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Streets as Open Spaces

Talk given to exchange students from Canada Apr 2014

Laura Novo de Azevedo

on 27 April 2015

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Transcript of Streets as Open Spaces

Open Spaces People's Places
revolution in street use
Le Corbusier (October 6, 1887 – August 27, 1965), one of the leaders of the modernist movement, was a Swiss architect, designer, urbanist, writer and painter, dedicated to providing better living conditions for the residents of crowded cities.
The present idea of the street must be abolished: DEATH OF THE STREET! DEATH OF THE STREET!
theories and ideologies began replacing tradition as the basis for development
Jane Jacobs
Kevin Lynch
Gordon Cullen
C. Alexander
- traditional street-block system discarded and replaced by super-blocks combined with a motorway system;

- urban streets give motorised movement priority; streets as part of public space system should be eliminated in a modern city;

- gigantic scale in urban space configuration, residential tower blocks situated in a sea of parks to achieve maximum sunlight, fresh air, and contact with nature.
Athen’s Charter of CIAM
manifesto of modern urbanism
common global feature:
people in city spaces have been increasingly poorly treated
threat to the social and cultural functions of the street
design principles being widely applied to change city spaces into characterful places
never put together residences, worksplace, recreation and communication
never separate residences, workplace, recreation and communication
city scale
site scale
people scale
brief historical overview
spaces into places:
process & attitudes
methodological implications
unified, citywide political intervention
city space is inviting, popular and diverse
increases when more people are invited to stay, walk and cycle in the city space
increase active lifestyles
promote walking and cycling as a (non negotiable) natural, integrated element of daily routines
intensity of (positive) life in city spaces
respond to people's needs and desires
at eye level
the busier and slower the safer;
traffic safety and crime prevention
green and attractive mobility modes
the cost to invest in infrastructure for people is much lower compared to costs of healthcare and vehicular infrastructure
more roads lead to more traffic
potentially a self-reinforcing process
city life is the number one city attraction
something happens because something happens because something happens
nothing happens because nothing happens because nothing happens
the edges at ground floor define
the interaction between inside and outside
where city places meets building
12 quality criteria concerning the pedestrian landscape
designing the ground floor
'building open spaces that are so attractive that will drag people out'
integrated approach that prioritises people moving on foot or by bicycles
railway, metro/tram, bus, cycling networks, vehicular traffic, pedestrianised zones
traditional city
Jane Jacobs (1916-2006) American-Canadian writer and activist with primary interest in communities and urban planning and decay. The Death and Life of Great American Cities (1961), a powerful critique of the urban renewal policies of the 1950s in the United States.
contemporary city
social forums
meeting place
value of people in city spaces
obesogenic environments
city spaces are built for people
city spaces are built for the car
City streets that developed as a consequence of necessary activities (trade, manufacturing, business)— now have more optional uses (retail, dining, cultural, recreation and leisure choices)
Le Corbusier, The Radiant City (1933), p. 124
implications for urban form and open spaces
Venice Charter
Buchanan, UK Department of Transport (1963) Traffic in Towns.
Proposals and innovations that became common in the UK landscape:

flyovers, the widespread use of single and double yellow lines to limit the intrusion of vehicles in town centres;
city centres flanked with multi-storey car parks;
one way streets and traffic restrictions;
separation of pedestrians and traffic (for the efficiency of traffic!), with clearly defined kerbs and pedestrian barriers;
“A citizen on a $30 bicycle is equally important to one in a $30,000 car”, declares Enrique Penalosa, former mayor of Bogota, Colombia.
how many how long
(planning tool for liveliness)
Vicenza, Italy
The concept of the street as it had been known for millennia was exploded and discarded; walking would no longer serve as a utilitarian travel mode.
paradigm shift
Seoul (South Korea) before and after
The Dings, Bristol
Oxford Circus
New York City
landform, blue and green networks
street network
building layouts & uses
street furniture
street landscaping
Identifying and Measuring Urban Design Qualities Related to Walkability
Congrès International d'Architecture Moderne
warned of the potential damage caused by the motor car, while offering ways to mitigate
Rule 1: Make every effort to accommodate the real needs of people. Do not forget the children, the elderly and the disabled. Prepare your plans and programs in cooperation with the public concerned. Urban planning and transportation planning is a social, psychological, economical, ecological, architectural and engineering job.

