Most of us are aware that the dominance of the automobile in the United States during a time of rapid development and expansion within this country has greatly shaped the United States' landscape. The dominance of suburbs and single-family homes are nothing new to us, and can even be found in manyother parts of the world. However, the extent to which building and housing types have impacted our development is a hard and abstract concept for many to grasp. Through a research project I assisted on several years ago, I worked to create a typology chart and maps of built landscape types across numerous cities around the world. In order to better understand the extent of the land-use impacts driving dominance during the US’s developing years has had, I will look at the current land-use patterns found in Boston Massachusetts and in Bogota Colombia as a comparison (Although neither are my assigned city for this class, I think they make a decent comparison due to population size and stature as global cities).
Bogota has a metro area of 613 square miles and a population of 7.6 million people, but developed rapidly in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s before major automotive influences were found in Colombia. A tramway provided major transportation for the city until the mid 1900’s. Although today the city has major congestion issues due to the present day influence of automobiles, Bogota is starting to address them through the implementation of BRT and other alternative transportation programs. Signs have already started to show major VMT reduction and congestion reduction in the city due to the ease at which these programs can reach the nearly 8 million residents due to the density of the city.
Boston on the other hand, has a metro area of 4,511 square miles, and a population of 4.5 million people. Due to its sprawling low density land use patterns given its large size, implementing measures like a BRT system the size of Bogotá’s (less than 100miles of BRT roadway), would not get anywhere close to providing a viable alternative transportation system in Boston that would be more convenient than driving. The land use patterns that have developed provide a huge cost barrier to break away from the sprawl development that exists. The maps I have created below show the same scale for both cities and give a better idea of the extent to which different land use types exist and how the two places have developed quite differently due to the influence of the automobile:
Post Edited by Matt Berggren