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Urban and suburban streets should be structurally sound and safe for motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists. Ideally, they should also be beautiful.
But many are less than ideal, plagued by broken curbs, potholes and crumbling sidewalks or no sidewalks; dead trees, the wrong trees or no trees; lack of crosswalks; poor street lighting; overhead wires strung between utility poles; and obscured or inadequate signage.
Planning, constructing and maintaining streets is not just a utilitarian matter. Streetscapes constitute the public realm we all see, share and use every day. Designing that realm, like designing good architecture, should aspire to achieve aesthetic as well as practical goals. A good street is a public place, one that can be visually appealing as well as functional and sustainable. […]