Polycentric Linear City:
The Concept in 4 Slides and 30 Lines

The following are 4 digital collages created as part of an entry to
Venice La Biennale 2000 Competition: "City: less aesthetics, more ethics".




PLC is a prototype for a polycentric corridor growth strategy developed strictly around a transit-based intermodal transportation network.  Highly interconnected within urban spaces, station areas provide such high levels of accessibility that the need for auto use and ownership in area around its nodes would largely be eliminated. It is not meant to be implemented in its actual form, rather provide a performance benchmark to guide its application to existing conditions/opportunities.  I will describe its major components, requirements and benefits.

Originally, cities came about to join people, to enhance their security, to favor the exchange of goods, information and emotions; to eventually expand their individual selves into a wider social conscience.
In recent decades, this web of relations has been dilated and lacerated by networks of highways and streets. The vitality of local communities has been traded for increased regional mobility, by expanding and dispersing the flow of people and goods,
I believe that a transit-based transportation and land use revolution is mature and that it would largely contribute to the solution of  those problems; this will allow for the creation of striking and unprecedented new solutions to human settlements. It is my belief these new corridor-based urban growth strategy will disproof many wrong assumptions about the inevitable deficiencies of social coexistence.
All over the world, the automobile has completely and pervasively reshaped the urban form, by conforming it to its needs. The unrelenting desire for the freedom, convenience and flexibility that the auto brings has largely overridden other concerns about the quality of urban life. With no end in sight to the increase in car ownership and use, the accommodation of auto mobility directly requires an ever-larger share of urban space and economic resources. Its high personal and public costs are degrading urban amenities, community quality, local accessibility, air quality, personal safety, social benefits, and therefore, sustainable regional land values and sustainable regional economic growth.
Regardless, its benefits are still perceived to justify these very costly side-effects. Through their daily choices and through political and ballot votes, urbanites confirm their readiness to pay the price because the total opportunity cost of known alternatives to auto-based development is much higher: perceived alternatives provide much less  freedom to participate in desired activities and , therefore, less personal freedom and economic opportunities.
A car empowers me to go where I want, when I want; it allows me to choose among a great variety of providers of goods, services, employment and entertainment. As a business, it places me in close reach of potential employees, suppliers, clients and supporting businesses.
Reliance on transit, pedestrian and bicycle, instead, greatly limits this freedom of movement because of their short ranges, low speed, and/or limited destinations. Except for a few subway systems in very high density metros, they do not offer anywhere near the choice and speed offered by the auto.
In this paper I am going to challenge all these preconceptions as outdated and inappropriate by describing a new alternative.
In fact, recent advances in transit and information technology, the advent of intermodal planning, new land-use planning concepts and new evidence of successful non-auto urban forms around the world can be combined to create a prototype for an extremely efficient and equitable new urban form.

In a Polycentric Linear City, land uses types and intensities are strategically distributed around hierarchical transit/intermodal nodes to create clustering districts of development, the use of transportation infrastructure is maximized. Most importantly, access to desired activities, compared to auto, will be extensive and inexpensive. This would create opportunities for highly connected communities strongly focused around compact nodes integrating public space, transportation hub and green areas.
The transportation system will consist of a highly coordinated intermodal network that walking, bicycling, rental-auto, owned-auto, rail, e-vehicles, air and truck modes, through the structural skeleton of its mainline and feeder transit modes.
The relationship, relative importance and hierarchical order of modes would vary widely in space. All intermodal combinations can possibly be chosen, by a user, from any given location; however, their relative convenience will greatly vary depending on the location of origin and destinations of his trip/tour respect to transit node.
As shown in the chart below, the modal split associated with a location along the corridor would therefore be highly related to its distance from the transit nodes.