Big Plans: The Allure and Folly of Urban Design by Kenneth Kolson

By Kenneth Kolson

-An imaginitive and quirky publication cautioning urban planners to not imagine too monstrous of their layout-

Big Plans: The attract and Folly of city layout springs from the concept that human aspirations for the city—as expressed via visible photographs resembling archi

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Extra resources for Big Plans: The Allure and Folly of Urban Design

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Repeating their achievements, it surpassed them on their own terms. As we have seen, the plan and its large-scale measurement came directly from the Temple of Peace, but lesser elements also constituted major visual references. ¹⁶ Furthermore, the Forum of Trajan turns out to be an exercise in propaganda—a celebration of Trajan himself, extolling his virtues as general and emperor and anticipating his deification, and also a celebration of the Roman political regime, for the grandeur of Apollodorus’s design “merely continued on a larger and more splendid scale the traditions both of the recent imperial past and of the ancient Republic.

Any real city is at any 21 a funny thing happened on the way to trajan’s forum 22 f i g u re 4 Gilbert Gorski drawing of reconstructed Basilica Ulpia, Forum of Trajan, Rome. given point in time a multiplicity of negotiated landscapes. ²³ Through his prose, Packer tells us a great deal about the Forum of Trajan in its several incarnations, but his gorgeous images convey none of this layering of lived experience. It might be suggested that the inability of Packer’s drawings and the digital reconstructions of the Getty to represent patterns of use over time is a minor defect, and that it is unreasonable to expect more of them.

These handsome volumes reveal “a construction unique under the heavens,”⁶ uniquely grand as monumental architecture, and exemplary as public space: Trajan’s column was the hallmark of the imperial forum, the northernmost, most opulent and the last of those open spaces in Rome that provided citizens with a kilometer of partly covered walkways and a parade of public art. The forum was Trajan’s most magnificent gift to his city and was probably the largest paved area (at least until then) ever given over to pedestrians.

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