These words came to mind while watching Zaha Hadid being interviewed by Christine Murray, at the CityLab summit in London a couple of days ago. At one point, the conversation turned briefly to transport. I do not mean, at all, to pick on Hadid personally; I simply thought it worth repeating the part of the interview that touched on urban movement as a reminder that, just because someone is famous in a field related to the thing you’re interested in, it doesn’t mean they know anything of value about that thing.
The following exchange is transcribed as faithfully as I could manage, although I’ve left out a few ers, ums and I means. The dots do not represent missing words, just pauses. You can watch the whole interview at https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=cF136hWtDXw, with this passage starting at 7’45.
CM: Do you think the infrastructure of our cities… do you think there’s enough thought about the movement of people in and out of…
ZH: …I really don’t think so. I mean, I was in New York last week. The traffic is absolutely unbelievable; it was complete gridlock. And I do travel by car a lot in London – I know it’s not fashionable, but I really can’t cycle – but, y’know, it’s… maybe the systems are good, but there is so much traffic in London, and all these big cities, that you need to think of transportation… I’m not sure if it’s better… more tube lines or some other new invention in movement… I don’t know what it is but… I think it’s a problem.
CM: Do you have a solution?
ZH: No, I mean, I don’t know… I often cross the Embankment and now there’s a kind of bicycle highway, which is nice for the cyclists, but the rest of the traffic is a mess. So I was thinking maybe there should be an elevated cycle path or… there needs to be, I don’t know, something else. I don’t know how you discourage… car-pooling?... I don’t know, how you discourage so many cars, er, in the city.