Civic Art, Making Great Streets, Urban Plazas-time-saver Standards for Urban Design - (Malestrom)
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I Source: TIME-SAVER STANDARDS for URBAN DESIGN Roberto Brambilla and Gianni Longo Summary European experience in design of pedestrian precincts is relevant to urban designers for many reasons: they illustrate a variety of goals and diversity of urban scale of a broad cross section of European experiments, Their design goals range from strictly f functional ones dealing with traffic traffic control strategies, to humanistic ones dealing with conversation of the urban fabric and improvement of residential conditions in central areas. Key words European cities, pedestrian zones, pedestrian planning strategies, traffic control Pedestrian precincts: twelve European c ities n the past forty years, the cores of European cities have experienced an unprecedented revival, which is affecting not only their appear ance, but also their functioning. Residential neighborhoods, his- toric districts and large groups of buildings have been restored. City streets have been freed from traffic and returned to pedestrians.Tour- ists and residents alike have made these new public spaces the focus of their activities. As a conservation measure, traffic-free zoning has been introduced in numerous European cities to restore the unity of their historic urban fabric. Banning vehicular traffic has proved most effective in reducing noise and air pollution levels, and in reducing the damage caused to historic buildings by continuous vibrations and emissions from traffic. Economics are an important factor in pedestrian zoning.The restora- tion of housing stock, the reuse of abandoned buildings as community centers and the recycling of streets into pedestrian spaces have all been results of economic priorities. Tourism has profited enomously by combining shopping and sightseeing in traffic free areas. 1 STOCKHOLM While most pedestrian streets in Europe are glamorous but short, Stockholm’s pedestrian system extends throughout the entire city. Credits: This article is based on the study “Rediscovery of the Pedestrian: 12 European Cities” published by Columbia Uni versity Center for Advanced Research in Urban and Environmental Affairs 1976 and sponsored by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S. President’s Council on Environmental Quality. Time-Saver Standards for Urban Design 6.7-1
Source: TIME-SAVER STANDARDS for URBAN DESIGN
Roberto Brambilla and Gianni Longo
SummaryEuropean experience in design of pedestrian precincts is relevant tourban designers for many reasons: they illustrate a variety of goalsand diversity of urban scale of a broad cross section of Europeanexperiments, Their design goals range from strictly f functional onesdealing with traffic traffic control strategies, to humanistic onesdealing with conversation of the urban fabric and improvement ofresidential conditions in central areas.
Key wordsEuropean cities, pedestrian zones, pedestrian planning strategies,traffic control
Pedestrian precincts: twelve European cities
n the past forty years, the cores of European cities have experiencedan unprecedented revival, which is affecting not only their appearance, but also their functioning. Residential neighborhoods, his-
toric districts and large groups of buildings have been restored. Citystreets have been freed from traffic and returned to pedestrians.Tour-ists and residents alike have made these new public spaces the focus oftheir activities.
As a conservation measure, traffic-free zoning has been introduced innumerous European cities to restore the unity of their historic urbanfabric. Banning vehicular traffic has proved most effective in reducingnoise and air pollution levels, and in reducing the damage caused tohistoric buildings by continuous vibrations and emissions from traffic.Economics are an important factor in pedestrian zoning.The restora-tion of housing stock, the reuse of abandoned buildings as communitycenters and the recycling of streets into pedestrian spaces have all beenresults of economic priorities. Tourism has profited enomously bycombining shopping and sightseeing in traffic free areas.
While most pedestrian streets in Europe are glamorous but short,Stockholm’s pedestrian system extends throughout the entire city.
Credits: This article is based on the study “Rediscovery of the Pedestrian: 12 European Cities” published by Columbia University Center for Advanced Research in Urbanand Environmental Affairs 1976 and sponsored by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, National Endowment for the Arts and the U.S.President’s Council on Environmental Quality.
Time-Saver Standards for Urban Design 6.7-1
2 Pedestrian precincts
Vertical separation of pedestrian movement was included in the design of theTorg in Stockholm, Sweden.
Facilitating equipment. Vertical separation of pedestrian movement wasincluded in the design of the Torg in Stockholm, Swcdcn
In the mall there are almost 10,000 theater and movie seats, 1,000 hotel
bedsand 1,279 housing units. All of these contribute to a vigorous street life.
