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Thread: Neighborhoods with unified design elements

  1. #1
    Cyburbian
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    St. Louis, MO
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    Neighborhoods with unified design elements

    Can anyone point me in the direction of some good images of neighborhoods using informational street signs and other architectural or design details like period street lamps to create a sense of place and differenetiate itself from the existing building mix around it?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    Jan 2005
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    Carlsbad, CA
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    Gaslamp

    Check out the Gaslamp District in Downtown San Diego. They have a whole district that is named after the old gaslamps which they have replicas of all throughout the area.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    I think any of the historic cities could have examples of what you are looking for. A good resource may be the National List of Historic Places, particularly the neighborhoods that have been designated. Once you find a list a google search would probably turn up some pictures.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian
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    In Milwaukee, many of the older residnetial neighborhoods and commercial streets use specially-designed, historic "harp lights" and "acorn lanterns" for street lighting. The designs of these lights are much different than the standard, more modern-looking cobra-style streetlights in other areas of the city.

    Downtown Milwaukee is in the process of improving the streetscapes of several major streets. The project includes things like special street lighting fixtures, way-finding signage, street signage, and textured/colored crosswalks to highlight the major streets through the downtown area.

    Here is a link to the project website with more information (maps, renderings, etc.):
    Primary Pedestrian Corridor Development Project


    Several years ago the Historic Third Ward neighborhood in Milwaukee implemented a somewhat less-grander streetscape project, but used some different street light and street sign designs than what's normally found in other neighborhoods around the city. They also were not of a historic period design, so they stand out against the late-19th/early-20th Century architecture of the buildings.

  5. #5

  6. #6

    Mutcd

    The MUTCD (manual of uniform traffic control devices) that is put out by each state, limits the colors and font type used for street name signs (street markers), so you may watch getting too fancy with them. As stated before, each state has regulations in their respective MUTCD that is backed by their states revised code, and can be argued by lawyers in a court of law. The only way that I can concieve this would/could be an issue is if someone missed a street in an emergency situation because they couldn't read, or didn't recognize the street name from a fancy street marker. In Ohio, we have a minimum of 4" (6" on state routes) all capital standard highway font with a green background and white lettering, I know it is generic, but it is the law. Check with your law Dept and traffic engineer before trying to get too cute with your street name signs (or any road signs for that matter). The manual is meant so that anywhere you go, street name signs (and all regulatory and warning signs for that matter) are UNIFORM throughout the country.
    Who's gonna re-invent the wheel today?

  7. #7
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    Mutcd

    MUTCD may still be the overall framework in the US but things are much more flexible than they used to be- for example, in Massachusetts many towns put their town seal on the signs as well. The colors are also more flexible than they used to be- one town uses white with black lettering, others blue, others green. I think some rationality has won over on this issue- if it can be read, its OK.

    In terms of unifying public realm standards, there are many attempts around here, mostly either unsuccessful or with the jury still out. Cambridge's University Park seems to have pulled it off. Downtown Amherst, Mass, too- check their web site for a copy of the standards.

    Remember, tho, at the end of the day its not just how a neighborhood looks that unifys it geographically- its how it works.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian mique28's avatar
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    PBIC image library

    Trythe pedestrian and bicycle information center image library at:
    http://www.pedbikeimages.org/

    While they are a little short on pictures of signs, there are thousands of photos of pedestrian friendly streetscape projects all over the world.

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