FLORIDA ROAD creating a great street for all
Our Future Cities | Future Cape Town Sea Point Cape Town, South Africa 8005
April 2018 Edition 0.1
Florida Road : Creating a great street for all Report Authored by Rashiq Fataar & Alex Robinson Our Future Cities Copyright Our Future Cities April 2018 Published by Our Future Cities 32 St. Georges Mall, Cape Town, 8000 Contact Enquiries +27 73 155 0282 Website www.futurecapetown.com All photographs by Our Future Cities unless otherwise stated Drawings and diagrams copyright of Our Future Cities Unless otherwise indicated, the data for this study is based on field and desk survey work undertaken by Future Durban, a division of Our Future Cities ÂŠ Copyright
Florida Road : Analysis and opportunities for Durban’s high street This report has been prepared by Future Durban, a division of Our Future Cities, for Urban Lime Properties SA PTY Ltd. Our Future Cities Our Future Cities NPO is an independent nonprofit and consultancy promoting democracy and actions towards the creation of more equitable, progressive and bold cities. It comprises Future Cape Town, Future Durban and Future Lagos, which works in its respective cities. We work with the public, private and the civil society sector on projects in the public space, housing, transport and city development sectors
Director : Rashiq Fataar Lead Researcher : Alex Robinson Interns : Déborah Berlet Cyril Kull Anna Dunkl
The organisation was founded by Rashiq Fataar in 2010.
Part 1 : Context 1.1 Introduction 1.2 Context 1.3 Methodology
Part 2 : Evaluation 18 2.1 Survey findings 2.2 Precinct analysis 2.3 Quality criteria evaluation
Part 3 : Way Forward 3.1 Opportunities
Our Future Cities | Future Cape Town Sea Point Cape Town, South Africa 8005
0.0 Executive Summary Our streets are some of the most, if not the most
By interrogating how it is developed, designed and
important public spaces in our cities. They are
renewed over time we begin to gather a more
where our everyday lives are played out, where we gather to express ourselves, move, unite and
holistic views of the roles of streets in our cities.
In particular the revival of this street, as a place for everyone in Durban, South Africa and beyond
But due to many challenges, the way they have been developed, designed and programmed have limited the streets in some of South Africaâ€™s major cities from truly becoming a place for all.
could mean :
- Increased investment in development providing both short term and ongoing job growth
- Improved health and safety outcomes with
Florida Road is a landmark street in Durban and South Africa. It attracts locals and visitors alike
fewer traffic incidents, less local air and noise pollution, more sustainable water management
with its vibrant food and bar scene and safe
and increased ecological function.
environment. Its street life and reputation make it a key destination in the well-located neighbourhood of Morningside.
- An elevated profile for the Durban brand and Florida Road as a key destination for visitors to the city.
- A more socially diverse and inclusive place that
But looking closer, rather than functioning as a
welcomes all people regardless of their
true neighbourhood high street, Florida Road
emerges as a somewhat isolated leisure-oriented hub in the middle of a quiet residential area. Its
Together with existing knowledge and our study of
links to the central city and the beach are
the street, report presents opportunities and a
underdeveloped, making it an inconvenient place
strategic case for intervention and investment in
Florida Road to truly become a great street for all.
Its restaurant and bar scene is perhaps Florida
- Rashiq Fataar
Roadâ€™s strongest asset, however the street suffers from a patchy repetition of activities. Several inactive sections of the road and few overlapping activities fail to enable dynamic social interactions throughout the day.
Part 1: Context
1.1 Introduction Why do high streets like Florida Road matter?
What does this mean for Florida Road?
High streets around the world are being reconsidered in terms of the value they contribute to the city and the local community. A recent report from the Greater London Authority, High Streets for All, considers the ‘social value’ of high streets, which includes economic, social and environmental benefits. The report points out that ‘London’s high streets support and deliver multiple economic, social and environmental benefits to Londoners across the city’ far beyond just the direct localised benefits to surrounding communities.
Change is happening in Durban, and Florida Road is changing with it. As the profile of the city grows, investment in urban places will see continued growth in jobs, residents and visitors. Florida Road is well placed to maximise the potential benefits of this transition. By carefully managing renewal with smart investments in improvements to public services, Florida Road can continue to grow as a safe, inclusive, prosperous, accessible, green and vibrant high street in Durban.
In 2016 the Global Street Design Guide, an initiative led by the United States National Association of City Transportation Officials (NACTO), established a global baseline for designing streets and public spaces while redefining the role of streets in a rapidly urbanizing world. The Guide broadens how to measure the success of urban streets to include access, safety and mobility for all users, environmental quality, economic benefit, public health and overall quality of life.
This report provides a base and set of criteria which evaluate the current reality of the street, and its potential to be improved. The opportunities and possibilities presented therein as actions for cooperation between government, business and the communities that live and enjoy the area.
The 10 Key Design Principles outlined therein are used to guide the approach and recommendations in this report (see chapter 1.3 Methodology).
1.2 Context Where is Florida Road? â€¨ Florida Road is 1.6 km long and is located in the Morningside neighbourhood of Durban, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. It runs from Innes Road in the north west to Montpelier Circle in the south. The study area for this report covers a 1.2 km section, comprising 10 Hospitals blocks from Innes Road to Sandile Thusi Road. The Hospital southern end of the study area is around 2 km from the Hospital Durban City Centre.
Florida Road neighbourhood map
Florida Road neighbourhood Florida Road is characterized as a high streetmap due to its Fixed clinic
dense and diverse range of uses; mostly residential, retail, restaurants, bars and cafes. There is also an Emmerson Hospital house Pop-Up Gin Gallery, Durban Tourism office, two Childline Point 3 KZN Hospital School churches, one bank, a pharmacy, an IT learning centre SANCA Point 4 Hospital School andPoint a research institute. The streetscape is mostly a Durban Hospice for Women 5clinic Fixed School Durban Children's Society Point mixSchool of 6restored Victorian and Edwardian buildings and Social Welfare Organizations Age in Point 7Action more modern buildings from the second half of the School Epilepsy Point 8 South Association for Africa the Aged 20th century. School Social Welfare Organizations
Hospitals Association for the Aged
It accommodates two-way traffic for its full length. Between Innes Road and Woodley Crescent the carriageways are separated by a grassed median. At Woodley Crescent Florida Road widens to one vehicle lane in each direction with parking on both sides. At Gordon Road it widens again with two vehicle lanes in each direction. The full width of the street from property line to property line varies from 20 to 25m. Florida Road is relatively steep, with a 70 m change in height from one end to the other. Florida Road connects the higher land of the Berea with the Durban City Centre. Prior to urban development, the alignment of Florida Road marked the path taken by wild elephant herds on their way from the Berea down to water sources on the lower land to the east.