The major traffic free area in downtown Stockholm is the Torg, amultiblock mix of office towers, commercial and cultural buildings,planned in 1946 and largely completed by 1962.And in 1972 a majorexperiment was initiated in two residential areas—Ostermalm, closeto the downtown, and Aspudden, a suburb built in 1910. These par-ticular experiments were aimed at eliminating all through traffic fromresidential districts by segregating it to peripheral roads, thus trans-forming the interior streets into de facto walkways.
City profileStockholm, the capital and largest city in Sweden was founded
in themiddle of the 13th century and officially recognized as the capital in1436. The medieval nucleus of the city remains largely intact. Todaythe street network and many of the buildings from that period stillexist. The modern central business district developed within the so-called “stone town,” a district which dates back to the 17th century.
Hard-edged in design and with little greenery, the Torg is
neverthelesslively.There have been very few changes since it was concceived in the1950s, and the hard, glossy materials reflect the aesthetic of that de-cade. A series of recurring elements conveys a sense of cohesion andmodernity. Pedestrian bridges connect terraces and wide stairwaysconnect the two levels. Uniformly spaced suspended light fixtures inthe center of the pedestrian street give a sense of scale. in general, thedark paving of the pedestrian walkway and the building materials of
theTorg have been used skillfully. Connected directly to the lobbies ofthe office towers, the second level of the Torg consists of roof gardens,which lead to more small commercial stores.
Stockholm’s traffic-free experiments have largely been initiat
ed bymerchants.Their attitude toward pedestrian zoning, therefore, has usu-ally been positive.The Chalmers Institute ofTechnology in Gotherbergcarried out a survey of the country’s pedestrian streets. Businessmenon twenty four of thirty streets surveyed were 74–100% in favor oftraffic bans; on five streets, 50–75% of the merchants approved; and onone street only 25–50% were satisfied.
Because of the complicated interrelation of factors affecting sales vol-ume, it is hard to determine exactly how influential pedestrian zoninghas been. Numerous studies, however, do reflect a satisfactory level ofsales on Sweden’s pedestrian streets, which coincides with the attitudeof shopkeepers. A survey made by the Swedish Retail Federation,which took into account 110 companies located on traffic free streetsthroughout the country, recorded either stable or improved conditionsfor 90% of the business establishments, with the remainder showing adecreas showing a decrease.
Time-Saver Standards for Urban Design
Lijnbaan, in Rotterdam’s central commercial district, was one of thefirst completely pedestrianized shopping areas in the world.Rotterdam’s entire central district was destroyed by German air raids,and the establishment of the city’s traffic-free area was part of overallpostwar construction.Two-story shops line the linear street,and squaresat both ends each contain large department stores. Lijnbaan h
as servedas a model for numerous pedestrian malls around the world. Its designfeatures have been adopted in many European pedestrian schemes.
Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands.The old
defi-nition of it as a “harbor with a city attached” no longer corresponds tothe physiognomy of this modern industrial city. However, the port
remains the city’s primary economic strength, and its development isclosely related to the city’s growth.When the Ruhr region became amajor industrial center during the first half of the 19th century,Rotterdam increased in importance, establishing itself as the principalport for the region. This had inevitable consequences for the entirecity. In 1850, Rotterdam had a population of 100,000, By the year1900 this figure had tripled. After the Second World War, the port ofRotterdam expanded rapidly to meet the increasing demands ofEurope’s growing economy.Today, it is among largest harbors in theworld.
Lijnbaan was designed as a single unit and completed in 19
55. TheLijnbaan concourse is surrounded by two-story buildings. These arearchitecturally unimpressive but create the proper pedestrian scale.Organization of different kinds of commercial establishments togetherin one place determined the distribution and functional arrangementof its buildings, which share a number of centralized services.
Department stores face the entrance to the large square at each end ofthe mall. Small retail stores, restaurants and open-air cafes line the pe-destrian concourse, contributing significantly to its lively atmosphere.Groups of high-rise residential buildings located on each side of thestreet were designed to increase the relatively low real estate value ofcommercial parcels.They play a very important role in Lijnbaan, pro-viding street activity twenty-four hours a day in this primarily com-mercial development.The mall is widely used by residents of the tow-ers as an extension of their recreational space.
