Analysis
EET 04 - 06 - 2010

The past few cities have allowed us to view and experience some of the most historical and famous monuments in the entire world. Because of this, and the varied experiences that we have had regarding viewing these monuments, it has got me thinking about how these spaces are designed in terms of site planning, pedestrian movement, and site restrictions. There have been monuments that we have visited recently that were clearly designed to be inhabited by people and allow for optimum viewing and exploration. The Eiffel Tower is a great example of this, because of the park setting that the tower sits in. People are given priority in this space and it gives the visitor the opportunity to explore the space as they wish. Notre Dame is also a good example of a historical site that allows for visitor exploration. The Cathedral features a large plaza where visitors can meet, gather, take photographs, and enjoy the spectacular structure. The Tower Bridge in London and the surrounding waterfront is an example of an area that has been developed more recently to accommodate all of the visitors and create an enjoyable experience for those wishing to view the bridge. The waterfront is very experiential and features great pedestrian walks and bridges that maximize views of the Tower Bridge. It is a great area to explore, and even if the bridge is what drew visitors to the area in the first place, the development is what keeps people there, very smart planning. There are other monuments that we have visited recently that I do not think were quite as visitor-friendly. One example was the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. The Arc is set right in the center of the Champs Elysee, and I understand that it was not necessarily resurrected to accommodate large numbers of visitors, but that is the purpose now, and it is quite difficult to get to. First, the traffic surrounding the Arc is incredibly fast-paced and congested, and there is no way that somebody could cross the street to get to the Arc. The only way that someone can get to the Arc is through the underground tunnel, which was so crowded, and is only open to the public during certain hours of the day. This was a problem when we returned to take night photos of the monument and could not access it. Stonehenge was also an experience that was not incredibly visitor-friendly. This was a completely different setting, in the English countryside, but the restrictions on areas that visitors could go were extremely heavy. The only way that people can view the monument is by using a narrow walkway that circles Stonehenge, but from quite a distance away. We felt like cattle being herded around in a circle. I understand that there need to be certain restrictions in place in order to protect the relics, it was just not the most pleasant way to experience the monument. This trip has been so incredible because of all of the amazingly famous and historically significant places that we have been able to go. When people make a list of places that they want to go in their lifetime, surely most of the places that we have seen in the past three months would be on there. But that also means that as a designer, we have the opportunity to make direct comparisons between places and experiences that we have had. And I think the places that I have enjoyed the most are the ones that we can explore the most freely. The monuments that allowed visitors that have the freedom to walk around as they wished and enjoy the space without a ton of restriction are the places that I will return to.

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