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Thanks Winnie for your post! I thought you raised a very interesting question on the true inclusivity of roads as a public “territory”. I myself have observed a large domination of vehicles on roadways, particularly back in North America where alternative transportation users are so few. It is my opinion that roadways should be made fully inclusive to all forms of users.

One City that has done this particularly well is Amsterdam, where cyclists and pedestrians largely dominate over private vehicles. A large reasoning for this is the highly efficient infrastructure that exists for non-motorized users (Vander Zee, R., 2015).

According to the CNU (Congress for New Urbanism) roadways should be composed of various activity lanes to encourage inclusive usability. Such areas should include wide pedestrian zones (1.5m-3.0m), transit accommodation and separated bike lanes (Steuteville, R., 2017). This is referred to as “complete streets”.

“Complete Street” https://www.pps.org/article/streets-as-places-how-transportation-can-create-a-sense-of-community

To many, roadways provide a sense of community.

“The street is the river of life of the city, the place where we come together, the pathway to the center.” -William Whyte

Project for Public Spaces has completed several studies on Streets as Places: How Can Streets Create a Sense of Community. Their 10 qualities of a great street include (Project for Public Spaces, 2014):

  1. Attractions & Destinations
  2. Identity & Image
  3. Active Edge Use
  4. Amenities
  5. Management
  6. Seasonal Strategies
  7. Diverse User Groups
  8. Traffic, Transit & the Pedestrian
  9. Blending of Uses and Modes
  10. Neighbourhood Preservation

Pedestrianized Streets are becoming more and more common in inner-urban areas to accomplish this. Barcelona has recently developed a system of “superblocks” where sections of the downtown will be blocked off for private vehicular access “bringing life back to the City” (Bausells, M., 2016). They have also invested a significant amount into bike lanes and public transit, aiming to reduce vehicular usage by 21% over the next two years.

“Barcelona Superblock” https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/may/17/superblocks-rescue-barcelona-spain-plan-give-streets-back-residents

Direction for roadway publicness should widely be taken after these excellent examples of user inclusivity.

 

References:

Bausells, M. (2016).  https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/may/17/superblocks-rescue-barcelona-spain-plan-give-streets-back-residents

https://www.citylab.com/design/2013/07/streets-can-be-public-spaces-too/6235/

Project for Public Spaces. (2014). https://www.pps.org/article/streets-as-places-how-transportation-can-create-a-sense-of-community

Steutville, R. (2017). Seven Case Studies for Complete Streets. https://www.cnu.org/publicsquare/2017/12/07/seven-case-studies-complete-streets

Van der Zee, R. (2015). How Amsterdam became the Bicycle Capital of the World. https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/may/05/amsterdam-bicycle-capital-world-transport-cycling-kindermoord

School of Architecture
Planning and Landscape
Newcastle upon Tyne
Tyne and Wear, NE1 7RU

Tel: 0191 208 6509

Email: nicola.rutherford@ncl.ac.uk


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