Pedestrian precincts 3
The city center in 1933 (top). The city center, after the debris from bombingshad been removed (middle). Partially damaged buildings were restored. The citycenter in 1970 (bottom). Visible in the lower right corner is the Lijnbaan shoppingand housing complex.
Design featuresAll aspects of Lijnbaan’s design have been controlled to give a feeling ofunity.The paving is uniform throughout the project, and bridges con-necting the two sides of the mall are a welcome addition in rainy weather.Flower beds are interspersed with seating to lend color to the area.Thelarge department stores in the squares at each end contrast with theuniform height of the buildings along Lijnbaan’s mall, which derivesome variety from balconies placed at different levels.These are used bymusicians during the warm weather.Thus, Lijnbaan maintains the char-acteristics of a neighborhood in spite of being the center of a highlycommercial district.
The plan also indicates the parking lots and garages constru
ctedimmediately after the war to absorb the predicted increase inautomobile traffic.
During the Second World War, Allied bombing destroyed ninety per-cent of Cologne. After the war, reconstruction efforts were imple-mented in two separate but inter-related phases. Redesign of the city’scirculation network was planned to accommodate the expected in-crease in the number of private motor vehicles.The city’s older centralsection was rebuilt with land use modifications that provided a frame-work for the introduction of a major pedestrian spine.
Cologne’s pedestrian zone extends from the city’s world famouscathedral to the Neumarket, the most popular meeting place in thecity. The train station and the bus terminal constitute the otherpoles of the district, and people move between them at all times ofday.The system is like a conveyor belt, funneling shoppers and tour-ists back and forth through the heart of the city; only around theCathedral does the stream of people slow down. Neither HoheStrasse nor Shildergasse provide many pedestrian amenities. Nev-ertheless, they are among the most successful commercial trafficfreestreets in Europe.
City profileCologne was founded by the Romans in the 3rd century. It
grewrapidly in the Middle Ages because of its strategic position wherethe Rhine flows into the North Sea. Goods from England, Franceand the Low Countries passed through the city on their way toEastern Europe. Famous for the variety and beauty of its Ro-manesque churches and its Gothic cathedral, today Cologne is thefourth largest city in Germany. The city has regained its pre-warprominence as Germany’s major Rhine port.
Hohe Strasse and Shildergasse—Design features
Hohe Strasse and Shildergasse are extremely different in their
physicaland commercial makeup. Hohe Strasse is narrow, reflecting its ancientRoman character. It is lined with medium- to high-priced boutiquesand jewelers that give the street an air of elegance. Its small cafes andfast food restaurants cater to the several million tourists and visitorswho come to Cologne each year. Shildergasse on the other hand is
wide, with large department stores along most of its length.
The design of both streets is based on their commercial nature. As aconsequence, pedestrian amenities such as places for people to relaxare not provided.The linear configuration of the streets and their func-tion as connectors of the city’s major attractions contribute to the“conveyor belt” effect of this pedestrian system.
The traffic bans on Hohe Strasse and Shildergasse caused a
number ofside streets to become de facto walkways, greatly improving the overall
environmental conditions of the old city.
Cologne’s planners were among the few that took before and afterreadings of noise and air pollution in the pedestrianized area.Air pol-lution levels dropped from 8 parts per million (ppm) of carbon mon-oxide to 1pm. Noise levels were reduced by 15 decibels, equivalent tocutting the original noise level in half.These results were much publi-cized at the time and have constituted a strong argument for introduc-ing pedestrian zones in Germany and Europe.
Cologne’s pedestrian system has been enriched by the recent renova-tions to the square around the city’s famous Cathedral. Directly con-nected to the Hohe Strasse, the square is also linked to the pedestrianconcourse of the railroad station via bridges and escalators, and to thetraffic-free promenades along the riverfronts by a pedestrian bridgeover the Rhine. Seats, trees and open-air cafes have been installed, andthe square provides a place to rest and view the celebrated Dome.
By the early 1950s, it became evident to Copenhagen’s planners thatthe increasing number of private automobiles could not be absorbedby the narrow streets in the city’s historic core. In addition to causingunbearable congestion, motor vehicle traffic was causing environmen-tal deterioration and affecting the social and economic potential of thedowntown area.After experimenting with a number of traffic controlstrategies, city planners proposed pedestrian zoning as a solution.