Tuinsig For The Aged Point 9 Centre Emmerson house School Challenge Unlimited Childline KZN School Police stations TAFTA SANCA School Point 1 Hospice for Women Durban Hospitals School Libraries Point 2 Children's Society Durban School Hospitals Hospital Windermere Age in ActionLibrary Hospital ChurchHospital Florida Road Epilepsy South Africa Childcare Hospital Educational institutions Hospital Point 1 Centre For The Aged Tuinsig Child care Pre-School Fixed clinic Point 3 Hospital Primary Point 2 School Challenge Unlimited Pre-School Point 4 School Primary Point 3 School Fixed clinic TAFTA Social Welfare Organizations Pre-School Point 5 Point 4 Social Organization Pre-School Association for the Aged Point 6 Welfare Libraries Point 5 Social Welfare Organizations Pre-School Emmerson house Point 7 Point Library 6 Windermere Library Association for the Aged Hospitals Pre-School Childline Point 8 KZN Point 7 Emmerson house Pre-School Hospital Hospital SANCA Point 9 Educational Point institutions 9 Childline KZN Pre-School Hospital Durban Hospice for Women Point 10School Religious Institution Primary Pre-School SANCA Police stations HospitalChildren's Society Durban Point 11School Primary Durban Hospice for Women Fixed Age in1clinic Action Police Station Point Point 12 Untitled layer Epilepsy South Africa Society Durban Children's Point 2 Park Point 3 Road Social Welfare Organizations Florida Tuinsig Centre For Age in Action The Aged Point 4 ChurchChallenge Association for the Aged Unlimited Epilepsy South Africa Point 5 Emmerson house TAFTA Point 1 Tuinsig Centre For The Aged Point 6 Childline Point 2 KZN Unlimited Challenge Point 7 Libraries SANCA Point 3 TAFTA Point 8 Durban for Women Windermere Library Point 4 Hospice Point 9 Durban Point 5 Children's Society
Florida Road neighbourhood map
Florida Road neighbourhood map
Florida Road neighbourhood map
Educational Age ininstitutions Point 6Action Police stations Windermere Library Epilepsy South Africa Primary Point 7 School
Point 1 A mapping of For theThe amenities, public facilities and civic buildings within the Florida Road precinct and Morningside area. Tuinsig Aged Primary School Point 9 Centre
Educational Point 2 institutions Challenge Point 10 Unlimited
School TAFTA Point 11 School Point 12
Point 1 Libraries
Point 2 Windermere Library Point 3 Point institutions 4 Educational Point 5 Primary School Point 6 Primary School Point 7 Point 9 Point 10
What are the demographics of the neighbourhood?
Florida Road : A retrofitted residential street
Florida Road falls within Ward 27 of the eThekwini Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal Province, to the north of the Durban City Centre. Ward 27 includes the neighbourhoods of Morningside, Stamford Hill and Essenwood. The population is 22 974 people at a density of 2 026 people per square/km. The median age is 33 years old and 83.7% of the residents are South African citizens. ● ● ● ● ●
41 % of households in Ward 27 own their own home. 73 % of households own a car, compared with 29 per cent across KwaZulu-Natal. The average annual household income is R115 100. (KwaZulu-Natal: R29 400) 64 % of people are employed. (KwaZulu-Natal: 31.5 per cent) 68 % of people have a Matric level education. (KwaZulu-Natal: 39.31 per cent)
How is Florida Road covered in the media? Coverage of Florida Road in the media as a dangerous place has changed significantly over time. Florida Road does still include a mix of both positive and negative headlines, but fewer references to serious crime, such as gang violence and shootings, has made way for more positive stories about the successes of the street’s transformation and Urban Improvement Precinct (UIP). Stories mentioning Florida Road generally make reference to its festive vibe, restaurants, bars and leisure opportunities. However issues with traffic management and congestion is a recurring concern in the media.
Florida Road’s heritage residential character is part of what makes it distinct, but it also leads to a number of challenges. Florida Road has been a predominantly residential street for over 150 years, but is now transitioning to accommodate a greater mix of uses. Despite some of its historic buildings being originally built for commercial use, many residential buildings (some of them grand Victorian and Edwardian villas) are now being progressively retrofitted for new use. As a result, Florida Road lacks several significant attributes that make other high streets successful. Firstly, successful high streets typically have buildings that come right to the street edge with regular doors and windows that make shops and services visible and easy for people to access. Many of Florida Road’s residential buildings are set back from the street; behind gardens, high stone and iron walls. The capacity for these buildings to be adapted to serve new functions, while retaining their character, will be a key to Florida Road’s success in the future. Secondly, successful high streets typically have a high density of buildings, regular use, and strong public transport links. For example, Long Street in the Cape Town CBD is a successful destination street with a variety of uses, and regular use by both tourists and locals. Neighbourhood high streets in London and Melbourne combine a mix of local and recreational uses with strong public transport links. Florida Road is in a lower density area with limited public transport services. Its success as a high street will depend on its capacity to increase allowable bulk while balancing access requirements. The potential of its inner city location can be further leveraged to support a higher number of walking, cycling and public transport trips that will reduce pressure on traffic congestion and car parking.
A comparison between Florida Road located within a low-intensity suburban neighborhood and a typical high street, usually located within a medium to high density area e.g. Long Street in Cape Town.
Florida Road : A bridge for Durban Florida Road is a landmark street in Durban located between the Berea and the city centre, however it has a greater potential to become a bridge connecting different parts of the city that is currently unrealised. Florida Road attracts locals and visitors alike . The safe environment, and vibrant food and bar scene, make it a relatively well known street in Durban. However the street suffers from a repetition of uses and few overlapping activities, resulting in a failure to cement its place as a key destination. Florida Road’s location as a recreation oriented hub in the middle of a quiet residential area can make it a difficult place to identify and access. Furthermore, its links to the central city and the beach are underdeveloped, failing to connect it with the key destinations in Durban.
