HOMEZONES IN THE UNITED KINGDOM
EXTENDED ESSAY SEMINAR SIMON LAPINSKI
Ref: Images IHIE Homezone design guideline, www.homezonechallenge
1. Contents. 22. Appraisal of completed projects.
23. - Reduced vehicle speeds
ELEMENTS and Reduced/perceived crime.
24. - Safer play for children.
3. Indroduction. 25. - Improvement in environmental
4. - What is a Home zone? quality.
26. - Enhanced community cohesion.
5. History and development.
6-8. - The History of Home zones. 27. The future.
9-14. - Development of home zones 27. - Funding.
in the U.K. 28. - Strategy.
29. - Promotion.
15. Design considerations. 30. - New developments and the
16. - Gateways. planning system.
17. - Movement.
18. - Parking and Lighting. 31. Conclusion.
19. - Facilitating play and
Blind and disabled. 32. Bibliography.
20-21. Implementation. 33-34. Appendix
- Pilot schemes.
- Challenge schemes.
During our three years of studying Landscape Architecture we have
been exposed to many topics to aid our progression within the field.
Our role is attempting to create spaces to a brief, which requires satisfy-
ing a client or more generally a group of people.
Growing up in central London as a child on a council estate, we took it Centre.
for granted to have what seemed hundreds of friends, playing various
games in the yard all day unhindered, except for the odd shout from the
old lady upstairs.
It appears in the last 30 years that those leagues of children that once
played outdoors have gradually disappeared. This was never more
evident than on our current project involving the Edgar Road Community
Centre in a Hanworth housing estate in London.
Our aim was to stimulate the community into rediscovering and enjoying
the mass of open space that surrounded them. I’m not naive enough
to believe that we hold all the solutions, but the concept of Home zones Visualisation of Homezone
and the benefits it purports to provide residents in reclaiming their proposal for Edgar Road Community Centre.
streets, providing safer environments for children to play and helping to
restore a vital sense of community was the stimulus in the selection of
study for this extended essay.
Through the essay will be discussed the problems currently existing in
most urban residential areas, the evolution of the home zone principle,
its claims, application and evaluation of projects to assess if it is part of
a solution to enhance the well being, quality of life and community spirit
within urban residential environments.
Edgar Road Community Centre.
Ref: Photograph and visualisation authors own work.
The expansion of traffic volumes, a
system of streets established
primarily during the Victorian age and
shortsighted traffic engineering has
created residential environments that
are dominated by the car.
The sheer volume of traffic flow and
numbers of parked cars has led people
to become estranged from their own
Home zones (HZ) are on attempt to
reclaim the streets from poor post war
planning, which focused on the
priority of the car. This solitary
pursuit structured streets to meet
specific traffic flows, speed
requirements and a standardisation of
street setting that ultimately led to the
segregation of cars and people.
Ref: Cartoon above, reclaiming city streets for people, European commission.
What is a home zone?
A HZ is focused on reducing speed limits of motorised vehicles to
at least 20mph or below, (preferably to walking pace) within
residential areas to generate equality and a safer environment for
its inhabitants to enjoy other activities. HZ’s are not only con-
cerned with reducing car dominance, but also extending the social
domain into the street.
This expansion of the social domain is aimed at improving the
quality of life to its residents, instead of being just a thoroughfare
for vehicular traffic, reversing the previous relationship with the car, Image of entance at Cavendish Rd,
which now becomes a guest in the street. Kingston-Uopn-Thames HZ.
This is achieved by a distinct approach to street design; highway View down Hastings Rd, West Ealing of the
engineering and landscaping combine to control how cars Five Roads HZ.
negotiate the new environment without restricting the number of
HZ’s are residential areas where the street is designed to change
the way it is used to improve the quality of life of residents so that
they can talk to their neighbours, play, walk and cycle safely in the
streets. The aim is to change the balance between car dominance
and the use of the streets for living
IHIE (Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers), June 2002.
Ref: Images taken by author.
Key benefits of Home zones include:
• Providing children with a safe environment in which to play
within the close vicinity of their homes.
• Increasing the social domain by reclaiming residential streets
into valued public spaces and rediscovering a sense of
• Reducing crime, a consequence of more residents and time
spent within their streets is the increase in natural surveillance,
which acts as a deterrent to potential crimes. Any reduction in crime
or the perceived threat of crime will encourage further
residents to find enjoyment in their streets, thus establishing a Images of Milford St, Southville HZ, Bristol
virtuous circle that aids the whole community. Before and after the application of the
• Reducing the dominance of the car and promoting
sustainable modes of transport such as walking, cycling and public
This way the community is also contributing to producing a cleaner
environment through the reduction in congestion, noise pollution
and carbon emissions through lower car usage.
• Lowering social segregation of older and less able members
of the community by facilitating greater social interaction.
• Improving the general well being of residents and increasing
the quality of their lives.
Ref: Bristol University, Southville HZ: An independent survey.
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT 6
History of Home zones.
The theoretical beginnings of HZ’s can be traced back to the report Traffic in Towns (1963) written by Colin Buch-
anan. The report was a study of traffic in urban areas within the U.K. In 1959 the Ministry of Transport of the United
Kingdom (U.K) hired Buchanan to investigate the issue of improving urban transport, by reducing congestion and
coming to terms with the car.
