GreenSense: For all of history, the social, cultural, and economic life of cities has been centered in and around streets. Historically, streets have been full of life - art, music, eating, drinking, shopping, meeting, dancing - all have taken place literally in the streets. The street has been the backbone of community. Not any more. Our current love affair with the automobile has led us to permit noise and fumes to replace what was once perhaps the greatest asset of city life - the street.
Street reclaiming will thoroughly acquaint you with the potential of streets that belong to people instead of cars. It will inspire you to see that potential realized. Best of all, it'll show you how to do it.
Imagine your street with 50% less traffic. Imagine drivers acting as guests on your street - now transformed into a dynamic "outdoor living room" with children playing and neighbors chatting. Dream no longer!
Historically, streets were not just for traffic. They were the epicenter of community life - a place for socializing, children's play, drama, education, celebrations, social events, and economic activity. These important functions have been slowly eroded as car traffic has exerted its dominance. Part social history and part community-activist handbook, Street Reclaiming celebrates the potential of our streets to become vibrant and prosperous centers of culture and community once again.
International urban planner David Engwicht provides a step-by-step process to psychologically and physically reclaim our streets, starting with a simple six-week program to reduce traffic by 30%-50% (without involving local officials), then introducing psychological reclaiming techniques that the whole community can participate in to counter car culture and exert the community's rights to the street. The last stage calls for actual physical reclaiming: converting traffic space into community spaces that will enhance the social fabric of the neighborhood.
About the Author: David Engwicht is an award-winning urban design and transportation consultant. He has presented at international conferences and consulted for city andgovernment departments in the U.K., Australia, and North America. Engwicht has authored six previous titles on traffic and community development including Reclaiming Our Cities and Towns (New Society Publishers). He lives in Australia.