Pavements of Possibility


The most interesting thing about making good public spaces is how people use them in ways you hadn’t considered. I believe that the key to making spaces live, have long futures, be loved and work at the heart of their communities is to create spaces that are adaptable and feel comfortable for as many uses and people as possible.

I think of public space as being like my house. My bog standard C19th London terrace was built for a particular kind of person (well behaved lower middle class office worker) to use it in a particular way (dining room, bedroom for the live in servant, scullery), but has been adapted over the years to meet its tenants’ and owners’ changing needs without knocking the whole building down altogether and starting all over again.

The best public spaces can feel right at different times for crowds, families, children playing, delivery vans, cars, busses, outdoor eating, protests, games of cards, local people, tourists, street markets, meeting friends, shopping, parties and showing off.

This photograph is of students playing badminton on Exhibition Road at night. They have propped the net supports into the drain cover and are playing across the pedestrian and transition zones. I love it as an example of people taking ownership of the road in way no architect, designer or engineer would ever have considered.

Playing in the Road

Playing in the Road

4 Responses to Pavements of Possibility

  1. I know this road very well and absolutely love this transformation. I particularly like the way the cars are allowed but I can image feel subservient to the pedestrians as they are almost driving on a large, and rather beautiful pavement.
    I sincerely hope other forward thinking authorities embrace this type of scheme. So refreshing not to have lots of unnecessary and untidy street furniture everywhere.

  2. culprit says:

    very nice submit, i certainly love this website, carry on it

  3. tee says:

    Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I’m impressed! Extremely useful info specifically the last part :) I care for such info a lot. I was looking for this particular info for a long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  4. Giles Brady says:

    I think Exhibition Road is currently one of the most interesting places in London. Congratulations!

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