Florida Road has the potential to form a physical and metaphorical bridge between different areas and people within the Durban urban context. Florida Road’s location between the Berea, Durban city and beach lends itself to connection. During the 2010 World Cup, Florida Road was the epicentre of events and activities as spectators made their way to Moses Mabhida Stadium. A vibrant and exciting Florida Road can draw people from different parts of the city together. Florida Road can also play the role of a ‘stepping stone’ location back into the inner city for residents and businesses that have moved out to the affluent area of Umhlanga, 15 km to the north of Durban. Florida Road can become an increasingly attractive place to locate for businesses and residential developers, as a safe, vibrant and quintessentially “Durban” place.
1.3 Methodology This chapter outlines the principles and methods that were used to inform the findings and recommendations in this report.
Data collection Desktop research A number of sources were used to collect data on demographics, the neighbourhood, the multiple precincts, transport and traffic, community facilities and spaces. A desktop media study was also undertaken to better understand how the challenges on Florida Road have been depicted through the media, and how public interest in the street has changed over the past 5 years. Surveys On Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th October 2017 the Future Durban team conducted more than one hundred intercept surveys with people on Florida Road. The intercept surveys gathered information from people visiting Florida Road about demographics, use of space, perceptions of safety and ideas for improvement. This methodology allowed for the collection of both quantitative and qualitative data during a short period of time.
Observations Florida Road has been separated into 10 precincts, that allows us to study and observe each of them with specific criteria relevant to main topics as protection, comfort and enjoyment. Observations also documented the architectural, surface, and texture of Florida Road and surrounding buildings, and video recordings that allows to observe the pedestrian movements and the uses of the street edges. Pictures are also a tool that helps to see and realize the urban quality of a space and also the macro and micro aspects that gives the Road its atmosphere. Interviews Questions covered the connection or relationship to Florida Road for the stakeholders that are involved in the key challenges, the placemaking interventions and the aspirations for this area. Interviews were conducted individually in October 2017.
On Wednesday 4th October, a walking workshop was held on Florida Road with over 15 attendees. The group walking along Florida Road sharing informal discussions with the Future Durban team.
Key design principles All research and data collection was informed by the 10 NACTO (National Association of City Transportation Officials) key design principles as outlined in the Global Street Design Guide. The key design principles provide a global best practice approach to guiding and understanding the essential functions of a great street. A summary of the principles is included below. Streets for Everyone Design streets to be equitable and inclusive, serving the needs and functions of diverse users with particular attention to people with disabilities, seniors, and children. Regardless of income, gender, culture, or language, whether one is moving or stationary, streets must always put people first. See: Designing Streets for People. Streets for Safety Design streets to be safe and comfortable for all users. Prioritize the safety of pedestrians, cyclists, and the most vulnerable users among them: children, seniors, and people with disabilities. Safe streets have lower speeds to reduce conflicts, provide natural surveillance, and ensure spaces are safely lit and free of hazards. See: Safe Streets Save Lives. Streets are Multidimensional Spaces Design the street in space and time. Streets are multidimensional, dynamic spaces that people experience with all their senses. While the ground plane is critical, the edges and the canopy play a large role in shaping a great street environment. See: Immediate Street Context and Sidewalks-Building Edges and Facades. Streets for Health Design streets to support healthy environments and lifestyle choices. Street designs that support active transportation and integrate green infrastructure strategies improve air and water quality, can reduce stress levels, and improve mental health. See: Streets Shape People.
Streets are Multimodal Design for a range of mobility choices, prioritizing active and sustainable modes of transport. Safe, efficient, and comfortable experiences for pedestrians, cyclists, and transit riders support access to critical services and destinations and increase the capacity of the street. See: Multimodal Streets Serve More People. Streets as Ecosystems Integrate contextual green infrastructure measures to improve the biodiversity and quality of the urban ecosystem. All designs should be informed by natural habitats, climate, topography, water bodies, and other natural features. See: Streets for Environmental Sustainability, Green Infrastructure and Designing Streets for Place. Great Streets Create Value Design all streets to be an economic asset as well as a functional element. Well-designed streets create environments that entice people to stay and spend time, generating higher revenues for businesses and higher value for homeowners. Streets for Context Design streets to enhance and support the current and planned contexts at multiple scales. A street can traverse diverse urban environments, from low-density neighborhoods to dense urban cores. As the context changes, land uses and densities place different pressures on the street, and inform the design priorities. Streets Can Change Design streets to reflect a new set of priorities that ensures appropriate distribution of space among different users. Push boundaries, try new things, and think in creative ways. Implement projects quickly using low-cost materials to help inform public decision making, allowing people to experience and test the street in different ways.
Streets are Public Spaces Design streets as quality public spaces, as well as pathways for movement. They play a big role in the public life of cities and communities, and should be designed as places for cultural expression, social interaction, celebration, and public demonstration. 17
Part 2: Evaluation
2.1 Survey findings Intercept survey On Wednesday 4th and Thursday 5th October 2017 the Future Durban team conducted 110 intercept surveys with people on Florida Road. Below is a summary of who we spoke to and what their experiences of Florida Road have taught us about the street. What did the survey teach us about Florida Road? ● People visiting Florida Road are racially diverse and from a range of different age groups. ● A large number of younger people visit Florida Road. ● A high proportion of people work on or near Florida Road and visit regularly for extended periods of time. ● Over two thirds of people visiting Florida Road get there by car. A quarter of people walk. ● Crime was highlighted as the biggest issue on Florida Road. Traffic congestion, pedestrian safety and car parking were also identified as issues.
How did they get there? ● 42 per cent had come to Florida Road by car and 33 per cent walked. ● Less than 7 per cent of people travelled by bicycle, bus and train combined.
Who did we speak to? ● 42 per cent of people interviewed were black African, 36 per cent white, 10 per cent Coloured and 9 per cent Indian. ● 52 per cent of interviewees were female. 62 per cent were aged 25 - 65, and 29 per cent were aged 18 - 24. ● 82 per cent lived in Durban and 15 per cent elsewhere in South Africa.
What did they not like about Florida Road? ● 35 per cent of people mentioned crime as the worst thing about the street, 18 per cent mentioned traffic, 17 per cent parking issues and 12 per cent noise. ● Others were that there are not many interesting places to visit, that the quality of restaurants was low and that the street could be expensive and unwelcoming for lower income groups.
