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7 Creating well defined streets and spaces

Are buildings designed and positioned with landscaping to define and enhance streets and spaces and are buildings designed to turn street corners well?

7a Good streets and spaces are created by enclosing them with buildings and a strong landscaping scheme. Are buildings used to create enclosed streets and spaces?

7b Good buildings ‘turn’ corners. Do buildings turn corners well?

7c Do all fronts of buildings, including front doors, face the street?

We recommend

Creating streets that are principally defined by the position of buildings rather than the route of the carriageway.

Designing building that turn corners well, so that both elevations seen from the street have windows to them, rather than offering blank walls to the street14. Consider using windows that wrap around corners to maximise surveillance and bring generous amounts of natural light into people's homes.

Using a pattern of road types to create a hierarchy of streets and consider their enclosure, keeping to the well proportioned height to width ratios relative to the type of street.

Minor streets, e.g. mews 1 : 1.15 1 : 1
Typical streets 1 : 3 1 : 1.5
Squares 1 : 6 1 : 4

Source: Manual for Streets (2007) p.54

Respecting basic urban design principles when designing layouts. For example, forming strong perimeter blocks.

Orientating front doors to face the street rather than being tucked around the back or sides of buildings.

We recommend that you avoid

  • Streets that lack successful spatial enclosure by exceeding recommended height to width ratios.
  • Over reliance on in front of plot parking that tends to create over wide streets dominated by parked cars and driveways unless there is sufficient space to use strong and extensive landscaping to compensate the lack of built form enclosure.
  • Homes that back on to the street, or offer a blank elevation to the street.
  • Locating garages and/or driveways (or service areas and substations) on street corners or other prominent locations, such as the 'end point' of a view up or down a street.