In Danish, strøget means “to stroll,” a favorite Danish custom.Strøget is also the name for Copenhagen’s pedestrian zone, the firstin Denmark. Strøget clearly identifies Copenhagen’s downtown asa pleasant place to spend time. It attracts people from all over, aswell as outside, the country. Strøget’s success can be measured bythe fact that Copenhagen’s pedestrian system has continued to ex-pand, with the goal of eliminating traffic from the entire centralbusiness district.
City profileThe population and scale of Copenhagen was limited by the bound-aries of the 15th century walls until 1850, when the military cordonprotecting the city opened up.The medieval street patterns remained,but fires had destroyed most of the old buildings and new ones hadbeen built.By the end of the 19th century,the population had jumpedto 451,488 persons,and the shape and growth of the city had changedsignificantly.Workers had moved into the city and the Industrial Revo-lution made its impact. Speculative housing projects were built alongthe city’s perimeter with intense development occurring 1870 and1890. It is possible to read the phases of this development in the threeconcentric rings of high density housing that start in the medievalcenter and move outward.
The original Strøget consisted of three contiguous streets, runningfrom the Town Hall Square to Kings New Square. An experimentaltraffic ban was initiated in 1962. In 1964 the area was declared a per-manent pedestrian zone.
The atmosphere throughout the pedestrian system is pleasant, eventhough its design is quite simple. The paving is gray, with darkmidstripes indicating service routes (open to delivery vehicles from4:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.). Street signs are modest. It is left to the pedes-trians to provide color and liveliness. Shops give careful attention totheir window displays, which are designed to capture the interest ofstrollers. Unexpected alleyways and arcades provide variety in the scaleof the area.
The expansion of the city core within the protective walls.
The pedestrian routes themselves offer little chance to sit and relax.They are quite narrow and there are few benches or seating areas. Butthe singular thrust of the streets is relieved by open plaza areas, oftenhighlighted by cultural and historic landmarks.Here,there are benchesand opportunities to meet and talk or watch informal entertainment.
The whole system of pedestrian zones benefits from the urban fabricof the city, which retains a medieval character, although the buildingsdate mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries. Pedestrians throughoutthe city will frequently turn a corner and suddenly find fountains,historic buildings, or well delineated towers (Copenhagen is the Cityof Beautiful Towers).The narrow streets form a spider web across thecity, with plazas and open spaces at many of the intersections.
Copenhagen planning strategies emphasize the administration andimprovement of existing urban resources, rather than the capital crea-tion of new ones, especially in conjunction when extending the pe-destrian system.
Amsterdam’s pedestrian streets were introduced in an attempt to curetraffic problems, which developed in the city after the Second WorldWar. Congestion was especially severe in the old part of the city,where vehicular streets were wedged between canals and bridges,and where the particular nature of the subsoil made construction ofunderpasses, parking garages and underground public transit systemsimpossible. Amsterdam is one of the best-preserved larger Europeancities, but is relatively young. Founded about 700 years ago, the cityhad 210,000 inhabitants by the 17th century, making it the fourth
largest city in Europe at that time.
Amsterdam’s organized growth began as early as 1612, when the firstofficial plan for the city was adopted. Known as the Three CanalPlan, it quadrupled the area of the city and allowed for future popu-lation growth without need to rebuild fortifications, which had to becreated on landfill in Holland.This plan provided sufficient land forexpansion until 1874. During those three and a half centuries thecity took on its characteristic appearance, which is visible today: aseries of concentric canals, which have the triple function of defense,transportation and drainage.The city’s policy of rationalized growthwas carried over into the first half of this century beginning with the1901 Housing Act. This was followed by a series of plans in 1906,1907 and 1917.
Central pedestrian district
Traffic congestion in the central commercial streets seriously
jeopar-dized the retail economy of the area. Pedestrian zoning was intro-duced on a major scale in an effort to reverse this trend. Early in 1960,Kalverstraat and Nieuwendijk were officially closed to traffic duringshopping hours, but it was not until eleven years later that they as-sumed their present appearance. In 1971, they were repaved, and fur-ther restrictions were placed on the delivery of goods.The streets arethe core of Amsterdam’s pedestrian system.
