Anyone actually know these people?

Numtots that is? Would be interesting to hear their reaction:

Jacob’s defining fight being against that extensive and intensive urban planning of Robert Moses. Sure, he was in favour of cars and expressways, she wasn’t. But it wasn’t because she was against cars and expressways, it was because she was against extensive and intensive urban planning. Liveable cities are organic constructions, they’re emergent from the repeated interactions of people over time. That is, they’re not planned.

Numtots – using the wrong justification for an impossible policy disagreeing with what we know about human nature. Well, yes, suppose that’s why the teenagers are there, not the adults.

31 comments on “Anyone actually know these people?

  1. Numtots?? Watch with Mother was it?

    Never mind –you’d be better of with Jellytots anyway. Anybody remember those?

  2. The OED suggests “numbat”, a small rare termite-eating marsupial. Probably with a similar IQ.

  3. “Liveable cities are organic constructions, they’re emergent from the repeated interactions of people over time. That is, they’re not planned.” Milton Keynes, anybody? Not my idea of heaven on earth, but it does work.

  4. Milton Keynes? Worked there for a couple of years in the ’90s, but wouldn’t live there.

  5. Was there any point to that article, or was that meant to be just ramblings? Did you want to open up dialogue or just throw insults.

    If you meant to just throw insults, very well written. If you want to act like an adult and toss back and forth the proverbial dialogue ball, then you’ve missed the mark dearly.

    Sincerely,
    Adult working in the transportation field who supports the NUMTOT’s and us horrible millennials in general.

  6. Jacob’s beloved NYC was a planned city long before Moses came along. I don’t agree with your take on her work. She wasn’t against planning, she was just against bad planning.

    The idea of a city as an organic construction of ungoverned human interaction is beautiful and romantic, but it is a bit mystic and it is a somewhat archaic fantasy. We have changed too much in mobility and skill to benefit from the healthy scale that could appear more naturally when cities were built when things had to be within walking distance.

    We’ve come a long way, even since Jacobs wrote her prominent work. We can use our real amassed knowledge to build livable cities that will work for us now, in all our complex modernity. We need good planning, which will work to our great benefit as long as we get our priorities right.

  7. I am a 66 year old NUMTOT . Forget about mischaracterization of Kids and lack of knowledge.
    And by the way , based on their reaction to gun laws, i think those “kids” are very smart. They have decided that what WE did, is not good enough and makes no sense.. and THEY are taking action.
    The last 50 years was a world of suburbs and coming to work downtown. The last 10 years is turning out to be a world of living and working downtown.
    A gazillion of cars do not fit . How are you going to adjust to this without some planning ?
    And do you want to continue with a mode of transportation that kills 40.000 persons a year and growing?
    What would you do .

  8. I think I’d start by answering, or trying to, the question asked in the piece. Why has every place either rich or free enough to have private, personal, transportation had it? What part of being a human does that appeal to? For a baisc part of my own world view is that systems which plan for humans to be different tend not to work.

  9. Rebecca H. – “The idea of a city as an organic construction of ungoverned human interaction is beautiful and romantic, but it is a bit mystic and it is a somewhat archaic fantasy. We have changed too much in mobility and skill to benefit from the healthy scale that could appear more naturally when cities were built when things had to be within walking distance.”

    Funny because if you were to go to Hong Kong or pretty much any city in Japan you would find rich, law abiding, sometimes clean, prosperous – and extremely crowded, non-planned cities where much is within walking distance. Or at least a very good fast efficient train ride away.

    Not quite sure what point you think you are making, but other people seem to get on fine with a hell of a lot less planning, chivvying and bullying.

  10. I think if this piece had been discussed by NUMTOTS the ideas in it would have been discussed in a slighy more healthy and productive way than just bashing on millenials (Congratulations commenters you’re the first to come up with that).

    The truth is, personally I don’t know a lot about Urban planning, besides what I’ve learned from Urban planning videogames.
    NUMTOTS was exciting because it resonated with the part of me that I’d never assumed I’d get to express around other people, that gets excited for smooth running trains and efficiency.
    I think the argument that Jacobs was against planning holds to the extent that no plan can be guaranteed to succeed and anticipate the needs of millions of people over hundreds of years, without undergoing significant transformation in that time.
    That doesn’t call for just giving up, though, but instead implementing plans that are adaptable and at least meet contemporary needs first, with awareness of a possible future requirements

  11. Tim your most egregious offense here is missing the joke. First of all, the title of the group is a joke, Numtots are a very age diverse group. Secondly, advocacy for banning all cars in the group is, in most cases, hyperbole. Most people advocate for policies like a mileage tax or gas tax. The group does believe in planning but your examples of the USSR and North Korea are cherry picked. Beijing for example, practices transit oriented development and has a much more functional public transit system than lets say NYC; and guess what? Socialist countries aren’t the only ones who plan their cities! Paris and D.C. both have highly functional transit systems and are mostly planned cities. What your argument completely ignores is that there are degrees of planning. It’s not so simple as completely planned vs completely organic. If you look at the livability of cities there tends to be a positive correlation between planning and livability. As for your argument that all places that are free enough and prosperous enough have cars, sure, but they have cars to varying degrees. There at plenty of prosperous cities in free countries that allow the purchase of cars where people opt not to, or if they do they use them, they use them much less frequently than we do in the US. These cities tend to be dense, walkable, and have robust public transit and biking infrastructure.

