Árni Davíðsson

Árni Davíðsson
  1. Hér á eftir fer grein á ensku sem heitir The social ideology of the motorcar, eftir André Gorz sem er sótt héðan: http://unevenearth.org/2018/08/the-social-ideology-of-the-motorcar/

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    The social ideology of the motorcar

    This 1973 essay on how cars have taken over our cities remains as relevant as ever
    August 11, 2018

    Image: Stuart Richards
    by André Gorz

    The worst thing about cars is that they are like castles or villas by the sea: luxury goods invented for the exclusive pleasure of a very rich minority, and which in conception and nature were never intended for the people. Unlike the vacuum cleaner, the radio, or the bicycle, which retain their use value when everyone has one, the car, like a villa by the sea, is only desirable and useful insofar as the masses don’t have one. That is how in both conception and original purpose the car is a luxury good. And the essence of luxury is that it cannot be democratized. If everyone can have luxury, no one gets any advantages from it. On the contrary, everyone diddles, cheats, and frustrates everyone else, and is diddled, cheated, and frustrated in return.

    This is pretty much common knowledge in the case of the seaside villas. No politico has yet dared to claim that to democratize the right to vacation would mean a villa with private beach for every family. Everyone understands that if each of 13 or 14 million families were to use only 10 meters of the coast, it would take 140,000km of beach in order for all of them to have their share! To give everyone his or her share would be to cut up the beaches in such little strips—or to squeeze the villas so tightly together—that their use value would be nil and their advantage over a hotel complex would disappear. In short, democratization of access to the beaches point to only one solution—the collectivist one. And this solution is necessarily at war with the luxury of the private beach, which is a privilege that a small minority takes as their right at the expense of all.

    Now, why is it that what is perfectly obvious in the case of the beaches is not generally acknowledged to be the case for transportation? Like the beach house, doesn’t a car occupy scarce space? Doesn’t it deprive the others who use the roads (pedestrians, cyclists, streetcar and bus drivers)? Doesn’t it lose its use value when everyone uses his or her own? And yet there are plenty of politicians who insist that every family has the right to at least one car and that it’s up to the “government” to make it possible for everyone to park conveniently, drive easily in the city, and go on holiday at the same time as everyone else, going 70 mph on the roads to vacation spots. The monstrousness of this demagogic nonsense is immediately apparent, and yet even the left doesn’t disdain resorting to it. Why is the car treated like a sacred cow? Why, unlike other “privative” goods, isn’t it recognized as an antisocial luxury? The answer should be sought in the following two aspects of driving:

    Mass motoring effects an absolute triumph of bourgeois ideology on the level of daily life. It gives and supports in everyone the illusion that each individual can seek his or her own benefit at the expense of everyone else. Take the cruel and aggressive selfishness of the driver who at any moment is figuratively killing the “others,” who appear merely as physical obstacles to his or her own speed. This aggressive and competitive selfishness marks the arrival of universally bourgeois behavior, and has come into being since driving has become commonplace. (“You’ll never have socialism with that kind of people,” an East German friend told me, upset by the spectacle of Paris traffic).
    The automobile is the paradoxical example of a luxury object that has been devalued by its own spread. But this practical devaluation has not yet been followed by an ideological devaluation. The myth of the pleasure and benefit of the car persists, though if mass transportation were widespread its superiority would be striking. The persistence of this myth is easily explained. The spread of the private car has displaced mass transportation and altered city planning and housing in such a way that it transfers to the car functions which its own spread has made necessary. An ideological (“cultural”) revolution would be needed to break this circle. Obviously this is not to be expected from the ruling class (either right or left).
    Let us look more closely now at these two points.

    When the car was invented, it was to provide a few of the very rich with a completely unprecedented privilege: that of traveling much faster than everyone else. No one up to then had ever dreamt of it. The speed of all coaches was essentially the same, whether you were rich or poor. The carriages of the rich didn’t go any faster than the carts of the peasants, and trains carried everyone at the same speed (they didn’t begin to have different speeds until they began to compete with the automobile and the airplane). Thus, until the turn of the century, the elite did not travel at a different speed from the people. The motorcar was going to change all that. For the first time class differences were to be extended to speed and to the means of transportation.