Neither Kalverstraat nor Nieuwendijk has any street furniture, dis-play cases or special lighting fixtures. However, this lack of amenitiesis not noticed in the crush of people, mostly tourists, on the streetsduring the day. After nightfall the pedestrian streets are not as busy,
but they are far from deserted. Small shopkeepers leave their win-dows lighted until late at night, making the evening hours an idealtime for browsing.
In 1971, Leidsestraat was transformed into a pedestrian
street, but itsstreetcar line was retained.This street, once one of the most elegant incentral Amsterdam, had lost most of its glamour over the years.At thesame time the square in front of the Municipal Theater was convertedfrom a parking lot into a raised café terrace; and the pedestrian zonewas extended along the southern side of the Singel, a street fam
ous forits permanent flower market. In March of 1973, motor traffic wasbanned from Haarlemmerstraat, which completed a ribbon of pedes-trian streets encircling the center of Amsterdam.As a consequence, allthe streets which cross this ribbon became walkways.
Bologna’s traffic-free zones were part of an overall effort to revitalizethe historic core and control the city’s territorial growth. However,the pedestrian district itself was implemented exclusively on the basisof its humanistic and cultural benefits. “Comprehensive conservation”of the physical and social fabric of central Bologna has been the guid-ing concept of the administration of this northern Italian city.Bologna’spedestrian streets were planned within this local context, creating asetting for community life in the city core. Contrary to other pedes-trian efforts, Bologna’s planners were not particularly concerned withimproving retail economics. Nevertheless, shops witnessed increases insales due to the traffic free streets.
City profileThere has been very little change in Bologna’s layout since its
founda-tions.The original Roman grid of 200 B.C. is still visible. One of themajor provincial centers of the Empire,Bologna maintained its impor-tance in the early Middle Ages when it became a trading center be-tween the indigenous population and invading Visigoths, Huns andLongobards.The University of Bologna,which became one of the mostfamous centers of learning in Europe,was founded in the 11th century.
In the mid-1960s,people began leaving the city, attracted by new periph-eral housing.Within the city,traffic congestion was becoming more dense,and environmental conditions were deteriorating. Bologna’s social andcultural domination of the region was slipping away as a direct result ofpopulation loss. It was evident that remedial action was necessary.
In 1972, the Via Calderini and Via dell’Inferno were closed.Traffic onstreets perpendicular to these thoroughfares was eliminated.After agree-ment had been reached with shopkeepers, the streets around one ofBologna’s characteristic commercial blocks were permanently closed totraffic in 1973. Banning traffic from these areas benefited the entire citycenter, since the number of cars entering it was reduced greatly.
Creation of the pedestrian “island,” as residents call it, was a fundamen-tal step in Bologna’s transformation. It is a basic element in the new wayof life the city can offer its residents.The unexpectedly overwhelmingsuccess of the pedestrian zone has encouraged the city to continue clear-ing streets and plazas of both parked and moving vehicles, and limitingaccess to all but resident traffic in selected areas.As the organizations andcitizen committees in various neighborhoods became more efficient,pedestrian streets begin to emerge in residential districts.
Pedestrian precincts 7
The shaded areas indicate the so-called Blue Zones, where parking isprohibited and access limited.
One year after the center of Bologna was converted into a ped
estrianzone, a poll was taken among the city’s residents. 43% of the people inter-viewed from all over the metropolitan area strongly identified the centerof the city with the Piazza Maggiore. When asked what Image they associ-ated with the piazza, 28% identified it as a monumental space which is partof a unified urban complex. However, 52% identified it as an important
place for social interaction. Some 15% of those interviewed saw it as aplace for adult activities such as political demonstrations and festivals. 23%of the people viewed the Piazza Maggiore as being populated by pigeonsfor children to play with and people to feed. On the other hand, the PiazzaMaggiore as a theater or setting for collective events was very real to thepeople interviewed.
The Gros Horloge gives the city’s major commercial street its
8 Pedestrian precincts The Malraux Law. Named after Andre Malraux, the Cultural AffairsMinister, the law was passed by the national government to protect notonly isolated monuments but entire neighborhoods—secteurs sauvegardesor landmark districts. This legislation not only prevents demolition for slumclearance and urban renewal, but also calls for careful preservation andrestoration of worthwhile elements on the site. Ugly annexes, remodeledfacades, garish signs and storefronts are removed to reveal the originalbuilding beneath the 19th and 20th century excrescences.
