A walkable/pedestrian environment is an asset to the community with significant economic, health, environmental and social benefits. Walkable communities lead to more social interaction, physical fitness and diminished crime.
The pedestrian environment is composed of a series of “trips” from a point of origin to a point of destination. This trip has five essential steps that should be considered in creating the pedestrian environment:
- Anticipation – The prospect; looking forward to a destination and the eventual experience.
- The Trip to the Experience – The journey to; the experience of walking from the parking lot to the destination.
- The Experience – Being present; attending a movie, dining, window shopping, visiting an art gallery, getting a cup of coffee, etc.
- The Trip from the Experience – The departure; the experience leaving the site and returning to the car, bus or bicycle.
- Recollection of the Trip – The impression: Would you want to come back again?
There are several factors that contribute to a successful pedestrian environment that all designers should be sensitive to:
- Design and amenities
- Parks and open space
- Transportation and parking
Successful pedestrian environments should also be an extension of indoor space that when thoughtfully programmed becomes active living space in the outdoors. Some strategies to achieve an active space include:
- Emphasize streets as outdoor rooms
- Offer building arcades
- Increase outdoor dining and gathering spaces
- Encourage visually pleasing facades and storefronts
- Attain a good mix of building materials
- Encourage public art