What is a Mechanized Culs-de-sac?

You have probably heard of a culs-de-sac.  Those fernlike mazes that fill suburbia around the world and especially Edmonton. Did you know culs-de-sac is an appropriated french word? It's actually pronounced in they way I am spelling it:  (Culs)de(sac).  A lot less attractive than the blurred version english has changed it to: Cul-de-sac.  The french word means "bottom of a sac", and in the urban case, essentially a whole into a space with out an exit.  Sound a bit like a trap, no?

Culs-de-sacs have still provided many homes for growing families but a little research in design will show you their ergonomic and cultural deficits are many. If you are thinking of looking into this a book that explains it well is "Happy City" by Charles Montgomery. My main point is from another book; "Architectureof Community" by Leon Krier, and he delves  flow of cities vs urban sprawl and modernist aesthetics. One of his neatest arguments that go me thinking was how on a design level, skycrapers don't help densification to a great degree.  Instead they make "mechanized" or "vertical" culs-de-sacs that suck you up just to spit you back out the same point of severe congestion. It illustrates how the right kinds of passages and intersects create human life while others make you dependents on cars, traffic lights and generally force you into emotionally tense avenues.

I enjoy this arterial way it looks at a city.  The thought points out the severe lack of flow, circulation and walkability that hinders us everyday.  Sometimes it is depressing, as if the city is saying you are an ant among monolithic, authoritative structures and that they will forever trounces your sense of the human scale ("Human Scale" interesting documentary). Perhaps that is part of why this sketch feels a bit dark from trying to capture the feeling.

On the flip side, this means part of our dissatisfaction is not always our fault for feeling it.  It means designs were incorrectly set in motion that don't cater to your full well being.  And if we are done blaming ourselves or realize something bigger is changing how we feel, it could mean we grow just enough investment to want to change it for the better.

As the original builders thought mechanized culs-de-sacs were great, the first trick will be to really learn what "for the better" means.