Donald Appleyard’s Livable Streets


Updates on Car Free America may be a bit sporadic for the next couple of months. I’ll be working on a book tentatively titled “Human Speed” which will chronicle my time living car free and the city planning lessons I learned from the experience. It will be available on Amazon (and here on Car Free America) in the first quarter of 2018. I’ll post more information about the book later this year.

In the mean time, here’s a classic video which greatly influenced my perspective on transportation planning. Donald Appleyard, an urban designer who taught at UC Berkeley, talked about livable streets decades before “complete streets” entered the lexicon.

In the late 1960s, Appleyard conducted a renowned study on livable streets, comparing three residential streets in San Francisco which on the surface did not differ on much else but their levels of traffic. The 2,000 vehicles per day street was considered Light Street, 8,000 traveled on Medium Street and 16,000 vehicles passing down Heavy Street. His research showed that residents of Light Street had three more friends and twice as many acquaintances as the people on Heavy Street. Further, as traffic volume increases, the space people considered to be their territory shrank. Appleyard suggested that these results were related, indicating that residents on Heavy Street had less friends and acquaintances precisely because there was less home territory (exchange space) in which to interact socially. – Project for Public Spaces

Revisiting Donald Appleyard’s Livable Streets from STREETFILMS

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