Accessibility links

Top Navigation

Urban Design Compendium

Animating the Edge

As buildings and open spaces make places it is important that buildings interact positively with the public realm.

enlarge image

Quincy Market, Boston, USA: A 100% active location.

Active Frontage:

  • Active frontages add interest, vitality and security to the public realm. This can be achieved through frequent doors and windows, few blank walls, narrow frontage buildings and uses spilling out onto streets
  • Views into buildings increase interest for passers by and views out improve security through natural surveillance
  • Place lively interior uses towards focal outdoor spaces

Richness and Beauty:

  • Respecting local buildings does not mean pastiche. To respond to neighbouring buildings positively you should consider: continuity of building line, vertical and horizontal rhythms, morphology, adjacent building heights, roof and cornice lines and local building materials
  • Strengthen local identity by drawing on design ‘signatures’, using local traditions and developing a materials strategy
  • Provide a richness of detail when viewing both from near and far


Download 'Detailing the Place' in PDF form

See case studies for 'Detailing the Place'