Focussing on Small Scale Dilemmas
Participatory Design made easy…
I learned about participatory design in my Architecture 130 Design Theory and Criticism class with Professor Greig Crysler, one of my favorite professors and at the time the Dean of Undergraduate Architecture. The city of San Francisco recently created a website to help citizens of San Francisco improve their street conditions through things such as trees and furniture. The website gives examples in both computer drawings and pictures and also how to apply for permits. I’ve only seen parts of the website but it looks very promising with a lot more information than I thought there would be. I would highly advise anyone interested in making streets safer for kids and pedestrians should take a look.
“Pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities must be able to safely move along and across a complete street.” National Complete Streets Coalition.
The website is based off of the National Complete Streets Coalition concept of having streets made for not only cars but every other form of transportation. In my opinion the most important thing about having complete streets is safety for children. My first and only nephew was born two and a half years ago and I’ve watched him grow up, the first time I’ve seen what it really takes at being a parent. I always worry when he goes out into the world, mostly because of how unsafe roads are. This concept of complete streets is a great step towards making streets safer. There are also other factors that are brought up by the SF Better Streets website such as rainwater collection, which is very important for the quality of our water. Hard surfaces essentially remove the natural filtration system for our water, which eventually becomes our drinking water, something thats more important than oil. Soft surfaces, which is essentially soil and plants filter the water before they drain into the ocean, evaporate and become our water. Adding rainwater retention systems not only improve the look of our neighborhoods, but make them more sustainable too. Sidewalks and streets depict what type of neighborhood it is and how people interact.