What were they doing on Florida Road? ● 40 per cent of people surveyed were working on or near Florida Road, 25 per cent were eating or drinking and 21 per cent were meeting family or friends. ● Over two thirds of people were visiting for a few hours or longer. ● Half visited Florida Road most days and a third visited regularly, a few times each month.
What did they like about Florida Road? ● 39 per cent of people mentioned atmosphere and vibrancy as the best thing about Florida Road. ● Half the people surveyed said their favourite place on Florida Road was a restaurant and 45 per cent chose a bar as their favourite. ● 4 per cent of people chose a public place as their favourite.
What did they suggest could be improved? ● 35 per cent of people suggested improvements could be made to the public realm, including better walking routes, public space, street furniture, cycling lanes and less cars. ● 27 per cent suggested that security could be improved with more guards, cameras and lighting. ● 16 per cent suggested that more parking is needed.
Online survey A further 40 people participated in an online survey that was hosted on the Future Durban website. Who did we speak to? ● 68 per cent of respondents were white, 7.5 per cent were respectively black African, Indian or other. ● There was an even number of men and women. 78 per cent were aged 25 - 65. Why do they usually go to Florida Road? ● 43 per cent usually go to Florida Road for restaurants and bars and 18 per cent to go to work. Others visited to meet friends, walk or go shopping. ● 73 per cent usually visited for a few hours or longer. ● 40 per cent visited most days, 35 per cent a few times a month and 25 per cent less often. How did they get there? ● 68 per cent travelled by car and 25 per cent walked. What did they like about Florida Road? ● 40 per cent mentioned restaurants and bars as the best thing about Florida Road, and 27 per cent mentioned the vibrancy and atmosphere. 15 per cent of respondents liked the diversity of people that come to Florida Road. ● Other positive elements of the road included convenience, walkability, architecture, human scale and local character. What did they not like about Florida Road? ● A third of respondents mentioned crime as a big issue, 20 per cent mentioned traffic and a lack of pedestrian safety and 20 per cent mentioned parking. ● Noise, ugly buildings, the lack of variety in businesses and the exclusivity of the space were also mentioned as issues.
What did they suggest could be improved? ● 23 per cent of respondents suggested the variety of cafes, bars, shops, galleries and services could be improved. ● 15 per cent suggested pedestrian infrastructure should be improved and the impact of traffic lessened and 15 per cent suggest security improvements were needed including lighting and guards. ● Other suggestions included solving parking issues, improving public spaces, introducing art and colour to the street and improving cycling infrastructure. Respondents to the online survey were asked to rate their level of satisfaction on a scale 1 to 10 on how Florida Road performs against the following categories. 1 is ‘not at all satisfied’ and 10 is ‘very satisfied’. Below are the average responses. Respondents generally rated their satisfaction of Florida Road as average against these categories. Satisfaction levels were were generally higher for safety during the day and cleanliness, and lower for convenience of parking and green spaces.
Safety during the day
Safety during the night
Level and quality public lighting
Experience of walking/being a pedestrian
Convenience of parking
2.2 Gehl Quality Criteria for Public Spaces Introduction In order to understand the study area in greater detail, Florida Road was divided into 10 precincts defined by intersecting side streets. Each precinct was analysed and assessed against 12 key quality criteria for public spaces (Gehl, 2010). A summary of the analysis of each precinct is included below. The analysis of the street using this methodology has revealed a need to broaden the range of uses and possibilities along Florida Road. Florida Road needs to cater to a larger and more diverse portion of the population to enable social interaction and a truly inclusive and diverse street life. Beyond providing private spaces for consumption, there is a need for a quality public realm that promotes social inclusion and that can be enjoyed by employees, families and residents at any time of the day.
A vibrant, diverse and inclusive Florida Road will be a destination for all, with a range of different activities and uses that can be accessed by all modes of transport. Upgrades to the public realm and investment in private property on Florida Road can help to create more jobs, catalyze investments, and promote a safer and more sustainable economy and community. The future of Florida Road will be in its capacity to play the role of a social and spatial bridge for Durban.
The 10 precincts illustrated for the purpose of this study.
Protection against traffic and accidents — feeling safe
Protection against crime and violence — feeling secure
Protection against unpleasant sensory experiences
— Protection for pedestrians — Eliminating fear of traffic
— Lively public realm — Allow for passive surveillance — Overlapping functions day and night — Well lit / lighting in human scale
— Wind/draft — Rain/snow — Cold/heat — Pollution — Dust, noise, glare
Opportunities to walk
Opportunities to stand/stay
Opportunities to sit
— Room for walking — Interesting facades — No obstacles — Good surfaces — Accessibility for everyone
— Attractive & functional edges — Defined spots for staying — Objects to lean against or stand next to — Facades with good details that invite staying
— Defined zones for sitting — Pleasant views, people watching — Good mix of public and café seating — Resting opportunities
Opportunities to see
Opportunities to talk and listen
Opportunities for play and exercise
—Reasonable viewing distances — Unhindered views — Interesting views —Lighting (when dark)
— Low noise levels — Public seating arrangements conducive to communicating, ‘talkscapes’
— Allow for physical activity, exercise, play and street entertainment — Temporary activities (markets, festivals, exhibitions etc) — By day and night — In summer and winter
Dimensioned at human scale
Opportunities to enjoy the positive aspects of climate
Aesthetic qualities + positive sensory experience
— Sun/shade — Heat/coolness — Shelter from wind/breeze
— Good design and detailing — Good materials — Fine views/vistas — Rich sensory experiences: trees, plants, water
— Dimensions of buildings & spaces in observance of the important human dimension in relation to senses, movements, size and behaviour
Precinct 1 Musgrave/Innes Road - Woodley Crescent Precinct 1 is dominated by generally fast moving traffic as it moves downhill around the bend in the road, creating a particularly unpleasant environment for pedestrians. There are two large sloped grass traffic islands on the western side of the road that are not usable for recreation purposes due to the configuration of the traffic lanes. There is the potential for this configuration to be altered to improve pedestrian and public transport access and to create a green gateway at the entrance to Florida Road. Precinct 2 Woodley Crescent - Cottam Grove Precinct 2 has a few fabric showroom tenancies located in old houses and one cafe that are setback from the street and do not see much foot traffic. This precinct is characterised mostly by multiunit residential buildings with high, blank walls and fences. The lack of activity in this precinct can make it an unsafe place at night. This section of the road is a place to pass through for both vehicles and pedestrians, rather than a destination in its own right. Precinct 3 Cottam Grove - Holden Avenue Precinct 3 exhibits many attributes typical to Florida Road, including grand heritage villas and a mix of residential and commercial activity. The heritage value of these buildings can be obscured from the public realm due to large building setbacks and dense vegetation. Retail activity around the Hacienda Building increases safety and vitality both on Florida Road and around the corner on Holden Avenue. This precinct could function better as a public space by decluttering the footpath and reducing the impact of the high wall and gates of the church by providing spaces for sitting and resting.