An Architect and Engineer, he developed an innovative idea by distinguishing the conflict between providing for
easy traffic flow and the breakdown of the residential and architectural fabric of our streets. Buchanan and his team
developed a technique for evaluating and restructuring urban traffic systems into specific zones, called
These were different to conventional streets, as the volume of traffic that flowed through them would depend on
their function. Streets would not only be classified by the volume of traffic that they could accommodate, but also
by environmental aspects such as noise, pollution, social activity, pedestrianisation and visual aesthetics.
These environmental elements would be used in setting the standards and limitations, creating some Environmental
areas where pedestrians and vehicles were segregated and others, which permitted the safe mix of both pedestrians
and motorists in the street.
Initially the ideas of ‘traffic integration’ and ‘traffic calming’ in the environmental zones were not well received by the
government as they ran counter to existing polices of promoting economic development through road construction
and railway improvements.
The report re-surfaced in the late 1970’s when the government combined the departments of the Ministry of Transport
and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government into the new Department of the Environment. This provided the
first opportunity to address both land and transportation issues as a single entity, however changes were still slow to
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT 7
It was mainland Europe who went on to adopt the theories devised from Buchanan’s report. Germany, Denmark,
Sweden and in particular Holland embraced many of the ideas, referring to Buchanan as ‘the father of traffic calming’.
In Holland the Traffic for towns report inspired Nick De Boer, Professor of Urban Planning at Deflt University of
technology and the University of Emmen.
Attempting to bridge the contradiction of streets as places of children’s play alongside the usage of cars, he
developed the notion of Buchanan’s concept of co-existence as a possible solution. Buchanan designed streets that
gave motorists the impression that they were entering a garden setting; forcing drivers to consider other road users,
where design of the physical space promoted equality amongst all users rather than just the flow of traffic. De Boer
renamed the street a Woonerf, or “residential yard”.
Plan view of the shared space of a
Woonerf, pedestrians and vehicles
share the same space, which is
designed to slow traffic and to
support play and social activities.
1. Clear marked entry.
2 2. Sitting area/bench.
3. Bend in driving lane.
4. Parking space.
1 3 5. Planters and trees.
Ref: Sketch authors own, applied from Streets and the shaping of towns and cities, M.Southworth & E. Ben-joseph
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT 8
At this time in 1969 the Municipality of Delft had been considering redesigning and improving road surfaces
in inner city locations and selected De Boers ideas for a collection of poorer areas where more child play
areas were needed, but none existed. With the participation of local residents, the design incorporated pave-
ments and road surfaces into one shared space, creating the impression of a yard. Trees, planting and street
furniture such as benches further enhanced the space.
The Delft scheme proved a great success and with the development of guidelines by the Ministry of Transport and
Public Works in the form of a set of minimum design standards and traffic regulations for the Woonerf, legislation by
the Dutch government in 1976 resulted in the idea spreading throughout the Netherlands.
These guidelines were subsequently adopted and legalised in the creation of shared street spaces in Germany of the
same year, Sweden and Denmark 1977, France 1979 and Switzerland in 1982. All of these countries used different
terminology to describe their own particular form of Woonerf, in Germany its called Verkehrsberuhigung, Ggade in
Denmark and of course a HZ in the U.K.
Woonerf streetscapes below.
Delft, Holland. Rijswijk, Holland. Copenhagen, Denmark.
Ref from left: Woonerf: A Dutch residential landscape, Colin Hand. 2 x images Reconciling people, places & transport, Ben Hamilton-Baillie.
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT 9
Development of Home zones in the U.K.
Innovative schemes existed in the U.K which adopted the principles of the shared space during the 1970’s such
as Worthington St in Leicester funded by an urban renewal programme for inner city sites and Brow in Runcorn,
Cheshire where grant monies from Cheshire Design Aid installed a shared surface scheme to replicate the aesthetic
of a country lane.
However from these initial pioneering projects, many local authorities were unwilling to proceed with such develop-
ments due to the lack of legislation and uncertainty over the legal liability in cases of accidents involving pedestrians
and motorists, who were unsure how to use the spaces.
Mike Biddulph in Homezones: A planning and design handbook 2003 describes the work of Barbara Preston, an
academic and road safety campaigner as the person to first use the phrase HZ in her 1992 article ‘Cutting
pedestrian casualties: Cost effective ways to make walking safer’.
In the report Preston attempted to readdress the high level of accidents and fatalities of pedestrians, especially
children in the close vicinity of their homes and establish safer play areas for them, advocating the introduction of
legislation, which made accidents involving pedestrians the liability of drivers in designated HZ streets.
The Brow, Runcorn
Ref: For both images Home zones: A planning and design handbook, Mike Biddulph.
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT 10
The increase in car ownership was creating conditions within
residential streets that were becoming dominated by passing traffic
and parked cars. The principles of HZ’s were seen as a method of
reducing this dominance and improving the quality of life of residents
within their streets.
Pressure for legislation came from a variety of voluntary organisations
and resident groups who sought a common cause concerning the
condition of residential streets, traffic priority, quality of design, the
environment and safer places for children’s outdoor play.
