Walkability and pedestrianisation have become buzzwords in urban planning and design, with an increasing number of cities around the globe giving pedestrians and cyclists precedence over cars and other vehicles. Numerous benefits are associated with walkable and pedestrian-friendly cities, ranging from improved public health and reduced traffic congestion to increased social interaction and economic growth. This blog post examines the concepts of walkability and pedestrianisation, as well as recommended practices and strategies for achieving them in urban environments.
One immediately wonders what “walkability” and “pedestrianisation” are, so let’s define them. A walkable city is one in which the built environment is planned and administered to make walking an alluring and practical mode of transportation. Walkability encompasses not only the physical infrastructure, such as sidewalks, crosswalks, and pedestrian crossings, but also the social and cultural aspects of walking, such as street vendors, public art, and community events. On the other hand, pedestrianisation generally refers to converting previously automobile- and other vehicle-accessible areas into pedestrian-only zones. Pedestrianisation can take a variety of forms, ranging from temporary closures for events and festivals to permanent changes to streets or neighbourhoods. Pedestrianisation is a potent tool for promoting walkability and sustainable transportation because it can create safe and inviting public spaces for people to walk, bike, and interact.
In many vibrant towns around the world, walkability and pedestrianisation are encouraged for the development of robust communities. Walkable neighbourhoods are associated with higher property values and economic growth because they attract residents, tourists, and businesses.
Source: ArchDaily; Creating a Pedestrian-Friendly Utopia Through the Design of 15-Minute Cities
As more people in our cities are recognizing the advantages of sustainable transportation and livable communities, there is a need to promote the concept of walkability and pedestrianisation. Though to achieve that numerous obstacles remains like lack of sufficient pedestrian infrastructure, unsafe road conditions, and a culture that prioritizes cars over pedestrians. The complete street concept can be adopted to overcome these challenges. As the concept is not limited for attaining just street designs and standards rather it also provides guidelines for formulating strong policies and how to adopt them in accordance to specified communities and relevant surroundings. It is about policy and institutional change. This may seem simple enough but years of work and trials are done to formulate the engineering techniques and design specific to each type of roadways along with advocacy groups to enhance each street considering its own flavor. Our cities can also adopt the output of their struggle with our own modifications, evolvement and enhancements keeping in view of our statistics, economic scenario, adaptability as well as seasonal elements.
The Complete Streets approach integrates people and place in the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of our transportation networks. This helps to ensure streets put safety over speed, balance the needs of different modes, and support local land uses, economies, cultures, and natural environments.
In conclusion, Complete Streets provides a holistic approach to create safe, sustainable, and livable communities by integrating people and places into the planning, design, construction, operation, and maintenance of transportation networks. The Complete Streets approach can help overcome the obstacles to walkability and pedestrianisation in our cities. However, its implementation requires a paradigm shift.
Plnr. Filzah Irshad
Member of PCATP since, 2020
Urban planner and research associate at Sheher Saaz
Education: Bachelor in City & Regional Planning from LCWU and Master in CRP from UET