Faculty of Natural Resources and Spatial Sciences
Department of Architecture and Spatial Planning
RECONNECTING THE CITY THROUGH URBAN RENEWAL TO RESTORE PEDES-TRIAN LINKS IN WINDHOEK CBD.
Student number: 211002879
Bachelor of Architecture Honour
Table of Contents
Research Design & Methodology3
Walking behaviour and the build environment5
Pedestrian Friendly Environment criterion / indicators7
Data Analysis 8
Practical applications to make pedestrian friendly streets8
Citation and references15
“The preoccupations concerning pedestrianization interested many, from architects to urban planners, designers and social scientists, on all continents. The pedestrian areas became a constant discussion in the context of suburbanization, urban sprawl, traffic congestion, pollution and transformation of downtowns. For certain specialists they became perfect urban design strategies in revitalizing a city. The characters that advocated for the importance of the pedestrian areas were Jane Jacobs, Kevin Lynch, Gordon Cullen and Christopher Alexander. They influenced others, whose major concern became the liveability of the street and the creation of more pedestrian oriented developments by: Donald Appleyard, Amos Rapoport and Paul Altman.” (Oana-Elena Blaga, 2012)
Through enough literature input and relevant case studies a worthy model for use in reconnecting the city the Windhoek through urban renewal and restore pedestrian links in the CBD need be designed.
This research’s object is to understand the link between the built environment and walking behaviour; and the identification of the relevant environmental features in defining pedestrian friendly environments.
The aim is then to find suitable pedestrian accessibility and attractiveness indicators for walkability assessment. Assessing the extent to which the built environment is walker friendly may support more objective and comprehensive planning strategies and interventions, facilitating the progress towards more sustainable, integrated and appealing, walking cities.
“The necessity to create more liveable, safe, transit-oriented and compact cities, redefined the importance of the pedestrian zones and pedestrians. In the opinion of Blaga, O. (2012), well designed pedestrian zones (squares, plazas, streets) are a good indicator not only for urban quality, but also for the capacity of attraction of an urban centre.” (Oana-Elena Blaga, 2012).
Keywords: built environment, land use, pedestrianization, pedestrian links, pedestrian zone, public space, suburbanization, travel behaviour, traffic congestion, transportation systems, urban design, urban models, urban planning, walkability assessment
“The pedestrian zone issue is by far an important matter in the context of urban regeneration. Cities which adopted this strategy – the pedestrian zones – have recorded better urban attitudes regarding the urban environment, a continuous growth of the urban quality, an improved urban ecosystem and continuous attractiveness for investment and tourism” (Oana-Elena Blaga, 2012 p.5) Article Pedestrian Zones As Important Urban Strategies in Redeveloping the Community – Case Study: Alba Iulia Borough Park
. In cities today, where transport is based on the motor vehicle, social contact is lost. The substantial rise in traffic and associated noise has contributed to increasing adverse social and environmental consequences. Wide roads and streams of cars destroy the function of the street as the focus for social inter-criteria and break connectivity ties.
By providing more public space for pedestrians is one of the main goals of urban renewal projects taking place in cities around the world. By planting more trees, implementing more sidewalks and bike paths and establishing new seating areas, it is possible to design more welcoming places with less traffic congestion and that promote sustainable methods of transportation, such as walking and bicycling.
Focusing on accessibility measures for pedestrians as reviewed by previous urban planner and thinkers is adamant. Case studies and practical applications of projects of others are examined to see the relevance and success of using such indicators and apply it to our own urban design parameters for improvements and identifying the key limitations to it.
The proposal also seeks to answer questions regarding the role of city form towards pedestrian friendly inclusiveness and the role that urban context plays towards a holistic approach of such models already implemented elsewhere (Elder et al., 2007).
The built environment is constantly changing in countless ways; some changes are fast (e.g., the drop in pedestrians on a downtown street from noon to midnight) and some are slow (e.g., the deterioration of building exteriors over decades or more).
Other attempts to estimate pedestrian flow volume paid attention to another on-street characteristic, land use. As pedestrian travel has less-specific origins and destinations than other types of transport, land use has been taken into account at a street level as a key variable accounting for pedestrian flow volume in a city centre. This pedestrian flow network needs to be understood, reviewed and put into context on the area concerned.
A simpler approach to pedestrian accessibility measurements and criterion to this morphological connectivity factors investigated will help understand this pedestrian flow network by paying more attention to route street characteristics.
