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Published: October, 2020
“I truly believe that if you can change the street, you can change the world” was an intriguing statement made 20 years ago by Janette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Transportation. It’s a sentiment that strikes an even more powerful chord today as cities are being reshaped before our eyes by the global pandemic’s impact on working patterns.
One way to change the streets - and maybe the world - is of course to pedestrianise them, and Covid-19 may be the prompt that leads to many more schemes in the very near future.
A report from Arup in 2016 spelt out 50 benefits that follow from pedestrianisation. It helps people live longer and healthier lives - inactivity is the fourth leading cause of mortality around the world. It makes people happier - researchers found that if someone shifts from a long commute to a walk, their happiness increases as much as if they’d fallen in love, and people who walk 8.6 minutes a day are 33% more likely to report better mental health. It reduces air and noise pollution. It improves traffic safety. It reduces crime. It makes neighbourhoods more vibrant, fosters social interaction and enhances a sense of space. These and many more upsides follow from making urban areas car-free.
Not everyone’s convinced though. Some businesses feel trade may fall if cars can’t access shops and services. Life can become harder for disabled people if they can’t drive to car-free zones. And there’s always the problem of displaced traffic creating even more congestion elsewhere.
But because pedestrianisation is such a powerful tool for urban regeneration, it can play a big part in the recovery from Covid as we “build back better”. The Landscape Institute is pushing for a “Greener Recovery” with a call for many more green spaces and investment in “nature-based solutions.”
Plants and trees can play a big part in pedestrianised areas, making walkways attractive and offering shade from the sun. They can also be used to persuade people to take a certain route, or as they’re often called, “Desire lines”.
If you’re thinking of planning a pedestrianisation or shared space scheme, Kinley’s experience and high-quality range of products can provide superior solutions, especially since the launch of a new brand called Fernspace in July 2020 which focuses purely on temporary, outdoor solutions that facilitates safe social distancing. Take, for example, Handyside, a children's play area and open space for the general public near Kings Cross Station.
The pathways were created with curved plant and tree beds, defined with Perimeta HiGrade Bespoke organic shaped raised planters in CorTen steel. The landscape also called for a steel planter system that could accommodate varying heights. The Kinley team worked closely with the architects and the contractors to turn the designs into reality.
The curvilinear design of the planters was achieved by preforming the planter walls in the factory before delivery so that they could simply be bolted together on site.
And at the Nine Elms Opportunity Area in south London, the largest regeneration project in central London, Kinley helped with the newly created river walk, when its cost-effective AluExcel aluminium landscape edging was specified, in several differing heights and a number of bespoke preformed components, for installation by landscape contractors to achieve the elegant and yet discreet boundaries.
Kinley is happy to discuss how our products could help your designs. We’ll work with you throughout the project’s lifecycle from design to completion.
Inspired Places Made Possible
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