With no doubt, the design of streets influence the our urban environment quality a lot. Smart street design can lower area temperature, drain storm water, decrease air pollution, and save cities’ costs. Streets, like all the spaces which we live in, influence our mental health. The street, as an extension of the building environment, possesses an non-ignorable emotion value. Street design also influences people’s physical health. Designing streets with safe, appealing and shared spaces for vehicles and pedestrians is essential to decreasing pedestrian accidents, as well as encouragement of physical activities for a healthy city population.
Urban design impacts on health. A more walkable street would have a positive effect on the level of physical activity. This, in turn, can reduce the levels of obesity and overweight people, decrease the risk of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, strengthen bones and improve mental alertness and creativity and lower the risk of cognitive decline.
More pedestrian streets also provide more opportunities for social interaction; pedestrians tend to congregate in areas with positive walking conditions, such as pavements, lighting, trees and street furniture, including adequate signs and intersections, which improve the walkability of the streets; encourage walking, increase time on the street, promoting economic rise and better health. Therefore, more wakable streets can influence and bring positive health outcomes.
Street furniture can help or hinder the safe and comfortable passage through the street. Well-designed street furniture can extend stay time and social interaction. However, it is challenging to meet the needs of all street users, because promoting a user safe intervention can increase the risk of another user. Tidy streets by reducing the number of street furniture can improve the experience of many high-street users, especially those with children and bugles, as well as wheelchair users. Proper street furniture can be used as an important navigation sign to create a unique sense of location.
Providing seating areas is important for many street users, especially the elderly and those with a poor healthy condition. The unique landmark promotes mental map making, which is particularly important for the elderly and dementia patients. Instead, mental map making may be confused by unnecessary and often changing advertising. Pedestrian crossing signals are important for the elderly and people with disabilities (Nase et al., 2012).
Studies have shown that most elderly are unable to cross the crosswalk in the allotted time, leading to “limited independence” and reducing opportunities for physical activity and social activities. To promote the participation of the elderly, the disabled and young families, there needs to be adequate access to toilets, seats and shelters, including bus shelters. The quality and design of the pavement have a great impact on mobility. Older people, wheelchairs and motorized scooters, as well as those with other sports barriers, more like well maintained and flat pavements with no ker (Porta, 2013).
Ongoing research and guidance is addressing these issues. The use of retail space, as well as associated art and symbols, can be used to encourage and acknowledge the existence of various groups, including those from black and minority ethnic (BME) backgrounds, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT)， which can increase social cohesion, trust and the health of protected groups.
‘Play on the way’ intervention，introduce children’s play equipment and space, has been shown to increase the people number and stay time in the street, as well as families’ outdoor exercise time. Teenagers are often unpopular in public. This can lead to conflicts between adults and young people. However, young people need to take up public space because it supports the transition from childhood to adulthood. Creating space for young people, to provide opportunities for their aggregation and active safely, will promote their health and well-being, and promote social integration and community cohesion.
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