The literature focusing on pedestrian zones and pedestrians is extremely vast. Since these developments began to call the attention of urban planners and urbanites many studies have centered their attention on pedestrian precincts. Mostly, the concept of pedestrian precinct is related to topics such as: the reduction of traffic congestion, the reconstruction and the transformation of the city centers in shopping arterials that attracted tourists; historic preservation, main street revitalization; the reorganization of the built environment and the improvement of urban quality or the reduction and control of the urban sprawl as already mentioned a few. Generally, the idea these new models promote is the separation of pedestrian areas from motorized transportation, in order to create a safe environment for pedestrians and promote walking as a main means of transport. The first such idea evolves with the case study of Garden City Movement initiated by Sir Ebenezer Howard in 1898. The Garden City model Howard proposes tries to offer a better planning of the industrial city with important consequences on the quality of urban life. The model perfectly divides the pedestrian zones (parks, gardens, green spaces or spaces pertaining to public buildings) from the transportation ones (boulevards). “The automobile era had some disadvantages for these living organisms, cities. To name a few again: pollution, crowded cities, lack of parking places, inner city degradation or car-dependent communities. In consequence, the city lost its inherited character of walking. From this perspective urban planning became a very intriguing method for planning the city. The automobile conquered the city; the latter had to be (re)designed to function properly with the new requirements. Rehabilitating the pedestrians precincts again came to light after this degradation was noted.” (Oana-elena blaga, 2012)
Research Design ; Methodology
Conducting a study for how understanding the link between the built environment and walking behaviour; identification of the relevant environmental features in defining pedestrian friendly environments; and integrating it into Windhoek CBD will require a Pragmatic approach to research (mixed method) to data analysis approach.
A walkability assessment model need developement with the aid of multi criteria decision analysis techniques and GIS network analysis, able to address different scales (city, neighbourhood and street). De Cambra, PJM (2012).
It will provide useful empirical evidence of potential street improvements to develop a quality street network for pedestrians on a neighbourhood scale by looking at case studies of similar cities approaches to regenerate the pedestrian links. The lack of knowledge about the effects of neighbourhood-scale street characteristics on pedestrian accessibility makes street improvements to an individual site limited to avoid negative effects on traffic. The results of this study can help identify where and what improvements should take place. This is particularly important for street improvements linking multiple nearby destinations for pedestrians in the city centre.
Further research is expected to quantitatively examine the effects of such pedestrian linkages. Research surveys as well as focused areas and groups studies will have to be used to determine behaviours of pedestrians and why areas are used or less used. By using surveys it will become apparent which areas are of hi concern and what are the constraints and determining factors.
The quality and quantity of public spaces within a city and possible versatile urban models will be formulated from the research literature to test the hypothesis of such applications that shape the built environment and can be used to reduce automobile travel and restore pedestrian links in Windhoek CBD.
Case studies and well implemented successful projects will be analysed as part of the qualitative method of data collection.
The department of public transport and town planning surveillance is important input data to examine and compare to our own surveys.
The whole Windhoek area and its population is too big to assess and a smaller sample area and sample size for the survey will be determined. This will be the 5km radius around the city centre.
Research participants will be recruited through advertising on campus. Once all important nodes of surveillance are identified an exact number of participants will be known. The survey is only of an observation sort and no direct contact will need to be made with the sample population. For safety reasons the participant will not each cover large areas but rather dedicated to specific nodes for observation and at specific time slots of the day to collect different input data accordingly.
These participants will be compensated according to their input to the research data for analysis. Every researcher need to meet a target data collection daily in order to claim compensation.
Name tags and branded t-shirts stating the nature of the survey will be worn at all times when conducting data. No introductory letter is needed since no direct contact will be made to the target population and merely observations done.
These observations are merely to get a better understanding for pedestrian behaviour towards different factor in the walking environment of certain nodes of traffic around Windhoek CBD at different times of the day and week. Limitations need to be identified and possible solutions adapted from other successful models already implemented elsewhere though case studies.
To successfully integrate such into possible future projects for Windhoek more information on the street layout of Windhoek needs to be obtained from the City of Windhoek’s Municipality and Town planning Council. All data from the Municipality will be used adjacent to the surveyed undertaken to create a comprehensive approach to the problem solving process.
Financing this project will be acquired from the City Council as well as permission to conduct this survey and report from all necessary authorities.
Accessibility, when applied to urban transportation, measures the ability and level of convenience with which people access goods and services. Accessibility is a key indicator defining a city’s success, given high levels of access provides populations with the opportunity to connect through marketplaces of goods, activities, and ideas. Ultimately, providing access to these opportunities is transportation’s main goal, as cities develop and progress with enhanced relationship-building, exchange, and connectivity.
