Frederick Breedon IV, Getty Images Hank Williams Jr. has revealed his summer…
- Posted on Oct 26th 2009 5:30PM by Jesse Ship
In his too-brief lecture at Toronto's International Festival of Authors on Saturday, Byrne ran through topics mentioned in his pro-biking book, such as the follies of early 20th century urban planners, like Frank Lloyd Wright's agrarian utopia, 'Broad Acre City.'
"A great architect but, thank god he didn't get to do this as there was no space made for urban space whatsoever," said the former Talking Heads singer. "However, if we did get to live in Frank Lloyd Wright's future, we would get to fly around using our own personal flying saucers!"
Byrne also covered the follies of modern urban planning, mocking Los Angeles' Grove Mall with its faux-cobblestone roads and gas lamps to create an "authentic" European experience.
Ever the performer, Byrne knows his audience and took great care to honour the passing of Toronto's Jane Jacobs and praise her landmark tome on urban planning, 'The Death and Life of Great American Cities.' Though he admitted his eyes glazed over during the chapters that covered "zoning, redlining and mortgages," he said, "It is really an amazing book. It made me realize that sometimes those invisible things are what make our cities more livable ... or less livable."
Byrne, who achieved cyclist fame last year after designing a series of bike racks for New York, also illustrated his talk with slides depicting creative mass bicycle parking systems used in Asia. He offered hope that our governments will adopt something similar once they recognize bicycles as a reliable and necessary form of transportation in a post-petroleum society.
When asked what his favourite bike was, Byrne picked no specific brand, instead opting for recumbent bicycles. "I don't like the emphasis these days on the speed-focused, hunched over biker. The upright posture is much more civilized."