Thank you, Sophie, for sharing your thoughts about the Living city. I’m particularly impressed with the historic image of Northumberland Street before being pedestrianised in your post as it demonstrates how successfully the street has been transformed to a street for people. I totally agree that a living city should be of pedestrian priority. My hometown Chengdu has built lots of flyovers in the city over the past decade to alleviate the pressure of traffic jam. However, the problem of congestion still exists because the number of cars has grown even faster, especially when the city is ‘designed for cars’. It can be seen that providing more and wider roads will invite more cars. In contrast, providing more pedestrianised streets and zones will return the city to people and encourage them to walk and cycle, which is a much more effective way to alleviate traffic congestion.
Additionally, Kim Dovey suggests that the importance of urban life lies in the encounter with difference (2016), and Jan Gehl points out that life between buildings is important city attractions. Hence, public space should be designed to invite people to stay and become a catalyst for new activities, which will effectively activate the public environment.
Dovey K, 2016, Urban Design Thinking: A conceptual Toolkit, Bloomsbury Publishing, London
Gehl J, 2006, Life between buildings: Using public Space, Danish Architectural Press, Copenhagen