I visited New Road in Brighton (it is a town on the south coast of Great Britain) close to the town centre with Paula Goncalves, a councillor at Brighton and Hove City Council. It is a newly redeveloped street by Gehl Architects.
After having seen the street, I analysed the changes that took place. I was sure that the street went through a radical transformation. I realised the important of using apprpriate paving materials on a pedestrian street. It is important to maintain consistency in terms of type of pavers, its shape, colour and quality of installation are all responsible for the effect that is produced. The use of paving material all over the street emphasises that it is a pedestrian friendly street. Although it has speed restrictions for the cars, it successfully articulates, divides and links different areas in urban fabric.
An interesting element of design of this street was the large building at the beginning of the street that had a huge setback. This created an illusion of a wider space. That now functions like a square. Street singers and musical instrument players entertain the passersby. People now use the NEW ROAD to hang out with friends rather than just passing by.
Also, the semi-open restaurants and cafes on the streets act as a plus point to the overall functioning of the street. This has aided in keeping the street active by bringing in lot of people. Some people come to the New road to hang out with friends and have lunch or coffee, some of them come for just peacefully sitting around. There is also a small garden just beside the New road which adds to the aesthetics of the place. It is an interesting element that makes the place more appealing.
I found the parking style very interesting. The designers have made sure that the allotted spaces for parking do not dominate the street. The parking signs are subtle and do not interfere with the effectiveness of public realm. Appropriate lining colour and pattern can play an important role in defining space. The pavement is lined in such a way that it gives an illusion of a wider space. This illusion is what makes people feel comfortable when using the space.