Prime supporters and lobbyists of the HZ concept were the Children’s
Play Council who recognised the potential to improve safer streets
for children’s play, resident groups such as Methleys Neighbourhood
Action supported by Transport 2000 and Sutrans, both independent
national bodies concerned with sustainable transport.
In the example of Methleys, Leeds 1996 the neighbourhood action
group with the aid of a local arts grant purchased rolls of turf and laid it
out on their street over a weekend inviting local media, councillors and
residents to experience an environment that illustrated the effects of a
street with reduced traffic priority.
Two images of Methleys, Leeds where
residents turfed their street to
promote the wish to improve their
Ref: Home zones: A planning and design handbook.
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT 11
In an action proposed to reduce the severity of accidents involving pedestrians and motorists, legislation was
introduced in June 1999 providing local councils with the ability to introduce 20mph speed limits within areas of their
authority without requiring government approval from the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the
“The creation of sensible, self enforcing 20mph speed limits and 20 mph zones has been highly successful in
lowering traffic speeds and reducing the number of road accident casualties. This latest move will free up
bureaucracy surrounding 20mph speed limits and will mean safer streets for our children”
Lord Witty, the then Transport Minister.
With continued lobbying, increased awareness and government support, the Transport White paper ‘A New Deal for
Transport (1998) proposed new initiatives which enabled the government to liaise with local authorities throughout the
U.K to proceed with the construction of 14 HZ pilot schemes, nine in England and Wales, four in Scotland and one
in Northern Ireland in August 1999. No statutory funding was provided, but as the schemes progressed they were
monitored and evaluated to produce the first guidance reports on the planning and processes involved in adapting
the principles of the HZ concept in new and existing streets. The inception of the pilot schemes resulted in the
legislation allowing local authorities additional power to designate streets within their areas as HZ and was passed in
the Transport Act 2000.
The publications included from the Department of Transport the Traffic Advisory leaflets 10/01 Home zones – planning
and Design (Dec 2001) and 8/02 Home zones – Public participation (Dec 2002) which were produced to provide
guidance to the professions involved in the planning and progression of HZ’s and a campaign video aimed at both
professionals and residents to explain the essence of the concept using case studies from the Netherlands.
A HZ is a residential area where the street is designed to change the way the street is used to improve the quality of
life of residents so they can talk to their neighbours, play, walk, and cycle safely in the streets. The aim is to change
the balance between car dominance of streets and the use for streets for living.
Department for Transport, 2001.
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT 12
Through a study conducted by the Commission for
Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) it became
clear there existed deep-rooted institutional and cultural
obstructions to developing high quality residential street
environments as outlined in ‘Paving the Way – how to
achieve clean, safe and attractive Streets’ (CABE 2002).
• The prevailing bias in favour of motorist’s interests in
government highway and design guidance,
• The consequent exclusion of other street users interest in
government guidance and the way streets are
• A shortage of design expertise in the various professions
who have responsibility for streets, and
• The failure of the utility companies to acknowledge their
responsibility in maintaining quality streetscapes.
Ref: Cover of CABE’s Paving the way - how to achieve clead, safe and attractive streets, authors own edition.
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT 13
The new legal status of HZ’s led to highway engineers demanding guidance notes. Home zone Design Guidelines
(2002) by the Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers. This publication was oriented towards the engineering
concerns in developing HZ’s rather than the planning processes and relied heavily on the Dutch
This proved a defining moment as highway engineers realised that past methods had helped to stifle innovation,
prevent the discovery of safe solutions and encouraged the dominance of the car. It also exposed the irrelevance
of a previous dimension rationale relating to safer roads such as liberal corner radii.
On the work of the guidelines and the original pilot schemes, 2002 saw the creation of the Home zone Challenge
Fund set up by the government, which proposed to inject a further £30 million of investment to HZ projects with the
aim of advancing on previous schemes as a means of:
• Producing a greater depth of knowledge in the implementation of HZ’s than from the first pilot schemes, which
instructed “how best to actively involve
• local community interests” (DfT, 2001)
• And to assess the viability of the concept when applied to other regions throughout the country.
This resulted in 110 authorities submitting for a total of 237 schemes for a final 61 successful applications to be
announced in and around the United Kingdom.
HISTORY AND DEVELOPMENT 14
This resulted in 110 authorities submitting for a total of 237 schemes for a final 61 successful applications to be
announced in and around the United Kingdom.
With concern that the concept was not being fully applied within the U.K as in Holland with designated 10mp
speed limits, Mark Lararowicz proposed the Safety Bill in June of 2003 permitting local authorities to establish
10mph speed limits, which resulted in the first and only 10mph speed limit at Morice Town, Plymouth.
The monitoring and evaluation of the new schemes produced the 2005 document Home Zones – Challenging the
future of our streets (Department of Transport).
This report illustrated that the concept could adapt and work in various locations around the country and wasn’t
applicable to mainland Europe only. This point was reinforced with the video Homezones: The U.K Experience,
which displayed the evolution of the concept within the U.K.
Images of Pentamar St Community space and
Charlotte St gateway of Morice Town HZ.
