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8.3 Structure of other districts

The site of Roseau Inner City is one of the few relative flat areas in Dominica. Therefore it has been possible to develop a grid there. This is not, however, the situation in most of the other districts of Roseau (see Fig. 13).

Northwards from the Inner City--on the opposite side of Roseau River--lies the district of Potter's Ville. It is built on relatively flat land which allows the development of a grid-based system. The grid of Potter's Ville, however, is looser than the one of the Inner City. The blocks are not rectangular-shaped and are generally more extensive in size.

The grid of Potter's Ville is at different angle from the Inner City grid: the major streets are almost exactly North-South-oriented except for the southern part of Goodwill Road that splits the district diagonally. East-west-oriented streets are few in number. This creates blocks that are long and narrow. The length of the blocks in North-South-direction varies from about 70 to 190 metres, while their width in East-West-direction is usually only some 20 to 30 metres. The blocks of Potter's Ville are built so that the frontage of buildings is continuous. This leaves no gardens around the buildings but due to larger size of the blocks more open space is left inside the blocks than in the Inner City.

Unlike Potter's Ville, Goodwill district which forms the northern part of the continuous urban area, was originally a planned housing scheme. The scheme was launched in 1959 when forty-two houses were built under the so-called 'Pottersville Slum Clearance Scheme' (Honychurch 1995a: 198). The plannedness of Goodwill district is clearly visible in its orderly street network. The structure of the network in Lower Goodwill is based on two major axes--Federation Drive and Charles Avenue--and one more minor one between them: Winston Lane. Between these axes lie the lanes on the sides of which most of the residential buildings are located.

The network of axes and lanes ressembles closely the so-called Baroque network model (see e.g. Lynch 1981: 281). One of the most well-known examples of Baroque network is the building of the grand avenues and boulevards of Paris after the plan of Baron Georges Haussmann in the 19th century. Spiro Kostof (1994: 11) says that 'Haussmann's treatment of Paris was in fact the first total conceptualization of what we understand by "the modern city".' It was a technocratic approach to planning cities: it rationalized the circulation network and made the city planning in many ways analogical to that of planning machines (Kostof 1994: 11).

The Baroque network model has also been used in planning new cities as was the case of Major Pierre Charles L'Enfant's plan for Washington D.C. in 1791. It was an original combination of rectangular grid system and Baroque network of axes (Lynch 1981: 282). In Goodwill the Baroque network was not drawn on a grid system but on a system of curved lanes that correspond more carefully to the topographical character of the terrain (see Chapter 7.1). The lanes follow contour lines and are therefore almost in a horizontal position while the axes are built in parallel direction with the slope.

The structure of Upper Goodwill is somewhat different from that of lower Goodwill. Federation Drive is the major axis but curved Rose Street forms another axis. The lanes between them are only slightly curved but nevertheless do still follow approximately the contour lines. The buildings in Goodwill are free-standing single houses. Open space around buildings is increased the higher up the hill one goes. In St. Aromant which is the uppermost part of Goodwill, the type of housing ressembles that of North American suburbs.

The southern part of the continuous urban area is formed by the district of Newtown. The area was built already in the 18th century when the British decided to move the capital further South. They called the new town with name Charlotte Ville after the wife of King George III (Honychurch 1995a: 66). This name is used for instance by Atwood (1791: 172) and it still exists on some maps (e.g. Dominica 1:50 000).

Newtown is separated from the Inner City by a hill on which the State House is located. On the southern slope of that hill is a triangular-shaped area which is mostly occupied by offices and warehouses but includes some housing, too. The area is separated from the rest of Newtown by Anglican cemetery and Newtown Savannah which is an open green space. The major axis of Newtown is Victoria Street which in the southern part of the district is virtually the only existing street. The location on a narrow fringe of flat or only moderately sloped terrain between the sea and the mountains causes the linear form of the district.

Bath Estate is a new residential area situated inland to the north-east from the Inner City. Older part, Upper Bath Estate, was built after the Hurricane David which caused extensive destruction in the southern part of Dominica in 1979. A form of rectangular grid network is the base of street network in the Bath Estate district. The blocks are grid-shaped but the streets are cut at their ends. Only two lanes connect the major east-west axes of Lakoudwe Drive and Valley Road to each other while the rest of the lanes are dead-ends in both the northern and southern end of them. They are connected only to Lakoudwe Drive. Contrary to all the other districts of Roseau the feeder lanes are wider than the axes; they even often include a green space in the middle of them. Lower Bath Estate--still under construction--is being built with no regular structure but with a street network that follows the features of the underlying terrain.

The structure of different districts varies much. Many of the differences are due to the features of terrain. Some variant of grid system, however, seems to be preferred if the terrain allows its use. These include the rectangular grid of the Inner City, a modified form of it in Bath Estate, and the irregular grid of Potter's Ville. Some parts inside the Goodwill Baroque network--especially those to the SW and to the East of Lindo Park, are also built in grid system. The only district where grid is not used at all is Newtown; there it would have been virtually impossible due to the shape of the land area suitable for building.



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