Walking behaviour and built environment
The conceptual relations between walking and the environment have been researched and have been summarized in the works of Handy and Schmid, as seen in Figure 1:
Figure 1: Conceptual relations of factors influencing walking, adapted from Handy (2005) and Schmid (2006)
“The factors that influence walking can be classified accordingly in socio-demographic factors, preferences and attitudes, lifestyle, availability of transport alternatives and built environment. It can be seen that walking behaviour also plays a role in influencing lifestyle, preferences and attitudes. The relation between built environment and walking behaviour demonstrates that the attributes of a place can influence the individual’s choice in terms of travelling. This relation demonstrates that the attributes of a place can affect perceptions, attitudes and lifestyle, and these ones also influence walking behaviour. It can then be admitted that factors that discourage individuals to walking can change, with time, and under the influence of a pedestrian friendly walking environment.” (Schmid 2006).Studies in urban design have developed a simpler approach to pedestrian accessibility measurement, paying more attention to route street characteristics. It should be noted that physical, objective, features of the environment influence the quality of the walking environment both directly and indirectly through the perceptions and sensitivities of individuals. It should also be noted that only some urban design features are objective and can be assessed with some degree of objectivity. Other features, such as sense of comfort or level of comfort are mainly perceptions and may produce different reactions in different people, as it has been laid by Ewing and Handy (ibidem):
Figure 2: Conceptual framework of the role of perceptions in mediation of physical features of the environment and walking behaviour. Source: Ewing and Handy (2009)
The relations between the built environment and the walking behaviour have been studied from different perspectives. The two planning groups more active in the walking related field have been transportation planners and urban designers (Park 2008). The dominant documents shaping the pedestrian environment have been developed from engineering road design manuals. These manuals’ purpose was to create efficient traffic flow, and it wasn’t until the early 1970’s that walking behaviour started to be included on them. Other concepts dealt with walking speed, spacing between pedestrians and flow of the pedestrian movement and methods to estimate the demand (pedestrian volume) and the supply (mainly the sidewalk as basic pedestrian infrastructure) have been developed from them. The main objective of these methods was to obtain an optimum level-of-service (LOS), accomplished with unobstructed pedestrian movement, or, in other words, to design a sidewalk wide enough to provide unobstructed movement for a given number of pedestrians (Park 2008).They hypothesise that street configuration is the most important and sole contributing factor to pedestrian accessibility. Street configuration includes the morphological connectivity of a street network, in which a well-connected street network (e.g. a grid pattern) is more likely to draw people than a less-connected one (e.g. a cul-de-sac pattern). Conventional measures used to evaluate this build environment like the streets for pedestrians pay significant attention to on-street characteristics, represented by its level of service (LOS). While LOS is developed for various road transport users, pedestrian LOS is measured using walking space, as proposed by Fruin. (Fruin, J 1971). In this measure, walking space is regarded as street capacity for pedestrian flow, in which insufficient capacity decreases LOS for pedestrians owing to crowding. In Fruin’s LOS concept, more walking space is recommended for shoppers so they can move around more. Yet, it should be noted that pavement width is positively correlated with pedestrian flow volume (Pushkarev, B & Zupan, J. 1975), but this does not necessarily mean that pavement expansion alone can generate higher pedestrian flow through increased demand for walking.
Early attempts to estimate pedestrian flow volume paid attention to another on-street characteristic, land use. As pedestrian travel has less-specific origins and destinations than other types of transport, land use has been taken into account at a street level as a key variable accounting for pedestrian flow volume in a city centre as derived from Living Streets (Appleyard, D 1981).
The following criterion is used to list this morphological connectivity factors in order to test its appropriateness to Windhoek’s rehabilitation of pedestrian connectivity to its build environment and land use in the CBD area as well as its neighbouring areas. These are all to create pedestrian friendly environments.
Pedestrian Friendly Environment criterion/indicators
Adapted directly from Hawking, S. (2000).
ESTABLISHING A NETWORK OF PUBLIC OPEN SPACES WITHIN THE TOWN CENTRE -This network of public open spaces is linked into the wider pedestrian movement network, providing a range of spaces for locals and visitors to access
PUBLIC PARKS – These include residential parks, larger public parks near mixed use centre and smaller pocket parks adjacent to road reserves, providing the primary source of outdoor green open space for residential catchments.
URBAN OPEN SPACES – A network of hard-landscaped courtyards, plazas and pedestrian lanes form a series of tighter-grained open spaces within the town centre. – These may form part of public road or public open space reserves, or may be provided within private developments that link into wider open space and movement networks, possibly accessed at limited times or focused around specific activities – These are characterised by as mixture of hard landscaping treatments such as benches, lighting and paving with green landscaping such as trees or structure planting – Urban open spaces within Windhoek’s town centre will most likely occur around mixed use areas.
