Creating Vibrant Streetscapes and Pedestrian Environments

 

The best designed public spaces should offer a lot more than just an efficient way to get in, get out. Spaces designed for the public should also be welcoming and aesthetically pleasing. They should bolster a sense of community for residents and visitors alike. An essential part of quality landscape architecture is this blending of form and function for streetscapes and pedestrian environments.

 

McClure and our team of landscape architects can take your vision for a beautiful pedestrian environment and ensure it leaves a lasting impression on visitors. From sustainable design to accessible infrastructure, we’ll see your priorities through to project completion. With our help, your streetscape will make an important contribution to the beauty and efficiency of your community.

 

The Importance of Streetscapes

The best-designed streetscapes offer multiple benefits for the surrounding area, changing people’s perception of the community as a whole. They can drive economic activity, ensure public safety and increase private investment. In short, they play a vital role in the livability and future of our cities. Let’s take a closer look at the value a well-designed streetscape can offer.

Aesthetic value: Greenspace, historic architecture and local art are just a few of the ways landscape architects can add beauty to a public space. Attractive design rejuvenates visitors and creates a sense of identity for the community. Consider the historic beauty of New Orleans’ French Quarter or the glittering lights of the Las Vegas Strip. Their success as world-renowned destinations is due in part because of their commitment to stunning visual design.

Efficient and cost-effective: Well-designed streetscapes minimize the costs of construction and maintenance while maximizing their ability to invigorate the local economy. For example, roundabouts are increasingly popular for their ability to direct traffic without requiring drivers to stop. Traffic progresses more quickly, getting people from point A to point B that much faster.

Safe and accessible: It’s important to ensure streetscapes are useable by everyone and that using public infrastructure is always safe. Multimodal facilities like bike lanes, ample lighting and ramps for sidewalks or buildings are just a few options landscape architects have for keeping communities safe.

 

Elements of a Good Streetscape

 

Landscaping: Studies have demonstrated that natural elements like trees and gardens are beneficial for mental health. What’s more, trees offer plenty of shade and can help reduce air conditioning costs. Planters and trees placed near the street can even serve as dividers between cars and pedestrians.

Lighting: Streetlights and other lighting are an important part of public safety. They can discourage crime and ensure pedestrians can safely navigate the area at night.

Signage: Clear signage helps prevent people from getting lost and reinforce a neighborhood’s sense of identity. Including multiple languages and universally understood visuals ensures high readability.

Parking: Because the car is far and away the most common form of transport, plenty of convenient parking is crucial. But it’s also important to create options for other forms of travel like buses or bikes. Including space for all these forms of travel reduces traffic congestion and helps those without cars get around more easily.

Pedestrian Infrastructure: This could include seating, crosswalks, stairs, ramps and dozens of other elements. This infrastructure should be designed in such a way that makes it easy and safe to use no matter how busy the street is.

 

Some elements may be reprioritized depending on the intended use of the neighborhood. For example, landscaping is usually more appropriate for pedestrian-friendly shopping areas than an industrial business park. A professional landscape architect—like those at McClure—ensure that a streetscape project prioritizes elements that will have the most impact. With years of experience, we can review your goals and recommend the best options.

 

What Makes a Streetscape Project Successful?

 

Minimal disruption of existing use: A significant renovation can take months or even years, partially because these are public spaces that still need to be used. A successful streetscape project should balance making progress on any changes while still making the street/buildings accessible when possible.

 

Sufficient funding: There are many types of projects that are eligible for various funding sources such as grants from government entities or philanthropic organizations. In other cases, the project itself will generate income, such as a public parking deck. When funding a project, it’s also important to consider long-term maintenance costs, such as watering and weed removal for landscaping.

 

Community engagement: Because the bulk of pedestrian environments are open to the public, many streetscape projects receive feedback about intended designs. They may argue for more/less parking, additional green space or even that the funding would be better spent on another project. Information from the public about what they want from their community is invaluable to ensure success.

 

Lasting benefits: Careful selection of the materials used or the layout of a streetscape is vital to making the most of any investment. You shouldn’t plant landscaping in a place where plants will struggle to survive, requiring more water or fertilizer. As another example, renovating an intersection without adding a turn lane may aggravate traffic problems. Concerns both immediate and far in the future must be considered.

 

Where We Make an Impact

 

Our landscape architects design resilient and dynamic streetscapes that feel authentic to the culture and values of your community. Contact our team for planning, designing and even construction detailing.

Creating Vibrant Streetscapes and Pedestrian Environments

The best designed public spaces should offer a lot more than just an efficient way to move through. Spaces designed for the public should also be welcoming and aesthetically pleasing. They should bolster a sense of community for residents and visitors alike. An essential part of quality landscape architecture is this blending of form and function for streetscapes and pedestrian environments.

