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Reclaiming Pedestrian Space from Car Dominated Neighborhoods

Authors: Andreas L. Savvides


For a long time as a result of accommodating car traffic, planning ideologies in the past put a low priority on public space, pedestrianism and the role of city space as a meeting place for urban dwellers. In addition, according to authors such as Jan Gehl, market forces and changing architectural perceptions began to shift the focus of planning practice from the integration of public space in various pockets around the contemporary city to individual buildings. Eventually, these buildings have become increasingly more isolated and introverted and have turned their backs to the realm of the public space adjoining them. As a result of this practice, the traditional function of public space as a social forum for city dwellers has in many cases been reduced or even phased out. Author Jane Jacobs published her seminal book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities" more than fifty years ago, but her observations and predictions at the time still ring true today, where she pointed out how the dramatic increase in car traffic and its accommodation by the urban planning ideology that was brought about by the Modern movement has prompted a separation of the uses of the city. At the same time it emphasizes free standing buildings that threaten urban space and city life and result in underutilized and lifeless urban cores. In this discussion context, the aim of this paper is to showcase a reversal of just such a situation in the case of the Dasoupolis neighborhood in Strovolos, Cyprus, where enlightened urban design practice has see the reclamation of pedestrian space in a car dominated area.

Keywords: Urban Design, Public Space, Right to the City, Accessibility, Mobility

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