Ref: Images, Home Zone Design Guidlines, Institute of Highway Incorporated Engineers.
DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS 15
Principles and Design considerations of Home zones.
Introducing a HZ requires a distinct approach to street design. Mentioned below are factors used to assist the
design process to create a HZ scheme. These elements have been obtained from the works conducted on
completed U.K pilot and Challenge projects and the experience gained from the Dutch Woonerf streetscapes. They
are intentionally minimal to avoid becoming prescriptive and cover the essential topics that need to be addressed.
“The design of a HZ is crucial to achieving the low speeds that are necessary for the scheme to be successful
and for the activities to take place safely”
Homezones, Challenging the future of our streets, 2005.
Attractive and clear landscapes.
In the construction of a HZ, street clutter of signs and
unnecessary street furniture should be kept to a
Any feature proposed for traffic calming or
landscaping should become part of a unified street,
which is considered in relation to the street scene as a
Project in Rijswijk, Holland demonstrates a simple
Ref: Image courtesy of Graham Smith.
DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS 16
A key component in the success of a HZ is the reduction in speed limits of vehicles. In mainland Europe the HZ
principle has progressed to the extent that the majority of the urban population takes for granted the existence of
reduced speed limits in residential streets, removing the need for a formalised gateway and standardised signage.
In the U.K the concept originally proposed that speed limits follow a hierarchal structure of gradual reduction from
30mph on main roads, 20mph on roads surrounding homezones and 10mph within it.
However the inability to replicate this model, through a lack of formalized legislation to provide consistency of
these speed limits makes the gateway an integral element of HZ success.
By establishing recognized gateways at entry and exit points you are defining a different environment and making
motorists aware that greater caution and a reduction in speed is required.
Gateway to one of
Five Roads HZ,
Ref: Southville HZ image from Bristol University indepenent evaluation.
DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS 17
An element in the philosophy of the HZ is providing space where pedestrians, cyclists and drivers occupy a space
at a relatively similar speed. The introduction of a shared surface between property boundaries and removing the
definitions of the pavement and highway forces the motorists to negotiate the space with greater caution.
The balancing of speeds between street users allows for safer and improved movement for pedestrians. This
enables space to be reclaimed not just for enhanced movement, but also for other uses such as child’s play.
The vertical surfaces of the vehicle path have been reduced except at selected points where cars have to pass each
other to the width of a single car, restricting the flow of traffic. Different textures and colours have been applied to
the vertical surface to denote passages intended for vehicle use.
More frequently used are horizontal structures of trees, planters, bollards and street furniture to break the drivers
line of vision through the street and create deflections in the linear surface to force the motorist to consider their
movements and speed more carefully, leading to an overall reduction in traffic speeds. It is essential when
designing these interventions to consider and consult with local utility service providers such as waste removal
trucks and emergency services to ensure access and movement is not inhibited.
Traffic calming measures in streetscape. A
A. Horizontal deflections in highway (example chicanes).
B. Vertical shift in highway such as humps, cushions, ramps etc. B C
C. Highway restrictions which restrict traffic flow.
D. Small Corner radii.
E. Unclear junction priorities which rely on driver eye contact.
F. Changes in colour and texture of highway surfaces.
Ref: Sketches authors own applied from Home zones: A planning and design handbook.
DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS 18
Parking is a major concern to residents of potential HZ
projects. Parking spaces may already be at a premium and
concept relating to reduce car reliance by reducing parking
bays may be keenly contested.
Approaches to resolve the issue have been to efficiently
manage the allocation of spaces by implementing methods
such as echelon parking, with its reduced or variable
parking bay widths, it allows for larger numbers of vehicles to
A positive consequence of creating high quality street
environments is the uncertainty it generates to motorists
living outside the scheme, who being unsure whether the site
is public or private space and therefore less likely to use it for
all day parking.
The level and quality of lighting is important to providing
feelings of safety and security. Lighting should be located to
illuminate speed-reducing features at night, while care should
be taken to reduce intrusive light and avoid light
Plan view displaying selection of configurations in the arrangement of parking spaces.
Ref: Sketches authors own applied from Home zone: Design Guidelines, IHIE.
DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS 19
A major aim in establishing HZ’s is providing areas for children to play safely. These could be introduced with formal
or informal play areas. Formal arrangements could be set within a defined space containing a variety of play
equipment located with good natural surveillance and not posing a nuisance to neighbouring residents. The
inclusion of formal play has in some schemes generated a negative response from residents concerned about the
gathering of older children. To counter this, informal play areas can be created through the use of street furniture
or unusually shaped bollards that allow the children to use their own imagination together with the increased social
domain of the shared street space.
BLIND & DISABLED
With the momentum gained from the development of pilot and challenge schemes, the removal of the traditional
street setting of a defined pavement and highway in favour of a shared surface has resulted in a conflict from
parties supporting the partially sighted and the blind members of the community. With the shared surface they have
lost tools aiding their safe movement and have confused guide dogs trained to recognise the defined setting.
Several groups have called for the removal of the shared surface principle and in some case this has been required,
but hasn’t distracted from the concept of the shared space. In the development at Ashford in Surrey of the Public
Realm Shared Space Project, a strategy of incorporating textured corduroy paving units with informal pedestrian
pathways within the shared surface environment has enabled partially sighted and blind people to efficiently walk
from one destination to the next.
