The Man and his Work

We are wrong in many respects when we deal with movement and the city. I will concentrate here on three very basic errors.
The first problem is that we speak of "transportation." Therefore, we assign the tasks to transportation experts, forgetting that Anthropos does not live by transportation, but by movement. After all, he walks in order to do the most important things in his life; he walks to develop his muscular system, he walks around inside his home, he walks to his bed, he walks to meet his fellow human beings, he even walks to his car.
Transportation is only a part of Anthropos' movement and by overlooking this truth we benefit the machines and cause losses to Anthropos.
The second problem is that the existing transportation networks lack overall coordination. They have not been conceived as integrated systems coordinating the airways with ferry-boats, etc. as they should have been. I have not found any case in any country where the transportation network has been conceived, realized and operated as an overall system for the most economic uses of time, energy and cost, which would benefit the country as well as the individuals.
If anyone doubts this statement, I need only ask where one can find an airport where people can descend from an airplane to a connecting car and boat service, or find a regular bus service which issues tickets for the boats of the harbor to which it takes its passengers. Our networks are not unified. They are simply connected by auxiliary lines.
The third problem is that the word "transportation" implies only persons and goods. Thus we forget the existence of water (clean or otherwise), moving in pipes: of gas, oil and electricity; of the movement of messages; the telephone system; and so forth. As a result we waste a lot of space and networks.


It is almost an irrelevancy to think of Constantinos Doxiadis as sixty years old. Like many of his concepts, he is ageless. It is a measure of the range of his mind that he is as much at home intellectually with the third century BC ("Aristotle said the goal of the city is to make man happy and safe. I can't think of a better definition.") as he is with the twenty-first century AD ("When I plan a city I look on it as a growing organism not to be strait-jacketed. We estimate the growth of a city far beyond the year 2000."). Man builds cities, and cities shape man: the interplay of that relationship has been his lifelong fascination, and he has refused to be either trammeled by tradition or beguiled by the future. He is a coeval thinker: looking back, probing ahead, but with his attention focused on the possibilities of the present - in the end, the only point on the continuum of time available for action. He is a builder, but with more than mere stone or steel. For his gift is not only to shape the contours of cities, but of minds as well. Like his Greek ancestors before him, he recognizes the primacy of ideas, and constantly challenges his contemporaries to think them through. And how right that is. What he teaches is as important as what he builds: that only from wise ideas can come noble actions - and that only from noble actions can there be enduring achievements.