McClure and our team of landscape architects can take your vision for a beautiful pedestrian environment and ensure it leaves a lasting impression on visitors. From sustainable design to accessible infrastructure, we’ll see your priorities through to project completion. With our help, your streetscape will make an important contribution to the beauty and efficiency of your community.

The Importance of Streetscapes

The best-designed streetscapes offer multiple benefits for the surrounding area, changing people’s perception of the community as a whole. They can drive economic activity, ensure public safety and increase private investment. In short, they play a vital role in the livability and future of our cities. Let’s take a closer look at the value a well-designed streetscape can offer.

Aesthetic value: Greenspace, nodes of interest, vertical landmarks, and local art are just a few of the ways landscape architects can add beauty to a public space. Attractive design rejuvenates visitors and creates a sense of identity for the community. Consider the historic beauty of New Orleans’ French Quarter or the seasonal color found on Michigan Avenue. Their success as world-renowned destinations is due in part because of their commitment to stunning visual design.

Efficient and cost-effective: Well-designed streetscapes minimize the costs of construction and maintenance while maximizing their ability to invigorate the local economy. For example, vertical elements of a streetscape have a more favorable impact on an outdoor environment when compared to an ornate groundplane. Knowing this, McClure is typically more invested in lights, landscape, landmarks, and art compared to pavers and colored pavement, which can easily double the cost of a pavement system for minimal long-term impact.

Safe and accessible: It’s important to ensure streetscapes are useable by everyone and that using public infrastructure is always safe. Multimodal facilities like bike lanes, ramps, wide sidewalks, and ample lighting are just a few options landscape architects have for keeping communities safe.

Elements of a Good Streetscape

Landscaping: Studies have demonstrated that natural elements like trees and gardens are beneficial for mental health. What’s more, trees offer plenty of shade and help minimize downstream flooding. Planters and trees placed near the street can even serve as green buffers between cars and pedestrians.

Lighting: Streetlights and other lighting are an important part of public safety. They can discourage crime and ensure pedestrians can safely navigate the area at night. In addition, lighting is an important component to support theming both day and night. Poles create edges to a space and support the creation of a roof within a space.

Signage: Clear signage helps prevent people from getting lost and reinforce a neighborhood’s sense of identity. Including multiple languages and universally understood visuals ensures high readability.

Parking:Because the car is far and away the most common form of transport, plenty of convenient parking is crucial. But it’s also important to create options for other forms of travel like buses or bikes. Including space for all these forms of travel reduces traffic congestion and helps those without cars get around more easily.

Pedestrian Infrastructure: This could include seating, crosswalks, stairs, ramps and dozens of other elements. This infrastructure should be designed in such a way that makes it easy and safe to use no matter how busy the street is.

Stormwater: McClure has been a leader in development of sustainable stormwater designs since the inception of “green thinking”. We create attractive, performance-based solutions that will benefit our environment as well as future generations of users. We have helped define and promote sustainable practices for complete street and green street projects across the region.

Some elements may be reprioritized depending on the intended use of the neighborhood. For example, landscaping is usually more appropriate for pedestrian-friendly shopping areas than an industrial business park. A professional landscape architect—like those at McClure—ensure that a streetscape project prioritizes elements that will have the most impact. With years of experience, we can review your goals and recommend the best options.

What Makes a Streetscape Project Successful?

Minimal disruption of existing use: A significant renovation can take months or even years, partially because these are public spaces that still need to be used. A successful streetscape project should balance making progress on any changes while still making the street/buildings accessible when possible.

Sufficient funding: There are many types of projects that are eligible for various funding sources such as grants from government entities or philanthropic organizations. In other cases, the project itself will generate income, such as a public parking deck. When funding a project, it’s also important to consider long-term maintenance costs, such as watering and weed removal for landscaping.

Community engagement: Because the bulk of pedestrian environments are open to the public, many streetscape projects receive feedback about intended designs. They may argue for more/less parking, additional green space or even that the funding would be better spent on another project. Information from the public about what they want from their community is invaluable to ensure success.

Lasting benefits: Careful selection of the materials used or the layout of a streetscape is vital to making the most of any investment. You shouldn’t plant landscaping in a place where plants will struggle to survive, requiring more water or fertilizer. As another example, renovating an intersection without adding a turn lane may aggravate traffic problems. Concerns both immediate and far in the future must be considered.

 

Where We Make an Impact

Our landscape architects design resilient and dynamic streetscapes that feel authentic to the culture and values of your community. Contact our team for planning, designing and even construction detailing.