Design Inspiring Principles from Spanish Plazas and Streets
TMK 01 - 05 - 2010

A quick explanation: my hometown project is based in Carmel, Indiana and is based on a new development of mixed uses that will provide a better connection between the 'Old Town' (Arts and Design District) and the new City Center. This 'Midtown' will unify the extensive renovation/restoration phase that Carmel has been developing for years, incorporating pedestrian oriented community principles of these New Urbanism times. Development will consider the street front and streetscape along Rangeline Road (between Main St. and Carmel Dr.), and implementation of a trolley system through the core of Carmel, with a possible connection from Clay Terrace shopping mall all the way to Carmel Central Park [with opportunities to reach further into the Indianapolis area for commuters]. An urban space is truly successful when it used by the community for multiple functions [art, exercise, gathering, relaxation, eating, etc.]. The Piazza Navona in Roma, Italia [sketched below] is an example that relates to the goals of my Hometown Project. This plaza [piazza as they say in Europe] incorporates community design principles for active [spaces] that will inspire design along Rangeline Road in Carmel, Indiana. Piazza Navona is strictly pedestrian and (even in the winter) is filled with busy restaurants, numerous artists, friends and family gathering around fountains/monuments, and vendors trying to sell you everything under the sun. I believe this space is successful because it celebrates the history of Rome, and because it is strictly pedestrian [enclosed by buildings on all sides], but has close relationship to major roads and of course, PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION! [][][] This reminds me of the space between the Monon Greenway and Rangeline Road in Carmel. Most of this space is old abandoned industrial, with a few small businesses scattered throughout. A 'Piazza Navona-like' concept could be successful here. Bordered by the pedestrian greenway and a major thoroughfare [Rangeline], this space would be constantly used by the community, existing business would benefit, new economic opportunities could arise, and there is opportunity to reuse structures along the Monon Greenway for market-type development. SUSTAINABILITY! As explained, the appearance of Rangeline Road is important in this urban development. This is where I draw inspiration from Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Espana [the largest pedestrian street in the city]. The analytical plan/section sketch to the right: rotate clockwise to view correctly. Las Ramblas stresses the importance of separation and barriers. The median provides separation between the pedestrian and the car, also a space for vegetation and street vendors.[][][] Granted Rangeline Road is not of this magnitude, I can pull principles from this successful design. Rangeline is essentially the furthest from a pedestrian street, very wide in some areas without medians or crosswalks. Installation of a large 'pedestrian' median would provide: traffic calming by reducing to one-lane, central areas for vegetation [providing physical enclosure and sound barriers], and a greater pedestrian connection between Main Street and Carmel Drive; one of the main GOALS of this Hometown Project!! The design principles inspired by these Spanish Plazas and Streets, if applied correctly to this project in Carmel will create successful spaces and places where businesses and the community will thrive; creating ECONOMIC benefits as well!

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