Friday, 21 October 2011

BesetzteStraße: Gemischte Strassenbenutzung zu jede Tageszeit, am Beispiel der Bahnhofsviertel Frankfurt und London

Zusammenfassung (English version here)
(aufgearbeitet mit hilfe M. Kuglitsch Oktober 2011)

Straßen in Innenstädte könnten lebendiger sein, könnten auch eine nachhaltigerer Rolle im öffentlichem Raum spielen, wenn NutzerInnen von Straßenraum (BesetzerInnen der Straßen) und auch die Gestaltung für diversen Nutzungen der Straße zu jeder Tageszeit - besser verstanden waeren. Die Forschung Werden die Qualität von gemischten Straßen in inneren, dichten Stadtbezirken rund um die Uhr untersuchen. Im Vordergrund der Forschung stehen die Erfahrungen der BenützerInnen, Dies sowohl als auch die Vorgehensweise beim Entwurf der Strasse, da zweiteres für verbesserte Qualität in der staedischen Infrastruktur bestimmend ist.
Die Analyse von Praxis und Theorie in Europa - auch Weltweit - dient als Hintergrund für die Untersuchung zweier Beispielsfallen; jeweils an Verkehrsknotenpunkten in Bahnhofsviertel Frankfurt am Main und in Bahnhofsviertel King's Cross London, GB. Diese Beispiele veranschaulichen die dicht besetzten und auch bekämpften Strassenraume und werden als Probeexemplar herangezogen um die Grenzen der Idee eines gemeinsamen öffentlichen Raumes, eines sogenannten Zivilraumes zu erforschen.

Beabsichtigt ist die Erhebung von Fallbeispielen, wo Stassenbenutzung und Strassengestaltung anhand betroffener AkteurInnen festgehalten werden.  Durch die Analyse der Veränderungsprozesse sollen neue Informationen über Benutzerperspektiven und Qualität von Strassen dokumentiert werden. Weiters wären Entwurfsvorschläge zu machen, um die benutzergerechte Qualität zu stärken, beispielsweise  Lebensqualität, Sicherheit, Attraktivität. Zuletzt werden Beispiele zur Umgestaltung und Modellierung entworfen, um zu Bewerten, inwiefern die beabsichtigten Verbesserungen (aus Sicht der BenutzerInnen) erreicht werden.

Occupying the Street

Occupying the Street:
Mixed-Use Street Design for all Hours, London and Frankfurt
Train Station Areas
October 2011

Aim of Research
For inner-urban streets to become more liveable, and to perform a more sustainable role in the public realm, requires a better understanding of users, and of the design of spaces for use at all hours of night and day. The research aims to investigate qualities of mixed-use streets in dense urban transport-hub-areas at various times, with respect to both the user experience and the effect of design processes for urban street environments in regeneration. Analysis of European and international practice and theory provides context for investigating case study streets in Frankfurt-Bahnhofsviertel and London-King's Cross. The two examples of densely occupied and contested hub-area streets will be used to test limitations to co-producing streets as shared public realms, and as civic spaces.

Draft Objectives of Research Project
The objectives begin with analysiing street user experience and street design for the case studies. Analysis of processes of change, via nine research method clusters, will inform an appraisal, incorporating user perceptions about street quality. A second objective is to make design proposals for improving desirable qualities identified by users, such as liveability, safety and attractiveness. A third objective is to model and test some limited examples of design interventions, to determine their likely effectiveness in achieving the intended improvements vis-à-vis perceptions of these users.

Reflections on the research at a milestone point. (Transfer Interview and Report)
Four suggestions which arose from the interview were:
1. Research questions (and interview questions) should consider the agency of design and management of streets, and the degree to which management reflects the diversity of street users.
2. Consider how the movement function is addressed as a user requirement in the study.
3. Consider the nature of the research output and its utility.
4. Assessment of ethical issues and personal safety involved in the field work (esp night time, marginalised people.

