“Making Room for People”

CASE STUDY: Valencia Street, San Francisco, United States of America

An interview with Kris Opbroek, project manager of the Great Streets Program. In this case study she will tell something about the Valencia Street, it’s course of time and the conflicts between it’s cyclists, autos, and pedestrians. By explaining the problem, it’s solution and secrets te reader gets great insight in the situation in San Francisco’s street.

“ You have to take some chances, or things will stay the same forever.”

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p132b 84_SF_valencia_image_HQ Valencia Street San Francisco USA - CREDIT Steve Rhodesp132a 84_SF_ Valencia Street San Francisco USA - CREDIT Steve Rhodes

All images: Valencia Street, San Francisco USA©Steve Rhodes

“Underneath Rails and Roads”

An article written by Mattijs van ‘t Hoff, urbanist at STIPO. As places of interaction, cities need two features: infrastructure connections and meeting or gathering places. Historically, many cities were established on natural or manmade crossings such as rivers and roads, or grew from harbours. At these crossings, trading places with markets and inns developed into villages and later into cities. Streets and squares in these cities still bear names reminiscent of this past of trade and markets. Our cities today are still places of interaction in the global marketplace. Connecting and meeting face-to-face remains an important aspect of business development, innovation and social contact: firms need local buzz as well as global pipelines. Growing mobility demand however has changed many cities in nodes of infrastructure, forgetting the human scale and meeting places. By using the infrastructure constructions for the plinths of the city, we can provide new urban spaces and opportunities to interact and gather.

“We can use infrastructure to develop commercial, leisure, and cultural places and activities for the city, and use spaces underneath infrastructure as places for people to meet and to expand public space and public life. Even when the infrastructure becomes derelict (e.g. old train viaducts), they still can provide valuable space underneath and on top.”

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Cover image: A8ernA Zaandam ©JeroenMusch

“Spontaneous Street Life in Rocinha”

An article written by Renee Nycolaas and Marat Troina, both researchers and urban planners in Rio de Janeiro. Since the 1940’s, the city of Rio de Janeiro has become known worldwide as the ‘Marvellous City’, when the carnival’s song with the same name was released. The music about ‘that place that would seduce everybody’ did not only refer to the beaches and mountains, but also to the street life. In those times, urban life took place by foot or tram in streets with hierarchically distributed commercial activities, generating unexpected meetings of people. Rio’s lively streets made Brazil’s capital so charming.

“While street life in the planned city is losing is vitality, Rocinha representsthe opposite direction.(…) Informal occupations by the low-income, working class quickly transformed the former rural area into a dense urban core on a steep hill.”

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Rotina na Rocinha (1)
Street in Rocinha




“Street Experiences in a Car-Dominant City”

An article in the book written by Tine van Langelaar and Stefan van der Spek, who did research about the paths car-users took in the centre of Rotterdam after they parked their car. The field research lasted four days and the results were presented to the Municipally of Rotterdam.

“The routes people chose were based on their existing knowledge of the city and the desire to create new knowledge of the city which requires surprising its users, tempting them to stop and take a look on impulse. This is exactly what’s lacking in Rotterdam’s city centre.”

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23-2_TRACKS Stefan van der Spek

Walking streams from the four garages collected by GPS: high use (red dots) and low use (green dots)

“The City at Eye Level”

Hans Karssenberg and Jeroen Laven, public developers and both partners of STIPO, introduce the term The City at Eye Level and hack a path for the rest of the contributors off the book.

A plinth is the ground floor of a building. It is a building’s most crucial part for the city at eye level. The last few years, Stipo has worked on all kinds of plinth strategies: from the CityLounge programme in Rotterdam’s inner city to the transformation of Amsterdam’s ugliest street into a welcoming street; from fashion in Arhnhem’s Klarendal to better plinths in reneration and residential areas.

“After decades of functionalism, perhaps now a correction is necessary: more attention on the urban experience, or urban warmth as we call it from an urban psychological point of view.”

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P1020309 Parijs goede plinten terras
Paris, a vibrant plinth