An American prototopia: or Peachtree City as an inadvertent, sustainable solution to urban sprawl

Ruth Dalton, Nick Dalton

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Abstract

Peachtree City is a city with a secondary transportation network, known as the path system. This paperseeks to determine why the path system is so successful and whether there are fundamental spatial,configurational properties which underpin its achievement. This paper examines the axial-line network ofpaths as a distinct network then as part of the larger, combined system of both paths and roads.The finding of this paper is that the cart path system, although unintelligible in its own right, serves thepurpose of reducing the overall number of cul-de-sacs in the city whilst increasing its axial ringiness. Anew measure for calculating the spatial signature of sprawl is suggested - the proportion and distribution ofcircuit lengths in the axial map. The paper continues by discussing the social, economic and environmentalbenefits of the path system, with the proviso that these benefits arise only from a successful system and thata partial factor contributing to this must be the spatial regularities revealed in the axial analyses. It concludsby suggesting that without the cart path system, Peachtree City would consist of nothing more thanaggregations of typical suburban developments with one or two primary road-entrances accessed fromarterial-roads and containing a high ratio of cul-de-sacs.This paper concludes by suggesting how Peachtree City could be held to be the blue-print of a ?protopia?,presenting a principle by which American suburbia could be transformed into sustainable communities andyet do so in a manner which would be distinctly American in character and hence palatable to its residentsunlike many current, public-transport focused proposals.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005
Event5th International Space Syntax Symposium - Delft, Holland
Duration: 1 Jun 2005 → …

Conference

Conference5th International Space Syntax Symposium
Period1/06/05 → …

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