A number of people have paid me the nice compliment of either linking to or (better yet) actually showing, on their own sites, this animated graphic:
I think that's great. The more people who see the moving image of urbanism the better.
One commentor at Miniver Cheevy remarked:
It's a neat graphic, but I am evidently too slow to grasp the point. Which is better, parking in front or in back? Without having thought deeply about the subject, I lean toward centralized parking shared by multiple buildings....
Well the reader gets the idea very well indeed and actually even advances things somewhat.
But he does raise a point about which the graphic is explicitly silent: "Which is better?" Which site plan (and that's the term for overall layout of building, road, sidewalks on a particular property) is "better?"
It all depends on your goals. If you want a walkable neighborhood, you get one answer. If not, then another.
The graphic is value-free.
It does not tell what to do or what is good for you.
It merely points out the consequence of a choice.
Let me put it this way. If you do not care about pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods, then the graphic, and the urban planning lesson it sets forth, is not relevant to your life. And I assure you that I am not trying to persuade anyone that they should want pedestrian-oriented neighborhood.
But I start from the assumption that to a degree, a great number of people want a pedestrian-oriented neighborhood. In that case they have to understand that they will never get it without adherence to the graphic and the three rules which expand on the graphic. There are no "ifs, ands or buts." Unless you start from the graphic/three rules and design your towns and cities in substantial compliance with them, you will never get a pedestrian-oriented neighborhood. Period. There is no escape. It is an immutable law. But don't take my word for it. Go take a look around you. If you notice a walkable "main street" environment which ignores them, I will buy you lunch. (In Seattle.)