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Each of the following categories contributes to defining the place within which a street project is occurring. They can, in turn, be impacted by street planning and design decisions.
The built form and fabric of a city is made up of constructed spaces and places such as streets, buildings, parks, and transportation systems. Streets provide the continuous network that connects the many constructed environments, providing the infrastructure to facilitate mobility, critical services, and human activity. Use the scale of buildings and blocks that frame each street to inform its character and the appropriate mix of uses it should support. Transportation facilities provided within the street shape mobility and travel decisions, directly and indirectly impacting environmental quality, public health and safety, and quality of life.
Consider the various aspects of local culture and context throughout the design and implementation process to ensure contextually sustainable streets.
In urban areas, the larger natural environment may include habitats, local ecosystems, and green and blue systems. Identify local hazards and levels of pollution to help prioritize strategies for improving the natural environment. In the face of climate change, design street networks to respect, protect, embrace, and enhance ecological systems, natural topography, and water bodies, and to manage local climatic conditions.
Social and Cultural Context
Streets can allow people to live their public life in a city. Design streets to inform a sense of place in each neighborhood, embedding historical and cultural meaning for communities. Identify how unique customs and local climates influence people’s behavior, when they use their streets, and what makes the space distinctive. While each place has varying levels of involvement by local citizens, facilitating participatory planning supports long-term stewardship of these spaces. Analyze the demographic information of people who live and work in the areas to reveal the total number of residents, population densities, and the cross-section of ages, income levels, and education attainment. Ensure a thorough understanding of these social, cultural, religious, and ethnic environments to shape context-sensitive streets.
Local economic considerations inform the type, identity, and quality of sustainable street projects in the city. The level of economic development, political concerns, and investment priorities shape the rate of urbanization, patterns of built form, reliability of transit service, and trends of private car ownership. Analyze the economic environment and identify the types of businesses and industries that use urban streets, and the number of jobs they support. Document accessible transportation options and each household’s ability to pay for them. Use these considerations to inform the local street designs so that they support and enhance long-term equity and economic sustainability.
Adapted by Global Street Design Guide published by Island Press.
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