Posts Tagged ‘Pavements and roads’

Making places with Marshalls


This video introduces Celestia and Metrolinia contemporary linear paving an ideal solution for urban public realm projects. Marshalls discusses how paving and hard landscaping can create a sense of place in the urban environment, for example reflect high-end retail schemes.

Marshalls on

Marshalls supplied paving for shared space scheme at Exhibition Road


Transport planning: Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors


The latest publication by Inclusive Design for Getting Outdoors (I’DGO), ‘Why does the outdoor environment matter?’, has been added to the online Transport Advice Portal (TAP), a paper-free technical library available for everyone involved in planning, designing and operating road networks.

The four-page booklet summarises findings from both phases of the I’DGO project on older people’s mobility and well-being, and provides key messages for policy makers and professionals, including those working in highways and transportation.

I’DGO is a research project focused on identifying the most effective ways of shaping outdoor environments inclusively. It is run by three academic research centres in Edinburgh, Warwick and Salford, working as a multidisciplinary consortium, supported by partners in industry, government and advocacy.

Designing town centres for walking and belonging


GUEST POST: Agata Szacilowska, Landscape Architect with the Greenspace Development Environmental Services team at North Lanarkshire Council (NLC), describes the design and regeneration of Motherwell’s historic town centre.

In Motherwell Town Centre, NLC aimed to improve the quality, function and appearance of the streets and public areas.

The design was developed through internal and external consultation, and was presented for comments during public displays, on hand delivered leaflets and on the council’s website.

The resulting project involved realigning and resurfacing footways and roads, and installing new street furniture, lighting, street trees and public art.

But its overarching themes were sensitivity to the town’s historic buildings and the movement of people around the public space. (more…)

Traffic management and reinventing wheels



At Ecobuild Michael Sorkin talked about designing new cities in the US and in China, where walking radiuses of 10 minutes were being used as a defining characteristic of a healthy and sustainable neighbourhoods.

Elsewhere, Will Self keeps up his ‘psychogeography’ campaign, extolling the benefits and radicalism of travelling by foot:

We understand that to walk the city and its environs is, in a very powerful sense, to use it. The contemporary flâneur is by nature and inclination a democratising force who seeks equality of access, freedom of movement and the dissolution of corporate and state control.

Meanwhile, the economics of having to transport people and goods, and the small matter of pedestrian safety keep other discussions down to earth. (more…)

Natural stone surfacing: balancing acts


The palette of materials for hard surfacing spawns more and more options as construction technologies develop, not least with emerging concrete paving and bound surfacing products. Progress marches on.

But the appeal and effectiveness of natural stone in landscape architecture and construction – hardwearing Yorkstone, sympathetic limestone, fine-grained slate, solid granite – still stand, complemented as well by similar advances in stone manufacturing processes.

One reason for the persistent role of stone is the way that it allows designers, specifiers and contractors to balance competing priorities in projects: the authenticity of heritage styles versus the dynamism of contemporary accents; standing out in new build projects versus blending into restoration work; the civic benefits of pedestrianisation versus the commercial importance of traffic management. (more…)

Shared spaces and smart surfacing


“Shared space” is an urban design concept championing multipurpose public areas that are safe, walkable, human-scale and economically vibrant, in which cars, buses, bikes, commuters, shoppers, residents and flaneurs co-exist in perfect harmony. Or at least in a kind of self-organising, flocking order. It throws up some interesting ideas and stimulating puzzles, not only for landscape architects but also for the manufacturers of construction products.

Shared roads and cycle tracks

The New York City based Urban Omnibus website features a rich and detailed article, “Cycle Tracks and the Evolving American Streetscape”. It’s written by David Vega-Barachowitz, Sustainable Initiatives Program Manager at the National Association of City Transportation Officials and coordinator for its Cities for Cycling project.

In the article he charts the history of designated bike lanes. They range from early experiments like the California Cycleway, an elevated toll road built in 1900 just for bikes, through to NYC’s 2007 Ninth Avenue protected bike lane, a figurehead pilot project.


What makes a road?