    This means of transportation at first seemed unattainable to the masses—it was so different from ordinary means. There was no comparison between the motorcar and the others: the cart, the train, the bicycle, or the horse-car. Exceptional beings went out in self-propelled vehicles that weighed at least a ton and whose extremely complicated mechanical organs were as mysterious as they were hidden from view. For one important aspect of the automobile myth is that for the first time people were riding in private vehicles whose operating mechanisms were completely unknown to them and whose maintenance and feeding they had to entrust to specialists. Here is the paradox of the automobile: it appears to confer on its owners limitless freedom, allowing them to travel when and where they choose at a speed equal to or greater than that of the train. But actually, this seeming independence has for its underside a radical dependency. Unlike the horse rider, the wagon driver, or the cyclist, the motorist was going to depend for the fuel supply, as well as for the smallest kind of repair, on dealers and specialists in engines, lubrication, and ignition, and on the interchangeability of parts. Unlike all previous owners of a means of locomotion, the motorist’s relationship to his or her vehicle was to be that of user and consumer-and not owner and master. This vehicle, in other words, would oblige the owner to consume and use a host of commercial services and industrial products that could only be provided by some third party. The apparent independence of the automobile owner was only concealing the actual radical dependency.

    "For the first time in history, people would become dependent for their locomotion on a commercial source of energy."

    The oil magnates were the first to perceive the prize that could be extracted from the wide distribution of the motorcar. If people could be induced to travel in cars, they could be sold the fuel necessary to move them. For the first time in history, people would become dependent for their locomotion on a commercial source of energy. There would be as many customers for the oil industry as there were motorists—and since there would be as many motorists as there were families, the entire population would become the oil merchants’ customers. The dream of every capitalist was about to come true. Everyone was going to depend for their daily needs on a commodity that a single industry held as a monopoly.

    All that was left was to get the population to drive cars. Little persuasion would be needed. It would be enough to get the price of a car down by using mass production and the assembly line. People would fall all over themselves to buy it. They fell over themselves all right, without noticing they were being led by the nose. What, in fact, did the automobile industry offer them? Just this: “From now on, like the nobility and the bourgeoisie, you too will have the privilege of driving faster than everybody else. In a motorcar society the privilege of the elite is made available to you.”

    People rushed to buy cars until, as the working class began to buy them as well, defrauded motorists realized they had been had. They had been promised a bourgeois privilege, they had gone into debt to acquire it, and now they saw that everyone else could also get one. What good is a privilege if everyone can have it? It’s a fool’s game. Worse, it pits everyone against everyone else. General paralysis is brought on by a general clash. For when everyone claims the right to drive at the privileged speed of the bourgeoisie, everything comes to a halt, and the speed of city traffic plummets—in Boston as in Paris, Rome, or London—to below that of the horsecar; at rush hours the average speed on the open road falls below the speed of a bicyclist.

    "When everyone claims the right to drive at the privileged speed of the bourgeoisie, everything comes to a halt, and the speed of city traffic plummets"

    Nothing helps. All the solutions have been tried. They all end up making things worse. No matter if they increase the number of city expressways, beltways, elevated crossways, 16-lane highways, and toll roads, the result is always the same. The more roads there are in service, the more cars clog them, and city traffic becomes more paralyzingly congested. As long as there are cities, the problem will remain unsolved. No matter how wide and fast a superhighway is, the speed at which vehicles can come off it to enter the city cannot be greater than the average speed on the city streets. As long as the average speed in Paris is 10 to 20 kmh, depending on the time of day, no one will be able to get off the beltways and autoroutes around and into the capital at more than 10 to 20 kmh.

    The same is true for all cities. It is impossible to drive at more than an average of 20 kmh in the tangled network of streets, avenues, and boulevards that characterise the traditional cities. The introduction of faster vehicles inevitably disrupts city traffic, causing bottlenecks-and finally complete paralysis.