Parking on the footpaths is also an issue, making it difficult and unsafe for pedestrians to move through the space. A service lane on the north side of the road opposite Holden Avenue called ‘The Snicket’ provides the only mid block link between Innes Road and Lambert Road (a distance of 550 m) and could be improved for pedestrian access. Precinct 5 Currie/Lambert Road - Gordon Road Precinct 5 is home to a cluster of restaurants, bars and the emerging Florida Exchange, which are housed in retrofitted heritage homes. These businesses form the nucleus of activity on the north side of Gordon Road and benefit from moderate setbacks that allow for outdoor dining that engages directly with the street. Furthermore, the design of Florida Exchange attracts activity deeper into the block to the Afro’s Chicken Shop, increasing the number of potential pedestrian paths. However, this precinct suffers from a lack of balance in the distribution of activity, where all the active uses are on one side of street with completely blank inactive walls on opposite side. Precinct 6 Gordon Road - Tenth Avenue Precinct 6 forms the vibrant heart of Florida Road, with a great mix of buildings, activities and ‘vibe’. Perhaps the most successful section of the road, Precinct 6 also has huge potential for further improvement. The intersection with Gordon Road marks the point where the road transitions between two and four vehicle lanes. The intersection design includes brick paving that signals that this is a pedestrian area, however the wide road space encourages erratic driving movements, illegal parking, creating an unsafe environment for pedestrians. The Gordon Road Open Space can be redesigned to become a more practical space for both day-to-day use and scheduled events.
Precinct 4 Holden Avenue - Currie/Lambert Road Precinct 4 is also characterised by large setbacks or high inactive walls and several heritage buildings are in a state of disrepair. Despite several retrofitted garages with small retail tenancies, there are opportunities to improve the way these buildings interface with the street. 23
Precinct 7 Tenth Avenue - Ninth Avenue Precinct 7 marks a change in the character of the road towards the south as the wide vehicle lanes, heavier traffic and limited tree canopy cover become the dominant features. More brick paving is used to mark pedestrian crossing points, however it is ineffective in reducing vehicle speeds or creating a safe environment. This precinct benefits from a good mix of commercial, residential and food and beverage uses and has some excellent active uses right on the street. But it also suffers from an inconsistent street interface with some high walls and large setbacks.
Precinct 10â€¨ Seventh Avenue - Sandile Thusi Road Precinct 10 feels very much like the end of the mixed use area, despite the fact that Florida Road continues to the south of Sandile Thusi Road. The Quarters Hotel on the west side of the road and Durban Tourism Office buildings on the east side form a gateway into Florida Road, but do not produce any activity on the street. This precinct experiences noise and fast moving traffic from Sandile Thusi Road and is not a pleasant pedestrian environment.
Precinct 8 Ninth Avenue - Eighth Avenue Traffic continues to be the dominant feature of Precinct 8 with wide lanes making the street difficult to cross for pedestrians. There is a mix of heritage and contemporary buildings, though most have not been designed or retrofitted to contribute to the vitality of the street. There are several mature trees but the tree canopy is mostly undeveloped. Precinct 9 Eighth Avenue - Seventh Avenue Precinct 9 is characterised by a disbalance of activities mostly focused on one side of the street, with shops located on the east side. The west side of the road is home to two residential apartment buildings that are setback from the street with inactive interfaces. The Olive Tree Church on the corner Seventh Avenue provides a good example of an activated setback space that has been developed as a cafe. The footpath paving treatment is continued into the road reserve at the Seventh Avenue intersection, but fails to significantly slow traffic due to minimal changes to the dimensions of the road.
Main Roads Secondary Roads
Big Tree Medium Tree Small Tree Bushes
Hospitlity / Shop Restaurant / Bar / Cafe Residential
Precinct 8 Precinct 6
Office / Company Religion Public space
Area with urban regeneration potential
Edge Conditions Active Low Active Inactive
Hospitlity / Shop Restaurant / Bar / Cafe Residential Office / Company
Main Roads Secondary Roads
Edge Conditions Active Low Active Inactive
Small Tree Bushes
Area with urban regeneration potential
2.3 Global Street Design Guide : Key Design Principles Introduction Using the Survey Findings (Chapter 2.1) and Precinct Analysis (Chapter 2.2) as key inputs, the performance of the Florida Road study area was evaluated against the 10 NACTO Key Design Principles outlined in Chapter 1.3.
Streets are Multidimensional Spaces
Streets for Everyone
Florida Road lacks a coherent identity due to irregular building edges, an inconsistent tree canopy and materials palette, and sometimes incompatible uses that create a significantly different character from day to night.
Florida Road is less inclusive of children and older people as many of the businesses along the street such as fast food outlets and bars cater more to younger people. Access for people with a disability can be difficult due to cluttered footpaths creating narrow clearance in some sections. There are few places for people to enjoy the street without buying something, making it less welcoming for people with lower incomes.
Many of the historic residential buildings along Florida Road do not lend themselves to vibrant urban life as they are set back far from the street edge, limiting opportunities for interaction and visual interest for passers-by. This effect is exacerbated by an irregular arrangement of active uses along the street, where some blocks have a mix of restaurants, bars, retail and offices on one side of the street and blank residential walls on the other. Tree canopy cover and pavement material treatments are inconsistent. Florida Road’s character is affected by a number of uses that are only active at particular times. For example bars, nightclubs and some restaurants are located in particular sections and only open at night, whereas cafes, shops and offices are only open in the daytime.
Streets for Safety
Streets for Health
Florida Road is generally an inclusive place for people of different cultural backgrounds, but can be less welcoming for certain groups based on their age, physical ability and income.
