Posts Tagged ‘Traffic control’

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…)

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.


More on urban ‘movement’


Following on from last week’s post on the mobility of trees, there’s more on ‘movement’ in the context of urbanism:

  • The movement of one commuter recorded and made visible using GPS and smart phone apps, by UrbanTick
  • The movement out from Jakarta of Indonesian civil servants, by
  • And the movement of hotels, swimming baths and concert halls on rails in a Norwegian city concept, by Web Urbanist

Urban technology forecast


Five predictions about urban technology changes in the next five years, from IBM’s Next 5 in 5 review.

  1. Cities will have healthier immune systems
  2. City buildings will sense and respond like living organisms
  3. Cars and city buses will run on empty
  4. Smarter systems will quench cities’ thirst for water and save energy
  5. Cities will respond to a crisis—even before receiving an emergency phone call

ESI references:

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:

Manual for Streets (MfS) – they’re not just transport corridors


First published in 2007, the Department of Transport’s ‘Manual for Streets’ was praised for ‘radically changing designers’ and local authorities’ approach to residential street design for the better’.

You can download the manual, as well as the supporting evidence and research, from the Department’s website.

The Institute of Civil Engineers has recently produced a three page briefing document on the manual. A quicker read.

ESI references:

Cycle sense


Could ‘Crap Cycle Lanes’ be the ideal stocking filler for the landscape planner in your life?

More seriously, Kim Harding examines the shortage of cycle parking in Edinburgh and considers policy options which could improve the provision of cycle parking.

And for those wanting a technological solution there’s the bicycle parking tower from Japan and the Biceberg from Spain.

At an all together simpler level the Cambridge Cycling Campaign offers ‘How to provide Cycle Parking – a step-by-step guide for planners and providers’, focusing mainly on Sheffield-type stands.

Social cycle commuting


European Mobility week is happening in Edinburgh on 16th – 22nd September. Following in London’s footsteps, the city is trying Bike Friday – an organised social commute ride, starting from several designated points. It’s all part of the City of Edinburgh Council’s Moving Forward strategy, part of which aims to reduce car traffic by 30% by 2010.

ESI references: