Post by Steven Dale
In the Swiss suburb of Horw there exists one of the more fascinating applications of cable transit systems – this time in the form of a funicular.
The private funicular is used to service a new development of low-rise apartment buildings that crawl up the side of a mountain. So new is this development you can’t even find it on Google Earth or Google Maps. The use of the funicular is inspired as it all but eliminates the need for additional road services, thereby making the development more compact and efficient.
Take a look:
The implications for such a technique are pretty far reaching. In essence, this development combines single family and apartment dwellings while using a portion of land that would typically be a) unusable for residential development or; b) would be carved up by a series of underutilized curvilinear roads.
Theoretically, there’s no reason such a system couldn’t be used purely for single-family homes as a way to increase density in suburban settings by reducing road infrastructure and placing some percentage of residential uses below ground. There is, of course, the question of cost, but if a single family in Toronto can afford their own private funicular one can reasonably assume this to be a cost-effective solution that would likely be cheaper than additional roads.
Remixing and adapting the concept to other situations could lead to the compromise between single family homes and urban density that home-owners, urbanists and developers have been looking for but not yet able to realize.
This technique is worthy of far more research and exploration.
(Sadly these photos were taken with an iPhone. Hopefully we can get some closer images in the future.)
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