Walkability and vitality with one small change

The planners in San Francisco have come up with a simple way to promote alternative forms of transport (like old fashioned walking) while meeting the urban design mantra of creating an ‘active frontage’ at street level in commercial areas… and all by changing one small thing in their planning schemes. They’re allowing existing private garages to be converted to shops, housing and service spaces.

The format of dwelling construction in suburbs like Castro probably makes this concept more effective given the proliferation of row housing with garaging at ground level in these old neighbourhoods. We think it’s a great concept though, by simply removing a couple of barriers in the Planning Schemes there is potential to have a significant impact on the walkability and vitality of a place.

If this concept sounds a bit familiar, that’s because it is. This concept isn’t that dissimilar to Melbourne’s now famous laneways where the Melbourne City Council encouraged conversion of former service lanes at the back of shops to lively spaces full of art, café culture, bars, restaurants and music venues. Perhaps there are some other suburban centres around Melbourne where this approach may also work?

Read more: http://sf.streetsblog.org/2014/08/21/personal-garages-become-cafes-in-the-castro-thanks-to-smarter-zoning/

Source: http://www.leftcoastroast.com/category/new_roasters/

Banner source: Tom Radulovich on Streetsblog SF


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