Rule 2: The prosperity of a city does not depend on private car traffic, but on accessibility in general, on the amenity of its streets and open spaces and – to put it more succinctly – on its genius.

Rule 3: Transportation and land use must be balanced. Mixed land use must be achieved to reduce journey distances. High density with mixed land use is effective from a transportation point of view. But don’t go beyond the limits of the rule.

Rule 4: Mathematical modeling of traffic behavior and traffic volumes is an important preparation for the decision making. But don’t stretch it beyond its limited validity.

Rule 5: Observe the environmental ranking of transportation modes: walking is preferable to cycling, cycling is preferable to public transit, transit is preferable to private car traffic.

Rule 6: Urban Streets are open spaces for the general public. Consider all functions of the street – social life, strolling around, providing access to buildings, as well as being a transportation facility for pedestrians, cyclists, public transit and private car.

Rule 7: With increasing density the needs of traffic regulations and their enforcement grow rapidly. Strict area-wide parking restrictions are the most effective measures to control traffic.

Rule 8: Most important, especially in high density areas, is urban design and architecture according to human scale. The design quality of a street helps to compensate for the environmental impact of car traffic.

Rule 9: The ground level of streets has to be primarily designed for pedestrians and cyclists, including wide sidewalks, bike lanes, and crossways over the driving lanes.

Rule 10: Provide more plantings and trees within the streets, including façade and roof planting, thus opening the sealed street surface, improving street climate and visual impression and hiding bad architecture.
Liveable Cities: The Ten Simple Rules of Urban Transportation Planning, by Hartmut Topp
a combination of diet, sedentary lifestyles and low levels of active travel have created
paradigm shift
changes in users and functions of public spaces
spaces to places agenda
methodology & research

public open space relates to all those parts of the built and natural environment where the public has free access (streets, squares and other rights of way, parks...)
changes to urban structure
(open spaces, housing typologies...)
Local Economy
improvements to public spaces can raise footfall and trading by up to 40%;

International and UK studies have shown that pedestrians spend more than people arriving by car. Comparisons of spending by transport mode in Canada and New Zealand revealed that pedestrians spent up to six-times more than people arriving by car. In London town centres in 2011, walkers spent £147 more per month than those travelling by car.
it assumed the primacy of the car and consequently ignored other modes of urban transport—motorcycles, bicycles, buses, foot—that represented the majority forms of urban mobility.
The starting point of the social space (or street) is to define the experience that will occur there, is it to shop, relax, view something, play. Following this consideration is given to the kind of spaces required to do this, shops, cafes, amphitheatres and playgrounds. Only after this does the building come into the equation
encouraging cycling:
society, family and physical constrains
The Social Life of Small Urban Places
Whyte suggests that the greatest problem, especially in high density cities, is not the over-use of a public space, it is the under use.
(Whyte 1980)
Manual for Streets - Link & Place
Public realm: space we share with a lot of other people and other functions. Traffic is just one of those functions”
Hans Monderman, Netherlands
Dutch road traffic engineer
Sonnenfelsplatz in Graz, Austria
pioneered in the Netherlands in the 1970s and since spread throughout.
parking-free streets and shared space;
Carmona et al. (2008, p. 5)
urban design compendium
The Pedestrian Pound: the business case for better streets and places, Living Streets, 20 September 2013
Times Square and Herald Square plazas
‘Negotiated Space’, ‘Shared-Space’, ‘Naked Streets'
Home-zones (Woonerf - 70s)
Clever use of brickwork used to outline the carriageway and crossing points and angle parking reduces carriage width
Large new development but retaining human scale and configured in the Woonerf style. Road layouts bendy and short reducing opportunity for acceleration and sight lines reduced to increase uncertainty and slow drivers.

Creating Playful Environments
the placemaking agenda
places to stay
Vauban, Freiburg
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