Florida Road is becoming a safer and more comfortable place for all users, however there are still issues with security at night, theft and a lack of safety for pedestrians and cyclists using the road. The mix of residential and commercial uses creates some dark spots along the road that lack of activity, increasing the feeling of unsafety. Inactive street walls along the road limit opportunities for passive surveillance and can increase the risk of theft directed at people and parked vehicles. High vehicle speeds, erratic driving behaviour and few dedicated formal pedestrian crossings make it a difficult place for pedestrians to move around, particularly older people, children and people with a disability.
Florida Road does not provide many opportunities for healthy activities and is more characterised by traffic and vehicle noise than green spaces and trees. At its north western end, Florida Road connects with a significant network of green spaces and Jameson and Mitchell Parks, however the active uses that these spaces enable are not well integrated with the rest of the road. Local residents do use the street for exercise such as walking and running. The public space at the corner of Gordon Street is used by skateboarders and has the potential to host more activities to promote physical health. The tree canopy along the road is inconsistent, however a number of healthy recently planted trees are yet to fully mature.
Further along the street there are fewer water permeable surfaces and the inconsistent tree canopy does not allow for cohesive wildlife corridors. The sloped topography of Florida Road could be exploited to initiate more sustainable water management. Large spaces at the front of private properties with significant vegetation often overhang the street, contributing the positive benefits of healthy urban ecosystems to the public realm.
Streets are Public Spaces Florida Road does not generally function well as a public space, and while it can support vibrant public life, this is generally as a result of scheduled events rather than spontaneous activity supported by the urban environment. Public life is limited on Florida Road due to insufficient or poorly designed infrastructure for people, including narrow or obstructed footpaths and a lack of street furniture. Social interaction is restricted mostly to the private realm. The street fails to function as a public space largely due to significant vehicle traffic and limited opportunities for lateral pedestrian movement across the street. As a result, people are limited in only walking along the street rather than more spontaneous movements. This lack of variation in potential pedestrian movements is exacerbated by the large number of inactive interfaces.
Great Streets Create Value Florida Road is becoming a significant economic asset in the Durban context, with private sector activity contributing to a vibrant urban environment.
Streets are Multimodal
Florida Road is becoming a destination for its cafe culture, nightlife and great restaurants. Multinational corporations have set up the offices on the road to gain the benefits this location provides. Significant investment from the private sector into restoring and repurposing heritage buildings is helping to create a dynamic space that is attracting further interest in the street as valuable economic asset. The design and operation of the public realm of the street can be significantly improved to optimise this asset.
Florida Road is primarily designed for people driving cars ahead of those using other transport modes such as walking, cycling and public transport. Walking along Florida Road is generally supported by reasonable footpaths, however crossing the road and navigating larger intersections can be dangerous. There is no cycling infrastructure on Florida Road, and as a result, very few cyclists. Florida Road is used by multiple public bus and minibus taxi routes, however passenger infrastructure is very poor. Space that could be dedicated to active and public transport modes is instead designated to two vehicle lanes in both directions along most of the street and a significant amount of on street parking.
Streets as Ecosystems Florida Road has limited green infrastructure, but landscaped spaces in the private realm that interface with the street improve the biodiversity and quality of the urban ecosystem. At the north western end of the road the large green spaces and mature trees improve the local climate, allow for natural water drainage and contribute to healthy habitats for birds and animals.
Streets for Context Florida Road is unique within the context of Durban for its potential to create a bridge between the Berea and the Durban City Centre. From the leafy green residential streets in the north to the more intensive urban form in the south, Florida Road plays an important role in reconnecting the sometimes disparate elements of Durban’s spatial layout. The design of Florida Road does not currently embrace this role due to its focus on traffic movement, rather than people and public transport. The design of the street and better facilitate Florida Road both as a destination and a place to pass through for a range of transport modes, particular as the intensity of buildings and activities along the road increases.
Streets Can Change Florida Road is undergoing a period of transformation where uses along the street are changing and the public realm requires an overhaul to support this.
Florida Road provides a perfect case study to test new approaches and to think about how the creative energy of the local community can be harnessed to make the street a great urban place.
Historically a predominantly residential street with some commercial uses, Florida Road is transitioning to a true mixed use precinct. This change of uses requires the design of the street itself to be upgraded to support different transport priorities, new activities, use space more efficiently and a greater focus on placemaking and people.
Part 3: Way Forward
3.1 Opportunities Introduction Research and analysis of Florida Road outlined in Part Two of this report has highlighted areas in need of change. These include a need to broaden the range of uses and possibilities along Florida Road, and to improve its connections to other areas, to establish its place as a destination street in Durban. There is a need for Florida Road to cater for a more diverse portion of the population in order to enable social interactions between groups and create an inclusive and vibrant street life. There is a need for the public realm to foster social interaction to complement the existing private spaces so that the street can be enjoyed by all at any time of the day and night. The 10 Opportunities outlined in this chapter will help make Florida Road a more vibrant, diverse and inclusive destination for all; with a range of activities and uses that can be accessed by all modes of transport. Along with upgrades to the public realm and further investment in private property, the transformation of Florida Road can create more jobs, catalyze investment and promote a more sustainable economy and safer community. Each of the 10 Opportunities includes a number of actions that can be implemented through cooperation between government, business and the local community. Each Opportunity is designed to help Florida Road transition into a truly great street in the future. As the different elements of a great street are all interconnected, each Opportunity is presented along with the Key Design Principles it will help to deliver.
01 02 03 04 05
Transform the road space to become more people friendly
Create many places to sit, stop and linger
Creatively activate and develop underutilised sites and spaces
Redesign and improve the interface of buildings with the street
Connect the street, neighbourhood and the city
06 07 08 09 10
Improve the immediate walking network on and around Florida Road
Invest in unique destinations and offerings
Diversify the mix of uses along the street
Revive and redesign the public spaces and parks
Promote the sharing of private and public spaces across the day and night
01Transform the road space to become more people friendly
Dedicate more road space to people; making walking, cycling and taking public transport more convenient, and reducing the impact of vehicle traffic on the street. Florida Road’s current design puts cars first, dedicating lots of space to vehicle lanes and car parking spaces. This design creates traffic and parking issues and makes the road a difficult place to get around for everyone. Reducing the width of the vehicle carriageway from two lanes to one in each direction will create more space for walking, cycling and public transport. This will allow Florida Road to function as a multimodal street, providing healthier and more sustainable transport choices and helping to relieve pressure on traffic and parking.