    Furthermore, car-oriented infrastructure is still planned so I don’t really even get the point of your argument. Whether you think cars are an effective way to move populations or not it doesn’t really say much for whether planning is effective. I do understand that the point of departure and destination are not fixed the way they might be with some modes of public transit so it allows for unplanned uses but it’s also makes other types of planned infrastructure less effective for other uses. Your whole argument lacks nuance. I’m hoping it’s because you were trying to argue against a hyperbolic joke that flew over your head… oh well, I guess. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  12. Tim W- “Why has every place either rich or free enough to have private, personal, transportation had it?” Well obviously, automobiles (what you’re referring to, no need to use so many words) weren’t invented independently in all the “rich or free” societies of the world, they were invented once and spread to them…. by dint of the same dynamics that spread all European/American cultural attributes around the world. You might as well ask why all the rich and free societies have McDonalds and Coca Cola (maybe it’s making them smarter??)

  13. Where have all these urban planning arseholes emerged from?

    Is Tim’s blog regularly perused by jumped up womi’s whose cups run over with plans for the better organising of other people’s lives?

    Well tough luck urban ecofreak show. The car is here to stay and you are not. Civil war –the sooner the better.

  14. Jellytots – yes along with Dolly mixture.

    I liked Cadburys Ice Breaker and Country Style too.

  15. Those awesome Japanese subways are unplanned are they SMFS?

    How about the sewage, electricity, roads etc. Do they just spring up when needed?

    Everything in a modern city is planned and regulated, with rare exceptions. You can’t just waltz into Tokyo and start building a skyscraper on an old rice field. They have a *national* zoning law, because they don’t trust the cities to get it right.

    The idea that the Japanese, of all people, are unplanned is bizarre.

  16. I think you are missing a HUGE point! Its a meme page bud. I’m a Numtot, obviously we aren’t serious about banning cars, its a hyperbole. We are against sprawl and a car dependent society. Just because we respect jane jacobs doesn’t mean we treat her work as a bible. Cities like Vancouver who have taken Jane Jacobs words to the heart are some of the most expensive! And we did a survey, most numtots are over 20 years old, and many of us are currently working in urban planning, studying urban policies, or aspiring to do so.

  17. “Not TV or illegal drugs but the automobile has been the chief destroyer of American communities.”
    Jane jacobs

    Hmmm, you said she wasn’t against cars? Maybe read some jane jacobs before you write about her

  18. “Tim your most egregious offense here is missing the joke. First of all, the title of the group is a joke,”

    Leaving aside the clichéd “You disagree with us, so you’re offensive”, you’ve just had to do that “CAN’T YOU SEE WE’RE JOKING!” tight-arsed explanation.

    Do you have have a column in the Guardian by any chance?

  19. In answer to the question you pose in your heading Tim: we know them now; sanctimonious bores.

  20. Victor Princiotta – “Beijing for example, practices transit oriented development and has a much more functional public transit system than lets say NYC”

    Beijing looks like a massive conglomeration of freeways, traffic jams and concrete elevated roads to me. I am not sure what this transit-oriented development thing is but they are clearly doing nothing to get people out of their cars. It is not as bad as, say, Jakarta but it is not that far off either.

    Have you ridden on Beijing’s underground? New York’s Subway it is not.

  21. Chester Draws – “Those awesome Japanese subways are unplanned are they SMFS?”

    Well, yeah. They are. And if they are not, most of them were built so long ago that nothing they may have planned for is logically valid any more. There was a spate of building in the 1960s – but the first Tokyo underground line was opened in 1927. Whatever the planners intended, assuming there were any, the circumstances in which their intentions were valid have been passed by events.

    “How about the sewage, electricity, roads etc. Do they just spring up when needed?”

    Yeah pretty much, by the look of it. Japan is a great country but the electricity really does look like it is a jury rigged Third World mish-mash.

    “Everything in a modern city is planned and regulated, with rare exceptions. You can’t just waltz into Tokyo and start building a skyscraper on an old rice field. They have a *national* zoning law, because they don’t trust the cities to get it right.”

