Living Streets: Strategies for Crafting PublicSpace
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More About This Title Living Streets: Strategies for Crafting PublicSpace


The only book of its kind to provide an overview of sustainable street design

Today, society is moving toward a more sustainable way of life, with cities everywhere aspiring to become high-quality places to live, work, and play. Streets are fundamental to this shift. They define our system of movement, create connections between places, and offer opportunities to reconnect to natural systems. There is an increasing realization that the right-of-way is a critical and under-recognized resource for transformation, with new models being tested to create a better public realm, support balanced transportation options, and provide sustainable solutions for stormwater and landscaping.

Living Streets provides practical guidance on the complete street approach to sustainable and community-minded street use and design. Written by an interdisciplinary team of authors, the book brings insights and experience from urban planning, transportation planning, and civil engineering perspectives. It includes examples from many completed street design projects from around the world, an overview of the design and policy tools that have been successful, and guidance to help get past the predictable obstacles to implementation: Who makes decisions in the right-of-way? Who takes responsibility? How can regulations be changed to allow better use of the right-of-way?

Living Streets informs you of the benefits of creating streets that are healthier, more pleasant parts of life:

  • Thoughtful planning of the location, uses, and textures of the spaces in which we live encourages people to use public space more often, be more active, and possibly live healthier lives.
  • A walkable community makes life easier and more pleasant for everyone, especially for vulnerable populations within the larger community whose transportation limitations reduce access to jobs, healthy food, health care, recreation, and social interaction.
  • Streets present opportunities to improve the natural environment while adding to neighborhood character, offering beauty, providing shade, and improving air quality.

If you're an urban planner, designer, transportation engineer, or civil engineer, Living Streets is the ultimate guide for the creation of more humane streetscapes that connect neighborhoods and inspire people.


Lesley Bain, AIA, LEED, is an architect, urban designer, and Principal at Weinstein A|U Architects + Urban Designers LLC. Lesley has played prominent roles in many of Seattle's urban design efforts including pedestrian planning, station area development, campus planning, and incorporating transportation into neighborhoods.

Barbara Gray is an urban planner with eighteen years of professional experience in community design and transportation planning. She currently manages the Transportation Systems Design and Planning group for the Seattle Department of Transportation.

Dave Rodgers, PE, LEED, is recognized nationwide as being at the forefront of innovative sustainable design. He is a Principal at SvR Design Company.





The Function of Places 2

Why Invest in a Quality Public Realm? 4

Placemaking and Design 5

Encouraging the Use of Public Space 11

Reclaiming Right-of-Way for Public Places 14

Considering All the Elements in the Right-of-Way 21

Chapter 2 MOBILITY 23

Connecting People to Places 24

Why Have Walkable, Bikeable Communities? 25

The Size and Shape of Movement 26

The Pace of Movement 34

A Shift in Thinking 35


Reconnecting Cities to Nature 40

Urban Biodiversity 41

Natural Systems and Opportunities in the Right-of-Way 42

Why Reconnect Nature and the City? 49

Chapter 4 ELEMENTS 51

Places to Move Through 52

Materials 58

Intersections 59

Bicycle Facilities 61

Signage 68

Street Furniture 70

Street Trees and Landscaping 74

Swales and Rain Gardens 74

Curbs, Gutters, and Alternatives 77

Parking 79

Chapter 5 INFLUENCES 83

Considering Context 84

Policy Foundation—Policies That Infl uence Street Design 87

Codes, Guidelines, and Standards 93

Reality Factors 99

Chapter 6 TYPOLOGIES 113

Typologies Overview 113

Residential Streets 115

Green Streets 123

Alleys 139

Main Streets 154

Thoroughfares 171

Shared-Use Streets 182

Festival Streets 193

Chapter 7 CASE STUDIES 207

Mint Plaza 208

Nord Alley 217

Central Annapolis Road 225

78th Avenue SE Shared Use 235

High Point 243

Barracks Row 255

New York City 263

Terry Avenue North 271

Chapter 8 WHAT'S NEXT 285

Biophilic Cities: More Nature in the City 286

New Technologies 287

Building the Dream 290

Conclusions 296




"A chief purpose of Living Streets is to encourage designers to see streets as "more than just places to drive." The book explores how intelligent street planning can create good places for living, working, and playing; strengthen community interaction; encourage healthier ways of life; develop local economies; and promote urban patterns that are less dependent on fossil fuels." (Better! Cities & Towns, September 2012)