Ben Hamiliton-Baillie in his recent talk on shared spaces at the London branch of the Landscape Institute
suggested that although many groups had become entrenched in the public view on their objection, identifying and
closely liaising with individuals and groups through the implementing stages of schemes can result in a
compromise to satisfy both parties and continue the progression of the scheme.
The same level of communication is required when approaching the needs of people with other disabilities. The
Department of Transport has funded research into making the schemes fully accessible and safe for disabled
residents while retaining the concept of the shared space.
Implementation of Home zones.
“Community involvement and participation are essential within the design process if results are to be valued by
residents. Create pride and ownership”
Home zone: Planning and Design Handbook (2002), Mike Biddulph.
HZ’s are being used to improve community cohesion by bringing residents together to increase the quality of the
environment within their residential streets.
Resident involvement is primary to the success any proposed HZ, as expressed by Ben Hamilton-Baillie when
describing his observations studying the concept of HZ’s in mainland Europe.
In his study report Home zones: Reconciling people, places and transport, he recognised that no one HZ street
resembled the other, all had common features such as shared surfaces, the use of trees, planting and street fur-
niture to define and screen street parking, the use of bollards and street lighting to define a space, and the use of
simple gateways at entry points. But the use of these features was different in every case due to involvement of
the local residents in the design process.
The most successful HZ within the U.K have occurred from following the Dutch approach to involving local
residents with the various stages of project implementation.
Resident commitment, consultation and involvement are vital aspects; the full support of the local community is
fundamental to the development of a proposed scheme within any existing residential street. The consultation of
residents will allow the project to contain realistic desires and requirements of the community for their potential
Allowing for continual and transparent dialogue with residents from the start of a project will reduce any potential
misunderstandings and objections between professionals and local authorities with the local community, which
may later delay project progression.
Outside facilitators can aid the planning process for a HZ by understanding and reassuring residents about
development issues, community planning techniques and providing expertise concerning highway, landscape and
urban design. This will help overcome any fears residents have about the scheme being forced upon them by local
authorities and sustain their commitment as well as promoting an inspired and responsive project.
The planning process should seek to consult, provide support and encourage the contribution of positive feedback
from minority members of the community who are unsure or doubtful of the benefits from environmental
improvements to their neighbourhood, on the grounds of social exclusion or immobility. These include children and
young adults, socially disadvantaged people, the elderly, ethnic minorities and disabled residents.
Very few residents will possess the ability to decipher two-dimensional plans and drawing details illustrating their
environment. Proposed HZ schemes should be presented using methods and tools easily related to the
These can involve models to illustrate the concept, interactive computer simulations, which provide human-scale
walk through perspectives or full scale mock-ups, set up in the street on organised fun days to offer a tangible idea
of the benefits from the proposal. All these methods help with raising the awareness of utilising the streets space,
while unconsciously enhancing community spirit.
APPRAISAL OF COMPLETED HOME ZONE PROJECTS 22
Appraisal of completed Home zone projects.
One of the primary aims of the 2002 Home Zone Challenge scheme was to monitor and evaluate the various factors
that contributed to the successful implementation and establishment of a project, to learn lessons and help ensure
a smoother trajectory through the different phases by minimising previous errors. The 2005 document Home zones:
Challenging our street (DfT) was marketed as supplying the evidence and evaluations of the 61 approved schemes
around the U.K to assess HZ implementation and level of success in applying the concept from mainland Europe.
Unfortunately the monitoring of schemes proved irregular due to the lack of funds made available for their collation
and naivety from highway engineers who underestimated how long it would take for schemes to progress. Of the 61
projects only 39 were able to provide responses.
The Home zone challenge scheme identified from the outset a defined variety of objectives that would be used to
assess the impact of the HZ concept on their prescribed streetscapes and residing community. The objectives
• Reduced vehicle speeds.
• Reduced real/perceived crime.
• Safer play for children
• Improvement in environmental quality.
• Enhanced community cohesion.
These objectives were quantified by conducting before and after surveys of traffic speeds/volumes, frequency of
accidents and questionnaires from residents to seek opinions on the general consensus concerning HZ intervention.
By illustrating several case studies of completed projects I hope to expose the levels of success or failure generated
within schemes that monitored the objectives described.
APPRAISAL OF COMPLETED HOME ZONE PROJECTS 23
Reduced vehicle speeds.
Of the responding completed schemes from the Home Zone Challenge, over 50% noted a fall in traffic speeds of
between 10 and 15 mph. The lowest mean speed of 6mph being recorded in the Northam HZ in Southampton. The
table below compiled by Tim Gill in his 2005 paper The Home zones movement in the U.K: history, progress and
prospects compiled figures from 41 schemes before and after the implementation of a home zone and supports
previous evidence of reduced speeds. Although success can be claimed in lowering the speed limits of the greater
percentage the vehicles moving through designated 20mph HZ areas and reducing a correlating number of accidents
involving pedestrians and cyclists, the majority of vehicles still travel over the initial target speed of 10mph,
weakening the claim of imposing safer streets for children as expressed in Woonerf interventions.
