There’s been a lot of talk lately about Great Streets around the world. It’s a favourite subject for city planners, and has to do with the notion that we need to program our city spaces better. In Burnaby, Beresford Street has been designated by the City of Burnaby as ‘a street that will be transformed into a great street’. And, Silver will be at the centre of that transformation.
But what makes a great street?
Project for Public Spaces (PPS) – a non-profit planning, design and educational organization – has a great website and a good understanding of what it means to create a great street.
Here’s their list:
Attractions & Destinations. Having something to do gives people a reason to come to a place—and to return again and again.
Identity & Image. Whether a space has a good image and identity is key to its success. Creating a positive image requires keeping a place clean and well-maintained, as well as fostering a sense of identity.
Active Edge Uses. Buildings bases should be human-scaled and allow for interaction between indoors and out. Preferably, there are active ground floor uses that create valuable experiences along a street for both pedestrians and motorists.
Amenities. Successful streets provide amenities to support a variety of activities. These include attractive waste receptacles to maintain cleanliness, street lighting to enhance safety, bicycle racks, and both private and public seating options—the importance of giving people the choice to sit where they want is generally underestimated.
Management. An active entity that manages the space is central to a street’s success. This requires not only keeping the space clean and safe, but also managing tenants and programming the space to generate daily activity.
Seasonal Strategies. Utilize seasonal strategies, like holiday markets, parades and recreational activities to activate the street during all times of the year.
Diverse User Groups. It is essential to provide activities for different groups. Mixing people of different race, gender, age, and income level ensures that no one group dominates the space and makes others feel unwelcome and out of place.
Traffic, Transit & the Pedestrian. A successful street is easy to get to and get through; it is visible both from a distance and up close. Accessible spaces are convenient to public transit and support walking and biking.
Blending of Uses and Modes. Ground floor uses and retail activities should spill out into the sidewalks and streets to blur the distinction between public and private space.
Protects Neighbourhoods. Great streets support the context around them. There should be clear transitions from commercial streets to nearby residential neighborhoods, communicating a change in surroundings with a concomitant change in street character.
This is like a checklist for the Beresford Street transformation. It ticks all the boxes. And, even before the transformation, Silver’s community gets a Walk Score® of 97 – considered a Walkers’ Paradise. We couldn’t agree more.
It’s just about time to get your walk on and come visit us at the Silver Presentation Centre. But first, you should register at www.silverliving.ca so you can be among the first to take a stroll through our beautifully furnished display home (and the surrounding community).
- Darren Hunter
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