Stream patterns produce linear elongations and movement toward distance points. On the other hand, clustering is a form of natural or natural-like concentration. Linear units are usually essential to transportable needs.
Roads and highways as streaming patterns tend to irritate people as the more forward objects restrict following objects and followers pressure those in between, characteristic of flow and forward movement. Flowing object patterns indicate momentum and an element of uncontrolled movement toward distant places.
Social clusters are place-creating and non-directional human “pinging stations” where people tend to interact as they socially “bump-into.” It is in “bump-into” places and “pinging stations” where people tend to engage in interaction, where they can shop for products as well as for human contacts or interaction. These pinging places, places of interaction tend to create the atmosphere for shopping and for socializing.
Shopping that requires access by car, where large box distributing places are themselves the destination points seldom function as clustering points, they don't ping. High density areas especially in Europe tend to cluster around squares or other human pinging points.
Elongated shopping districts are usually the result of domestic rail movement, like street cars. Street car stops or loading points tend to create clustering places. Buses generally do not have the place-creating effect that street cars do. There are some theories that explain the anti-pinging effect of buses in the urban setting..
Shorewood's development seems to have been the result of street cars and street car stops, especially along north Oakland avenue. Without the street cars, the elongated business district becomes the stretched out road system, taking one out of Shorewood, with no real cluster points, no human pinging points, no places of enclosure.
Oakland needs to become a series of cluster points, somewhat like beads on a necklace. These small squares will attract people who will shop and socialize. The experience of Europe and European oriented cities proves that the linear pattern will not work unless it is regularly interrupted by small public spaces, pinging points.
Slowing down the flow of elongated places may require a great deal of pinching back at the ends of the elongated element. Ground floors should not necessarily be commercial in these end areas where renewal is taking place. These end point could contain more open elements as residential units next to flowing traffic are not desirable habitats. Pitching back the ends will also serve to create a more intense cluster at the center and aid in developing a functional community central point, with concentrated pinging. .
The present thought processes reflected in the numerous plans obviously for Shorewood's redevelopment are the result of what we usually refer to as “common sense” thinking, which usually doesn't make scientific sense therefore, usually makes “good” political sense. Those of us who want to see the success of our present redevelopment efforts should begin to understand the social effect of elongation and clustering..