Bringing life back to streets through landscape designs: a case study in Suzhou industrial park, China

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Previous research shows that the quality of street space would determine the outdoor activities, public health conditions and people’s perception of place identity. This paper explores how the existing street landscape can be re-designed to bring public life back to streets – a concern arising in city regeneration. Due to the rapid urbanization in the last three decades in China, streets in major cities were often designed and built to prioritize and facilitate vehicular circulation. Although the well-known design principle – streets should be designed towards pedestrian-friendly – has been incorporated into textbooks and street design guidance. Less attention has been paid to the pedestrian’s needs in practice. As a result, existing streets are often lack social activities. Public space design has now become a major concern of the Chinese public. How can existing streets be redesigned to bring life back to the streets in residential areas, especially in a given urban context with gated communities? To answer this question, a wide range of literature has been reviewed. Key factors that would contribute to a vibrant street life have been summarized into a design framework. Then a design research has been conducted to verify the effectiveness of these key factors, based on a case study in Suzhou Industrial Park, China. It is expected that the research findings would inform the retrofits of existing streets in the city regeneration process.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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