Reduced real/perceived crime.
Evidence from crime statistics indicates that there are reductions in crime
levels following the intervention of a HZ. The turn around in some schemes
has been dramatic, with Morice Town in Plymouth reporting 92 crimes
between 2001-02 and in the following year after completion of their project,
just nine crimes were registered, a drop of 90%.
At Ashston West End, Tameside, Manchester, it was disclosed that domestic
burglary was down 80% and car crime reduced by 50%. A key element in the
improvements was not only to reduce crimes, but also the perception of crime
through improved lighting and security provision, so creating an environment
less attractive to potential criminals.
Mean speed mph <10 10-15 15-20 20+ Don’t know
Mean speed kmh <17 17-25 25-34 34+
Ashton West End, Tameside,
No of Schemes (41) 4 15 15 2 5 Manchester HZ.
Ref: Image fron The home zones movement in the U.K: History, progress and prospects.
APPRAISAL OF COMPLETED HOME ZONE PROJECTS 24
Safer play for children.
As previously stated, the intended reduction of car speeds to 10mph has
been very rarely achieved.
This appears to express itself in the varied response received in the desired
goal of improving safety of children’s play and extending the social domain
to encourage greater diversity of activities.
In cases such as Camden in London, 82% of residents said that more
children were playing in the street as a result of their home zone and in the
Southville HZ scheme, Bristol, when residents replied to the question ‘Are
streets safer for children’s play?’ in an independent survey conducted by
Bristol University on the behalf of the local authority, 88% of residents who
replied said yes.
But again using the research of Tim Gill, a study into the impact on children’s
outdoor play delivers a mixed message. Of the 41 projects evaluated, 21
believed the level of outdoor play had increased, while 9 said it was about
the same and 11 didn’t know.
There could be numerous reasons behind these discrepancies such as loca-
tion of projects, introductions of barriers to prevent rat running, but it is still
recognised that over half of evaluated projects produced positive results and
may suggest more work is required during the planning process of proposed
Children enjoying safe play in the
street. Lumpton Street, Camden,
Ref: Images authors own and from report Reviewing home U.K home zone initiatives, Mike Biddulph.
APPRAISAL OF COMPLETED HOME ZONE PROJECTS 25
Improvement in environmental quality.
When evaluating the enhancement of the residential streetscape within a HZ, every project reported positively to
the change of their environment. This was partly due to the sympathetic design, high quality use of materials, the
softening of the streets with the establishment of trees and planters and the considered placement of street
furniture to create an inviting and attractive space in which to reside.
This change in ambiance has helped form the notion that the improvement of the environment has a direct effect
on generating a positive effect on residents health and well being, adding to a raised morale and community spirit.
The HZ also provides a safe location for walkers and cyclists who can take advantage of the improved links to go
about their daily routine.
From left to right. Bespoke mobile planters/bench in Suothville, Bristol. Mosaic bench in Lupton St, Camden.
Raised timber planters in Porchester, Hampshire. Cycling bays/planters in Cavendish Rd, Kingston.
Ref: Images authors own bar Southville and Porchester from Home zones: Challenging our Streets, Department for Transport.
APPRAISAL OF COMPLETED HOME ZONE PROJECTS 26
Enhanced Community cohesion.
In the majority of HZ developments there has been the reawakening of community spirit, the whole implementation
process from the initial design to the final handover had generated communication that bound the community
together, as in the example of the Five Roads Forum, a resident group from West Ealing home zone in London.
“It was the initial common cause of improving our streets that revealed the more important aspect of regaining
Five Roads Forum resident.
In a few instances, members of the same community contested decisions on particular elements of a proposed
scheme. This resulted in frictions, which remained after the completion of the project, tainting the notion of creating
an enhanced community.
These instances were partly due to the break down of communication during the consultation stage and a poor
delivery of information to residents, highlighting the need for professionals maintain clear concise dialogue and
realistic ambitions to residents.
However in the main, the reclaiming of the streets for child’s play and other activities has raised the frequency of
encounters between residents, contributing with a sense of ownership and pride from defining their own
neighbourhood and generating a real sense of community.
FUTURE OF HOME ZONES 27
Future of Home zones.
Momentum behind the advancement of HZ’s is rising continually, along with a number of organisations advocating
the development of projects. The points outlined below highlight the areas which need to be considered if HZ’s
are to be more widely accepted within the U.K.
For retrofit schemes, there needs to be a greater understanding of the planning processes involved in their
development. The huge disparity in final costs per street metre in the completed Challenge scheme projects
highlights the varied interpretation made of the concept by the various local authorities around the country and
their application of it.
Since the completion of the Challenge scheme projects there have been no additional statutory investment. With
the high cost of retrofit schemes, government and local authourity assistance would be vital, but in the current
economic climate this aid will be hard to find.
The completed projects have provided a demonstration of the benefits of adapting the urban environment to the
principles of the Woonerf ideal and the attractive lifestyle it generates for its community. These advancements
in improving the quality of life for residents are evident visually and through evaluated research, which has been
recognised by private sector and developers. It is the private sector, whose investment will now govern the
continuation of the HZ concept in future developments.