Actions : ● Reduce the vehicle carriageway from two lanes to one lane in each direction between Gordon Road to Sandile Thusi Road ● Increase the width of footpaths between Gordon Road and Sandile Thusi Road using space made available by vehicle lane reduction ● Identify other opportunities for increasing space for people walking and cycling, including: ○ Kerb outstands ○ Bike lanes ○ Public transport stops ● Narrow vehicle lanes and broad intersections to encourage slower speeds and to limit opportunities for vehicles to turn right and Uturn This opportunity will help to deliver the following Key Design Principles: ● Streets for Everyone ● Streets for Safety ● Streets are Multimodal
A section view of Florida Road as it is currently designed with parts of 1 traffic lane and parts with 2 traffic lanes.
Florida Road is reduce to 1 traffic lane in each direction for the full length, with larger pavements and a segregated bicycle lane.
Florida Road is reduced to 1 traffic lane in each direction for the full length, with larger pavements.
02 Create many places to sit, stop and linger
Create safe and comfortable places along the street to encourage people to spend more time sitting, resting and socialising. Florida Road has very few places within the public realm where people can spend time in the street without having to buy something. The lack of seating and shelter contributes toward an exclusive space that is only accessible to certain groups. Creating comfortable, informal places for people to sit and stop on the street increases the occurrence of social activities such as conversation, meeting friends, and children playing. More social activity on the street encourages interaction between different groups of people and fosters safe, vibrant, inclusive public life.
Actions: ● Introduce more street furniture ○ Add benches at suitable places along the pavement, and where possible, add edges/movable seats for informal sitting. ○ Design new public spaces and building facades to include comfortable places to lean and rest that are protected from the wind and noise. ○ Introduce awnings, broad canopy trees and shade cloths in appropriate locations to provide shelter from sun and rain. ● Pilot temporary seating solutions, such as a parklet in on-street car parking bays, before pavement widening and traffic lane reduction occurs This opportunity will help to deliver the following Key Design Principles: ● Streets for Everyone ● Streets for Safety ● Streets for Health ● Streets are Public Spaces
03 Creatively activate and develop underutilised sites and spaces
Retrofit underutilised spaces in front of, and around, buildings with active uses to support a more diverse and vibrant streetscape. Many of the buildings along Florida Road are old houses that have been retrofitted for a mix of different uses. These buildings are often setback from the street, surrounded by gardens or car parking, preventing the activity within them spilling out into the public realm. Creatively retrofitting underutilised spaces around buildings with permanent or temporary uses will increase the density of the built form, diversity of uses and intensity of activities along the street. A more efficient use of these underutilised spaces will support businesses by attracting more activity and create an interesting, vibrant and diverse street life.
Actions : ● Promote permanent or temporary uses by retrofitting residential setbacks: ○ Using shipping containers for temporary retail uses on the street edge ○ Light structures that attract activity, for example Afro’s Chicken Shop at Florida Exchange ● Engage with property owners, to lease part of their land for temporary use, or subdividing in the long term This opportunity will help to deliver the following Key Design Principles: ● Streets for Everyone ● Streets are Multidimensional Spaces ● Great Streets Create Value ● Streets can Change
04 Redesign and improve the interface of buildings with the street
Reduce the negative impact of walls, fences and car parking and improve building interfaces to create a safer and more interesting street for pedestrians. Many buildings along Florida Road have inactive frontages without windows or doors, or are separated from the street by high fences or walls. These blank walls act to create ‘dead spaces’ along the street that break up activity along the street, lack visual interest and can be dark and unsafe at night. Redesigning building edges by lowering walls and fences, and where possible introducing regular doors and windows, will help to create a more interesting and cohesive streetscape. Encouraging visitors to explore a more interesting Florida Road will help to improve the vitality, economic prosperity and safety of the street.
Actions : ● Encourage developers to remove parking, lower walls in redevelopment, and to consider light or transparent fences where security is needed. ● Require new buildings to provide regular doors and windows onto the street. ● Require new buildings to accommodate vehicle access on rear laneways and side streets. ● Encourage a range of large and small retail tenancies to accommodate diverse businesses, and create more variety and interest in the street. This opportunity will help to deliver the following Key Design Principles: ● Streets for Safety ● Streets are Multidimensional Spaces ● Great Streets Create Value ● Streets Can Change
05 Connect the street, neighbourhood and the city
Create legible pedestrian, cycling and public transport routes to key destinations to strengthen Florida Road’s connections with the city centre, the coast and its neighbourhood. Florida Road is located in a predominantly residential area that is somewhat disconnected from many of Durban’s key destinations. The precinct has more to offer visitors and tourists, though it is largely unknown or difficult to access Introducing new public transport routes, wayfinding signage and improved pedestrian/cycling paths to key destinations (such as the city centre and the beach) will make the street more accessible for both locals and visitors. A more accessible street will help to increase visitation to local businesses and services, and better integrate Florida Road in the Durban context.
Actions : ● Develop a consistent and coherent wayfinding signage scheme that relates to and links to the ocean / beach / history ● Engage the city government and tourism agencies to improve wayfinding and access to key destinations such as the city centre, beachfront and zoo. ● Engage developers and property owners in other areas to explore links to and from Florida Road This opportunity will help to deliver the following Key Design Principles: ● Streets for Everyone ● Streets are Multimodal ● Great Streets Create Value ● Streets for Context
06 Improve the immediate walking
network on and around Florida Road
Improve the quality of footpaths, and increase the frequency of pedestrian crossings on and around Florida Road, to support and encourage people to walk. Regardless of their mode of transport, the majority of people visiting Florida Road will need to walk at some point. However, the design of the road does not currently place walking at the top of the mode hierarchy, with few designated pedestrian crossings and sometimes obstructed footpaths. Creating many opportunities for people to cross the street and many different routes to access nearby destinations will encourage more people to walk. Walking along Florida Road, and its side streets, must be safe, comfortable and easy for people to understand.
Actions : ● Introduce regular raised pedestrian crossings with signage or signal to clearly establish pedestrian priority. ● Improve pedestrian access and safety on side streets, alleyways, back service roads with improved lighting, footpaths and security. ● Encourage developers and property owners to include active frontages, places to sit and art initiatives on side streets to promote walking. This opportunity will help to deliver the following Key Design Principles: ● Streets for Everyone ● Streets for Safety ● Streets for Health ● Streets are Public Spaces ● Streets are Multimodal ● Streets for Context
07 Invest in unique destinations and offerings
Invest in unique destinations and experiences such as flagship concept stores, food or cultural attractions that will draw people to Florida Road. Florida Road has a reputation in Durban, particularly among younger people, as a ‘destination place' with a great ‘vibe’ and lively nightlife. However, there are few unique destinations or experiences along the road that draw people to it. Trips to Florida Road are typically limited to short visits for a single purpose. Investing in unique people-attracting destinations will help to differentiate Florida Road in the context of Durban and South Africa. In an increasingly competitive global marketplace to attract investment and tourism, establishing Florida Road as a true ‘destination place’ will contribute to its long term success.
