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Compare and contrast two views of how the relationships between people and traffic are ordered

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Introduction

Sarah Jayne Makinson TMA04 Compare and contrast two views of how the relationships between people and traffic are ordered In society, there are many different aspects that create order and disorder. Social order refers to aspects such as relationships, structures, and accepted behaviour. The relationship between people, traffic and the use of public space will be the main focus of the discussion in this essay in relation to the views of two social theorists in particular. The two views that will be compared and contrasted are those of Colin Buchanan and Hans Monderman. They each have different concepts and from this take diverse approaches to the subject. When comparing and contrasting the different views it will be important to look at both the similarities and the differences of each theory. Colin Buchanan was an engineer commissioned by the UK Government in 1961. During this time he worked on the report named, 'Traffic in Towns' for the ministry of Transport (1963). This was a time when a growth in traffic and vehicles on the road was highly visible. There is evidence of the density of traffic shown in the table (Department for Transport, 2007, cited in Open University, 2009, p. 326). In 1949 the "number of vehicles multiplied by the number of kilometres driven" (Silva, 2009, p. 326) by all motor vehicles was 46.5. ...read more.

Middle

Each of them analysed documents to create evidence to build upon new and old ways of thinking and understanding. Buchanan used evidence of growing numbers of cars in statistical form to support his model of segregating cars from people. Another similarity between the two is that they both took a scientific rational approach. They had knowledge and through this became the authority in working towards greater social order through their work on traffic and space planning. This was achieved, "through the application of materials, aimed to enforce conduct" (Silva, 2009, p. 345). Being significant and fair enabled them to work towards safer areas for individuals. The ideas of the respective theorists involved zoning areas to a specific context in which appropriate street furniture was designed in order to fit the particular setting. The Buchanan Report had, "prescribed the development of standardised uniform spaces commanding uniform behaviour, leaving no room for individual interpretation, explaining everything with signs and texts" (Silva, 2009, p. 339). This could be seen throughout Buchanan's road designs where 'calming measures' such as warning signs, speed bumps and road markings were incorporated as 'street furniture' to act as authority and create social order by setting rules about the use of the space which individuals have to adhere to (Silva, 2009). Throughout Monderman's work he often undid what was laid there under the Modernist approach. ...read more.

Conclusion

As Monderman explained, "If you treat drivers like zombies, they'll behave like zombies" (Glaskin, 2004 cited in Silva, 2009, p. 334). Buchanan has influenced town planning through his theory of segregation and was incorporated in the plans of both Milton Keynes and Brasilia, the capital of Brazil (Silva, 2009). The 'environmental units' contained small villages that were kept isolated from the fast moving traffic routes that had been designed specifically for vehicle users (Silva, 2009). This provides evidence that they were both fitting to the needs of the time when vehicle numbers were rising and created a solution that would alter the perception of drivers at the time. In conclusion it is clear that both theorists had views and ideas that were fitting to the requirements of social life at the time. Each took a varied approach in tackling the matter at hand; however the core value around safety of individuals in each theory was the same. After comparing and contrasting the two theories, there are a number of similarities however the flexible and modernist approaches would appear to be delivered in very different contexts. Buchanan and Monderman each received positive results from their work and gained authority through the techniques chosen to order traffic and people. Whether or not one of the approaches would be deemed more effective is essentially down to an individual's personal preference in regards to how safety and order can be retained between both people and traffic. ...read more.

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