Recipe for a Vibrant Street

By Dom Nozzi

Dom’s Vibrant Street Casserole (serves…everyone)


  •  Elect wise, courageous leaders (cooks) who are well-versed in the creation of walkable street casseroles.
  • Select a “kitchen” staff that has high-quality knowledge regarding the creation of traditional, walkable street casseroles.
  • Add 4 cups of colorful building facades that abut the streetside sidewalk, with entrances on the sidewalk.
  • Add 3 cups of relatively high residential density on or near the street.
  • Add 4 cups of homes, offices and retail. Mix well. Be sure not to add too much office, as this will lead to a tasteless, boring casserole that is utterly unappetizing at night.
  • Layer 10 cups of on-street parking along the street.
  • Evenly sprinkle 8 cans of shading street trees along your streets and use a loper to limb them up. The trees should be placed along your streets in such as way as to have them be formally aligned. The trees should be spaced and limbed up so as to avoid blocking the view of at least the first floor building facades.
  • Cut and trim your streets so that they are short in block length, have modest turn radii, have square curbs, and are no fatter than 3 lanes of 2-way street (3rd lane is landscaped median with pocket turn lanes). Any street fatter than 3 lanes will need to be put on a diet so that it is no more than 3 lanes. Your street should be designed so that motorists are obligated to drive slowly and attentively.
  • Shape your street buildings for verticality. Your buildings should be at least 2 stories high.
  • Insert 2 tablespoons of street lights and traffic signals into your casserole that are modest in height (no more than 8-12 feet in height).
  • Trim your building lot widths so that they are narrow.
  • Provide a heaping helping of windows on at least the first floor of the buildings for your street casserole. Your casserole should strive for high levels of transparency by having abundant windows eye level. Minimize blank walls on the first floor of your buildings.
  • Add generous portions of streetscaping such as street furniture, and encroachment into the sidewalk by outdoor cafes.
  • Place and shape your sidewalks to offer ample sidewalk width so that there is room for sidewalk cafes, couples comfortably walking side-by-side, and street furniture. Be careful not to provide too much width, as excessive width coupled with insufficient pedestrians will deaden the flavor of your casserole.
  • Chop and mince your signs into modest sizes, modest heights, and do not allow them to be animated.

Bake until your casserole sizzles. Serve immediately.


Visit my urban design website read more about what I have to say on those topics. You can also schedule me to give a speech in your community about transportation and congestion, land use development and sprawl, and improving quality of life.


Or email me at: dom[AT]

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Filed under Miscellaneous, Urban Design, Walking

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