CNU22: Ben Hamilton-Baillie

Hat Tip to Nate Hood who Tweeted this excellent presentation on shared space street design. The presentation begins at the 17 minute point of the video.

Ben Hamilton-Baillie is a recovering architect, trouble-maker, and leading UK exponent of the principles of “shared space.” His practical work for cities, towns, and villages combines traffic engineering, place-making and behavioral psychology in pursuit of economic and social vitality, safety and civility.
Ben worked with the late Hans Monderman until the latter’s death in 2008. Their work has helped challenge long-standing assumptions about street design, speed control, and the concepts of risk and safety. The growing number of schemes drawing on these principles is transforming policy and practice across Europe, and has the potential to do the same in the US.

Hamilton-Baillie’s research and projects reinforce the notion that, in the urban context, streets serve more functions than just moving vehicles. Treating drivers as citizens participating in the dynamics of the public realm appears to allow more efficient movement patterns in addition to fostering trade and social interactions.
Ben Hamilton-Baillie is be joined by Norman Garrick, one of America’s leading researchers on street and traffic effects on the urban environment. Garrick is Associate Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Connecticut. He introduces and responds to Ben Hamilton-Baillie’s presentation.

Matty Lang

About Matty Lang

Matty Lang has been interested in land use, transportation, and cities since he fell in love with Paris, France while studying there in 1998-1999. He is a filmmaker living in Minneapolis. He loves film, bicycling, and basketball. Follow him: Vimeo | @MattyLangMSP | Facebook

6 thoughts on “CNU22: Ben Hamilton-Baillie

  1. Bill LindekeBill Lindeke

    This is great. I see those pictures of the 20K/day streets and think of Snelling Avenue. If only! I fear that MNDOT is light years away from doing something like this.

    But who knows, maybe things can change faster than I fear.

  2. Eric SaathoffEric S

    Can this work on a street with low pedestrian traffic? In the videos of people walking past lines of cars there are a lot of people. If it were only one person per hour, as I imagine many residential streets may provide during the day and night, would it be so rare as to make the cars feel comfortable going fast again?

    1. Walker AngellWalker Angell

      If traffic is limited to local access only and slowed, yes. But then we really have something more approaching a woonerf than a Shared Space. Though in a sense wonerven are shared space.

  3. Walker AngellWalker Angell

    Shared space needs to be approached extremely cautiously. I was a big fan of Monderman until visiting some of his efforts. It seems to work well for 6-24 months and then tends to devolve back to the stroad that it was before once drivers get use to it. Most of the shared spaces in The Netherlands are being converted back to segregated motor/bicycle/pedestrian spaces because bicyclists and pedestrians fear them too much.

    Here is an example of one that works:ʼs-hertogenbosch/

    Also note that what is likely the most famous and biggest failure of a shared space, Exhibition Road in London, was fought for and designed by Hamilton-Baillie

  4. Eric SaathoffEric S

    Where I can see this really working is on certain areas of college campuses. These usually have high foot traffic day and night, and I remember streets just being overtaken by pedestrians at certain hours of the day (when classes changed). It was obvious in Chicago’s Hyde Park that pedestrian’s owned the street on campus – especially 57th street by the Regenstein Library.

    1. Walker AngellWalker Angell

      Yes. In this case though, is there a need to create a specific shared space (other than purely aesthetics) if it has already happened organically? Or perhaps by limiting motor vehicle access?

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