If I had a column in the Delft op Zondag

(Not the real)
Delft op Zondag


15 OCT 2017

DELFT - What I find curious about a listing of megacities is that Europe has few, and some will argue that most of coastal Holland is a city. Delft is in the region often called the Randstad, which means, roughly, the beach city. About 7 million, half the population, live along the strand, in a city not far from another city. From Delft to Amsterdam is under an hour by car, to Rotterdam about 15 minutes, traffic permitting.

The real Delft op Zondag featured a new housing zone in progress in the space between Delft and Rijswijk, its neighbor to the north. Americans would pronounce it: rice why-k, where wijk means district. Boulevards are being laid out to feed residents to the freeway or to the big Bogaard shopping mall. The article featured photos of smiling adults holding happy, laughing children.

Bright Lights, Big City


I read recently that back in 1975, there were only 3 cities with at least 10 million people. There are 31 now, but the significance is that Paris, Moscow and Los Angeles are no longer high on the list. Most are in the 'developing' world. About 15% of the global population live in these megacities. For the US, over 80% live in urban areas which take up almost 1/4 of all the land in America.

When I lived in Houston, there were large sections that I knew very little about. The same thing happened when I lived in the Bay Area or in New York city. Maybe people (like me?) have only so much range to their ability to experience geographic space. Once that limit is reached, the mind does not register more.

The Internet of Things is going to be needed for our growing, crowded urban spaces. Only self-driving cars can handle the freeways that will weave around and through complex, sprawling megacities. Providing that many people with food, water, clothing and shelter requires a vast supply chain. The utilities that are necessary to every person, such as waste removal and electricity, will grow beyond what we struggle with today. This is not coming, it is here.

The new 'wijk' is meant to help with the national shortage of housing and will be a mix of separate, family homes, row houses and high rises. It will no longer be a green zone between cities, but there is a set-aside for a park.

It offers themed styles, imaginative playgrounds and pleasant landscaping. It will also have plenty of parking spaces. Here, Delft wants you to put your auto in a garage built for that, outside historic parts of the town.

Young people with young children and older people tired of a small, always-needing-something house will be happy to live in this modern neighborhood. Affordable, safe and convenient, with people like them close by.

The land consisting of Amsterdam on the north, Utrecht inland, Den Haag (the Hague) along the coast and Rotterdam to the south is not paved over for business and bedrooms. Parts of it are managed woods.

We have outgrown rural town and village life. I, for one, hope we go to the moon. It is near and minerals to exploit lie about almost everywhere. It is really the first place we can send ourselves. Earth is filling up.

G. Wiley / NLStrabo - © Copyright - All rights reserved - gwileynl@gmail.com
In memory of Herb Caen