POV

The 9 Worst-Designed Cities in the World

With that diversity comes one simple truth: no city is perfect

By Gianni Jaccoma - Source: http://www.thrillist.com
Courtesy of Shutterstock

Courtesy of Shutterstock

From sky-scraping metropoles to up-and-coming centers breaking the “large town” mold, cities come in all shapes and sizes. But with that diversity comes one simple truth: no city is perfect. They constantly evolve, much like living beings, but sometimes, their systems break down, too. Just ask anybody who’s sat in a traffic jam or stood on an overloaded subway car.

To get to the bottom of what qualifies as “badly designed,” we picked the brains of several urban planners to highlight the flaws of some of the world’s biggest cities. In the end, that birthed a list of nine cities that, for various reasons, are gigantic messes in some way or another.

Photo © Flickr/VasenkaPhotography

Photo © Flickr/VasenkaPhotography

Jakarta
Indonesia

When your country’s capital is also declared your country’s worst city, you know you’ve got a problem. Jakarta’s dismal transportation infrastructure is compounded by its ever-increasing number of car owners, as more and more are forced to commute to and from the suburban sprawl surrounding this megacity. The result? Jakarta’s citizens spend 400 hours a year in traffic, with the average trip clocking in at about 2 hours. If you think that sounds like the worst traffic in the world, well, that’s because it actually is.

Where does the responsibility lie? Well, since the duty of maintaining and developing Jakarta’s infrastructure falls on the local government, and development contracts are often renegotiated annually, long-term projects are pretty much an impossibility.

Photo © Flickr/Ole Bendik Kvisberg

Photo © Flickr/Ole Bendik Kvisberg


Dubai

United Arab Emirates
Dubai’s pretty much a byword for outrageous excess these days, possessing the world’s tallest building, a fleet of police supercars, and one of the fastest growing economies in the world. But as an example of great design? Well, Dubai’s kind of a disjointed nightmare of skyscrapers and residential estates that lack any sense of cohesion. It’s pretty much impossible to walk anywhere, since the entire layout is connected by massive roadways and arterials leading from one giant development to the next.

On top of all that, the city lacks shared public spaces, leading to an overall void of togetherness that cities often develop around parks and squares. Unless a ski resort inside a shopping mall or a Ferrari museum is your idea of a shared public space. In that case, well, you’re probably too rich to care anymore.

Photo © Flickr/Gregor Smith

Photo © Flickr/Gregor Smith


Atlanta, GA

USA
Jakarta’s got world-class traffic problems, but if you’re looking at just the US of A, it doesn’t get much worse than Atlanta. The traffic here is legendarily awful, due in large part to the massive urban sprawl that resulted from A-Town’s boom in the ’80s and ’90s; the fact that the Interstate 75/85 connector sits smack dab in the middle of downtown Atlanta just exacerbates the problem. These astronomical congestion problems could, of course, be alleviated by the presence of effective mass transit, except Atlanta’s hamstrung by the woefully inadequate MARTA system: a plus-shaped subway line whose much-needed expansion is perennially blocked by special interests. Hooray for putting up metaphorical roadblocks to prevent literal roadblocks!

Photo © Shutterstock

Photo © Shutterstock

Naypyidaw
Myanmar
Rangoon used to be the capital of Myanmar (or Burma, if you’re nasty), until the country’s government decided a change of scenery was in order in 2005, and officially declared an empty field 200mi to the north a great place for a new capital. Fast forward a decade, and Naypyidaw has grown to roughly six times the size of New York City, complete with 20-lane highways and widespread Wi-Fi access. Sounds great, right? It is… until you realize it’s in the middle of nowhere, and pretty much nobody lives here except government officials.

Yes, the reported population count sits at around 900,000, but that figure is widely considered fabricated, and the massive streets are empty during what should be the busiest times of day. If cities are meant to be lived in, Myanmar’s new capital is a resounding failure thus far. Seriously, you can hear echoes half the time, it’s so empty.

See the rest at: http://www.thrillist.com

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