PRIVATE RESIDENTIAL / MIXED USE OPEN SPACE – A series of private open spaces will form a sub-network of green open space connecting Windhoek’s town centre to the outer areas. As residential areas increase in density, it is important to ensure maximum private open space provision for residential communities. – Perimeter apartment block designs will enable the establishment of rear gardens and landscaped parking courts. – Private Lot rear gardens in terraces and mews housing should align to form larger connected green open spaces – Other semi-private or private open spaces include courtyards above semi-basement parking in mixed use buildings.
ACTIVATED EDGES AND ROUTES – A high level of safe pedestrian and cycle connectivity within and across the town centre is crucial in ensuring the increased use and safety of the public open space network – The routes and public open spaces should be activated on all edges through use of buildings with retail, uses on ground floor and apartments above that provide 24hours passive surveillance onto the spaces.
CRITERIA FOR ESTABLISHING NEW PUBLIC OPEN SPACES – A set of criteria should be established in Windhoek’s CBD concept masterplan to ensure that new public open spaces provide a safe and crime-free environment. This may include criteria for: Areas that will experience high levels of pedestrian foot traffic or that can be integrated into cycle routes – Ground floor activities that can open onto the space – Strong connections to public transport routes and the transit interchange – Areas that are visible from other areas – Spaces that easily accessible and fit into a legible system of open spaces – Areas that are central to a specific residential, retail or commercial use catchment within Windhoek CBD. The data analysis from case studies on these topics will now be addressed.
Practical applications to make pedestrian friendly streets
It’s difficult to reconnect existing cities and suburbs if redevelopment projects don’t present an opportunity to change up the infrastructure, but small-scale interventions can make a difference. “There are ways to get better. You don’t have to go right from suburbia to Manhattan in one fell swoop,” says Benjamin Grant, an urban design program manager at SPUR who helped write the guidelines.
So here’s what cities should be doing to make public spaces more inviting and accessible for pedestrians without changing the entire infrastructure, but rather small alterations towards a better walkable environment. A non-profit San Francisco Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) wrote a 67-page report looking at building and design techniques a city should encourage developers to use to better promote walkability—a fancy term that basically translates to pedestrian friendliness—and better use of mixed-use spaces. (Beard, M. 2013)
These guidelines below are a lot the same as the indicators discussed earlier and can be directly applied to Windhoek.
1. Create fine-grained pedestrian circulation
Cities should avoid large block like edifices of building upon building and rather partition streets into smaller chunks that feel easier to walk and create a different perception of distance.
2. Orient buildings to streets
Putting buildings on the street “creates a kind of cosiness and sense of enclosure,” Grant says. “It’s a classic attribute of traditional, walkable cities where the streets are all lined with buildings.”
“We humans tend not to feel comfortable in environments where we’re exposed on all sides, Grant says, a residual instinct to watch for predators. Enclosed spaces, like a traditional European town square, make for more comfortable environments.”
3. Organize uses to support public activity
Creating welcoming and inviting open public spaces like a gym, outdoor climbing wall, or community meeting space can do a lot more to bring an area to life.
4. Place parking behind or below buildings
The report strongly recommends putting parking lots underground or behind a building. “There is no bigger driver of form in a suburban environment than parking,” Grant says. How a developer treats where vehicles are stored (remember all those drivers become pedestrians when they step out of their cars) can do more for walkability than anything else.
Figure 3: A Lamborghini Gallardo parked below Hanwei Plaza in Beijing.
5. Address the human scale with building and landscape details
Even if a building is large and overwhelming from far; signage and a good entrances can bring things back to the human scale and quite inviting for pedestrians to visit. In practice the Empire State Building in New York City is such an example.
6. Provide clear, continuous pedestrian access
Pedestrians should have easy ways to move through plazas, parks, restricted-access delivery streets, and other places cars can’t go. Clear signage explaining how to navigate around a complex is important, especially for tourist-heavy areas. Limitations here are to cater for all pedestrians with physicla and mental inabilities. This is a topic for further investigation and not included in this review or proposal.
7. Build complete streets
“In the last 80 years,” Grant says, “we have stripped our streets of every function except the movement of vehicles.” Now, the goal is to create complete cities again through imposing the criterion covered in the previous section. This will bring the city users to one place for a variety of activities for instance; outdoor meeting, cup of coffee, physical activity like jogging, shopping and much more. The goal is to attract the people from outside the CBD towards it through pedestrian amnd cycling links and not merely by means of vehicle transport by road.