    If the car is to prevail, there’s still one solution: get rid of the cities. That is, string them out for hundreds of miles along enormous roads, making them into highway suburbs. That’s what’s been done in the United States. Ivan Illich sums up the effect in these startling figures: “The typical American devotes more than 1500 hours a year (which is 30 hours a week, or 4 hours a day, including Sundays) to his [or her] car. This includes the time spent behind the wheel, both in motion and stopped, the hours of work to pay for it and to pay for gas, tires, tolls, insurance, tickets, and taxes .Thus it takes this American 1500 hours to go 6000 miles (in the course of a year). Three and a half miles take him (or her) one hour. In countries that do not have a transportation industry, people travel at exactly this speed on foot, with the added advantage that they can go wherever they want and aren’t restricted to asphalt roads.”

    It is true, Illich points out, that in non-industrialized countries travel uses only 3 to 8% of people’s free time (which comes to about two to six hours a week). Thus a person on foot covers as many miles in an hour devoted to travel as a person in a car, but devotes 5 to 10 times less time in travel. Moral: The more widespread fast vehicles are within a society, the more time—beyond a certain point—people will spend and lose on travel. It’s a mathematical fact.

    The reason? We’ve just seen it: The cities and towns have been broken up into endless highway suburbs, for that was the only way to avoid traffic congestion in residential centers. But the underside of this solution is obvious: ultimately people can’t get around conveniently because they are far away from everything. To make room for the cars, distances have increased. People live far from their work, far from school, far from the supermarket—which then requires a second car so the shopping can be done and the children driven to school. Outings? Out of the question. Friends? There are the neighbors… and that’s it. In the final analysis, the car wastes more time than it saves and creates more distance than it overcomes. Of course, you can get yourself to work doing 60 mph, but that’s because you live 30 miles from your job and are willing to give half an hour to the last 6 miles. To sum it all up: “A good part of each day’s work goes to pay for the travel necessary to get to work.” (Ivan Illich).

    "In the final analysis, the car wastes more time than it saves and creates more distance than it overcomes."

    Maybe you are saying, “But at least in this way you can escape the hell of the city once the workday is over.” There we are, now we know: “the city,” the great city which for generations was considered a marvel, the only place worth living, is now considered to be a “hell.” Everyone wants to escape from it, to live in the country. Why this reversal? For only one reason. The car has made the big city uninhabitable. It has made it stinking, noisy, suffocating, dusty, so congested that nobody wants to go out in the evening anymore. Thus, since cars have killed the city, we need faster cars to escape on superhighways to suburbs that are even farther away. What an impeccable circular argument: give us more cars so that we can escape the destruction caused by cars.

    "Since cars have killed the city, we need faster cars to escape on superhighways to suburbs that are even farther away. What an impeccable circular argument: give us more cars so that we can escape the destruction caused by cars."

    From being a luxury item and a sign of privilege, the car has thus become a vital necessity. You have to have one so as to escape from the urban hell of the cars. Capitalist industry has thus won the game: the superfluous has become necessary. There’s no longer any need to persuade people that they want a car; it’s necessity is a fact of life. It is true that one may have one’s doubts when watching the motorized escape along the exodus roads. Between 8 and 9:30 a.m., between 5:30 and 7 p.m., and on weekends for five and six hours the escape routes stretch out into bumper-to-bumper processions going (at best) the speed of a bicyclist and in a dense cloud of gasoline fumes. What remains of the car’s advantages? What is left when, inevitably, the top speed on the roads is limited to exactly the speed of the slowest car?

    Fair enough. After killing the city, the car is killing the car. Having promised everyone they would be able to go faster, the automobile industry ends up with the unrelentingly predictable result that everyone has to go as slowly as the very slowest, at a speed determined by the simple laws of fluid dynamics. Worse: having been invented to allow its owner to go where he or she wishes, at the time and speed he or she wishes, the car becomes, of all vehicles, the most slavish, risky, undependable and uncomfortable. Even if you leave yourself an extravagant amount of time, you never know when the bottlenecks will let you get there. You are bound to the road as inexorably as the train to its rails. No more than the railway traveller can you stop on impulse, and like the train you must go at a speed decided by someone else. Summing up, the car has none of the advantages of the train and all of its disadvantages, plus some of its own: vibration, cramped space, the danger of accidents, the effort necessary to drive it.

