‘New Road’ Streetscape Design

Project information
Brighton, UK
Brighton & Hove City Council

New Road became the UK’s first ’shared space’ street where cars are welcome – but on people’s terms.

Jeff Risom
Managing Director CPH, Chief Innovation Officer
The Challenge

Re-establish New Road as a public space

New Road, in central Brighton, had become a run-down back alley, unable to attract small businesses or visitors despite its proximity to theaters, parks, and cafes. 

In 2007, Gehl was selected by the city of Brighton to develop strategies for improving the public realm over the next 7-10 years. The redesign–a collaboration between Gehl Architects and UK-based landscape architect Landscape Projects–used the strategies developed to establish a welcoming, people-first urban environment.

New Road before

The Impact

From ‘just another street’ to a vital civic asset

The transformation of this once car-centric and hostile road into a vibrant and accessible public realm for the city center was key to Gehl’s strategic vision for New Road.

Together with Landscape Projects the team realized the vision, designing natural stone surfaces and smooth curbs that enabled pedestrians to move freely across the street.

A finely crafted long wooden bench accompanied this redesign. The bench was placed along the edge of the public space, providing a front-row seat to the theater of urban revival along New Roa

The results of a 2011 observational survey make an indisputable case for the success of this ‘revival’; traffic levels dropped by 93%, the number of cyclists increased by 22%, and the number of pedestrians increased by 162%. Overall, there was a 600% increase in the number of individuals spending time on New Road.

The design transformed the area socially and economically. The new paving and seating shifted the dynamic of the street: opening up the space to people and making interactions and social encounters more commonplace. With local citizens quick to embrace the design change, their increased presence contributed to an assumed uptick in local commerce.

Awards: UK Civic Trust Street Design; CABE Special Award, UK National Transport Awards and 2008 Landscape Institute Awards Design

The new centerpiece wooden bench has created more opportunities to talk.

The number of people who stay and linger on Brighton New Road has increased by 600%.

New Road incorporates interests of different user groups and encourages bicycling, sitting, standing and walking activities based on people-focused public space programming making it sustainable in both a social and environmental way.

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Partner & Managing Director Gulf Region, Chief Innovation Officer
Jeff Risom
Our services

Delivering impact through a multidisciplinary approach

Urban Strategy

Urban Strategy is the foundation upon which form, function and behaviour are created. Our holistic approach always starts with asking what life should exist in place, what spaces invite for that life, and what buildings and facilities support this. People and life first, always.

Public Life Data

Public Life Data, the collection and analysis of qualitative and quantitative information about how people use and engage with public spaces, uncovers the true picture of how design impacts behavior. Our teams use this collected analysis to develop strategies and plans that foster more equitable, healthy and climate-positive lifestyles.