such as the Rodoanel.
Secondly, by zooming in on the ‘informal’ parts of the ring and looking at the long lines of the city streets crossing it, this study examines how – and if - the ring functions as a border. This is done by using ‘streetview elevations’ that show how the urban profile changes from inside to outside the ring road. Here the type of intersections proofed crucial. Categorizing these types of intersections at Amsterdam A10 West and São Paulo Southeast and looking at the different ways they combined the city- and infrastructure paradigm show us the different effects of planning decisions. Some types work on the scale of highway and city but have a negative impact on the surrounding neighborhood, others manage to combine the city and highway paradigm in a way that both profit. Here, for example, the São Paulo-case produced an interesting solution with its ‘multiple connected’-type (an informal combination of elevated crossings and a direct highway access of secondary roads) that could be very fruitful in Amsterdam.
The findings of the research and in particular the analysis of the junctions between ring road and city streets should be further explored in the architectural design of a museum at one particular intersection in Amsterdam Bos en Lommer.