There are vast differences in types of road – a hairpin bend on an alpine pass is (literally) a long way from a cobbled lane in an English country village. The materials and design vary widely, of course, depending on what is appropriate for the application.

Tarmac and asphalt
There’s an interesting look at the idea of the road itself on cycling blog the Inner Ring. From the earliest history of roads to today’s asphalt, there are several eye-catching points, including the comparison of $25,000 per mile “chip seal” or “tar and chip” method of construction with the $350,000 per mile cost of asphalt.

And the impact of the seasons is as keenly felt in Europe as it is in the UK:

Other parts of Europe see winter damage and subsidence. Some Alpine roads get smashed by coachloads of tourists and subzero temperatures, they are relaid every year. But away from the resorts the frost is left to crack and shatter the road.

Stelvio Pass.

Stelvio Pass by Damian Morys Foto, on Flickr

There are also some diverting thoughts out there on unpaved or unsealed surfaces. Where a road experiences low volumes of traffic, it has been found that maintenance costs for gravel roads often exceed the maintenance costs for paved or surface treated roads when traffic volumes exceed 200 vehicles per day.


Kinetic energy and the urban landscape, part 3

Pavegen power generating slabs

Pavegen power generating slabs

Having considered the use of solar power and wind power as sources of energy for the urban landscape I was intrigued by the recent publicity for kinetic energy.

Pavegen has designed a slab which moves (<5mm) with each footstep which lands on it. The slab harnesses the kinetic energy, converting it to electricity which is stored by lithium batteries contained within the slab or supplied immediately to street or pavement lights.

Robaid reports that:

The average square of pavement produces about 2.1 watts of electricity. And according to Pavegen, any one square of pavement in a high-foot traffic area can see 50,000 steps a day. Based on this data, only five units of Pavegen pavement can be enough to keep the lights on at a bus stop all night.

And says:

The system from Pavegen makes a lot of sense in very busy public areas as it will constantly be generating energy which will no doubt mean the system pays for itself very quickly and then continues to cut energy costs, the need for extended power wires and carbon emissions.

Pavegen isn’t the only idea focused on kinetic energy.

Piezoelectric flooring, Tokyo

Piezoelectric flooring, Tokyo

JR East has installed a piezoelectric floor at their Tokyo Station which harvests the kinetic energy generated by footsteps. They expect the 25 square metre installation to generate 1,400kW/sec per day, which would be sufficient to operate the automatic ticket gates and display systems.

And there’s POWERleap which is another piezoelectric flooring system that generates electricity. There are applications in public spaces, retail environments and offices, although it’s the dance floor one that garnered most attention.

High quality housing developments

housing developments

Lime Street Square - Building for Life

Lime Tree Square in Street, Somerset was a Gold Award winner and the South West winner of the 2009 Building for Life awards. It scored one of the highest scores in the history of the competition and was described as setting a new benchmark for the standard of housing.

‘A great scheme which uses an innovative approach to highways design to put the pedestrian first, redefine the idea of the square and create a series of social spaces.’

Building for Life is run by CABE and the Home Builders Federation with Design for Homes. It is ‘the national standard for well-designed homes and neighbourhoods.’

Projects are rated on 20 criteria covering:
• Environment and community
• Character
• Streets, parking and pedestrianisation
• Design and construction

Other regional winners are also profiled on the Building for Life website.
• Admiralty Quarter, Portsmouth
• Angel Waterside, Islington, London
• Cross Street South, Wolverhampton
• Granville New Homes, Brent, London
• Norfolk Park Green Homes, Sheffield
• Trinity Watch, St Ives

What makes a street a successful public space?

Buchanan Street, Glasgow

Buchanan Street - Glasgow - dalbera on Flickr

Project for Public Spaces is an American ‘nonprofit organisation dedicated to helping people create and sustain public places that build communities.’

They’ve an interesting piece entitled ‘9 Great Streets Around the World’ that explores what it is that makes some streets successful, multifunctional public spaces that people can both use and enjoy.

Camden High Road in London is noted for its success as a commercial street, and Buchanan Street in Glasgow as a pedestrian street.

There are other examples from North America, mainland Europe and Australia.

ESI references: