Neighbourhood design has a role for both road safety and social inclusion. Pedestrian death rates are rising. What’s the cause? Is it smartphones or road design and drivers? Or is it both? Australian figures show the older generation is a big part of the fatality toll. But they are not likely to be looking as smartphones as they walk. So road and street design need another look for safe and inclusive neighbourhoods.
The American Society of Landscape Architects has an excellent guide on neighbourhoods and street design. Safe intersections, wider footpaths, accessible transportation, multi-sensory wayfinding, legible signage, and connected green spaces are addressed in the guide. City of Sydney gets a mention (see picture above) about a larger signage system that helps pedestrians calculate walking times within the city.
Neighbourhood design important for inclusion
An article published in The Conversation about inclusive communities suggests neighbourhood and urban planning have a key role in promoting diversity, and through diversity comes safety and inclusiveness. This is particularly the case for adults with an intellectual disability.
The authors stress the “main issue is not the type of accommodation, but its location. The neighbourhood, its design, and the community of people who live there are all significant factors for supporting safety and inclusion.” And surprisingly the exclusion of cars (in terms of thoroughfares) via a return to the cul-de-sac is seen as a significant design principle to reconsider for inclusive neighbourhoods. Preliminary results found three critical aspects for designing an inclusive neighbourhood:
- actual and perceived safety within the street and neighbourhood
- access to services and amenities via walking, cycling or public transport
- inclusion in community life and local neighbourhood activity.
The title of the article is, Contested spaces: who belongs on the street where you live?