Pillars of concrete Eternity
Remember how I bought the Pansaonic GM1 for the express purpose of having a small camera with me on my daily commute? I could have used my phone but I hate taking pictures with a phone. I dislike touch screens and with photography I very much enjoy the physical act of handling a camera.
This picture was taken at one of the stations on my commute. Sometimes I would just get off the train, take a few pictures and catch the next train home. It is great when you live in a big city where there are trains every five or ten minutes.
This station was a dreadful affair though. Half of it was under a huge bridge of which you can see two of it’s concrete pillars. You can clearly see that the designers did not care at all about how this bridge would look from underneath. Ironically because thousands of people would use the train station every day and spend at least a few minutes there.
The large width of the bridge and position of the station in a trench meant that part of the latter was in a kind of constant twilight. There was no decoration, no greenery, little lighting or anything else that would make this station a place people would enjoy spending time there. Despite a sufficient number of daily passengers there is no coffeeshop or bakery for grabbing a hot cup or fresh croissant. There are only two sad vending machines. Put some neon lights in there and it could be a scene from Cyberpunk 2077.
Walking, the neglected mode of transportation
I wonder sometimes if infrastructure designers really only care about the efficient flow of traffic, the correct way of handling water runoff and piping or the the ease of maintenance access. They often seem not to care about the actual users of their projects. Well the car owners driving over the bridge won’t care and the commuters on the train station seem not to matter.
Even though the concept of the automotive city fell out favor quite a while ago cars pretty much have priority in many cities. This focus on motorized traffic is slowly replaced by the bike friendly city. But I fear that pedestrians will again fall of the sides in the name of eco-friendly bike highways and large metal and concrete bike racks.
You see as much as I support the shift from cars to bikes I think cities should belong to pedestrians first. The most eco-friendly and natural way of traveling, of meeting people along the way and of seeing and experiencing one’s surroundings. Maybe I am just a flaneur at heart.