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“Only a train would think that’s a cool city layout” says commenter

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In this week’s comments update, readers are discussing plans to build a linear city in Saudi Arabia and sharing their views on other top stories.

The crown prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman has unveiled plans for a 100-mile belt of zero-energy communities for a million people.

Residents would live within a five-minute walk of essential facilities and the city would have no cars or streets.

“This is a terrible idea”

Readers aren’t sold. “Imagine if your relatives live on the other end,” said Stefanos S. “Silly idea.”

“Only a train would think that’s a cool city layout,” added Zea Newland.

“The idiotic idea of linear cities comes up probably every decade – it needs to be reiterated that this is a terrible idea,” continued Gudjon Thor Erlendsson. “The transport length is extremely inefficient and this can be proven with simple modelling or mathematics. It looks cool from 10,000 feet up but it’s all form, no function.”

“Revving my Lambo,” finished JMFM sarcastically.

Are commenters being harsh? Join the discussion ›

Alain de Botton
Most “nice architecture” built before 1900 says Alain de Botton’s The School of Life collective

“How do you define beauty?” asks reader

Author and Living Architecture founder Alain de Botton has sparked controversy by claiming that our ancestors would be shocked at the “horrors” of modern architecture.

“Thank you for engaging in this subject!” said L993, on one hand. “I grew up in ugly architecture – it breaks my heart to see it exponentially multiply in the world, decades after it horrendously failed in Europe.”

“How do you define ‘beauty’?” asked Greg. “Beauty is, after all, a highly subjective thing. This longing for a ‘return to beauty’ has been the war-cry of all conservatives for as long as we can remember. Basically, they’re a bunch of anti-progressives.”

Karol B agreed: “Maybe one per cent of architecture built before 1900 stands still today, so we have a false fantasy about ‘the past’. Past was super ugly, smelly, sick, aggressive, poor. We really live in the best human world so far. Stop dreaming about the past.”

Do you think the modern world is ugly? Join the discussion ›

A visual of the Tower C terraces by Zaha Hadid Architects in Shenzhen
Supertall skyscrapers linked by planted terraces to be built in Shenzhen by Zaha Hadid Architects

“Architecturally and visually stunning” says commenter

Readers are impressed by a pair of supertall skyscrapers, which Zaha Hadid Architects is designing for a new financial centre called the Shenzhen Bay Super Headquarters Base in China.

“Architecturally and visually stunning,” said Sacrecouer. “The smart and green features bring an amazing bonus.”

Brazilian Architect agreed: “I find this quite beautiful. It looks like ZHA is becoming more mature compared to the confusing and excessive stuff they were doing right after Zaha passed away.”

“Organic. Out of the box. Includes some nature. The entry level’s very human-scale friendly and park-like for something in an urban jungle. I think Howard Roark would approve. I love it,” concluded Hilton Purvis.

Are you delighted by the skyscrapers? Join the discussion ›

Vessel by Heatherwick Studio
Heatherwick Studio’s Vessel closes after third suicide death

“This has nothing to do with architects” says reader

Commenters are debating the temporary closure of the Heatherwick Studio-designed Vessel viewpoint in New York following the third death by suicide at the building.

“People aren’t falling from the edges by accident, they’re willingly jumping over them,” said Ati-st. “This has nothing to do with architects.”

Jack Woodburn agreed: “Encase the walkways in glass, add some subdued clever lighting and call it The Jewel or The Crystal. If people really want to die, there are plenty of options for making it happen. Society cannot truly protect people from themselves.”

“No barrier is high enough for someone who has chosen to take their life,” concluded Martin Lew.

What do you think? Join the discussion ›

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Dezeen is the world’s most commented architecture and design magazine, receiving thousands of comments each month from readers. Keep up to date on the latest discussions on our comments page.

Main image is by Anthony Coleman.

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