FUTURE OF HOME ZONES 28
The inclusion of a HZ to an urban environment can contribute to its overall transport strategy and begin to
enable residents to reconsider their approach to the ways in which they travel. The ideology focused on
improving the quality of life of the community within its residential streets, encourages residents to redefine the
previously ingrained notion through post war planning that streets are the priority of the motorcar and other uses
Through studying the progression of the Woonerf, its home zone cousin can become part of a broader strategy,
which leads residents to enrich their environments and move towards more sustainable forms of transport away
from the dependency of the car.
The home zone can act as a node in a series of links that creates a safe infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians
to move within the urban environment and provide a secure point from which young children can learn the skills to
benefit from such networks. Bike pools, health walks, community bike rides and maintenance-training workshops
all help to promote healthy, sustainable transport.
Initiatives such as Travelsmart provide advice and support to households to change personal travel behaviour and
in Southville, Bristol there was a 7% increase in walking journeys, 22% increase in cycling trips and 18% rise in
residents using public transport.
FUTURE OF HOMEZONES 29
Promotion is integral to development of the HZ concept in the U.K. In Holland the principal is widely taken for
granted in residential areas and the community understands how to use the spaces correctly.
In the U.K however the concept is relatively new and only a minority of people are aware of its availability, the ma-
jority having experience of just the highway and pavement for their streets.
National government and local authorities need to support the HZ concept in key policy statements, in revisions to
the Highway Code and Driving test and through concise research, which illustrates the benefits from introducing
home zone schemes.
Local authorities could train officers to become dedicated in promoting and developing schemes, whilst
having the knowledge and tools to assist interested groups.
FUTURE OF HOMEZONES 30
NEW DEVELOPMENTS AND THE PLANNING SYSTEM
The principles that make a HZ should be adopted by the development of new residential or mixed used schemes.
The economics involving the inception of a project are lower within a new build than with retrofit schemes and even
though the consultation process is removed from new developments, there exist successful examples from the
pilot and challenge schemes that provide sufficient precedent.
Foreword thinking developers are already incorporating the ethos in the knowledge of how it appeals to the general
public in prioritising the values of the community and the commercial advantage it entails. For developers to be
able to progress with projects the planning system needs to be formulated to aid their quicker facilitation, by
removing bureaucratic barriers.
Local authority departments of highway engineers, planners and legislation involved in the planning and design of
HZ’s need to fully comprehend the principles and amend polices in their development plans to help deliver
This includes amending previous residential design guidance and highway standards to include the HZ ideal and
be prepared to provide planning permission to innovative proposals rather then forcing developers to fall back to
traditional street settings.
With regard to the retrofit HZ schemes involving existing residential streets, the achille’s heel lies in the expense of
Implementation of schemes. The last Governmental investment was for the Challenge scheme nine years ago at a
transition of party power and a current time of recession additional assistance looks slim. At an average of £1000 per
square metre to install a retrofit project, the financial costs when compared to the supposed benefits are unfortunately
questioned. As rewards of rediscovering and enhancing local communities are long term qualitative benefits, rather
than short term quantitative results, the aim of delivering the HZ concept is often blurred between the total embracing
of the principles and the addition of traffic calming measures such as a few speed bumps, which provide a cheaper
option and return quick responses in lower traffic speeds and accidents. A possible solution devised by Sustrans is
DIY Streets, where a shopping basket of measures delivering the ethos of a HZ is provided to individual residential
streets, which depending on budget can select options to transform their environments. This is still a relatively new
approach and could be the answer to continue the momentum of the good work already achieved, so its progress will
have to be monitored.
What the initiatives of the pilot and Challenge schemes have achieved is to prove that the ideas adopted from the
Dutch Woonerf model are applicable within the U.K. and that the concept does what it tenders, by reducing traffic
speeds, lowering accidents involving pedestrians, creating safer play for children and improving the cohesion of com-
munities. Both of which are possible parts of the solution to tackle child obesity and broach the tensions that occur in
a Multi-cultural society living on top of one another.
Where the HZ application of the U.K may have its biggest affect is focusing the answer for providing sustainable
transport solutions. The HZ by principle reduces the dependency of the car by improving opportunities for walking
and cycling. It then becomes a hub providing a safe point where tomorrows generation can develop the skills to ben-
efit and hopefully take for granted an infrastructure of link to other reclaimed sections of the social domain.
The main barrier to the success of the HZ concept is the inability to install a hierarchy of speed limits around and up to
designated areas. This is a failure on the part, or lack of stringent legislation, however with the increasing number of
Prestigious new developments adopting the HZ principles and the guidance taken from the innovative transport
Policies in countries like Holland, Denmark and Germany, the home zone is a demonstration set to become part of
broader policy of expanding the social domain to the boundary of urban areas by reducing overall traffic speeds,
volumes and dominance of the vehicle within our towns and making spaces increasingly permeable and safer for the
pedestrian and cyclists alike.
BOOKS AND PUBLICATIONS. LEAFLETS.