    And yet, you may say, people don’t take the train. Of course! How could they? Have you ever tried to go from Boston to New York by train? Or from Ivry to Treport? Or from Garches to Fountainebleau? Or Colombes to l’Isle-Adam? Have you tried on a summer Saturday or Sunday? Well, then, try it and good luck to you! You’ll observe that automobile capitalism has thought of everything. Just when the car is killing the car, it arranges for the alternatives to disappear, thus making the car compulsory. So first the capitalist state allowed the rail connections between the cities and the surrounding countryside to fall to pieces, and then it did away with them. The only ones that have been spared are the high-speed intercity connections that compete with the airlines for a bourgeois clientele. There’s progress for you!

    The truth is, no one really has any choice. You aren’t free to have a car or not because the suburban world is designed to be a function of the car and, more and more, so is the city world. That is why the ideal revolutionary solution, which is to do away with the car in favour of the bicycle, the streetcar, the bus, and the driverless taxi, is not even applicable any longer in the big commuter cities like Los Angeles, Detroit, Houston, Trappes, or even Brussels, which are built by and for the automobile. These splintered cities are strung out along empty streets lined with identical developments; and their urban landscape (a desert) says, “These streets are made for driving as quickly as possible from work to home and vice versa. You go through here, you don’t live here. At the end of the workday everyone ought to stay at home, and anyone found on the street after nightfall should be considered suspect of plotting evil.” In some American cities the act of strolling in the streets at night is grounds for suspicion of a crime.

    So, the jig is up? No, but the alternative to the car will have to be comprehensive. For in order for people to be able to give up their cars, it won’t be enough to offer them more comfortable mass transportation. They will have to be able to do without transportation altogether because they’ll feel at home in their neighborhoods, their community, their human-sized cities, and they will take pleasure in walking from work to home-on foot, or if need be by bicycle. No means of fast transportation and escape will ever compensate for the vexation of living in an uninhabitable city in which no one feels at home or the irritation of only going into the city to work or, on the other hand, to be alone and sleep.

    “People,” writes Illich, “will break the chains of overpowering transportation when they come once again to love as their own territory their own particular beat, and to dread getting too far away from it.” But in order to love “one’s territory” it must first of all be made livable, and not trafficable. The neighborhood or community must once again become a microcosm shaped by and for all human activities, where people can work, live, relax, learn, communicate, and knock about, and which they manage together as the place of their life in common. When someone asked him how people would spend their time after the revolution, when capitalist wastefulness had been done away with, Marcuse answered, “We will tear down the big cities and build new ones. That will keep us busy for a while.”

    These new cities might be federations of communities (or neighborhoods) surrounded by green belts whose citizens-and especially the schoolchildren-will spend several hours a week growing the fresh produce they need. To get around everyday they would be able to use all kinds of transportation adapted to a medium-sized town: municipal bicycles, trolleys or trolley-buses, electric taxis without drivers. For longer trips into the country, as well as for guests, a pool of communal automobiles would be available in neighborhood garages. The car would no longer be a necessity. Everything will have changed: the world, life, people. And this will not have come about all by itself.

    "Above all, never make transportation an issue by itself. Always connect it to the problem of the city, of the social division of labour, and to the way this compartmentalizes the many dimensions of life."

    Meanwhile, what is to be done to get there? Above all, never make transportation an issue by itself. Always connect it to the problem of the city, of the social division of labour, and to the way this compartmentalizes the many dimensions of life. One place for work, another for “living,” a third for shopping, a fourth for learning, a fifth for entertainment. The way our space is arranged carries on the disintegration of people that begins with the division of labour in the factory. It cuts a person into slices, it cuts our time, our life, into separate slices so that in each one you are a passive consumer at the mercy of the merchants, so that it never occurs to you that work, culture, communication, pleasure, satisfaction of needs, and personal life can and should be one and the same thing: a unified life, sustained by the social fabric of the community.

