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Streetscape is designed to improve the aesthetics and atmosphere of a publically used space. These include different visual elements of space including the road, adjoining buildings, sidewalks, street furniture, trees, and open spaces, etc. that define the street character. In this blog, I will discuss how some of these elements can be designed to have better streetscape design that will improve pedestrian movement.

Walking on a street always depends on the microenvironment of the street itself. Many urban designers assume that streetscape features are important for having an active street, but there is very little evidence to support this assumption. The most important features for having active street are a number of pieces of street furniture, the proportion of windows on the street, and the proportion of active street frontage.

Figure 1 – Features of active street

One of the main aspects in the planning of the street is the floor area ratio (FAR) and population density. Streets should have a higher FAR and predominantly active retail frontage. The first feature which is street furniture such as signs, benches, parking meters, trash cans, newspaper boxes, bollards, street lights need to be designed according to the human scale proportions. For having an active public space it is suggested to have urban furniture and urban sitting.

Figure 2 – Furniture for better streetscape

Second feature which is windows on the ground floor façade defines the transparency of the street. The level of interaction with the adjacent building increases only if there is a transparency in the streetscape design. The last feature include the active spaces such as shops, cafes, restaurant, public park and other uses that promote pedestrian activity. Inactive spaces such as parking lots, blank wall, driveways should be avoided.

Also, one thing that I found interesting was creating a two-way street instead of one way a one-way street makes vehicular movement fast without opposing the traffic. On the other hand, two-way traffic makes a driver to pay more attention to the surrounding. Due to the lower speed of vehicles, it gets easier for pedestrians to move safely.

Overall I found these features as most important ones from creating a better streetscape which will promote easy flow of pedestrian movement. Is there any other feature that you found interesting to share with us?


References:

  • Planetizen – Urban Planning News, Jobs, and Education. (2019). Which Streetscape Features Best Generate Pedestrian Activity?. [online] Available at: https://www.planetizen.com/node/79669/which-streetscape-features-best-generate-pedestrian-activity [Accessed 20 May 2019].
  • wiktionary.org. (2019). Streetscape – Wiktionary. [online] Available at: https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/streetscape [Accessed 20 May 2019].
  • Partner Engineering and Science, Inc. (2019). Streetscapes and Urban Landscape Architecture. [online] Available at: https://www.partneresi.com/services/landscape-architecture/streetscapes-urban-landscape-architecture [Accessed 20 May 2019].
  • com. (2019). Imagine Cities. [online] Available at: http://www.imaginecities.com/post/streetscape/one-way-vs-two-way-streets [Accessed 20 May 2019].
  • com. (2019). Imagine Cities. [online] Available at: http://www.imaginecities.com/post/streetscape/benefits-of-converting-one-way-streets-to-two-way [Accessed 20 May 2019].

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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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