Rouen leads France in creation of pedestrian streets. It was the firstFrench town to initiate a comprehensive pedestrian system as part of aplan aimed at reversing a trend which was making the city a mereeconomic suburb of Paris, some 135 km. (84 mi.) away. The city’sinitial traffic-free experiment was located along a major commercialstreet. The pedestrian system was later expanded to ease the flow oftourists around the Cathedral. Pedestrian zoning was implemented inboth areas in order to revitalize the city’s central area, improve thequality of street life and restore the prestigious historic buildings.
City profileFounded during the Gallo Roman period, the city grew along
twoaxes at right angles to one other that intersect near the site on whichthe Cathedral was built.As the capital of Normandy, Rouen has a richhistory. Joan of Arc was burned at the stake in the Market Square. Inthe 19th century, Ruskin andVictor Hugo made it an important stopon the Romantic itinerary of medieval architecture in France.
Rouen sustained heavy bombing during the Second World War, andmuch of its core had to be rebuilt. As a result, this area now containsboth narrow, medieval streets and wide modern thoroughfares In spiteof the severe bomb damage in the war, Rouen still offered many archi-tectural attractions.Tourism became an important part of its economy.Most of the historic and architectural landmarks are protected by the1962 Malraux Law.
Rue Du Gros Horloge
In 1970, general traffic was banned on the Rue du Gros Horl
oge,between Rue Jeanne d’Arc and the Cathedral Square.This pedestrianzone—only 7.3 meters (24 ft.) wide and 266 meters (875 ft.) inlength—is a showcase of medieval half-timbered shops and town-houses.The street forms a vista leading to a Renaissance gate with aclock, the Gros Horloge, set above its archway. The Rue de GrosHorloge was a pioneer effort to accustom the public to pedestrianzoning. Although the size of the first phase of the project seems toosmall as a model case, it had remarkable impact at both local and na-tional levels in France.
As a low-cost strategy to develop and protect the center, the pedes-trian experiment has been an immense success. No major new con-struction or urban renewal was required.The principal changes werereadjusting flow on the four central bridges to equalize traffic capacityand creating surface parking for the city-owned land. The Rue duGros Horloge itself was recycled.That is, most of the materials weresalvaged from the street and used for paving, planters and benches.
Norwich was the first city in Great Britain to eliminate traffic perma-nently from a central commercial street. Cars were banned on LondonStreet because they constituted a hazard to the crowds of shoppers thatoverflowed the narrow sidewalks. Initially, the ban was temporary, dur-ing which time numerous discussions were held with merchants alongthe street to assess the impact of the experiment.The permanent con-version of the street took place only after the traffic ban proved advan-tageous to citizens and businesses alike.
Norwich is an example of the possibility of unifying the entire com-mercial district with a network of pedestrian streets, in order to trans-form the core area into a totally car free environment. In conjunctionwith the pedestrian program, the city with help from private con-tributors launched a massive effort to restore and rehabilitate historicbuildings in the core area.
City profileEstablished nearly 1200 years ago, Norwich is the largest
city in EastAnglia, a flat agricultural region with one of the highest populationgrowth rates in Great Britain. By the 11th century, it was one of thelargest towns in England with an economy based on its markets.Thecity served as an important inland port for the textile industry. In addi-tion, it was an important religious center.
Aspects of the district have changed dramatically since it has becomea pedestrian area. Restaurant owners note that people request tablesnear street windows to watch the passing crowd, and in some in-stances tables have been put outside in the Continental fashion. Mer-chants have seen their sales increase from five to twenty percent, andwindow displays are no longer soiled by auto exhaust. Building own-ers on London Street have redecorated their stores according to acolor and design scheme established by an advisory committee.Graphic controls unify all signs in the area, About one-third of the
Pedestrian precincts 9
Mini-buses still operate in the city’s central commercial district, moving
shoppersto and from the major transportation terminals.
buildings are redecorated every year, giving the street a continuously
The historic district
To protect the residential zone around Norwich’s 12th century Ca-thedral, and the Cathedral itself, from structural damage and air pollu-tion, a second pedestrian system was created in that quarter of town.As a complement to the large pedestrian zone and restoration pro-gram, Norwich has encouraged more housing in the center of the cityin order to increase the kinds and amounts of activity in that area.
