The Voyage of the Woonerf

Writing in The New York Times, Paul Hockenos describes the revival and global spread of the "woonerf", the Dutch complete street model that's bringing shared public space to cities from Montreal to Auckland.
Payton Chung / flickr

"Roughly translated as 'living streets,' the woonerf (pronounced VONE-erf) functions without traffic lights, stop signs, lane dividers or even sidewalks. Indeed, the whole point is to encourage human interaction; those who use the space are forced to be aware of others around them, make eye contact and engage in person-to-person interactions," explains Hockenos. 

"Woonerfs and their derivatives — sometimes called shared spaces, complete streets or home zones — are piquing the interest of urban planners in several countries," he notes.

“You either love them or you hate them, depending on whether you’re a car driver or a parent with kids,” said Dirk van den Heuvel, an urban architecture expert in the Dutch city of Delft. “But they’re popular places to live here — low density and lots of greenery — and that’s why the model is making a comeback,” he said.


Full Story: Where ‘Share the Road’ Is Taken Literally

Comments

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $199
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $14.95 a month
Woman wearing city map tote bag

City Shoulder Totes - New Cities Added!

Durable CityFabric© shoulder tote bags available from 9 different cities.
$22.00
T-shirt with map of Chicago

Show your city pride

Men's Ultrasoft CityFabric© tees. Six cities available.
$23.00