Friday, 6 January 2012

King's Cross Square

Network Rail, September 2011
The hard-won revised public realm scheme by Stanton Williams for one of London's most prominent squares is a great improvement on the previous proposals. However, it is completely segregated from the adjoining public realm on Pancras Way and Euston Road, two high streets with important public realm functions in this transport hub area, which will also be fundamental to the civic, architectural, public realm quality of King's Cross town centre.

On the BBC this week, presenter Angela Saini showed how a holistically considered civic street like Exhibition Road might make for a better, safer urban environment, and a 'happier' place. Her review of current thinking on street design in Europe reinforced the importance of interaction between street users and increasing their 'human sensibilities'. Interestingly, it echoed some of William Holly Whyte's 1975 work, The Street Life Project, which was shown at the Urban Design Group this week.

Euston Road, a 'TFL red route', is a public highway for pedestrians and vehicles, and is an urban street with important public realm functions - extending from the line of bollards at the bus stands, across footway, 'carriageway', barrier and more 'carriageway' to more footway, fronting buildings on the south side of Euston Road. This street realm is managed by the Mayor's TfL Transport for London Streets. This square is one of the Mayor's 'Great Spaces' of London, announced in his programme 'Better Streets' (2009) (pdf).

Network Rail's Press Release announces that planning gain of £750,000 is earmarked for Camden to "improve the pedestrian environment along York Way."

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