Environment: Multilevel Man

Vincent Ponte is a little-known planner who stands at the opposite end of the spectrum from Doxiadis. Instead of designing huge urban regions, Ponte concentrates on small, heavily used plots in downtown areas. His specialty is multilevel traffic systems; his showpiece is Montreal. His emphasis: practicality. "Downtown pays for at least 20% of a city's real estate taxes," he says. "Shouldn't we take care of a goose that lays such a golden egg?"

Ponte was educated at Harvard ('49) to make grand designs; on a Fulbright in Rome, he studied the relationship of baroque planning to infinite calculus. But when he went...

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