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Design visions for the urban landscape

  • by JW

… multipurpose neighbourhoods … garden streets … digitally-enabled high street …


There are some great urban design ideas out there for Sidmouth:

This is the excellent study put together for the Neighbourhood Plan

Sid Valley Place Analysis – Creating Excellence



And there have been several subsequent studies of what design ideas could be applied to the urban and street-scape of the Sid Valley:

Urban Acupuncture – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Car-free cities: a rare moment to make radical change? – Vision Group for Sidmouth

How the Coronavirus is reshaping how we design our spaces – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Redesigning our spaces during and after the coronavirus: closing roads – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Redesigning where and how we work – Vision Group for Sidmouth

Urban design and climate change – Vision Group for Sidmouth


The Saturday Guardian looked at projects for post-Covid cities – but these could equally apply to towns too.

Here are a few extracts:


From garden streets to bike highways: four ideas for post-Covid cities – visualised

As the pandemic wreaks havoc on existing structures, we look at some visions for post-Covid cities – and how they hold up

We asked four architecture firms to share their visions of what cities should do, now, to better design everything from offices to streets to transport – and we have analysed each one – to help inoculate our cities against a disease that is proving so difficult to inoculate against in our bodies.

Bike superhighways


In our pandemic summer of 2020, cities exploded with bicycles as millions of people avoided public transport and took advantage of the sunny days to get around on two wheels…

And while the fearmongering of the business community that more bike lanes will hurt footfall has been proved wrong, cycle superhighways also do not magically transform a streetscape into a more liveable place.

Garden streets

Foster and Partners

The firm proposes making the most of the local streetscape by turning them green, leafy and parklike. Many cities lock most of their green space into private gardens, in effect planting inequality into the built environment; meanwhile, roughly 65% of the public realm in the UK is dedicated to vehicles yet 80% of the time cars are static. Front gardens are occupied by bins and there is often nowhere public to socialise and relax.

Rather than waiting for a global design firm to spruce up your pavement, there are ways to take a look at your neighbourhood, think of an improvement, join a community group and push your municipality to make changes.

A digitally enabled high street

Gort Scott and We Made That

In a post-Covid world, digital technology could allow us to make better use of the high street…

Wifi accessibility could help remote or nomadic workers stay connected outside of an office environment, and better-managed transport such as increased capacity at times of high demand or data showing riders the least-congested times of day would allow for more effective social distancing.

That is to say nothing of improvements not specifically related to Covid-19: accessibility, last-mile logistics, reducing food waste, monitoring noise pollution, or even tracking what people spend to better enable a local circular economy.

Multipurpose neighbourhoods


The best-known urban proposal to gain traction during the pandemic is the 15-minute city, most prominently championed by Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris. Also known as the polycentric city, it means a city of little villages, where everything you need is within a 15-minute walk or cycle ride from your front door…

What about doing the reverse as well – ie, putting industrial and commercial units back into those residential neighbourhoods? Developers could be incentivised to provide space for real businesses that make things, and neighbourhoods would slowly start to become more than vast dormitories. Unless we can crack the monopoly of housing, the 15-minute city will remain tantalisingly out of reach.

From garden streets to bike highways: four ideas for post-Covid cities – visualised | Cities | The Guardian


illustration: Projects – dRMM de Rijke Marsh Morgan Architects.