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Is This the Best Planned City in the World?

This discussion on Quora, entitled "which is the most well planned city in the world?" certainly got us thinking; not only because of the interesting and diverse answers to the question, but also because of the different reasons which were used to support these answers.

Currently the most popular answer seems to be Zurich, on account of its excellent (and obsessively punctual) public transport, organized waste disposal and numerous public drinking fountains. Other cities which are commended for their public transport and cleanliness are Singapore and Seoul. But other contributors seem to have a very different idea of what makes a well-planned city - read on to find out more.

Amsterdam. Image © cermivelli via Flickr
Amsterdam. Image © cermivelli via Flickr

Amsterdam is cited for its ability to maintain 17th century charm without feeling old-fashioned, integrating new and old into its well-planned canal system. On the other hand, cities such as Brasilia, Chandigarh and Canberra are commended as 20th Century, logically planned cities that still adhere to the original vision. Along similar lines, Chicago and Salt Lake City are offered as examples of cities where the gridded road systems adhere to a relentless logic.

Yet more contributors think that the golden age of city planning is long gone, claiming Machu Picchu is the best planned city in the world. Indeed it's hard to argue with the logic - a terraced, perfectly irrigated city built (without the the wheel) on the peak of a mountain is surely an amazing achievement.

Singapore. Image © Timothy Hursley via Flickr
Singapore. Image © Timothy Hursley via Flickr

There's also a nod to Auroville, an experimental town in India which is not only meticulously planned spatially - as a spiral of different districts with its 'peace zone' in the center - it is also a planned social experiment bringing together people of different nationalities who share the same worldview.

Finally, even Minas Tirith is mentioned - though strictly this city can at most claim to be the best planned city in Middle Earth.

So what, in your opinion, makes a city well planned? Is it order, rules and regularity? A single guiding vision? Is it combining new and old in a way that enhances both? Leave your opinion in the comments below.

The Meditation Center in Auroville. Image © Aleksandr Zykov via Flickr
The Meditation Center in Auroville. Image © Aleksandr Zykov via Flickr
Cite:Rory Stott. "Is This the Best Planned City in the World?" 26 Jul 2013. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/407244/is-this-the-best-planned-city-in-the-world/>