    From Le Sauvage September-October 1973. Translator not known.

    André Gorz was a philosopher, journalist, and writer. He was known as one of the first ecosocialists and political ecologists.

  2. Fjöldi fólksbíla á skrá á Íslandi er ekki sambærilegur við fjölda fólksbíla í umferð í Evrópu. Þær tölur sem eru gefnar upp af Samgöngustofu eru því ekki samanburðarhæfar við Evrópskar tölur vegna þessa. Þetta þurfa menn að hafa í huga í umfjöllun um fólksbílaeign eða aðra bíleign. Ég hef ekki kannað þessar tölur núna upp á síðkastið en síðast þegar ég gerði það var fólksbílaflotinn á Íslandi ofmetinn um 15% á sumrin en um 17% um áramót.
     
    Ég hef fjallað um þetta mál ítrekað en ekki haft árangur sem erfiði þar sem ennþá er verið að bera saman með villandi hætti fólksbílaeign á Íslandi og í Evrópu. Samanber þessa grein:

     

  3. Ellidaarborg

     

     

     

     

     

    Fyrir skemmstu skrifaði ég grein um byggingu íbúða og þjónustu á Hagatorgi við Hótel Sögu þar sem ég gerði ráð fyrir að engin bílastæði fylgdu íbúðum en að íbúar gætu samnýtt bílastæðin við Háskóla Íslands og lagt bílum sínum þar á kvöldin og um helgar. Nú hafa menn komið að máli við mig og verið óánægðir með að ekki skuli bílastæði fylgja íbúðum. Það að vera bíllaus er ekki allra og marga dreymir um að ganga beint ofan í bílakjallara og njóta alls þess besta sem stofnbrautarkerfi höfuðborgarsvæðisins hefur upp á að bjóða.

    Auðvitað verð ég við þeirri ósk og því vil ég stinga upp á sambærilegri íbúðabyggð á hinum enda skalans. Ekki inni í íbúahverfi heldur einmitt þar sem aðstæður eru hagstæðastar fyrir bílaeigendur. Hvar er betra fyrir þá að vera en einmitt í slaufu paradísinni þar sem Miklabraut/Vesturlandsvegur og Sæbraut/Reykjanesbraut liggja saman? Þar liggja leiðir til allra átta.

    Flatarmálið er svipað og flatarmál Kvosarinnar í miðborg Reykjavíkur og er nýtingarhlutfall svæðisins 0% í dag. Þarna er ekki eitt einasta hús (reyndar eitt veituhús). Af því koma engin fasteignagjöld og ekkert útsvar. Flatarmál svæðisins er um 132.000 m2 eða 13,2 ha. Á þeim er hægt á koma fyrir byggingum á um 4,4 ha ef við miðum við að byggja ekki yfir allar slaufurnar eins og sjá má á meðfylgjandi mynd. Þarna væri hægt að byggja eins og fjögur Höfðatorg með öllu saman, bílakjöllurum og 18 hæða turnum og væri hægt að tengja svæðið vel við vegakerfið með að- og fráreinum. Almenningssamgöngur mundu líka eiga greiða leið þarna í gegn. Með því að byggja á svæðinu væri líka hægt að opna nýjar leiðir fyrir gangandi og hjólandi en eins og sakir standa er þetta svæði lokað fyrir þessa vegfarenda hópa.

    EllidaarborgTafla

     

     

     