Eight other issues raised for further consideration during the interview and in the report were;
1. Should analysis be prioritised in order to best shape the ongoing research?
2. The movement function of streets and their role in the wider movement economy should be better addressed in the methodology. A 'rudimentary syntax analysis of urban grain' might be extended to analysing the differences between a highly-managed non-local movement system and the set of local needs.
3. Mainstream Street Design Practice is based largely on normative and technocratic understandings, and explicit investigation into the management regime and its interaction with the local population would be of interest.
4. A positivist design paradigm is implied in the project methodology; survey, analyse, predict and provide. If design is used as a research tool, design methodology and methods of design evaluation must be carefully considered. Also consideration should be given to how design criteria will be established and tested.
5. How will the findings complement existing practice, if not eg. by design outcomes? How would outputs inform future design and management?
6. Psycho-geographic aspects of methods cluster 2 need further explanation.
7. Ethical concerns for working with hard-to-access user groups, working at night in inner cities need to be considered, along with personal safety, and a risk assessment would formalise these.
8. Would practical outputs of the research study leasd to improved practice? If so, who is likely to benefit from or to undertake this type of practice, and will outputs of the study be presented in a form that can inform practice?

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Cyclist killed by HGV operator in King's Cross on Monday

Min Joo Lee, 24 year old fashion student at Central St Martins was killed in front of King's Cross Station on Monday morning. Her fashion design work was featured on the fashion website in March. The famous school where she studied at Central St Martins has just moved into the Granary Building behind the station.

 Work by Min Joo Lee from

Min Joo Lee was crushed and killed on her bicycle in a collision with a heavy goods vehicle at the road junction Euston Road / York Way / Gray's Inn Road / Pentonville Road, part of London's Inner Ring Road  A501 and an integral part of the infamous King's Cross 'gyratory'. In 2007 in Camley Street, also very nearby the new CSM campus, artist Emma Foa (56) was killed by a turning lorry, crushing her against railings. The driver who killed Foa had been looking for some paperwork in his truck, and was fined £300 for his "inadvertence", but allowed to keep his driving licence.

I was appalled in April 2010 when the 25 year old artist, photographer, graphic designer and music-video director Jane Helliwell was crushed to death by the driver of the 390 bus on Oxford Street. In April 2009, Meryem Ozekman, 37, a fitness instructor and experienced cyclist, was crushed by a lorry driving on the Elephant and Castle roundabout. I was horrified the following day, when 29-year-old architect Rebecca Goosen was crushed to death as the driver of a 32-tonne cement mixer turned left into Goswell Road from Old Street, in Clerkenwell. A pattern of cyclist deaths caused by heavy goods vehicle drivers is clearly continuing.

Rhiannon Williams reported in the Islington Gazette that a spokesman for Transport for London had said of Monday's event: “We are extremely sorry to hear of the death of the woman following a collision with a HGV in Euston Road. More needs to be done to prevent serious harm befalling London’s cyclists, and TfL is working with other organisations across London to tackle this serious safety issue.” The TfL spokesman said that it was the 13th cycle death in London in 2011 compared to 10 last year. There is an ongoing debate (and hopefully increasing awareness) about cycles and heavy goods vehicles sharing the road, and personally, I am increasingly wary of approaching anywhere near these vehicles especially when moving near junctions.

The road should be safer for women and men of all ages and driving abilities, whether experienced or not. However the managers of the street and everyone who uses streets, whichever form of movement they use, need to be responsible for this safety, and this doesn't seem to be currently adequate to reassure us of safety in King's Cross.

Charlie Lloyd's 2010 bike blog article "Lorry drivers have no more excuses when it comes to cycling blind spots" covers many of the campaigns and issues about HGV-cycle conflict, including the need for drivers of heavy vehicles and cyclists to take greater care. Personally I try to be noticed by all other road users on my bicycle, but if inadvertently I go unnoticed, in the case of a heavy goods driver (like one checking for papers) the results could be deadly. How can we make the inner city streets like this one safer? Who else could be involved in the process? Transport for London? Cyclist and Driver communities? Pedestrian Organisations? Universities like Central St Martins? Local King's Cross Communities? Who should care about people being killed on roads where we live and work?

An Urban 75 discussion thread, 'Cyclist Killed at King's Cross Lighthouse', with a hundred comments at the time of writing, suggests this road death in King's Cross on Monday will raise many more questions yet.

Camden New Journal published this story on 27 October: Cyclist deaths - ‘Ghost bike’ at the deadly junction that killed fashion student Deep Lee .

Cyclists killed in collisions with lorries include:
Min Joo Lee (in King's Cross)
Emma Foa (in King's Cross)
Madelyn Wright (in King's Cross)
Cath Ward (in Stratford Upon Avon)
Jayne Helliwell (in Oxford Street)
Rebecca Goossen (in Clerkenwell)
Meryam  Ozekman (in Elephant and Castle)
Daniel Cox (in Dalston)
Catriona Patel (in Oval)
Craig Newton (in Edinburgh)
Naoko (in Hammersmith)

Occupying Streets on fb