URBAN RESIDENTIAL STREETS: A STUDY OF STREET TYPES AND THEIR TERRITORIAL PERFORMANCES (NEIGHBORHOOD, URBAN DESIGN, ENVIRONMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, TERRITORIALITY)

HAE-SEONG JE, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Streets occupy a large amount of land in urban residential districts and most of them are through-streets. While necessary for traffic, they are no more than "no-man's land owned by an impersonal government." As an alternative to a through-street system, some architects have proposed a cul-de-sac street system and made many claims about its impacts on the daily lives of people. Their claims were diffuse and they provided little evidence of their efficacy. In examining the effects of street layouts, this study employs the disciplines of architecture and environmental psychology. This study discusses types of street layouts based on the architectural theories of type and space and comments on the limitations of architectural discourses. Based on the findings of environmental psychology, this study establishes a model of territorial performance, and hypothesizes that cul-de-sacs are perceived to be more exclusively and peacefully used, safer, conducive to greater social cohesion, and better maintained than through-streets. The validity of the hypotheses was tested by the data obtained through a questionnaire survey and systematic observations at ten streets in four inner-city, middle-income, ethnically homogeneous, row-house areas in Philadelphia. Statistical analysis of the data revealed that the cul-de-sac residents are more inclined than through-street residents to feel that: (1) they use the streets exclusively and peacefully; (2) their homes are secure and their children's play is safe; (3) they distinguish between their neighbors and outsiders; and (4) the streets are well maintained. The claims that cul-de-sacs promote neighborhood interaction and maintenance responsibility are not so strong as one might expect from past research or theories. Based on the findings, this study suggests that cul-de-sacs be provided for the enhanced territorial control of street areas by the residents. It also proposes guidelines which can be used in the design of inner-city residential blocks. The guidelines are applied to prototypical design examples and to existing residential blocks in an inner-city area of Philadelphia. In the application of the guidelines to other population groups and locations, it must be remembered that the architectural environment is not the only determinant of socio-behavioral consequences.

Subject Area

Architecture

Recommended Citation

JE, HAE-SEONG, "URBAN RESIDENTIAL STREETS: A STUDY OF STREET TYPES AND THEIR TERRITORIAL PERFORMANCES (NEIGHBORHOOD, URBAN DESIGN, ENVIRONMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY, TERRITORIALITY)" (1986). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI8623999.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8623999

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