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All Ebook Formats $34.99 ISBN: 9781610911092 Published June 2003
Paperback $35.00 ISBN: 9781559639163 Published June 2003

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Streets and the Shaping of Towns and Cities

 Streets and the Shaping of Towns and Cities
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Michael Southworth and Eran Ben-Joseph

208 pages | 7.75 x 9.5

The topic of streets and street design is of compelling interest today as public officials, developers, and community activists seek to reshape urban patterns to achieve more sustainable forms of growth and development. Streets and the Shaping of Towns and Cities traces ideas about street design and layout back to the early industrial era in London suburbs and then on through their institutionalization in housing and transportation planning in the United States. It critiques the situation we are in and suggests some ways out that are less rigidly controlled, more flexible, and responsive to local conditions.

Originally published in 1997, this edition includes a new introduction that addresses topics of current interest including revised standards from the Institute of Transportation Engineers; changes in city plans and development standards following New Urbanist, Smart Growth, and sustainability principles; traffic calming; and ecologically oriented street design.
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ix


INTRODUCTION. Street Standards and the Built Environment 1

The Power of Street Standards 3

The Social and Environmental Impacts of Street Standards 5

Trends in Street Design and Regulation 7

About This Book 14


CHAPTER 1. Gritty Cities and Picturesque Villages

The Origins of Suburban Design Standards in England
and the United States 17

A Brief Look at Street Design Standards of Antiquity 17

The First Suburbs in England 28

John Nash and Park Village 29

Olmsted, Vaux, and the American Suburb 33


CHAPTER 2. Orderly Streets for Healthy Cities

Social Response to Urban Disorder 43

The "Bye-law" Street 45

Bedford Park Adapts the Bye-law Street 47

Unwin, Parker, and the Garden Cities 50

Charles Mulford Robinson and the Street as a Work of Art 56


CHAPTER 3. Streets for the Motor Age

The Car and the Urban Scene 61

Movements for Road and Street Improvement 61

The Car in the Early 1900s 64

Early Responses to the Automobile 65

The Rise of Comprehensive Planning 66

Stein, Wright, and Radburn 70

Perry, Adams, and the Neighborhood Unit 76

European Modernism and the Vision for New Streets 79

The Asphalt Path 83

The Institute of Transportation Engineers Is Born 83


CHAPTER 4. Bureaucracy Takes Control

The Institutionalization of Standards 85

The President's Conference on Home Building and Home Ownership 85

Adoption of Neighborhood Unit and Garden City Principles 88

Street Regulations Take Root 89

The Federal Housing Administration Promotes Suburbanization 90

FHA's First Standards 91

Standards Establish the Cul-de-sac Pattern 92

Controlling Subdivision through Local Plat Approval 96

The Influence of the Building Industry on Street Design 97

Accidents and Grids


CHAPTER 5. Streets for Living

Rethinking Neighborhood Streets 105

Learning from Traditional Street Patterns 105

Kentlands 106

Laguna West 108

Elmwood: A Traditional Streetcar Suburb 109

Neotraditional Street Design and Pattern 111

Comparing Street Patterns 113

Pedestrian Access 115

The Shared Street Concept 117

Design Characteristics of Shared Streets 122

The Social Benefits 124

Safety 125

Prospects for Shared Streets in Suburbia 126

The Case for Cul-de-sacs 128

Walkable Suburbs? 137


CHAPTER 6. Tomorrow's Streets

Toward New Neighborhood Street Standards 139

Liability Concerns in Reevaluating Standards 140

Local Controls and Design Initiatives 141

Semiprivate Streets for Flexibility 144

Performance Standards Versus Specifications 146

The Limitations of Flexible Planning 149


Some Design Criteria for Better Residential Street Standards 150

Looking at Community Street Standards 154

The Work Ahead 155


APPENDIX A. Chronology of Events in the Development of Residential
Street Standards 159

APPENDIX B. A Graphic Survey of Street Cross Sections 163

APPENDIX C. Narrow Streets Data 167

CHAPTER END NOTES 171

OTHER REFERENCES 183

INDEX 189"

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