During his career he pursued a strong interest in environmental perception and community based planning. The Environmental Simulation Laboratory at Berkeley and Places magazine were founded under his leadership. He died in Biography Donald Appleyard, who spent a major part of his life energies making cities and neighborhoods safe and livable, died in Athens, Greece, September , an innocent victim of a senseless, speeding automobile. Appleyard was 54 years old. A native of England, he was educated there as a surveyor and architect.

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In , Appleyard published "Livable Streets" based on his research into how people experience streets with different traffic volumes. It provided the foundational arguments for traffic calming. And what Donald Appleyard was able to show that just the mere presence of cars with the envelope of danger that they project around them, and the noise and the pollution, crushes the quality of life in our neighbourhoods. Things such as a light traffic street helped knit a community together, and in contrast, a heavily traffic street would actually rip it apart and fewer social ties were able to be created.

So each line shows a connection between one person on the street and another. There are just a lot fewer lines on the heavily traffic street as opposed to the moderate or the light traffic street, which clearly has a lot more interconnection.

So what these charts are showing is that people on the light traffic street know more people, have more friends than on the heavily traffic street. On the light traffic street people have on average three friends per person, and on the heavily traffic street 0.

The fact that the amount of traffic on the street on which you live can impact the number of friends you have in the world is of enormous significance. The other thing that Donald Appleyard plotted on these charts are these little dots that indicate where people gather. So it shows on the heavily traffic street there are a much smaller number of dots and there are only a handful of places where people would gather on their street. So people defined their home territory as just the individual space in which they lived or maybe the building.

If you look on the lightly traffic street you start to see that most of the people are defining their entire street as their home territory, with some people saying their building or a slightly larger area. When you get to the moderately traffic street some people still said it was just their apartment. You had more people saying it was their whole building, and then you had a few people who defined territories as being their whole street.

So an unliveable street is one that you want to escape from, and the important part of the research was that it actually shows the senses that we do have about our street environment. What this shows is that on the heavily traffic street they just drew the entirety of the street with very little in the way of details.

As you start getting into the moderately traffic street, people start drawing more details about the specific buildings.

And when you get to the lightly traffic street, people start including details of buildings, plantings, things like that, that people just know their street a lot better.

When they picture it in their head they can picture lots of details, lots of nuances. These studies were the first piece of academic research in the United States to document the social harm that is done by traffic.

So traffic conflicting an incursion on neighbourhoods is still a major issue we need to deal with.


Donald Appleyard



Livable Streets



Revisiting Donald Appleyard’s Livable Streets


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