|A street in Marseille, France|
|The area of the first picture seen from the air, notice the relatively large courtyards compared to the narrow street|
|Same area, seen from the air. I am not kidding.|
|6th avenue in Calgary|
The street as common space
|An older area of Pittsburgh|
|Rosemont in Montréal|
Now, when motorization occurred, these wide expanses of common spaces vanished from cities, being taken over by cars, whether in movement or parked, depriving city residents of this public space and kids of their playground. It would be hard to conceive of wide streets used that way nowadays, as they would likely host parked cars or have traffic at high-speed unless there was particularly effective traffic-calming deployed.
It makes me wonder if, at least at first, suburbs with low density and off-street parking requirements were built to preserve this function of the street. For instance by allowing kids to play hockey in the street (or stickball in the US), thanks to low traffic and the absence of parked cars on the asphalt.
BTW, anecdotally, my mother has many French friends from when she taught a few years there. When she invited them to our sleepy suburb, her friends were amazed by how open the houses were to the street and that people on the streets could, if they wanted, look inside the house. So, ironically, though North American countries are considered more individualist than Europe, the built environment of North America is in a way more oriented towards the community, with private residence being more open to the neighborhood.
The street as a park/forest pathThis is an anti-urban conception. In this concept, the street and private houses are separated by a large buffer with plenty of trees along the street, in order to really separate houses and street and preserve the feeling of being in a park or a forest even if you're in a developed area. The goal is largely that the street should not be seen from the building, nor the building from the street. The result is a disconnection between developments and their lots, with little or no urban fabric, even when the area is high density (the famous towers in parks). A trick that is sometimes used in these developments is to have buildings at an angle or perpendicular to the street.
|A street to secondary houses in the Laurentides region|
|A collector street in an Houston suburb|
|The same street seen from the air, suburban cul-de-sac developments connect to it|
|Another street near the area|
And now for the denser examples:
|Would you believe this area of Stockholm is 200 meters from a metro station and is densely populated?|
|Well, it is.|
Here is another example, Moscow, where the communist leadership liked the "tower in the park" concept.
The big failing of such a treatment to streets is a tearing of the urban fabric and the loss of "eyes on the street". Since the street is isolated from the developments, it becomes much less secure, especially at night.