City street experiments

Research

From temporary arrangements to permanent change: Assessing the transitional capacity of city street experiments.

In response to acute urban mobility and livability challenges, city street experiments have emerged as a way to explore possible solutions for alternative futures. While the added value of these experiments to improve urban living conditions is widely acknowledged, their potential to stimulate larger system change remains unknown. This paper uses the defining characteristics of transition experiments and a multi-level perspective of transitions in order to assess the transitional capacity of city street experiments. We devise an assessment framework to systematically assess six case studies in Amsterdam and Munich, revealing emerging patterns of experimentation within urban mobility systems.

Show more…
Research

From “streets for traffic” to “streets for people”: can street experiments transform urban mobility?

This paper addresses the lack of research on the transformative potential of experiments aiming to create “streets for people.” It explores different types of city street experiments and their impacts on urban mobility. The experiments are categorized based on increasing complexity, ranging from re-marking streets to repurposing entire streets. Examples include intersection repairs, parklets, and play streets. The literature review highlights positive impacts on physical activity, active transportation, safety, and social interaction. However, the potential of these experiments to trigger systemic change in urban mobility remains uncertain. The paper develops a framework based on transition experiments to assess their transformative potential and proposes a research and policy agenda in this area.

Show more…
Guidelines

A comparative typology of street experiments

Experimentation with city streets has emerged as a way to ‘try-out’ possible solutions to acute liveability challenges including air pollution, noise, traffic-related accidents, and road congestion. ‘City street experiments’ are intentional and temporary changes to the street use, regulation and form aimed at exploring system change in urban mobility (VanHoose et al., 2022). In doing so, street experiments aim to improve urban mobility by shifting from “streets for traffic towards streets for people” (Bertolini, 2020). We define five types of city street experiments: (1) re-marking streets, (2) re-purposing parking, (3) partial re-purposing of streets, (4) entire re-purposing of streets and (5) the flexible closure of streets. Amidst their wide diversity in form, aim and initiators, one feature binds city street experiments: their potential transitional capacity, or ‘ability to address fundamental social and environmental problems and achieve system change’ (VanHoose et al., 2022). In this report, we employ a framework for assessing the transitional capacity of street experiments to compare the different typologies in order to understand the dynamics of each type.

Show more…