Redefining the Street: A Shared Space Design Concept for Pauahi Streeth, Honolulu, Hawai'i

Parker, Christopher K.
Llewellyn, Clark
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Starting Page
Ending Page
Alternative Title
Through government policy and contextual circumstances, traffic engineers are given the sole responsibility in street design. Their priority on safe and efficient automotive transportation has, however, ignored the equally important pedestrian priority. Recognizing the disconnect transportation planners are working towards experimental methods to reduce traffic fatalities and be sensitive to community concerns and needs. Studies show, though, that over many years traffic fatalities are leveling off, signaling a realization that fatalities will not continue to decrease without completely separating the pedestrian from the street. Streets, as the primary public space to the built form, also serve our collective memories as social, political, psychological, and environmental anchors that support and sustain our culture and society. Hence, a fully segregated vehicular and pedestrian system will be unable to serve these equally important functions. Shared Space serves as a viable solution to this dilemma. By creating pedestrian-priority streets, Shared Space will improve the ills that broad stroke transportation engineering and planning has created and fulfill the psychological and physical needs of the community. Also known as Naked Streets, Home Zones, Living Streets, and Woonerf Streets Shared Space is successfully used in Europe, Israel, and Japan, just to name a few. Shared Space is a public space where people, bicycles, and automobiles share a common right-ofway. Elements of pedestrian-vehicular separation are removed and features such as landscape and paving are introduced to psychologically calm the speed of vehicular traffic. The result Abstract 10 is a significant reduction of pedestrian injuries and fatalities therefore encouraging a sustained civic, social, and economic presence on the public street. Shared Space functions by employing a psychological theory called “risk compensation” or “risk homeostasis”. Risk compensation occurs when humans – or animals – change their behavior when there is a perceived change in risk. Designing Shared Spaces in important public right-of-ways will give Honolulu a new vision for urban street life. The project is conducted in three parts. The first part is background and precedent analysis research. Looking at six precedents of Shared Space streets in North America and Europe, the case studies, which varied in location, time, and size, reveals seven commonalities, or principles, that establish the makings of a successful Shared Space. These principles became the comparative framework of evaluating land use and transportation infrastructure for ten neighborhood centers in Honolulu’s central and eastern primary urban core, the best candidate of which would be used to create a Shared Space urban design concept. As a source of numerous cultural and physical opportunities, Pauahi Street in Chinatown Honolulu was chosen. The second part of the research creates a visual design framework to form an ideal Shared Space environment based on the premise that all pedestrian activities take place only when the conditions for looking, walking, crossing, standing, and talking are good. The framework, therefore, establishes a rationale, priority, and suggestion for preferred street design solutions to make Pauahi Street a successful Shared Space and neighborhood center. The third part is a conceptual Shared Space design proposal for Pauahi Street. To support the design the research analysis was undertaken which analyzed existing street life, transportation, and conducted interviews with stakeholders. The design proposes an urban design framework that creates seven shared space street and intersection typologies that support the strengths and address the challenges of Pauahi Street’s unique context. The concept and ideas are supported by shared street activity pattern diagrams, street sections, and vignettes to give the reader an idea of what a Shared Space life would be like on Pauahi Street. The result is an urban design framework for designing a Shared Space and an urban design concept for Pauahi Street. The intended audiences for this research reach a large number of people from a variety of backgrounds. Anyone who has an interest in supporting, designing, or planning future and existing communities and their centers in Chinatown, Honolulu, or the United States can gain from this work. Although the research and framework focuses on Honolulu, its concepts and design framework can be applied to many communities, streets, and urban centers looking to redefine street design and its beneficial properties to their community.
215 pages
Geographic Location
Time Period
Related To
Rights Holder
Email if you need this content in ADA-compliant format.