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Idea by

Simona Serafino

Gedempt Hamerkanaal 96, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Simona Serafino has a master’s degree in both architecture and landscape architecture. She finished her study at the Academie van Bouwkunst in Amsterdam. Before that, she studied in Lisbon, Rome and Barcelona. She enjoys unraveling the genius loci in historical contexts and implements this in her designs on different scale levels. She is currently working for Bureau B+B in Amsterdam.

Future Proof City Streets


How public space design can help create great cities

Future Proof City Streets


How public space design can help create great cities
Space to move, space to act and space to identify are the components with which to make “great city streets” future proof.

Imagine your city in the near future. In the best case scenario, it is welcoming, healthy and enterprising. The streets are inviting, the air is clean. The city is a melting pot of culture and technology. To make all this possible, great streets are needed.
Future proof streets are composed of:
- Space to move from A to B safely and comfortably in a world where car dominance is subsiding. This calls for a rearrangement of traffic.
- Space to act: The place where we meet different kind of people and learn from them. By mixing different public and semi public domains, the street can stage the confrontation between different subcultures.
- Space to identify. Globalization means that the different parts of the world are becoming very similar. Architecture and public space can make a difference. They tell the history of the city and shape the memory of the community. Designing with local identity means craftsmanship in details and materials.


Historically city traffic has always been diverse: people moved around in various manners. This mixture resulted in vibrancy, public safety and efficient use of available space. During the course of the twentieth century cars became more and more dominant. Pedestrians and cyclists became marginal. Today we are witnessing an new transition in mobility. Slowly but surely people are getting out of their cars and are starting to walk bike, or trolley around town.

To facilitate the mobility transition, alternatives to driving a car must be stimulated. This calls for adjustments of the urban structure and reorganization of functions. The balance between different types of traffic needs to be restored in the street profile: More space for pedestrians and bikes, less room for cars.

People do many different things in streets, from very functional activities such as go to the grocery, to very social activities such as sitting in a café. In today’s network society, public space is becoming more and more branded for specific sub-cultures. We hardly meet ‘the Others’ any more. Confrontation with other subcultures is important for a healthy society: It promotes tolerance and creates cultural cross-pollination.

By strategically mixing public ‘City Lounges’ among the semi-public domains of shops and cafés, the street can offer the possibility to be confronted with different kinds of people. We don’t have to become friends with everybody; just seeing each other in day to day life is enough. By mixing different public and semi public domains, the street can offer the possibility to be confronted with different kinds of people.

When public space is constructed with local materials, the identity of the city is enhanced. The Mariahilfer Strasse in Vienna is paved with local granite. Street furniture is made of the same stone. This gives the street a couleur locale, despite the dominance of international retail chains.

Future Proof City Streets


How public space design can help create great cities

Future Proof City Streets


How public space design can help create great cities
Space to move, space to act and space to identify are the components with which to make “great city streets” future proof.

Imagine your city in the near future. In the best case scenario, it is welcoming, healthy and enterprising. The streets are inviting, the air is clean. The city is a melting pot of culture and technology. To make all this possible, great streets are needed.
Future proof streets are composed of:
- Space to move from A to B safely and comfortably in a world where car dominance is subsiding. This calls for a rearrangement of traffic.
- Space to act: The place where we meet different kind of people and learn from them. By mixing different public and semi public domains, the street can stage the confrontation between different subcultures.
- Space to identify. Globalization means that the different parts of the world are becoming very similar. Architecture and public space can make a difference. They tell the history of the city and shape the memory of the community. Designing with local identity means craftsmanship in details and materials.


Historically city traffic has always been diverse: people moved around in various manners. This mixture resulted in vibrancy, public safety and efficient use of available space. During the course of the twentieth century cars became more and more dominant. Pedestrians and cyclists became marginal. Today we are witnessing an new transition in mobility. Slowly but surely people are getting out of their cars and are starting to walk bike, or trolley around town.

To facilitate the mobility transition, alternatives to driving a car must be stimulated. This calls for adjustments of the urban structure and reorganization of functions. The balance between different types of traffic needs to be restored in the street profile: More space for pedestrians and bikes, less room for cars.

People do many different things in streets, from very functional activities such as go to the grocery, to very social activities such as sitting in a café. In today’s network society, public space is becoming more and more branded for specific sub-cultures. We hardly meet ‘the Others’ any more. Confrontation with other subcultures is important for a healthy society: It promotes tolerance and creates cultural cross-pollination.

By strategically mixing public ‘City Lounges’ among the semi-public domains of shops and cafés, the street can offer the possibility to be confronted with different kinds of people. We don’t have to become friends with everybody; just seeing each other in day to day life is enough. By mixing different public and semi public domains, the street can offer the possibility to be confronted with different kinds of people.

When public space is constructed with local materials, the identity of the city is enhanced. The Mariahilfer Strasse in Vienna is paved with local granite. Street furniture is made of the same stone. This gives the street a couleur locale, despite the dominance of international retail chains.


Idea by

Simona Serafino
Gedempt Hamerkanaal 96
Amsterdam
Netherlands
Simona Serafino has a master’s degree in both architecture and landscape architecture. She finished her study at the Academie van Bouwkunst in Amsterdam. Before that, she studied in Lisbon, Rome and Barcelona. She enjoys unraveling the genius loci in historical contexts and implements this in her designs on different scale levels. She is currently working for Bureau B+B in Amsterdam.