Congestion in London

"Cities that phase out cars will die" says commenter

In this week's comments update, readers are discussing an opinion piece by Phineas Harper that argues "cities should not just build green transport but actively dismantle car infrastructure".

Harper suggests that instead of desperately trying to reduce road congestion in the short term, politicians should be using traffic as a tool for making urban transport more sustainable.

Many readers agreed but several took to the comments to explore how cars could be incorporated into cities, rather than designed out.

"Private cars create more problems than they solve"

Becks commented: "Maybe the discussion should be about making the car part of public transport in cities and not about private ownership."

"The much-vilified car has huge value in that it's the only mode that is ready when you want to go and goes from where you are, all the way to where you want to go – and it's yours," contested Peter Samuel.

"Cities that phase out cars will die," they continued. "People and economic activity will abandon such cities for places that do cater to cars. Cars are not the villain."

On the other side of the debate, Gytis Bickus thought that private cars will become "an outdated thing of the past".

"They are inefficient, expensive, and create more problems than they solve," they said. "Kind of like smoking was once fine, until people realised it only damages your health and everyone around you."

What do you think the future of cars is? Join the discussion ›

Windows stretch the entire height and width of MVRDV planned Wuhan Library

"Form above function"

Dutch architecture studio MVRDV has unveiled designs for a 140,000 square metre library in Wuhan with a sweeping form that takes cues from the topography of its surroundings.

While impressed, Bob Patiño worried about the functionality. "It is quite an impressive interior space, but books near the huge glass facade will discolour," he said. "The ceiling-high shelves and their contents look like a mere adornment – form above function."

JZ, however, was purely impressed by the form. "Seems like an excellent selection of dramatic shapes to strike grand gestures," they commented. "Baroque Modernism."

Other commenters discussed the friction between form and function. Leo said: "I like the shapes, but there is way too much glass for my liking."

Eugene Ely was more optimistic. "Public libraries today are not the hermetic spaces of the past," they said. "People barely read anymore anyway, it needs to be a centre of energy and interest to get people into the building in the first place. Whether it succeeds at that is a different issue."

Do you think form and function are balanced in these library plans? Join the discussion ›

Harley-Davidson electric motorcycle LiveWire
Harley-Davidson launched its first electric motorcycle in 2018

"If you actually rode an electric motorcycle you’d be grinning ear to ear"

In an interview with Dezeen Harley-Davidson CEO Jochen Zeitz explained how the company is transitioning to become an all-electric brand in a process that will take decades.

The news prompted debate in the comments section with Gene commenting: "Haters hate. Leaders move forward and build a new future every day."

Sean Marshall Palmer said: "Electric motorcycles do seem anticlimactic to me but, as a Harley owner, I applaud their efforts to try to stay relevant and competitive."

Jack Jones argued that even if "the electric thing is turning you off, if you actually rode a Harley-Davidson LiveWire [which is an electric motorcycle], you'd be grinning ear to ear."

Eric Mallory commented: "Harley has finally realized that 85 per cent of their customers are headed for the nursing home. Time to get some fresh blood."

Do you think electric-only models make sense for Harley-Davidson's future? Join the discussion ›

Wabi-sabi house in Utah
This house in Utah by Sparano + Mooney uses a blackened stained finish on its facade

"I could live there, no problem"

Readers are discussing Sparano + Mooney's cedar-clad home, cantilevered over a canyon in Utah.

"Beautiful setting," said Apsco Radiales. "I could live there, no problem." However, they were not convinced about the black colour of the siding. "Why not white or left as is?"

Scot M thought the project was perfect. "Love the simplest of thought in the design of this home", they said.

But IDracula felt differently, calling it "another unliveable, boring house by an architect for a boring client".

Boring or beautiful, what do you think? Join the discussion ›

Comments update

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