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Showing posts from June, 2009

Slow spaces for a Public Space Dividend in the Streets

Shared space street design is a fantastic innovation. But most excitement about shared space (or “naked streets”) seems to focus on the counter-intuitive phenomenon of “safety through uncertainty”.

I think another important lesson from shared space has been neglected. A key benefit of shared space is that it expands the urban public realm. And this is done with little or no loss of transport utility. This point was emphasized by shared-space pioneer, Hans Monderman, but is often forgotten or under-emphasised.

This "public space dividend" is also relevant to many more streets than shared space itself will ever be applied to. Many street-design innovations can yield such a dividend if they create spaces where speeds stay below about 30 km/h. This would allow a surprising amount of what we now think of as traffic space to become part of the low-speed public realm.

How? I try to explain in an article, "Earning a Public Space Dividend in the Streets" (pdf), just out in &…