My Street

2287 WordsMar 4, 200410 Pages
Take a half an hour walk through the city I live in and you will realise that it isn't designed for you as a pedestrian; it has undoubtedly lost its human element. You feel like an alien in your own world, trying to make your way through an entanglement of spaghetti-like highways. Your thoughts are drowned by the sounds of the fast paced spaceships soaring past you. You are in a non-place. A place of nowhere. A black hole. A place we humans once called a street. As an architect in this extraterrestrial world I put forward the following essay as an attempt to solving this problem. In order to be successful in our endeavour I believe we need to break free from the stereotypical notion of the street, a street that is predominantly used for…show more content…
If this integration is to take place, the street edge is of utmost concern. How does one blend a street which is a very public space with our most private of spaces such as a dwelling? The threshold into these two realms is important. To achieve this subtle transition we need a space in-between these two extremes, a semi-private space or semi-public space. A gradual hierarchy from a private dwelling to the outside world could be simply expressed architecturally in the form of steps and ledges to the small street or square and then to the communal spaces for schools, markets, theatres etc. If we fail to provide such spaces in our cities we become susceptible to having detached public spaces. Having these in-between spaces also means that we have more variety, more choices. Instead of separating functions we need to integrate them, creating a mixed use environment within the street. The permeability of the street becomes an important factor in determining how much variety or choice a user can make when going through our cities. Having smaller city blocks means that we can have more street frontage and an increased choice of routes to take when getting from one point to another. By observing how people behave on streets in their everyday normal ways we can learn to design for them. We all too often adopt the typical modernist attitude of designing onto a "clean slate", that is
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