Actions : ● Encourage developers and property owners to invest in unique stores, tenants and attractions that will attract more diverse visitors to Florida Road. ● Support events that celebrate local designers and artists. ● Host unique events in public spaces that attract people from across the city, for example screening live sports events. ● Emphasise the identity of the place with gateways / entrances to the precinct This opportunity will help to deliver the following Key Design Principles: ● Streets for Everyone ● Great Streets Create Value ● Streets for Context ● Streets can Change
08 Diversify the mix of uses along the street
Deliver a more diverse mix of uses including cultural amenities, functional services, working spaces and community spaces. Florida Road is currently home to a limited mix of different uses (predominantly residential and restaurants and bars) with some retail and commercial tenancies. This range of uses limits the types of people who might visit Florida Road, and reduces the potential for visits to combine a number of different destinations in the one trip. (Christopher Alexander - complexity / interactive elements) By diversifying the mix of different uses to include, for example functional services (eg. post office), community spaces (eg. library) and cultural amenities (eg. art gallery / cinema), the number of total trips and the range of different combinations trips would be significantly increased. A greater diversity of trips, with people visiting at different times throughout the day and night will help to create a more vibrant and inclusive place.
Actions : ● Engage with the local community to better understand the need for specific uses and services, such as cultural and community spaces, for example meeting rooms, art galleries and libraries. ● Engage government, community, cultural institutions, businesses, artists and designers on ways to better utilise vacant or leftover spaces. This opportunity will help to deliver the following Key Design Principles: ● Streets for Everyone ● Great Streets Create Value ● Streets for Context ● Streets Can Change
09 Revive and redesign the public spaces and parks
Revive and redesign public spaces on Florida Road to be functional and delightful places that enable diverse public life. The two public spaces on Florida Road, Gordon Road Open Space and at the northwest end of the road adjacent to Musgrave Road, are currently ill defined and lack a functional purpose or identity. The design and management of these spaces does not currently allow them to be used to their full potential. Investing in well-designed, functional and flexible public spaces with public art, furniture and greening will attract people to use them. More people using welcoming public spaces increases opportunities to meet, exercise and play outside of private properties, contributing to a more inclusive place. What is currently proposed will provide simple, immediate benefits for the street at a reasonable cost, but long term, a more substantive redevelopment of the space. Providing an active events and leisure retail facility, combined with an underground parking solution for the whole street would be a significant asset for the road. Particularly if this were combined with an ability to better pedestrianize the road to enable the road to host free, larger scale events such as new years eve, screening of movies, sports matches, events in the city etc etc.
Actions : ● Redesign the Gordon Road Open Space to invite different users at different times of the day. ○ Incorporate design elements for play, events and passive recreation, such as water features, a playground, seating and free wifi. ● Redesign the green spaces around Musgrave Road for active recreation. ○ Include functional walking and running paths, exercise equipment. ○ Reduce the impact of traffic by narrowing vehicle lanes and increasing opportunities for pedestrians to cross safely. This opportunity will help to deliver the following Key Design Principles: ● Streets for Everyone ● Streets for Health ● Streets are Public Spaces ● Streets as Ecosystems
10 Promote the sharing of private and
public spaces across the day and night
Maximise the use of existing spaces, and design new spaces, allowing flexibility to changing needs and priorities at different times. Florida Road is a mixed use precinct with sometimes competing demands from its range of uses on different days of the week, and at different times of the day/ night. The design and management of existing is not currently flexible enough to adapt to the changing demands on space for recreation, car parking, transport and other users. Taking a precinct approach to the management and design of space will allow for its allocation to adapt and respond to competing demands. For example, car parking can be managed so it is used by office workers during the day, restaurant-goers in the evening and residents over night. The design of a public space can allow for recreation, temporary events or car parking.
Actions : ● Connect local businesses and property owners with the Urban Improvement Precinct and other local associations to better utilise existing car parking spaces to respond to demand at different times of day and night.
This opportunity will help to deliver the following Key Design Principles: ● Streets are Multidimensional Spaces ● Streets are Public Spaces ● Streets Can Change
Appendix A : Sample Survey Sheet Survey: Florida Road, Durban 1/ What are you doing on Florida Road today? ☐Working ☐Shopping ☐Meetingfriends/family ☐Walking ☐Eating/drinking ☐Sightseeing ☐Passingthrough ☐Other:…………………………………………………… 2/ How long is your visit?
3/ How did you get here? ☐Walk ☐Bus
4/ How often do you come here? ☐Often(mostdays)
5/ What is the best thing about the street?
6/ What is the worst thing about the street?
7/ What is your favourite place on the street?
8/ What’s your idea to improve the street?
A few questions about you: Sex:
☐Male ☐Female☐Other ☐Over65
Ethnicity:☐White Where do you live? ☐SouthAfrica
☐DurbanNeighbourhood:………………………… ☐Africa ☐Anothercontinent
Appendix B : Sample Interview Sheet (Stakeholder) Stakeholder Interview: Florida Road, Durban We are doing research on ideas for Florida Road. Record : Request permission to record and repeat that no individual names will be used Notes : Make key notes during interview Remind : interviewees that their views need not related to their special knowledge or experience 1/ What is your connection to Florida Road? How has it changed in the time you’ve been coming here? ● ● ● ●
2/ In the context of Durban, what role does Florida Road plays? 3/ What is Florida Road’s defining character? 4/ How does the use of Florida Road change from day to night, or through the week or on the weekend? 5/ What is your favourite thing about the street? 6/ What is the biggest issue on the street? 7/ If you had an unlimited budget, what would be your one big idea to improve the street?
Change is happening in Durban, and Florida Road is changing with it. Florida Road is well placed to maximise the potential benefits of this...
Published on Apr 24, 2018
Change is happening in Durban, and Florida Road is changing with it. Florida Road is well placed to maximise the potential benefits of this...