Sunday, March 14, 2010

The Woonerf

I have a fascination with streetscapes and believe that they are the "make it or break it" factor of good development. It is extremely difficult to 'create' an organic streetscape, it often takes decades. I also cringle when I see developments where it is obvious that developer skimped on the Site Improvements budget.
With more focus on concepts of New Urbanism, the Woonerf (plural: Woonerven)has gained in popularity. These spaces are public streets where pedestrians and cyclists have legal priority over cars and vehicles. They also feature numerous visually pleasant,  traffic-calming strategies such as narrow lanes, carefully located tree placement, and even berms that require drivers to wind their way down the road. Another trick is that there is often no clear delineation as to where the street ends and the sidewalk begins. This encourages pedestrians to roam more as they walk causing drivers to exhibit more caution as they proceed down the road.
Below are some photos and diagrams of effective Woonerf design. Clink any image to expand.

Disclaimer: All photos are found images.