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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The design of pedestrian systems in residential areas Rodger, Ruth Corinna

Abstract

Until relatively recently the pedestrian has been largely ignored in the planning process. It was therefore decided to focus in this study on the pedestrian. The setting was confined to low and medium density residential areas for three reasons: (1) most pedestrian planning has been done in the central business district; (2) much of it in the past has been ad hoc but emerging analytical techniques useful for high density areas were considered beyond the scope of this study to employ; and (3) many of the solutions appropriate for high density areas are not applicable in areas of lower density. The objective was to formulate preferable alternatives and improvements to the typical pedestrian system in low and medium density residential areas from an analysis of scientific and design literature. As this suggests, the study was concerned with an aspect of the design portion of the planning process. It was proposed to formulate a number of patterns in order to arrive at the objective. Patterns are a recently evolved design method. Each pattern has four components: (1) a context or specific setting, (2) a specific problem which reoccurs in the described context, (3) a prescription describing a physical or functional relationship or design image which will prevent the problem from occurring, and (4) discussion which describes the problem more fully and presents the data--empirical, if available-- upon which the prescription is based. Hence patterns are reuseable design ideas or images; from them actual designs are generated for use in any situation with the same context. The use of patterns had important implications for this study, their formulation constituted the basic methodology, and the patterns formulated were the product or results. The major groups of pedestrians--pre-school and school children, housewives and retired persons--were isolated as a result of two surveys, and major pedestrian planning objectives--convenience, activities and comfort--were defined in order to have a concise basis from which to formulate the patterns. Each of the patterns formulated was of a broad, generic nature applicable to all user groups, although concerned with only one or two objectives. As a test of their validity the patterns were applied to two residential areas in metropolitan Vancouver. While some of the patterns were able to be applied to the built environment, it was considered that the inability to apply all of them did not render them invalid for reasons inherent in the application process. It was concluded that the empirical data used in the formulation of the patterns together with the application of the patterns to the existing environment gave strong indications that the objectives had been met.

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