At the Atlantic Cities blog, Anthony Flint makes the case that the rapidly growing cities of the developing world can learn a great deal by studying the 19th century plan for Manhattan’s grid. At the time, planners:
Though the prospect of a fully and densely urbanized Manhattan may have seemed absurd in the early 19th century, in retrospect the gridding exercise doesn’t appear to have gone far enough. Similar exercises could be of use in the rapidly growing cities of the developing world. Not a block-by-block, centrally-planned zoning scheme, but a basic grid with rights of way for arterial roads and parks. In Flint’s words:
Angel’s recommendation for major arterials that are spaced one kilometer apart is based on the notion that anyone living halfway between such roads could easily access public transit on foot. Once the public spaces for roads, parks, and the is defined and enforced, private decisions can motivate the development of the land between. A light-touch approach of this sort may go a long way toward effectively accommodating the inevitable expansion of cities in the developing world.