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Urban Design Tool Streetmix Assists Users in Designing Hypothetical Streets

Urban Design Tool Streetmix Assists Users in Designing Hypothetical Streets

Used in Mexico City and in Reno, Nevada, Streetmix allows users to experiment and participate in the design of their streets. This bottom-up approach is a participatory tool that can include everyone in the decision making, without particular technical knowledge.

Courtesy of Streetmix Workshop in Colombia. Image © Claudio Olivares Medina Workshop in Colombia. Image © Claudio Olivares Medina Workshop in Colombia. Image © Claudio Olivares Medina + 9

Courtesy of Streetmix
Courtesy of Streetmix

By generating a hypothetical street, people can create diverse compositions. Actually, they can include driving lanes, bus lanes, bike lanes, scooter lanes, streetcars, sidewalks, parking, trees, parklets and benches, wayfinding signs and much more. Founded by Lou Huang, an urban designer, and an architect, Streetmix is in fact, “a collaborative platform where urban planners and community members design streets and public space together”.

Workshop in Colombia. Image © Claudio Olivares Medina
Workshop in Colombia. Image © Claudio Olivares Medina

Streetmix was a prototype created to test our theory of online civic engagement, but it’s now become an important part of an urban planner or community organizer’s toolkit for communication and ideation around street planning. It’s used by thousands of city planners, engineers, students, activists, and hobbyists, has been translated into over ten languages, and have become instrumental in upgrading hundreds of miles of streets around the world. -- Lou Huang, founder and CEO of Streetmix


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Workshop in Colombia. Image © Claudio Olivares Medina
Workshop in Colombia. Image © Claudio Olivares Medina

Users are encouraged to mix and match, with different amenities that take up a certain amount of space. The flexible program also allows people to expand the space occupied by a certain service to ridiculous widths and change the whole configuration of the street. The context can also be modified, adjusting the functionality and vision of the alley, “filling it with commercial or residential building, or opting for a waterfront on one side” etc. Through these options, citizens can be easily engaged in the planning process, showing officials, how and what they want their street to look like. Applied in cities like Seattle and New Zealand, the world-wide application can also be used as a tool, a learning instrument for future urban planners and designers.

Workshop in Colombia. Image © Claudio Olivares Medina
Workshop in Colombia. Image © Claudio Olivares Medina

Streetmix images were key in helping stakeholders instantly understand our proposal. It made it easy to see what the tradeoffs were and producing the images was super easy. […] [We] got the project [to improve Center Street] moved from our Metropolitan Planning Organization’s five-year plan to next year’s program of projects. -- Resident from Reno, working to improve the city’s bike infrastructure network

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Cite: Christele Harrouk. "Urban Design Tool Streetmix Assists Users in Designing Hypothetical Streets" 06 Jan 2020. ArchDaily. Accessed . <https://www.archdaily.com/931352/urban-design-tool-streetmix-assists-users-in-designing-hypothetical-streets/> ISSN 0719-8884
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