Livable Streets: Protected Neighborhoods?

Donald Appleyard

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Appleyard, D. (1). Livable Streets: Protected Neighborhoods?. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 451(1), 106–117.

Streets have become dangerous, unlivable environments, yet most people live on them. Streets need to be redefined as sanctuaries; as livable places; as communities; as resident territory; as places for play, greenery, and local history. Neighborhoods should be protected, though not to the point of being exclusionary. The neighborhood unit, the environmental area and the Woonerf are examined as models for the protected neighborhood. The criteria for a protected neighborhood depend on acceptable speeds, volumes, noise levels, reduction of accidents, and rights-of-way for pedestrians.

Main finding
The article proposes a "Charter of Street Dwellers' Rights" - the street as a sanctuary, livable, healthy environment, community, neighborly territory, place for play and learning, green and pleasant land, and unique historic place. The author suggests that the Dutch Woonerf represents this concept on residential streets (with moderate street life) by creating a shared street space between vehicles and pedestrians and uses design features to convey the impression that the whole street space is usable by pedestrians but are suited to low traffic speeds (as low as 15 m.p.h.), low traffic volumes (lower than 2,000 cars per day), right-of-way priorities for pedestrians, reducing pedestrian accidents, noise levels and abatement policies, parking levels, provision of open space (street space as a source of open space), and maintenance and appearance.

Description of method used in the article
The neighborhood unit, the environmental area and the Woonerf are examined as models for the protected neighborhood using the Woonerf concept developed by the city of Delft and adopted at the national level by the Netherlands Ministry of Transport and Public Works.

Of practical use

Organising categories

Gathering/Socializing Walking or Rolling
Urban Planning
Physical types