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Lee, SJ., Stone, SH., Sanderson, L., 2019.

Reclaiming the Road: People and Vehicles in Small Settlements

Output Type:Conference paper
Presented at:REHAB 2019: 4th International Conference on Preservation, Maintenance and Rehabilitation of Historical Buildings and Structures
Publication:REHAB 2019 Proceedings
Venue:Guimaraes, Portugal
Dates:17/7/2019 - 19/7/2019

Much has been written about community activism and urban design in cities. (Jacobs 1961, Gehl 1971, Whyte 1980, Gehl 2010, Speck 2013, etc). The debate has frequently cen- tred on the needs of a local residential community, committed to their locale, but in conflict with the need for local infrastructure to serve the wider road network. Whilst not attracting academic attention, the same conflicts exist in the contrasting milieu of small settlements. In the UK, villages and small towns have become alive to the possibility of determining development outcomes in their own home towns through the UK Government's 'Localism Act' 2011. Our research has noted that the framework for consultation frequently draws out criticism of traffic loads on small settlement roads. However, as it stands, the Neighbourhood Planning process offers no means of incorporating traffic and highways policy into the development framework. The Continuity in Architecture Small Settlements Research Group at Manchester School of Architecture has forged partnerships with local governments and Neighbourhood Planning Groups to explore the ways that this deficiency can be addressed.

We present research and academic work by our Masters students, and applied work by the Con- tinuity research team. The work investigates and tests methods of reclaiming the roads that pass through small settlements, so that traffic is slowed and paused, and the spaces of the town are recast as places once more. This work has implications for every small settlement suffering from the scourge of 'through traffic' (especially those with heritage assets), for the teaching of archi- tecture and urbanism in small settlement settings, and for community engagement and govern- ance in our small towns and villages.