These are examples, lists, links to case studies, and personal accounts of places that have
characteristics of people-oriented places. After all, my People Places site promises information about people-oriented places. Readers should ask: Where are they? Show me the city!
Well, the real world is not like theory. In truth, there are very few places in the world where
human beings are given precedence over automobiles and where urban planning and architecture are designed
around people as opposed to functions.
I include places that have at least tried
to make places more people-friendly or are pursuing policies that integrate multi-modal transit and mixed use developments into planning.
60 of the World's Great Places
This list is presented by Project for Public Spaces, a group that works to create and sustain public places that build communities.
Some examples: Balboa Park in San Diego, CA; Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, MO; Covent Gardens in London;
and Staples Street Bus Station in Corpus Christi, TX.
These places are meant to serve as examples and guides. I hope that some of the qualities of these places can be infused into the everyday environments of people everywhere.
Richard Florida's Creativity Index. This index claims to measure the power of a city to draw members of the creative class, members of which Florida claims are the key to economic growth. This list, to me, indicates a way to think about fine-grained amenities and aesthetics that people enjoy, as opposed to mammoth sports stadiums and downtown malls. I think Florida's qualitative research into what attracts young people to cities sheds light on what makes cities great. See his books Cities and the Creative Class and The Rise of the Creative Class.
Top Creativity Index ranking for regions of over 1 million:
There is a List of Carfree Places at Wikipedia.
Most of these car-free areas are in the center of European cities or island or resort areas.
This list includes areas that have limited automobile access (otherwise this list would be extremely short).
This information can shed light on what pedestrian-only and pedestrian-oriented areas look like.
"Best Places to Live" lists. I'm skeptical about "best places to live" rankings because they place an assumed value on things like climate, cultural attractions, sports teams, and other amenities of a place. Everyone wants and values different things, so you shouldn't take any of these best places rankings as absolute, unless you strongly agree with the values placed on the ranked items. You are probably better off making your own ranking at a Web site that allows you to place your own value on amenities and characteristics of a place (see, for example, FindYourSpot.com or the Find your Best Place survey of Sperling's Best Places).
Cities / Neighborhoods
These are specific cities and projects within cities that support various ideals of people-oriented places.
Many are oriented toward ecologically-sound, sustainable development.
Others are oriented toward New Urbanism ideals.
A home zone is a pedestrian and cyclist-oriented group of streets where motorists are encouraged, through traffic calming and other features, to drive safely.
This site includes a directory of home zones in the United Kingdom.
Network of ecovillages with emphasis on ecologically, economically, and culturally sustainable future.
Includes a directory of ecovillages.
A subset network, Urban Ecovillage Network, has an urban emphasis.
On the opening page of People Places, I switch out various photos that visually capture what I mean by "people-oriented places." These are places that I've visited and really enjoyed. Click the thumbnail photo for a bit larger image.
Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA. An urban park can be a vibrant, interesting place with activities oriented around music, art, gardens, sculpture, skyline admiring, walking, food, and people watching. (See more photos.)
State Street, Madison, Wisconsin, USA. This street serves as the main cultural axis of the capital city of Wisconsin and shows how a bus-only street can operate (cars do cross State Street at intersections) with a canopy of trees, cafes, restaurants, stores, and cultural centers. Unfortunately, panhandlers exploit this public space and harass pedestrians. (See more photos.)
Graben Strasse, Vienna, Austria. In the pedestrian streets near Saint Stephan's, transit stations below support pedestrian-only streets above with cafes, shops, people, balloons, and dogs. This is a touristy section of the city, but it shows what a pedestrian-only area supported by underground transit looks like and how people do enjoy it. And the Trzesniewski sandwiches around the corner!
I'd like to list here articles or links to articles in which people describe experiences about where they live and how it supports people-orientation.