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Urban street space

Urban Street Space

Streets are very important public spaces and are an important part of shared space. The Netherlands is the birthplace of the concept of shared space. It means a living courtyard. Initially, shared spaces were designed by adding interesting elements such as trees and street furniture. Since then, shared space has been more widely defined in the Netherlands as the creation of good residential streets with an emphasis on people-centered social street spaces.

Of course, I do not hold the view that shared space is entirely correct. When people and cars are mixed together, some timid people may have to walk on the shoulder. And mixed traffic roads may also affect the efficiency of traffic. The streets of the UK are a good example of how shared space reduces the dominance of cars on the street while also reducing speeds in the lanes (Edquist, J. , &  Corben, B. ., 2012). Moreover, push-button traffic lights and pedestrian crossings can make it safer for pedestrians. Therefore, I think a comparison needs to be made with Chinese streets. As it stands, the vast majority of Chinese streets are functional and become a single driving presence. For example, benches for resting on the street are gradually disappearing.

As a result, it is likely that shared space facilitates pedestrian movement while retaining vehicular traffic. On top of that, it creates a nice and comfortable environment in which to linger. Of course, the idea of shared space is not always the right one. In many places it doesn’t work. Be that as it may, streets can be enriched by different design elements (K Palfreyman, T Rodden, & J Trevor., 2010). For example, using flexible seating and moveable streetscapes to promote interaction with the street.

Over the past few years, China has been improving the street environment, a typical initiative being the complete removal of stalls and mobile markets from some streets. Clearly, the importance of these elements has been overlooked. Such initiatives ignore the lifestyles of the hawkers and the feelings of the community street users. Community streets need a regulated environment, but the use of these spaces has been neglected. The designs are supposed to serve people, instead of ignoring people. The disappearance of activity on these streets also removes people from the streets. Spaces within a community should facilitate the interaction of people within the community. The Chinese government recognizes this mistake, as well. People have started to call for a new ground-level economy and have enriched the street activities. This has had a profound impact on the economy of the cities, as well.


Edquist, J. , &  Corben, B. . (2012). Potential application of shared space principles in urban road design: effects on safety and amenity.

K Palfreyman, T Rodden, & J Trevor. (2010). © 1999 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands 351 PSI: A Platform for Shared Interaction.

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