Saturday 27 December 2008

What are streets for ? (part two)

Quite a few people responded to a previous post showing a hopscotch game chalked onto the street outside our home. However, children playing on the street doesn't only happen completely informally here.

This example is a hopscotch game which is built into a road surface, using coloured bricks. It is one of several in the same area.

This area, Peelo in Assen, extensively uses the idea of the woonerf or "home zone". The speed limit on these streets is walking pace, and cyclists and pedestrians have priority over motor vehicles. The woonerven are connected together by roads which have a speed limit of 30 km/h (18 mph) as well as by cycle paths which give the most direct and convenient routes.

This idea was very common in the Netherlands in the late 1970s through to the 1980s when this area of the city were built. Similar thinking can be seen in developments from the early 1970s and in later developments.

A video showing the streets around this area is here:

Explanatory captions on this video are visible only if you view it on a computer and not on a mobile device.

While this estate is now nearly 30 years old, many of the features of it are still not apparent in areas of housing being built in other countries. This area of Assen, as well as newer and older residential areas, features on the Study Tour.


Anonymous said...

Looks like a wonderful place to grow up!

Was this filmed during a working day, or at a weekend? There seemed to be a lot of free space to park cars. I don't know what the stats are on cars per household in the Netherlands, but I get the impression that if that were any comparable UK estate, there would be cars parked all over the nice central play areas :-(

David Hembrow said...

It was filmed today. A Saturday, at around mid-day. Most people were indoors because it's cold.

The Dutch used to own more cars than the British, but that reversed a few years back.

I do know what you mean about the UK. I took some photos of a much more recent development there a couple of years back where there are awful problems with cars.

In the UK, planning law now requires homes to be built with limited space for cars in an attempt to reduce ownership. It doesn't work because they don't provide attractive alternatives to driving, so the result is an untidy mess of cars everywhere.

Over here it's carrot instead of stick. There is room for cars, but you're encouraged by the environment not to want one, or at least not to use it for every journey.

And yes, it's a wonderful place for children.

Anonymous said...

Over here in Ireland some Estates the Roads are built like this and are quiet enough,but we still have the Car problems. Cars are Parked half up on Pathways and even though the Cars passing through the Estates go relatively slowly you will always get the occasional Nutter who Speeds along.
The general attitude of Motorists is they own the Roads and get out of my Way. Sometimes you come across Estates where they have put in some Access where Cyclists and Pedestrians can only go but this is rare. we would be like the UK in the Evenings with Cars Parked all over the Place and on Play Areas as well.
We have a long way to go in Reeducating the Motorists we are still to Carcentric. There needs to be New Laws put in Place, Cycle Lanes put in Estates and minor Roads. It is a lovely Lifestyle in Netherlands and in your Town Assen.

Anonymous said...

Loved the photo of hopscotch. I used it in my blog but gave you credit. I hope you don't mind.

You have a great writing style.