OUR PUBLIC REALM
The quality of our public realm is critical if we are to be successful in creating environments in which people want to live and work. The public realm provides a setting for community life. It includes all parts of the urban atmosphere that people can experience or access - public space and buildings, and those parts of private growth that impact on public space. Cities with high quality public realm encourage greater participation in community and cultural activities and enhances personal safety. One undeniable factor of a great city is the public realm—the parks, memorials, museums, and other public spaces that are available and inviting to all. Our parks, for example, need to be inviting for people of all ages from the play equipment for children to adult fitness equipment.
In December 2013, the City of Markham adopted a new Official Plan that will guide land use and development in Markham over the next 20 years.
- Complete Streets must be designed for all ages, abilities, and modes of travel.
- Embrace the concept of “complete streets” thoroughfares that equally accommodate pedestrians, cyclists, motorists, the elderly and the mobility-impaired.
- Ensure that safe and comfortable access for pedestrians, bicycles, transit users and the mobility-impaired is not an afterthought, but an integral planning feature.
- As a standard practice transportation planners and engineers should consistently design and operate the entire street network for all road users, not only motorists. They are cost effective, sustainable and safe.
The link between Complete Streets and public health is certain. Jurisdictions across North America already include Complete Streets policies in their suite of preventative health strategies. Complete Streets also encourage livability. Human-scale design treatments such as street furniture, trees and wide pedestrian rights-of-way animate our public realm and encourage people to linger, enjoy and become and interactive members of our society.