Figure 4: Many traditional Latin American cities demonstrate the idea of ‘complete streets’. Alameda de Leon in Oaxaca Mexico is an example of a place where cars are smoothly routed around a central shopping, meeting and eating zone.
Figure 5: Regnbuepladsen, Copenhagen, Denmark. Image Courtesy of Urb-I
Figure 6: Strada Halelor, Bucharest, Romania. Image Courtesy of Urb-I
Figure 7: Calle Marqués de Leganés, Madrid, Spain. Image Courtesy of Urb-I
Figure 8: Bank St., Adelaide, Australia. Image Courtesy of Urb-I
The urban design literature by Handy,S.et al. (2002) provides mostly a normative theory of the link between urban design and the use of public spaces—in other words, a prescription for how to create public spaces that people will use and enjoy. The principles for creating great public places that are widely accepted by today’s urban planners can be traced to a handful of key thinkers. Jane Jacobs, a commentator rather than a designer, passionately argued that cities need “a most intricate and close-grained diversity of uses that give each other constant mutual support, both economically and socially.” Christopher Alexander’s 1977 book A Pattern Language and Kevin Lynch’s 1981 book Good City Form provided a language for describing and evaluating the built environment and defined physical characteristics that contribute to good design. William Whyte’s observational studies of public plazas in New York City and Donald Appleyard’s mapping of relationships between neighbours on streets of varying traffic levels in San Francisco stand as seminal studies of the link between urban design and human behaviour.
(Figure 4 – Figure 8):
Beard, M. (2013, 8 June). A Don’s Life. Weblog. Retrieved 18 May, 2017, from: http://timesonline.typepad.com)
All data collected and processed by the surveys as well as above researched articles according to the guidelines and taking the criterion towards pedestrian friendly environment into consideration will give adequate information to mould a model for practical application for Windhoek itself.
The available evidence lends itself to the argument that a combination of urban design, land use patterns, and transportation systems that promotes walking and bicycling will help create active, healthier, and a more liveable community once the pedestrian links are reconnected.
The literature provided the foundation for the new urbanism movement, which emerged in the late 1980s and has received considerable attention in the popular press. (Handy,S.et al. 2002) “As defined by the Congress for the New Urbanism, this movement embraces urban design and planning principles that both create great public places and reduce automobile use. According to the Congress for the New Urbanism, one of the primary tenets of the new urbanism is the idea that “communities should be designed for the pedestrian and transit as well as the car.” Authors identified with the new urbanism have articulated specific design characteristics to test the possibility to achieve this goal” (Lynch, K. 1981). These authors and other supporters claim that by putting the activities of daily living within walking distance and providing an interconnected network of streets, sidewalks, and paths, walking will increase and driving will decrease (Beard, 2013).
A Limitation is that cities are ever changing and evolving public realm transforming and moulding through the age of times and eras of human existence. It is important to keep present design models and strategies interchangeable for future improvements according to the times that lay ahead. It is evident that such predictions are difficult to predict and therefore further research and consistent surveillance campaigns will need to be done on the probability of city life cycles as well as the history up to now regarding change behavioural factors that may help understanding future tendencies.
Another area not covered in this proposal and need further review is the limitations of pedestrians and not only the space that create a walkable environment. Such limitations are physical mobility of pedestrians and how this must be addressed when designing new walkable spaces. As well as safety in mind and links to further outskirts of the city since private transport use by car will become limiting and public transport hubs can be developed to link all parts of town to the CBD.
This research proposal concentrates mainly on the build environment and how it affects the pedestrians and little thought is put into the human behaviour itself regardless of the build environment and land use. This is because only observatory surveys are conducted and no questionnaires or interviews conducted it. This lends area of further investigation.
Task Name Start End Duration (days)
Research Proposal Introduction 2/7/2017 2/10/2017 3
Literature Review 2/13/2017 2/25/2017 12
Research Ethics and Sampling Stategies2/26/2017 3/3/2017 5
Quantative Methods and Data Collection 3/6/2017 3/10/2017 4
Qualitative Methods and Data Collection 3/13/2017 3/17/2017 4
Quantitive Data Analysis 3/20/2017 3/24/2017 4
Qualitative Data Analysis 3/27/2017 3/31/2017 4
Research Conclusion and Recommendation 4/17/2017 4/21/2017 4
Formulation of Research Proposals 4/24/2017 4/28/2017 4
Finalising Proposal and Presentation 5/1/2017 5/17/2017 16
Total Research duration 2/7/2017 5/17/2017 99
This research proposal was done in a 100 days timeframe.
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