Pedestrian Spaces
ARE 01 - 17 - 2010

We’ve seen many examples of mixed use, pedestrian spaces. La Rambla, in Barcelona (sketched below), successfully mingles pedestrians, bicyclists, motorist, and merchants. Each end of the Rambla is anchored with a monument defining the beginning and end of the pedestrian street. Each user’s space is defined, with a bicyclists’ lane, a row of merchants, and the road for vehicles. Each function is surrounded by a pedestrian buffer. In section, you find the building facades, sidewalk, street, pedestrian space/vegetation, merchants, main pedestrian space, then mirrored on the other side. Trees lining the edge of the median bring the scale down from the five story urban edge, and suggest a canopy, further defining the space. Many roads feed into the Rambla, and there is bicycle parking on the median for cyclists to leave their bikes. To the right is a sketch of the entrance to Gaudi’s Park Guell. The park is on the top of a mountain and is composed of a series of winding paths and terraces. The top of the structure in the sketch is a large open plaza that looks out over Barcelona toward the sea. The other side of the plaza is bordered by more terraces. In the large plaza people tend to keep near the edges, sitting in clusters along the curved edge. There is no indication of how the space should be used and no hint of scale other than the bench that wraps around the plaza. Merchants sit near the middle with blankets laid out of their products. The terracing and winding paths bordering the plaza entice people to wonder around the mountain side behind the plaza. My hometown project is a boardwalk along a river. From the precedents above I intend to define all the outdoor spaces of the boardwalk, suggesting a space for each function that occurs there. Defining the edges and functions, and implying a scale make people more comfortable to fill the space. A straight, unobstructed line of shops and restaurants is less interests or enticing than a meandering path that encourages people to continue to see what is next.

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