    Við skulum gefa okkur forsendur til að sýna möguleika svæðisins. Þær eru sýndar í meðfylgjandi töflu. Mögulegt byggingarsvæði skiptist í fjórar misstórar eyjar milli slaufa. Í töflunni er gert ráð fyrir að grunnflötur hvers turns sé um 1.000 m2 og að fjöldi þeirra sé mismunandi eftir stærð svæðisins frá tveimur upp í fimm turna eftir stærð slaufunnar. Væntanlega yrði meira og minna allt svæði á hverri slaufu byggt upp með bílakjöllurum, að- og fráreinum, stígum og göngum og gróðri til að koma umferð akandi, gangandi, hjólandi og almenningssamgöngum fyrir. Þetta byggingarmagn er ekki reiknað út. Hæð turna í þessari forsendu er 18 hæðir og er reiknað heildarflatarmál íbúðarýma og sameignar á hverri slaufu með því að margfalda grunnflöt x fjölda turna x fjölda hæða. Gefin er forsenda um 100 m2 meðalflatarmál íbúðar með sameign og hún deilt í heildarflatarmál gefur fjölda íbúða og það margfaldað með 1,5 íbúum á íbúð gefur heildarfjölda íbúa á slaufu. Þessar forsendur gefa fimmtán 18 hæða turna með heildarflatarmál 270.000 m2, 2.700 íbúðir og 4.050 íbúa. Nýtingarhlutfall lóða yrði 6,2 og gatnamótanna í heild um 2,0.

    Auðvitað eru þessar forsendur samt óraunhæfar sem slíkar þar sem svona þétt íbúðabyggð án tenginga við skóla og leikskóla kemur ekki til greina. Reyndar er ekki útilokað að koma fyrir leikskóla og fyrstu stigum grunnskóla suðaustan við svæðið utan við slaufurnar, þar sem það snýr út á móti Elliðaánum, og gæti því visst hlutfall íbúða verið reist á staðnum.

    Þessar hugmyndir eru fyrst og fremst settar fram til gamans til að sýna hvað plássið er mikið á þessum stað og hve miklu væri hægt að koma þarna fyrir. Ef farið verður í það að byggja upp þetta vannýtta land í slaufunum er líklegt að húsin yrðu mis há og þjónuðu mismunandi hlutverki svipað og á Höfðatorgi. Þarna væri góður staður til að koma fyrir skrifstofum, hótelum, þjónustu og íbúðum. Þetta er svæði sem hentar vel í slíka uppbyggingu og í raun mun betur en mörg þau svæði sem verið er að um-turna núna. Raunhæft er að gera ráð fyrir háu nýtingarhlutfalli þar sem samgöngur eru með allra besta móti í allar áttir bæði á einkabíl og með almenningssamgöngum og hjólandi.

    Greinin birtist fyrst í Stundinni.

  4. Hagatorg

     

     

     

     

     

    Á höfuðborgarsvæðinu er sem kunnugt er mikill skortur á minni íbúðum fyrir ungt fólk sem er að flytja að heiman og kaupa sína fyrstu íbúð. Þá er mikill fjöldi útlendinga og Íslendinga sem býr í slæmu húsnæði í ólöglegum vistarverum í iðnaðarhúsnæði og í ósamþykktu húsnæði og herbergjum. Staða stúdenta er líka slæm og vantar mikið af leiguhúsnæði fyrir stúdenta á höfuðborgarsvæðinu.

    Því miður hefur mikið af því húsnæði sem hefur verið byggt á höfuðborgarsvæðinu undanfarið verið markaðsett fyrir vel stæða íbúa á miðjum aldri. Þeir borga hátt útsvar, að minnsta kosti ef tekjur þeirra eru ekki eingöngu fjármagnstekjur og ef þeir skrá lögheimili í húsnæðinu. Þá eru há fasteignagjöld af dýrum íbúðum. Þeir valda sveitarfélögunum síðan litlum tilkostnaði vegna skóla og leikskóla því börnin eru oftast flutt að heiman. Sveitarfélögin þurfa að gera miklu meir að því að skipuleggja ódýrara húsnæði fyrir ungt fólk því samfélagið getur ekki bara verið samansett úr vel stæðu fólki yfir fimmtugt. Færa má sannfærandi rök fyrir því að húsnæðisvandi ungs fólks sé farin að hafa áhrif á barneignir og þar með á tilkomu næstu kynslóðar Íslendinga, sem verður fámennari fyrir vikið. Að mínu mati er því skynsamlegt að beina sjónum að opnum vannýttum svæðum og hugsa fyrir uppbyggingu húsnæðis þar sem getur nýst þeim hópum sem mest vantar húsnæði.

