The New Urban Movement ? Balancing the Need for ?place? Whilst Overcoming ?friction of Space?
Colin Black, JMP Consulting, UK; John Dales, Urban Initiatives, UK
An exploration of the founding principles of the new Urban Movement. Namely, the benefits of focussing on places, and not simply the traditional challenge of overcoming the friction of space by maximising the efficiency of transport through it.
Conventional transport planning adopts a narrow focus on solving problems and seeks primarily to accommodate, rather than influence, the transport demands arising from regeneration and development projects.
In our increasingly complex urban environments, however, such approaches fail to deliver attractive places that work efficiently for different users in varying circumstances.
The paper will highlight the evidence all around us. Our towns and cities have been victims of a highway design orthodoxy, based upon the principle of segregation, that has failed to recognise the difference between a road and a street, or to understand that vibrant street life is at the heart of any successful place.
A founding principle of the new Urban Movement is that we must focus on places, not just overcoming the traditional challenge of overcoming the friction of space by maximising the efficiency of transport through it.
The paper will argue that it is now longer acceptable for transport planners to adopt silo thinking and simply ?do their bit?, ignoring whatever lies beyond the immediate brief and move on. For example the safety auditors? tick box approach to risk assessment has led to a plethora of bland, cluttered, over-engineered, un-desirable streetscapes that fail to communicate to people at the street level.
The effective management of movement in urban areas must actively consider the inter-relationship of movement with the built environment, the interaction of numerous users and uses, the creation of a high quality public realm, and of course the planning context. Over recent years we have seen the emergence of a wide range of new approaches to the planning of space including: Naked Streets, Woonerf, Home Zones, Traffic Taming, Quality Streets, Shared Space, Space Syntax, Quality Streets, Traffic Calming, Living Streets, Psychological Traffic Calming. Collectively these approaches are indicative of the new Urban Movement starting to become standard practice across Europe. We will provide numerous UK and European case studies of places that have adopted these approaches. We will explain what makes these good quality places and explore their regeneration benefits, drawing upon the growing wealth of research results that support these contemporary approaches.
We will emphasise the crucial need for a new breed of ?movement professional? to deliver this new Urban Movement. We will examine the importance of new training regimes that combine the fields of transport planning & engineering with urban design to develop a new breed of professionals with a comprehensive understanding of place and its integration with transport systems and the need for movement.
The new Urban Movement is now rapidly gaining momentum as the experience-base expands. The paper will conclude by projecting forward to the next decades to consider where fresh thinking professionals, inspired advocacy and visionary leadership relating to movement in urban areas might take us in the future.
Association for European Transport