Why do so many propose to ‘increase circulation’ with some transit project without understanding their implicit organic analogue?
Would anyone care to seriously ask their doctor whether it would be desirable to ‘increase’ or ‘improve’ circulation in some arbitrary body part? To be sure we’re dealing with very different organisms, cities and humans. To start with, I think the most basic distinction we’d need to draw is between evolution by ‘selection’ from among random variation and Lamarkian selection by willed adaptation. Or perhaps between discrete and predictable life cycles and cumulative, adaptive systems.
In any case, what to me is certain is that we need to be explicit about just what type of body we’re operating on before we engage in such reasoning by analogy. Who among the streetcar fanboys has yet done that? And why is the medical community2 so far from such urban discussions with their heavy use of organic metaphor? Is there a doctor in the house?