Leeds, one of England’s major industrial cities, implemented thecountry’s largest pedestrian zone in the short period of four years.Theintroduction of pedestrian streets was part of the city’s vigorous effortsto insure the efficient functioning of Leeds’ commercial district, whichis the major retail center for over 3,000,000 people. Unlike most Brit-ish cities, the central area of Leeds is not a complex interweaving ofstreets and buildings from various historic periods.The city is a prod-uct of the Industrial Revolution and was planned with precisely de-fined residential, commercial and industrial districts which do notoverlap. Even though the commercial district was self-contained, traf-fic-free zoning required careful planning in order to draw the area’sdisparate elements.
City profileLeeds is a major clothing manufacture and wholesale center in GreatBritain. It is located in centralYorkshire where woolen industries wereintroduced by emigrating Flemish weavers in the 14th century.
In the 19th century, the city became a major center of the woolentrade because of abundant waterpower derived from the River Aire.Clothing manufacture because the dominant industry.
The pedestrian system of central Essen is based on two major streetsthat cross in the heart of the city, Limbecker Strasse and KettwigerStrasse.They measure,respectively,55 meters (1,800 ft.) and 914 meters(3,000 ft.) in length. Pedestrian walkways fan out in all directions fromthese two streets, so that every point within the central business dis-trict can be conveniently reached on foot.The two main streets differsharply in appearance and character. Limbecker averages 8,2 meters(27 ft.) in width and is lined with retail shops. It has only one restau-rant and no places of entertainment. Consequently, it is busy in the day,but practically dead at night. Kettwiger,on the other hand, is 18 meters(60 ft.) wide and lined with fashionable shops, restaurants and cinemasthat attract patrons far into the evening hours.
Munich’s pedestrian system symbolically and physically binds togetherthe medieval heart of the city.The Frauenkirche, New City Hall, shopsand stores along the Mar ien Platz, Kaufingerstrasse andNeuhauserstrasse are a single and unified pedestrian scheme, whichsuccinctly expresses the governmental, religious and commercial func-tions of the city to its citizens and visitors.
City profileMunich was founded in the early 12th century but was predated by amonastery from which is derives its name. The city is famous for itsuniversity and museum. It is also well known for its industrial outputof optical and precision instruments, heavy machinery and beer. Dur-ing the Second World war, Munich was severely damaged, The scarshave remained visible, although medieval and Renaissance buildingsstill stand in the city’s central core. Reconstruction began immediatelyafter the war, and as Germany’s economic recovery picked up, thepopulation increased at the rate of 40,000 people per year.The innercity population, however, has decreased due partially to the lack ofhousing in the center of Munich.
Munich’s first pedestrian street was created between two major medi-eval gates: the Karlstor on the west side and the reconstructed Rathaus
gate on the east side.The city’s entire traffic-free system consists of thiscentral spine connecting the two gates,with a series of smaller branchesextending to the side streets, which have been transformed into ve-hicle free dead ends.There are several plazas within the boundaries ofthe pedestrianized area.At only one point is the major pedestrian streetintersected by automobile traffic.
Planners were concerned about the apparently great width of the cen-tral spine, which is at one point 18 meters (60 ft.) wide.This concernbecame purely academic once the street was open because of the sheernumber of people who used it.Actually, the width of the main pedes-trian thoroughfare is a pleasing contrast to the surrounding narrowside streets.To some degree, this openness is complemented by exist-ing medieval porticos, joined to modern arcades to create a pleasantshopping ambiance on rainy days.
The historic buildings in the pedestrian area have been restored andcleaned. They are floodlit at night. The street has been further en-hanced with seven fountains, some of which are new and large
In Munich, the stackable chairs that people can arrange as they please
are one ofthe major innovations in pedestrian design.
enough to provide seating. Others, formerly in different parts of thecity, were moved into the traffic-free district.