    Til að byrja einhversstaðar langar mig til að koma með tillögu um betri nýtingu á Hagatorgi við Hótel Sögu. Núverandi torg þjónar litlum tilgangi nema sem stórt opið illa nýtt svæði, sem lengir vegalengdir gangandi fólks. Ég legg því til að á Hagatorgi verði byggt. Þar sem Hagatorg er nálægt Háskóla Íslands gæti hluti íbúða verið fyrir stúdenta og hluti íbúða fyrir nýja kaupendur og hluti félagslegt húsnæði. Ekki er þörf á sérstökum bílastæðum fyrir íbúðirnar því íbúar, ef þeir eiga bíl, geta lagt í stæðum við háskólann sem standa auð nema yfir hádaginn og þannig er hægt að samnýta bílastæðin.

    Hér varpa ég fram hugmynd um íbúðaturn til að sýna möguleika svæðisins en aðrar útfærslur koma auðvitað til greina. Það væri eins hægt að hugsa sér randbyggð eða önnur byggðaform. Hagatorg er 83 m í þvermáli og væri hægt að byggja til dæmis hús þar sem neðstu 1-2 hæðirnar eru um 63 m í þvermáli með verslun, þjónustu og veitingastaði. Undir yrði kjallari í sömu stærð með geymslur fyrir íbúðir, sameiginleg þvottarými, hjóla og vagnageymslu, tæknirými og aðstöðurými fyrir verslun og þjónustu. Ofan á kæmi hús með íbúðum og gæti það verið um 42 m í þvermál þar sem íbúðir eru hringinn en í kjarna byggingar eru tengirými, lagnarými, lyftur og stigagangar. Utan við húsið á Hagatorgi er 20 m breitt svæði sem gæti verið breið gangstétt með gróðri, aðkoma fyrir affermingu, skammtíma bílastæði, hjólastæði og bílastæði fatlaðra (sjá mynd). Gönguleiðir lægju yfir hringtorgið í kring.

    Fjöldi íbúðahæða gæti verið þó nokkur en ef að líkum lætur vilja nágrannar hafa húsið sem lægst. Hótel Saga er sjö hæðir og blokkir við Birkimel eru sex hæðir og gætu þessar hæðir verið fyrirmynd. Húsið gæti líka verið mun hærra og þá verið einskonar kennileiti á Melunum.

    Til að nefna hugsanlegan fjölda íbúða má gefa sér ýmsar forsendur. Til að nefna dæmi má gefa sér forsendu um 14 hæðir þar af 12 íbúðahæðir, meðalstærð íbúða um 70 m2 og 1,5 manns í heimili. Það myndi gefa nýtingarhlutfall lóðar upp á 4,8, 180 íbúðir og 270 íbúa. Ef miðað er við sjö hæðir eins og Hótel Saga og sömu forsendur, eru íbúðahæðir fimm, nýtingarhlutfall lóðar 3, íbúðir 75 og íbúar 112.

    Þessari hugmynd er hér kastað fram til umræðu og auðvitað munu ekki allir vera sáttir. Mér finnst þó vera til einhvers að vinna að byggja ódýrt húsnæði fyrir þá sem virkilega þurfa á því að halda. Eins að skapa meira líf á þessu svæði og bæta nýtingu innviða. Ég treysti arkitektum fullkomlega til að teikna fallega byggingu sem fellur vel inn í umhverfið.

    Greinin birtist fyrst í Stundinni.

  5. Það er ekki vitað hver þáttur öryggisbúnaðar er í fækkun slysa. Að öllum líkindum er hann einhver. Líklegra er að fækkun slysa á börnum megi að mestu rekja til þriggja þátta.

    • Öruggari umhverfis og lægri ökuhraða í íbúðahverfum. 30 km hverfin og hraðatálmandi aðgerðir eins og hraðahindranir og þrengingar skipta þar líklega miklu.
    • Minni hreyfingar barna og meiri inniveru. Minni útileikir og hreyfingarleysi eru neikvæðir fylgifiskar.
    • Meiri notkunar öryggisbúnaðar. Börnum er mikið ekið sem er neikvætt en nú eru þau oftast í barnabílstólum eða beltum sem er þó ágætt.