According to “Re:STREETS,” a new project focused on “inclusive design for the public realm,” streets occupy more than thirty percent of all public spaces in cities. Over the coming decades, billions will be spent at the local level on their design and development. To ensure this massive investment in streets enables equal access for all users, a new universal street design is needed to balance the needs of pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, and car riders of all ages and abilities. Re:STREETS is taking a stab at creating an easy-to-download and plug-in green “Complete Street” template (see earlier post). The end goal of the project is a ”comprehensive manual demonstrating design tools for building streets that promote healthy living, social interaction and commerce, as well as the movement of people and goods, while regenerating the ecosystem.”
The group says guidelines will be developed during a working conference hosted at the UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design in July. At the conference, attendees will cover issues like green infrastructure; “smart technology;” play and recreation; signage, wayfinding, and interpretation; urban agriculture and food production; and commerce. Before the conference starts, conference participants will get a technical manual and working group assignment, and will be tasked with creating solutions for specific problems. The manual will come out of the working conference reports, and will be available both in book format and online. The idea is to have the manual function as a “toolkit for implementing the Complete Streets policies that are being adopted throughout the United States.”
Private and public-sector professionals are invited to attend. Re:STREETS says “interested professionals from a wide range of disciplines are encouraged to participate, including urban planning and design, landscape architecture, architecture, civil engineering, traffic engineering, disability advocacy, public health, pedestrian advocacy, bicycle advocacy, transit, housing, economics, ecological sustainability, parks and recreation, maintenance, social services, materials manufacturers, and fire, police and safety.”
Re:STREETS will be held at the UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design, July 21-23, 2011. The conference costs $250 to attend. Re:STREETS is funded in part by The National Endowment for the Arts and is being developed by PLAE, Inc., in partnership with the urban planning and design firm MIG. Project supporters include The National Complete Streets Coalition, America Walks and UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design’s Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning.
Image credit: Mayor Fenty on 15th Street NW Bike Lane, Washington D.C. / Flickr