Cleaner, greener, activated streets
David James & Melanie Haymet
Return streets to the people
Our roads: a means to an end or a means to be green?
It is people that count. We need to reimagine streets away from cars and heavy transport back to the most important input in society: people. I propose to reinvent suitable streets into mixed-use green spaces that can be used for activity and socializing whilst still serving vehicles when needed. A dual benefit of my approach is to enhance the green space of cities which results in larger carbon sinks and more clean air for the citizens. A positive externality!
The idea: identify suitable low traffic streets (such as short dead ends), replace tarmac and concrete footpaths with green spaces such as grass, shrubs and community gardens. The new streets will need limited paving to allow traffic to continue effectively transiting and park.
Once the transition is made, cars will move slower through the zone and children can safely play in the street.
Our street in Cremorne is a perfect prototype. It is a dead-end with around 20 houses. Kinks such as waste disposal and other logistics, deliveries would need to be considered but are manageable. Parking will remain (which may actually increase due to the narrowing of footpath requirements).
The above would be repeated in suitable streets that would create positive micro changes to many streets across all our cities. More usable space, encourage kids to actively play outdoors, give parents comfort their children are safe nearby, improve the livability of our increasingly important suburbs.