CABE – Designing streets for people – not traffic

Most streets in this country are failing pedestrians, and need to become destinations again, and not simply ways of getting traffic from A to B.

Radical new thinking in urban street design may point the way forward. Civilised streets, a new report from CABE, sets out the opportunities and challenges of new design approaches. It argues that the car still dominates and our streets will only become more civilised places if the needs of pedestrians are prioritised over cars.

CABE argues that streets which are designed to give all users more freedom of movement are ultimately slower, safer and more social places. These civilised streets are places where people of all ages can walk, cycle, play, talk and shop more easily. Civilised streets explores the contentious concept of shared space, which advocates removing signs and guard rails, obliging drivers and pedestrians to become more alert to each other, which in turn leads to more responsible driving.

Shared space is one way of rescuing our streets from the car. Director of CABE Space, Sarah Gaventa, highlights New Road in Brighton as one example of how redesigning a street can reinvent it. If the country is to get more streets of such quality, local authorities, highway engineers and planners must both understand and consider shared spaces as a means of delivering more civilised streets.

Go to CABE.org.uk now to download the series of publications

Source: CABE – Designing streets for people – not traffic | News | .

BWTC spins turbines for the first time

The Atkins designed Bahrain World Trade Center (BWTC) made history last week as the turbines on this pioneering project turned together for the first time.

The three 29m-diameter turbine blades on Bahrain’s iconic landmark are the first in the world to be integrated on such a scale into a commercial development and are forecast to provide the equivalent of 11-15% of the power for the two towers when fully operational.

The successful rotation of the blades involved collaboration between Atkins architects and engineers and turbine specialists Norwin, who were in Bahrain for the milestone event.

“Having all three turbines spinning simultaneously represents an historic achievement for this landmark project and Atkins is excited to have been a major player in turning the original idea into reality” says Simha LytheRao Senior Project Manager for Atkins in Bahrain.

Source: Atkins Press Release  

You can watch a video of the turbines here

Playing with different spaces

An abandoned municipal area, alongside a neglected backyard in Bat Yam, has been turned into a blossoming garden over the past three weeks, serving dozens of the city’s residents: pensioners, new immigrants, solitary people and families.

“We decided to do some recycling in an unused area of the city, to expand the concept of the shared living space and to enable residents to enjoy resources that actually belong to them,” explains the garden’s architect, Kerem Halbrecht, 29. The project, which was also planned by Halbrecht’s father, industrial designer Zvi Halbrecht, was included in the first International Biennale for Landscape Urbanism, which will open next Sunday in Bat Yam.

Source: Haaretz – Israel NewsPlaying with different spaces –

Urban agriculture exploding in Vancouver

As our cities grew and our housing settlements changed, we began to separate the places where we live from the places where food is grown. The average North American food item now travels 1,500 kilometres to reach the grocery store shelves.

The quest for a more sustainable way of living is taking aim at this separation of people and food with a commitment to urban agriculture. There are few places in North America where urban agriculture is exploding as fast as it is in the Vancouver area.

The urban agricultural movement promises a new vision where people are living in harmony with the lands and ecosystems around them. Urban agriculture invites food production back into our communities through innovative planning and design.

Source – Vancouver Sun – Urban agriculture exploding in Vancouver by Bob Ransford

15 locations shortlisted for next stage of eco-towns programme – UK

The country’s first eco-towns took a step closer to becoming reality today as Housing Minister Caroline Flint today announced 15 potential locations will go forward to the next stage, providing the opportunity for a major boost in affordable housing across the country whilst tackling climate change.

Housing Minister Caroline Flint stated that “We have a major shortfall of housing and with so many buyers struggling to find suitable homes, more affordable housing is a huge priority. To face up to the threat of climate change, we must also cut the carbon emissions from our housing. Eco-towns will help solve both of these challenges.

57 initial proposals were received from local authorities and developers across the country. The 15 shortlisted locations are:



  • Pennbury, Leicestershire: 12-15,000 homes

  • Manby and Strubby, Lincolnshire: 5,000 homes

  • Curborough, Staffordshire: 5,000 homes

  • Middle Quinton, Warwickshire: 6,000 homes

  • Bordon-Whitehill, Hampshire: 5-8,000 homes

  • Weston Otmoor, Oxfordshire: 10-15,000 homes

  • Ford, West Sussex: 5,000 homes
    Imerys China Clay Community, Cornwall: around 5,000 homes

  • Rossington, South Yorkshire: Up to 15,000 homes

  • Coltishall, Norfolk: 5,000 homes

  • Hanley Grange, Cambridgeshire: 8,000 homes

  • Marston Vale and New Marston, Bedfordshire: Up to 15,400 homes

  • Elsenham, Essex: A minimum of 5,000 homes

  • Rushcliffe, Nottinghamshire: Possible sites still under review

  • Leeds City Region, Yorkshire: Possible sites still under review

Read more at the Source: Communities and Local Government(UK Gov’t) – 15 locations shortlisted for next stage of eco-towns programme

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