    You can actually. Japan has really weak planning laws. You own a piece of property, you can do pretty much what you like with it. Which is tragic somewhere like Kyoto because the old city has been destroyed and replaced by ugly concrete copies of the Barbican Centre. There is not a lot of evidence I see that anyone is planning Japanese cities at all.

    “The idea that the Japanese, of all people, are unplanned is bizarre.”

    It is. You would think they were a bit more Prussian. But go and have a look.

  22. “What bit of being human led to this outcome?”

    Until the automobile came about, streets in major cities were shared by pedestrians, carriages, and street cars. When automobiles first appeared on urban streets, some cities sought to curtail or even ban their use, because they made it impossible for foot traffic to share the road.

    Auto companies lobbied fiercely for the institution of modern traffic laws, which hand the streets to the cars and relegate foot traffic to sidewalks. There is no “bit of being human” that led to the rise of the automobile in the city. It was business interests, which rarely align with the interests of those affected by the policies for which they lobby.

    It is blindly arrogant to suggest that policies you support arose from human nature, while proposals you disagree with arise from immaturity.

    Also, a lot of commenters on this thread have a few very obvious misconceptions about urban planning, transit, etc.

    Japanese subways are not unplanned. As a civil engineering student, I can tell you that assuming as much is absurd. A great deal goes into putting together infrastructure projects. A subway doesn’t spring up naturally – plans are drawn based on predicted areas of high-use, undeserved areas, existing infrastructure, landscape, existing topside transit, and any number of other things. Engineers don’t just sit in drilling machines twiddling our thumbs. If we did, you wouldn’t have functional utilities, so you’re welcome.

    Many commenters seem two think that urban planning is a binary state – that either cities are planned in great detail, or they develop naturally under effective anarchy. There are examples of both scenarios in history. But there is also a middle ground.

    For example, Boston is laid down on streets which grew up naturally around properties owned by the earliest settled residents of what was small farming village. But as the years have passed, many of these streets have been rearranged, intersections adjusted, and tunnels dug to replace raised highways. No master plan has spanned Boston’s four centuries, but there have been a series of plans for development over periods of years. One such plan led to the creation of the “High Spine,” and the protection of historic 3-5 story neighborhoods like the Back Bay.

    Smart urban planning doesn’t look like urban planning.

    Oh, and might I add: cars are prevalent in cities today because of highways. Highways in urban centers were planned and constructed deliberately and with purpose. Whatever their merits, they are an example of urban planning.

  23. CivEs are the OGs – “It was business interests, which rarely align with the interests of those affected by the policies for which they lobby.”

    Yeah because people were *forced*, just forced, to drive a car.

    “Japanese subways are not unplanned.”

    That is not quite what I said. I said that they were built so long ago that if they were planned, the basis on which they were planned has long since disappeared. What were the Japanese planning in 1927? Not modern Tokyo.

    “A subway doesn’t spring up naturally – plans are drawn based on predicted areas of high-use, undeserved areas, existing infrastructure, landscape, existing topside transit, and any number of other things.”

    As are sales of ice cream. But we do not use the word planned in the same way when talking about the sale of ice cream. Did the subway have a master plan designed to push the population this way or that? I don’t think so. But they probably did build it where they thought people were or wanted to live.

    “Smart urban planning doesn’t look like urban planning.”

    Why not? Perhaps because people know urban planners are ar$eholes and resent being pushed around?

    “Oh, and might I add: cars are prevalent in cities today because of highways. Highways in urban centers were planned and constructed deliberately and with purpose.”

    The Third World begs to differ. If you go to Rome or Istanbul you will see a lot of cars but very few highways in the town itself.

  24. Hey Tim, great name. Although I suspect that’s where the similarity end here. Unfortunately your half baked argument against those damn [shakes fist] millennials is based on the historical fact that Moses was a planner and Jacobs was the anti planner. In the subsequent 50+ years since planning had learnt that the modernist form of planning that Moses represented did not deliver good outcomes, and Jacobs is now a legend of planning. So if you want to draw a parallel anywhere, maybe the more realistic one is between Moses and older generations of Austrian cranks who refuse to give up their right to bear cars; and conversely Jacobs and the egalitarian NUMTOTS.

  25. “Although I suspect that’s where the similarity end here.”

    How fortunate that our host is not a jumped up womi puke who just knows the correct way to boss people about.

    The only thing you need to plan for “Tim” is the ever-increasing revolt against jumped up middle class pukes and tin gods like you.

  26. Ah yes, I a tumtot with a degree in urban planning and has studied Jane Jacob’s extensively misunderstand her. And before you say “but you haven’t worked in the real world” I have. I’ve worked both private and public sector planning jobs. Jane Jacob’s was an activist and fought for planning to be beneficial and safe to all. Not for the car owning elite of the time. It’s about the idea of being a proactive planner and fighting against unjust power distributions.

    Flip the bird, you nimrod

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