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August 12, 2006

Designing naked streets

When Paul Barter posted a link to a video of a chaotic looking Indian intersection, back in April, it provoked debate on the merits of traffic discipline versus chaos. A discussion ensued on issues about shared space or "naked streets" approaches to streets and the public realm. The video genre is growing fast: YouTube's GlobalSouth now has more than 60 short videos on transport in developing countries. "A striking number of the videos are of streets or intersections in countries like India, China or Vietnam" says Barter; "most of them show traffic that at first glance looks completely and utterly CRAZY, often with a mind-boggling diversity of road users doing anything and everything you could imagine. And the amazing thing is that it seems to work". The first person I know to speculate about control-free traffic planning was John Chris Jones; he first wrote about the idea in 1968.

Posted by John Thackara at August 12, 2006 04:00 PM


John, I like the direction you are taking with your blog: a thorough focus on sustainability and a serious reflection on how design can help achieve this. I can only encourage you to go on with this. It is a very refreshing read. If you ever want to collaborate with WWF on some of these issues, let me know. I used to work there. Mark Vanderbeeken

Posted by: Mark Vanderbeeken at August 12, 2006 05:36 PM

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