1. Homezones, Design guidelines, Institute of Highway Department of Transport
Incorporated Engineers,2001. 1. Traffic advisory leaflet - TAL 10/01
2. Homezone - A planning and design handbook, Homezones - planning and design, 2001.
Mike Biddulph, 2001. 2. Traffic advisory leaflet, 8/02, 2002,
3. Living and the Community, Geoff Mulgan. Home zones – Public participation,
4. A Defensible Space, Oscar Newman,1972.
5. Neighbourhood Space, Randulph. RESEARCH REPORTS.
T.Hester, Jnr, 1975. 1. Homezones, Joseph Rowntree Foundation.
6. The quest for the Community, David.C.Thorns. 2. Homezones, Tim Gill , Childstreet paper.
7. Streets and the shaping of towns and cities. 3. Living streets, Strategic framework, Living streets.
Michael Southworth and Eran Ben-Joseph, 2003. 4. Reviewing the U.K home zone initiatives.
8. Home zones: Challenging the future of our Mike Biddulph.
streets, Department of Transport, 2005. 5. Home zones - Reconciling people, places and
9. Paving the Way – how to achieve clean, safe and Transport. Ben Hamilton-Baillie.
attractive Streets, CABE, 2002. 6. Traffic and towns, Ministry of Transport,1963.
10. Livable streets, D.Appleyard, 1981. 7. Cutting pedestrian casualties: Cost effective
11. Van woonerf tot erf, Crow, 1989. ways to make walking safer, Babara Preston, 1992.
12. Woonervan and other experiments
in the Netherlands, Built Environment, 1986. WEBSITES.
13. Royal Dutch Touring Club, The Hague, 1977. 1. www.homezones.org.uk.
14. Traffic calming through intregrated traffic
calming, H.G.Vahl, 1990. VIDEO.
15. The child in the city, C.Ward, 1978. 1. Homezones: The U.K Experiance (policy press 2003).
16. Landscapes fpr learning: Creating outdoor
environments for children and Youth, S.Stine, Talks.
1997. 1. Ben Hamilton-Baillie and Lindsey Whitelaw
on Shared Spaces at London Branch of
Landscape Institute, May, 2009.
Home zone Pilot projects in the U.K. 12
The Fourteen Pilot Schemes.
1. Cavell Way, Swale, Kent.
2. Nobel Road, Clifton, Nottingham. 11
3. Magnor Vllage, Monmouthshire.
4. Morice Town, Plymouth.
5. New England, Peterborough. 10
6. Northmoor, Manchester.
7. The Methleys, Leeds.
8. Five Roads, West Ealing, London
9. Holmewood, Lambeth, London.
10. The Caleys, Edingborough. 14
11. Former Dundee Royal Infirmary, 7
Constitution Road, Dundee.
12. Ormlie, Caithness and sutherland.
13. Tillydrone, Aberdeen.
14. Long Streets, Belfast.
Challenge home zone projects in the U.K.
The Sixty one Challenge Schemes.
1. Albany St, Hull. 22. Lupton St, Camden. 43. Addison Cresent, Trafford.
2. Morrside Estate, Kirklees. 23. Deptford Green, Greenwich. 44. Ashton West End, Tameside.
3. Crosby, Scunthorpe. 24. Cavendish Rd, Kingston, London. 45. Wardleworth, Rochdale.
4. Littlemoor, Leeds. 25. Cranberry Estate, Newham. 46. Victoria Lane Estate, Bury.
5. Castle Gove, Porchester. 26. Sutherland Sq, Southwark. 47. Bidston Avenue, St Helens.
6. Radcliffe Rd, Southampton. 27. Cowpen Quay, Northumberland. 48. Browning St, Wigan.
7. Town Farm Estate, East Hailsham. 28. Pately Moor, Darlington. 49. Pitts Farm, Erdington.
8. Heathfield Avenue, Dover 29. Tyne Park, Gateshead. 50. Lower Mileshouse, Staffs.
(ABANDONED) 30. Gresham, Middlesborough. 51. Wilmot Drive, Newcastle.
9. Northcourt Estate, Denton. 31. The Triangle, North Shields. 52. West Woodside, Telford.
10. North-West Bognor Regis 32. Cleadon Park, North Shields. 53. Three Tuns, Woolverhampton.
11. Kingsbridge Rd, Reading. 33. Talboert & Brunswick, 54. Duke of Edingborough Way,
12. Saxton Rd, Abingdon Blackpool. Malvern.
Oxfordshire. 35. Oldham Estate, Oldham. 55. Albert Avenue, Peasdon.
13. Haymarket Green, Luton. 36. Egerton St, Chester. 56. St John Malvern, Bath.
14. New England, Peterborough. 37. Burnley, Lancashire. (CANCELLED)
15. Cambridge Rd, Suffolk. 38. Poulton, Morcombe. 57. Southville, Bristol.
16. Cavell Rd, Norwich. 39. Dundonald & Methusen St, 58. North Close Estate, Redruth.
17. Kennington Rd, Nottingham. Wirrel. 59. Wonford, Exeter.
18. Normanton, Derby. 40. Grafton St, Liverpool. 60. Morice Town, Plymouth.
20. Linden Rd, Haringey. 41. Whitecross, Warrington. 61. Westliegh, Warminister.
21. Rookery Gardens, Bromley. 42. Whitecross, Warrington.