Category Archives: Street of the Day

Slow Street of the Day

Via della Dogana Vecchia, Rome
Click on the image for larger version

HANS MONDERMAN AND SHARED SPACE are all the rage, but the Italians starting making slow streets in the late 1960s without naming them. Rome and Bologna don’t have all the traffic-calming bicycles that Amsterdam and Delft have, but the streets in the Centro Storico of Rome are still shared-space slow streets, with very few of the signs and markings that make drivers comfortable.

Singelgracht, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

WHEN MY WIFE AND I ARRIVED at our apartment on the Singelgracht a few hours before Victor, I thought we had found an urban paradise. Victor took the cover photo just in front of the building. In the book I wrote, “Solid seventeenth- and eighteenth-century brick houses line both sides of the canal there, most of them in a local Classical vernacular with simple trim and harmonious proportions that relate to the Classical music Amsterdammers love: 1 to 2, 2 to 3, 3 to 4, and so on. The houses are mainly red brick, but some have light-colored brick and some have very dark brick. Most are three bays wide (three windows across), but there are also two-bay houses, and some are four or five bays wide. With the exception of the wonderful shop windows, all the windows are vertical and come from just a few ‘families’ of windows. The window trim and the rest of the trim and moldings are usually, but not always, light stone or wood painted white. All in all, the houses produce a wonderful combination of the order and variety that good urbanism requires.” (page 212)

BTW, I’ve discovered that when you travel with Victor, you get perfect, glorious weather.

The view below is looking south along the Singel canal, towards Huidenstraat and the bridge to the Spui. The Google street view is here.