Stackable chairs are perhaps the single most innovative touch in thispedestrian scheme. People can move the chairs about as they pleaseand group them for special events. Octagonal concrete flower plantersare distributed along the street. People often sit on them though theyare not comfortable.Planters are filled with seasonable flowering plantsthroughout the year.Trees have been planted in several places.
Relatively short streetlights were placed down the center of each pe-destrian street to give a sense of scale. Freestanding glass display caseswere also installed. However, merchants found that shoppers preferredlooking into actual shop windows, as has been true in other pedestrianzones. The city has profited enormously from its pedestrian district.The old core contains not only civic monuments, but also, more im-portantly, stores, hotels, restaurants and cafes.The pedestrian zone, to-gether with these attractions, generates a constant and varied street life,day and night.
Vienna presents a remarkable dilemma: it must either convert thewhole inner city into a pedestrian zone or abandon the concept.This situation is due to two major factors. Residences, shops andoffices are mixed together to the degree that it is impossible todefine a clear cut commercial district. In addition, the core layoutis such that fragmented pedestrian zoning would create an
impos-sible traffic jam on surrounding streets.
As a compromise between totally closing streets in the inner city orleaving cars and pedestrians to fight it out, the city decided to ex-periment with a temporary closing of its most famous shoppingstreet, Karntner Strasse, for the Christmas season of 1971. Using“Street Happenings,” temporary furniture and other low-cost de-vises, the city actively involved tourists and residents in the pedes-trian environment. Subsequently, this street was permanently repavedand furnished.
Today,Vienna is the capital of Austria, but for most of its history it wasthe capital of vast empires.The city dominated the trade and politics ofcentral Europe through its position on the Danube. From 806 to 1558AD, it was the capital of the Holy Roman Empire and capital of theAustro-Hungarian Empire until 1918.Then it became “an elephant ina backyard,” as Winston Churchill put it.
In 1860 the medieval fortified walls surrounding Vienna were torndown and replaced by a boulevard, the famous Ring, which was land-scaped with trees and surrounded by public parks and gardens. It be-came the most fashionable part of the city. About a mile beyond theRingstrasse, a second, outer line of fortifications, the Linienwall, wastorn down in 1890 and the Gurtel, German for “belt,” became thesecond ring boulevard. As part of this belt, a rapid transit system was
constructed which connects the railroad stations.The surrounding areawas rapidly built up as a dense residential zone.
In December of 1971, the firm of Victor Gruen Internationa
l pre-sented the city with recommendations for savingVienna from the at-
tack of automobile traffic. Gruen’s report also strongly emphasizedimproving the ring road system created in the 19th century.
To implement a complete pedestrian zone in central Vienna, the citydecided to build a new subway system rather than rely on buses forrapid transit.
The street happenings
When the idea of converting major streets in the inner city to
walk-ways was first aired, merchants were divided in their opinions about it.In a poll taken two months before the Karntner Strasse experiment,only 52 percent of the merchants thought it was a good idea.That twopercent edge decided the future of pedestrian streets in Vienna.
A series of “street happenings” for the Christmas Promenade, as theexperiment was called, transformed the previously congested vehicu-lar streets into exciting, if unusual, pedestrian walkways.The program,which was very inexpensive, included the following:
• Illuminating all the facades on the street with floodlights mounted
on wooden towers.
• Installing loudspeakers for music,information and announcements
of events. No advertising was allowed.
• Putting up a tent in the street for small dramatic and musical
• Placing colorful balls, twelve feet in diameter, for pedestrians to
move around and play with.
• Setting up a “School for Walking” created to stimulate a series
of unusual situations—undulating floors, soft surfaces, hanging
plastic strips and rotating rollers—to which the pedestrians
were to react.
• Special events were also scheduled in the pedestrian area and
traditional Christmas decorations were used to create a festive
Merchants were far from pleased with these street happenin
gs andduring the course of the experiment a number of the attractionswere removed. In particular, the large balls and the “School forWalk-ing” generated the most disapproval. However, the program was suc-cessful in that it focused attention on the possibilities inherent in thepedestrian street, and only a month after the experiment began itwas given an unlimited extension of time.
Because creation of pedestrian zones inVienna has been an allor- noth-ing proposition, the city has undertaken a far more ambitious programthan most European cities.When the new subway system is completedand adequate parking is created on the Rings, the city’s historic core