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Hex City

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press release

Hex City: a regional approach to planning new cities.

A young English language teacher with diverse interests pondered over the issue of traffic congestion and penciled out a solution that was finally named Hex City. It was an idea that seemed too good to be new.

As the name suggests, the design uses a hexagon network of arterial roads. Although the design was not initially based on geometry or on the concept of ideal city, hexagons proved to be the answer. The aim was simple, to create a road transport system without traffic signals.

After sharing Hex City with a few professors across the globe, Professor Eran Ben-Joseph at MIT pointed out some examples of hexagonal towns. His own words - nothing new under the sun. Although not widely know, hexagonal towns were proposed over 100 years ago. For 30 years planners proved their efficient land use, economic and esthetic superiority compared with the grid iron system - yet not one scheme was ever constructed in full. (1)

Astounded by this marvel in town planning, Charles Ward, the man behind Hex City, had rediscovered something that had already been forgotten. Why have hexagonal designs still not taken off?? The work continued.

Comparing Hex City with designs by Charles Lamb, Noulan Cauchon and Barry Parker was an interesting process. It pointed out other benefits inherent in Hex City and solves some of the problems these planners faced 100 years ago. The hexagon might not be new, but Hex CIty is a new design on an old idea.

"Not trained as a planner, my four observations came from commuting on the bus and driving. Through traffic increases traffic and common centers of interest converges traffic. New cities must avoid these two perils, the latter being a ideological shift. The roundabout, when not used excessively, proves to be the most diplomatic of junctions. Finally the freeway, the silver lining for every new driver who can legally experience speed and escape the city at last - midweek. These observations became simple rules".

Distilled to its bear minimum, the design is based on three main ideas.

The first idea separates the freeway system from the fabric of local roads and creating a one-way freeway suitable for longer journeys. Shorter journeys are more accessible by bicycle or on foot than by car, thus reducing the convenience of the car to go to the post office. The lack of through traffic and convenience-car-dependancy allowed the residential zones to do without signals too and improve the community as a whole.

Secondly and by far the main ideological shift people are faced with is decentralizing the city centre over a multitude of centers, referred to as nodes. Re-distribute centers of interest and you reduce congestion. The benefit is two fold, people live nearer nodes A and B and traveling to C D E F G H I and J is, quite literally, only a bike ride across the park.

Finally, the whole systems relies on a balance archived by strategic zoning. With an ambitious 50% of land designated as woodland, farmland and recreational land, the design contributes to the environmental aspect of cities and the quality of life of individuals. These huge hexagonal parks, surrounded by six residential areas and six commercial nodes, take centre stage in the cities identity. They differentiate Hex City from existing cities or previous hexagonal town designs and pave the way for new, sustainable, environmentally conscious cities.

Hex City, or any derivative plans that might developed from these ideas, could help model a new era in regional planning. Gone are the days of boldness and the brilliance and magic that comes from such movements. Yet more and more do we see an expensive, quick fix solution to congestion. We can now prevent this from happening. Solutions only come out of understanding the problem, not other known solutions. And as this example promises, one need not be a planner to find solutions.

Find out more about Hex City http://www.ex1st.com/hexcity

1. Hexagonal Planning in Theory and Practice, by Eran Ben-Josephand David Gordon


seamless transport
environmental zoning
connected community
decentralized city
flexible design


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