Take a look at the two images above. They struck me as remarkably similar. The one on the left was drawn by a dissident Argentinian scientist who became an artist, the one on the right was drawn by an eastern European immigrant. They both date from the '60s. The one on the left is "art" the one on the right is "town planning".
I came across the painting by Victor Grippo in an exhibition which is on (until 4th February) at the Camden Arts Centre London. The image reminded me so much of a file image I had copied some time ago from the original designs for Milton Keynes.
Why are they both so similar? I think its the influence of the printed circuit which was a popular image at the time and anticipated the rise and rise of computers.
What I think those town planners failed to realise is that the city is not logical - people and traffic do not move round it as electricity moves around a circuit board. Traffic is much more haphazard. Given no other motive people will walk in straight lines, but they will deviate to see a view, to follow a crowd of to get to a destination. The circulation system is much more like that of the human body. There are routes but there is ebb and flow. If one route is cut off or damaged another route may form. But if the beast is fundamentally wounded it may expire. The loss of importance of a river crossing - or the like often signals the death of a city, just as the bringing of a canal, a motorway or railway can breath new life into the animal that is the city.
However the city analogy with a body breaks down in one key respect, which these town planners also failed to realise. The plan for Milton Keynes religiously separates cars, pedestrians and public transport. In reality many modes can and in my view should take the same route!