Thank you, Laura, for your post ‘Streets as Places‘. I am very interested in finding different ways of solving problems connected with transport, also in design and use of roads and public spaces. As mentioned in the post, the growing number of cars causes the increase of number of roads.
In my opinion, one of our main aims (as Urban Designers) is to find such solutions for urban environment, that would be suitable for all groups of people, living in cities. We have to concentrate not just on pedestrians, we have to think wider. For example, we also have to think about car owners. In my opinion, usually people buy cars not just because of their desires, but because of their needs. (If they live too far from their destination or outside the city and there are no buses, for example, etc.)
As at the end of the post you have asked us to tell you about the great design elements which make our favourite street a great place. And I would like to tell about one project, designed in my third year of the university. It is a project of reorganising the Karl Marx Street. It is situated in my homecity Kazan (Russian Federation).
This is Karl Marx’s street
It is one of the oldest and central streets of Kazan city. (Karl Marx was a German politician, philosopher and economist). It is the longest street in the city centre, 940 metres long, and it had retained its original appearance more that any other streets of our city.
There still exist numerous Soviet times areas, which were designed in order to promote the Soviet ideology, to organise and manage the population and facilitate the hierarchical communication between authorities and ordinary people.
As a result of this, and also due to the mass industrialisation and subsequent economic development of the country, there appeared numerous zones, which nowadays are of particular interest in terms of human behaviour research.
One of my ideas was
to reduce the level of car usage, on purpose to let the pedestrians to make the street more livable by different kinds of activities. Also, I have offered making a limited entrance to the street for auto trucks and lorries.
The cycling routes
along the street have also been offered to add. What is more, I have replaced the bus lanes by a tramway lane, as it is a more environmentally friendly kind of transport.
I have also created a kind of green frame along the street in purpose to reduce noise pollution. It was presented as islands of greenery and low-growing trees.
I have tried to create such kind of street design that would make the road less wide to make speeding more difficult.
The design proposal
was to make the street closed for cars and to make it pedestrian during the weekends, several times a season or twice a month, for example.
The aim was
to turn Street into a Place for people: a huge park where the parkings would be green lawns for picnics, the roads would be safe places for walking and cycling, and the sidewalks would be areas for sport activities and games.
of that street was a stage for theater performances, street musicians and artists. Also, there would be an open-air cinema and a significant theater platform. Citizens could take part in hundreds of types of activities for both children and adults, to have a tasty and healthy snack on a street food court and also to visit a charity market.
would show to citizens that our urban space is able to and has to be a cozy and comfortable public space for people of all ages, statuses and opportunities.
Turning the street, which is occupied 7 days a week by cars into a friendly public space, would stimulate citizens to take a fresh look at the city.
A huge variety of festivals, holidays and celebrations could be held on the Karl Marx street, during summer weekends.
And in winter the whole street could become a large riding slide, where people would be able to ride sleds and ice-boats, to play winter games and to have a wide range of opportunities for entertainment. So, the street would become the world of optical illusions, futuristic forms, light tunnels and light music.