If you think the only purpose of intersections is to move cars past each other, you solve problems like a plumber: with bigger pipes. But wide, barren streets full of traffic don’t make a livable city. One solution would be nothing. No lights, no curbs, no sidewalks—just colored pavers. It works. Accidents decline, traffic slows, and property values rise. “You’ll never do as good a job as two people using body language and eye contact,” says Sam Goater, a senior associate at the Project for Public Spaces. But don’t rip out the infrastructure just yet. Urban designers have a good set of tricks to turn a city intersection into something more like a plaza and less like a freeway interchange. Cars pass, people walk, bikers bike, and everyone’s lives flow more smoothly.
City Planners around the world are taking up the challenge to make their cities more liveable.
20 years from now a lot of cities are going to be very different from how they are now.