How to Create High Performance Communities

With the influx of people choosing to live in urban environments, it is important to consider designing cities that have high-perfoming places. Making comfortable spaces, investing in walking infrastructure, linking models of transit and creating social environments are just a few elements that contribute to high performance communities.

1. Increased Mobility

One of the most common obstacles communities face is streets that are designed primarily with driving in mind. While this may be the predominate use of a street, it is important to establish a variety of streets in the area to achieve maximum mobility. A way to accomplish this harmony within streets is to have some streets that are car-focused while others emphasizing safety for cyclists, and others that are highly walkable. The most important component is making sure that each street has a desirable walking distance to public transit so that it prevents people from feeling more inclined to drive themselves.

2. Focused Intensity

Since public transit is the second most preferred method to cycling for city dwellers, it’s important to consider developing communities where highly sought after public places are within a five-minute range of public transit. You can then plan out second priority places further away within a 5–10 minute radius. By planning a community in this fashion, the community can hold to accommodate future innovations, shifting job climates, or residential increases while maintaining a sense of connectivity.

3. Pedestrian Focused

While increasing the chance of an individual taking public transit instead of driving themselves is beneficial for the environment, we need to consider making it even more accessible to also walk to desired locations. In order to achieve this goal, one must consider having accessible crosswalks 260 feet apart -roughly at every new block. By having the crosswalks close to each other it creates a network of highly connected streets which results in pedestrians having a more direct route and more choices to get to their destination.

4. Well-Loved Public Places

as more areas are shifting to urbanization, it is important to provide public places where workers and residents alike can connect with nature, exercise, sit in seclusion while watching water or wild life pass by, or take their children to so that they can safely play.

5. Social Vibrancy

When considering the infrastructure around the area, one must consider the type of community they are designing for. Is the community a quiet residential district? Will it cater to a varying demographic and offer 8-hour, 12-hour, or 24-hour entertainment and services? Will it promote night life or focus on retail? These decisions ultimately shape the outcome of the community. While it can’t be easy to predict how the community will be shaped until tenants are at play, there are certain elements that can influence the outcome.

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