On 27th July 2020 Naomi Rubbra wrote:

Rethink 2025 streets scale winner: Streets Are Made for Walking

Our team PeopleMatter. has been selected as the streets scale winner in the Rethink 2025 ideas competition, organised by RIBA and ARUP, about life post-pandemic.

As COVID-19 confined most of us indoors, our streets have emptied, air cleared and social distancing rules have changed how we use our cities. People have swapped their car and underground journeys for a bicycle or a pair of running shoes. As we adapt to clean, active methods of getting around, how can the spaces we live in and move through give more to its local community?

Our submission titled ‘Streets Are Made for Walking’ offers a framework to capitalise on this newly found urban condition and accelerate a transition towards cleaner, greener, safer and happier streets. The project challenges conventional street standards, and proposes a template for streetscape optimisation – called ‘Shared Streets’, implemented in two phases:

Phase one (2020-2025) prioritises transitioning existing temporary cycle routes into Shared Streets. This placemaking exercise brings together our profession, local authorities and communities to build multi-functional, purposeful streets.

Phase two (2025-2035) expands upon the Shared Streets network to create new temporary inter-neighbourhood connections, in lateral rings expanding from the city centre. Not only will this increase London’s capacity to be walkable and cyclable, but also enhance the city’s potential for polycentricity.

As much as COVID-19 is an inflection point in history, the truth is we were already at one with global warming. ‘Streets Are Made for Walking’ seeks to use the coronavirus as a catalyst to initiate the streets and cities that we want and our planet urgently needs.

More information on our proposals can be found here.