Why Streets Matter

Filed in Construction Industry, Land Development by on September 16, 2014 0 Comments
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Walden street

Walden, a community by Charter Homes and Neighborhoods in Enola, Pa. was named a 2014 BALA Silver Winner for Neighborhood, for creating tree-lined streets that front along green space to enhance the residents’ experience of the street.

Streets are the backbone of communities and cities for the obvious reason that they get people from place to place.

They also serve as a public commons. Residential streets, in particular, are the defining features of neighborhoods and form a significant portion of the local environment and living experience for residents.

Beyond vehicular access, residential streets are meant to be public settings for social activity, the framework for pedestrian and bicycle circulation, and the space that provides a visual setting and entryway to homes.

Therefore, residential streets should be designed in a way that compliments and enhances their multiple functions. They must be designed to be more than a transportation facility, yet planned as part of a hierarchy of streets that form an efficient and safe network for both vehicles and pedestrians.

As strong visual elements of a community, well-designed residential streets can create more attractive neighborhoods and contribute to a clearly defined sense of place. Home buyers look for more than just good quality homes, but also good quality streets and surrounding community.

In new community developments, streets are a significant part of construction costs. Therefore, building them in a way that is safe and cost-effective while designing a street network that is attractive and accessible can add value to homes.

Builders play an important role in shaping the character of a neighborhood, and ultimately the quality of life of its residents. With a renewed emphasis on creating more “complete” residential streets, there is a possibility to re-envision and design them as public amenities that successfully accommodate multiple functions and create a more livable environment that address community values and user needs.

The NAHB Land Use 101 Toolkit includes a background paper on the importance of residential streets as well as helpful presentations on neighborhood development best practices. You must be logged in as an NAHB member to see this content. For additional information, contact Deb Bassert at 800-368-5242 x8443.

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