Have you ever visited a really old town? Not like, fifty or sixty years old, or even one or two hundred years old, but many centuries old. Some towns in England and Europe are so old that the nations who built them don’t even exist anymore, but people still live in them. People still walk the streets, buy groceries and live every day in towns that were never designed for our modern life.
Now many of these ancient towns weren’t planned in the traditional sense, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t plan your town. You have the advantage of seeing what happened in those towns over time. Architectural planning services can tell you a lot about how people use spaces and how those spaces can serve people better. This is an important distinction, because towns, especially older towns, are successful when they are built not for technology like cars that changes over time, but to serve the core needs of people.
It all comes down to accessibility, and accessibility can be divided into two main facets. First: people have to be able to get around, on sidewalks, roads, public transportation and ramps to broaden access to people who have trouble walking or are pushing strollers and wheelchairs. Second: people have to have something to access. A common feature of some of Europe’s oldest towns is that wherever you are in the city, you’re within walking distance of the necessities of life. Adopting this philosophy in your town planning can help eliminate food deserts and other scourges of modern towns.
“Walking distance” is key here. Americans especially fall into the trap of designing cities around cars instead of people. Towns that are built for cars are easy to drive through. If you want people to move to your town and actually stick around, spending money and giving you tax dollars, you need to design with pedestrians in mind.
Green Spaces and Future Growth
Last but not least, planning a town means planning for the future. Leave green spaces in your town plan, not just because green spaces make a town more desirable and pleasant, but also because your town will need room to grow. Plan for the future by including growth in your plan both for plants and for your town.
The needs of citizens are constantly evolving, which can make town planning feel less important, but the truth is that town planning is more important than ever.