Ask them to think about it for 1 minute and then do a bit of a shout-out
Fakenham (CABE) and fuck knows where
Towards and Urban Renaissance – Report of the Urban Task Force (Lord Rogers) January 2000 By Design- urban design in the planning system: towards better practice – May 2001 By Desing – better places to live – September 2001 these are the qualities which have been proved to make places that work: in terms of economic prosperity, safety, sense of community, and people simply saying that they like them.
but if you had to take all those qualities and express them very simply – I would say the way to do that is to look at what makes for a good street.
Quite an eclectic mix – what do they have in common?
Fronts face fronts across the street. The edges are active – what do we mean by that – there is interaction between the buildings at the edge and the street The effect is reinforced by a continuous building line We take these qualities for granted. They exist independently of the quality of architecture, the quality of floorscape, the scale, the age of the place and its buildings, whether it is pedestrianised or not
But this is not just about high streets in town centres – the same principle applies in residential areas This is our street in Letchworth again. The streets are not as active as the shopping streets but nevertheless they have a lot of entrances to the street, and people come out to tend their front gardens and get in and out of their cars. Now you may think that all this is obvious – don’t fronts face fronts across all streets? Aren’t all edges active?
And the same qualities – the qualities of “street” are also what makes for good squares and paths and parks.
An important element of enclosure is that fronts face fronts and backs face backs, most buildings need backs, service areas for deliveries, the place you keep the wheelie bin, but just as we don’t like to expose our backsides in public, neither should buildings. In residential areas having fronts facing fronts is an important element of creating a sense of community.
One element that has proved to be important for public safety is that Streets, footpaths and open spaces are overlooked by buildings “eyes on the street”. In fact the more active that we can make the edges of our streets and squares the better. Pickpockets may like crowded places with lots of people come or going, but most criminals like quiet places. We feel less safe when we alone in a place, with nobody else around and no chance that anyone can see what happens to us. Active edges are created by people coming and going from buildings – small shops are good for this, by having plenty of entrances to buildings (whether from shops, houses or offices) by visual interest, that encourages people to loiter, or by overlooking from within. Truro?
In these examples houses turn their back to the street presenting blank walls. WHAT PROBLEMS DO WE THINK THIS CAUSES?
Continuity and enclosure means avoiding gaps in the line of buildings to maintain a continuous street line.
Continuity and enclosure means avoiding gaps in the line of buildings to maintain a continuous street line.
Another element that is important for safety is creating a clear distinction between public and private space. If people stray onto a private space you can challenge them (for example if somebody stood in your garden). But if you cannot tell if area in front of or behind your house or flat is public or private, how do you know where people should be? It is also often the case that those areas where you don’t know if they are public or private are not well looked after. Coventry, Letchworth
WHICH OF THESE IS EASIER TO GET ROUND AND WHY?
So lets have a look at those enemies of ease of movement One is the modern type of street pattern with lots of cul-de-sacs?
Big blocks prevent ease of movement: the biggest blocks traditionally would have been big industrial sites, nowadays they are likely to be indoor shopping centres (which you cannot walk through in the evenings). Big blocks also create unattractive backs. Exeter
Barriers – major transport routes: big roads, canals, railways, if they do not have sufficient safe crossing points can form barriers. There is a link here between motoring and pedestrian ease of movement. In order that cars can move around quickly, but also in the name of separating pedestrians from motorists, we increasingly force cars down specific major routes, sometimes these are created as, or converted to, dual carriageways, which are impossible for pedestrians to cross without the use of bridges or underpasses. An alternative, was put forward by John Norquist the former Mayor of Milwaukee at the Urban Summit in 2002. He said that we were creating big roads so that we could get faster to less and less interesting places and proclaimed: let the grid system absorb the traffic! Quite a radical departure from our normal traffic planning that comes up with allsorts of barriers, no entry signs and one way systems to stop traffic using side streets. West Brom
• Gateways to particular areas Coventry
Legibility is not about “where’s the library?” we can use signposts to solve that problem
• Landmarks and focal points
• Corners identified by more prominent buildings Hume
• Clear and easily navigable routes Coventry
• Lighting Fakenham (from CABE library) and Coventry
• Works of public art, or planting that leads people along a route. Blackburn
What do we think about this? Our third element is the quality of the public realm. ‘Public realm’ is a piece of jargon we use for all those places that are not private, all the places in towns, cities and villages where the pubic can go: streets, squares, paths, parks, alleys. Of course the quality of the public realm is hugely determined by the buildings that enclose it - by the other qualities we have talked about, but in addition the quality of materials, workmanship, detailing, lighting, street furniture, public art and planting is the other side of the equation. Grainger Street, Newcastle-u-t
How you achieve a quality public realm is not straightforward. HOW DO WE THINK THE ONE ON THE RIGHT GOT LIKE THAT Improvement schemes need to be well designed, but they also need to be installed properly: that means procedures that ensure that quality contractors are appointed and the contracts are well supervised. It is also about ensuring that subsequent maintenance and repairs properly make good.
