Monday, 16 July 2007

Street why's CABE have just published another excellent and digestible briefing, on the design and use of streets, This way to better streets, which summarises recent research into ten 'successful' streets in England and Ireland. They range from a waterfront on a seaside town to a busy urban arterial route. This briefing, which also draws on CABE’s expertise on street design, sets out five key principles that local authorities and others involved in street design should follow – vision, commitment, integration, adaptation and coherence – if they are to achieve the same results locally. We have to accept that CABE's duty seems to be being stylishly upbeat while promoting relentless change within a project culture - the target audience is built environment professionals, not users or other interested parties like me. I mention this because the document will be of interest and value to others, but you can be put off when it starts like this: Maintain a strong physical and organisational vision. Solve problems within that framework, adapting structures and service delivery accordingly. Be confident as an organisation. Hmmm, it works for them I guess. There are some slightly afterthought-like remarks about climate change as an impending issue. But it's interesting to note the continuing gradual erosion of expert scientism in fields like this, as more attention is paid to human intangibles like users' experience of streets: Streets can serve as important statements of intent, helping to raise aspirations and demonstrate potential standards and quality. What's this, the morale of the economic troops? Civic leadership is trying to get up and strut like it used to. More here.

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