City planning as if people mattered
22nd June, 2008
Philip Parker flies the flag for a people-first approach to traffic management to regain control of the streets.
Our local built environment has the power to affect our moods and behaviour. It will suggest certain values and can promote positive feelings. But for the past 50 years the streets and spaces where we live have primarily been designed to facilitate the movement of cars. This has frequently had a negative impact on local communities and affected the way we live.
Radical alternatives have been developed on the near-continent, however, pioneered in Holland, that offer the hope for a future where communities can prosper. By designing for people, a safer, more pleasant and sustainable environment can be created with many resulting benefits. These include promoting a healthier lifestyle, reducing crime and antisocial behaviour, cutting carbon emissions and assisting social cohesion – but above all improving quality of life and contentment.
It was apparent in the early 1960s that future car growth would be significant. In 1963, the Government commissioned the Buchanan Report, which determined that cars and pedestrians should be segregated for their mutual safety. Since that point, and especially throughout the 1970s, even minor housing developments have featured wide roads and separate kerbed footways....
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