One aspect of the public realm that has received a lot of attention recently is cluttering. Public authorities of all kinds think they can place things in the public realm, often new schemes for street furniture are installed without the old being removed, all sorts of signs, lights and barriers are insisted upon by highway engineers citing public safety as the excuse. The result is clutter. It takes strong leadership to grasp the nettle and remove this clutter. Streatham High Road (as it was) I think?
And in those places we admire and love to visit are often those which have not changed their fundamental patterns of streets and blocks, they have replaced individual buildings and adapted buildings – often you can trace medieval or even Roman street patterns. [exercise?]
The next easiest thing to change is a building on a plot. Buildings can undergo serious adaptation, or be demolished and a new one rebuilt. If the plot is of a useful size, shape and configuration to do that. Piggeries Frome (buildings on the right are new), Coventry.
The final quality that we find in the places we admire, and the places that work is variety. A variety of uses, of buildings forms (to allow a variety of uses) and of architectural styles. Mixed use is another thing that was a feature of traditional places but became unfashionable in the last century as planning zoned areas as all residential, commercial and industrial. Of course when most industries were dirty and noisy it made sense to keep industry away from other activities, now we live in the age of the so-called knowledge economy where most work involves moving information around, and even where it does not, environmental legislation and new technology has made most processes relatively clean. The proportion of industry that is actually dirty has vastly reduced.
A mix of architectural styles and building forms can add to local character and make places more legible.
Responding to the topography and landscape What town in Cornwall?
• Locally distinctive buildings Walsall
• Streets and street patterns (what we call the ‘urban grain’)
• Skylines and roofscapes Dear old Longton
• Building materials Truro?
• The scale of buildings
Respecting local character does not mean that nothing ever changes. If we never used new materials we would still be living in caves or mud huts, if buildings were always the same height as those that surrounded them we would never build above one storey. Character can be about buildings being the same, but it is also about variety. How you respect local character is not a straightforward matter: with a landmark building the whole point is that it stands out, so we don’t want to copy its distinctive features because it would not longer stand out. Often it is better to create something totally contrasting to retain the distinctiveness of the original. Stoke
With a local style of ordinary buildings we need to be sure we can respect its distinctiveness in a way which maintains quality. A poor copy of a local style, or fleeting reference to local forms or materials can undermine that distinctiveness. Is this Chester or Shrewsbury?
these are the qualities which have been proved to make places that work: in terms of economic prosperity, safety, sense of community, and people simply saying that they like them.
Qualities of successful places dt 080611
the qualities of successful places
favourite places <ul><li>one place you would like to live and work </li></ul><ul><li>a named town, city, village </li></ul><ul><li>anywhere in the world </li></ul><ul><li>except Birmingham </li></ul>
favourite places <ul><li>Athens </li></ul><ul><li>Barcelona </li></ul><ul><li>Bath </li></ul><ul><li>Cape Town </li></ul><ul><li>Florence </li></ul><ul><li>Hong Kong </li></ul><ul><li>Leicester </li></ul><ul><li>London </li></ul><ul><li>New York </li></ul><ul><li>Oundle </li></ul><ul><li>Poole </li></ul><ul><li>Rome </li></ul><ul><li>Tenby </li></ul><ul><li>Tokyo </li></ul><ul><li>Vancouver </li></ul><ul><li>Venice </li></ul><ul><li>York </li></ul>
places where we would like to be… … share the same qualities.
“ we admire one kind of place… … but we constantly build something very different” – Andres Duany
the qualities of successful places character continuity & enclosure quality of the public realm ease of movement diversity adaptability legibility