So You Want....Place-Making

Placemaking is a people-centred approach to the planning, design and management of public spaces. A 20mph or 30kmh limit is a key element in making your place a better, more enticing place for people to be. It draws people to linger in a more attractive, vibrant, healthy and successful location.

Politicians and officers know their high street and attraction footfall trends are falling. Margins are being squeezed by the internet. Yet Council rates incomes and the local economy depend on people getting there for activities like work, shopping and leisure.  The challenge is ‘how can we entice people here?’

20mph limits is a key option that both works and is cost effective. 20mph offers not just better safety, but improves ambience on many levels, making the public realm a better, happier place to be.


How 20mph Improves Place and Ambience


20mph places feel safer and are 7 times safer than 30mph, 10 times for over 60 year olds. There are 20% fewer casualties.  Safety is key to a healthy street vibe .

Air quality

Due to less acceleration and braking, less fuel is burnt and there’s less tyre and brake wear too.  It’s the equivalent of taking half the petrol cars off the road.  Also there is s traffic reduction as some drivers switch to other modes.


20mph is almost half as noisy as 30mph[1].  Noise is hostile as we can’t turn away from it. Quieter environments mean better communication and mental health.

Traffic Reduction

20mph reduces the power imbalance between road users so some drivers choose to drive less far or less often.  It also smooths traffic flow. Independent travel by the young and vulnerable groups rises too[2]

Friendliness & community

A connected, friendly society flourishes where it feels safe to chat or play. People, especially families and elderly, connect outside more easily by slowing down traffic or diverting it.  20mph is a friendly limit - it raises liveability and quality of life[3]. It’s key to healthy streets. 30mph is isolating.

Freedom to roam

Rather than installing methods to restrict the movement of people using pedestrian barriers, wide area 20mph gives freedom to roam back to people on foot or bike, especially children.

A foundation to build on

Roads with a 20mph limit provide a far more suitable environment for many other place-making initiatives such as parklets, seated areas, changed road surfaces, shared spaces, café pavements, etc. than a 30mph limit.

Empowering community ownership

Grass-roots activism to reduce fast traffic fear can also act as a catalyst to take far greater ownership of streets through tactical urbanism[4] that brings back community ownership and pride in their streets.

 Nearly every UK historic city centre is 20mph and 30kmh is fast becoming the global norm for city centres. It’s good for place making, tourism and a vibrant local economy.  Place makers reduce traffic dominance in favour of a people centred approach, rebalancing the power on the streets to be more favourable to those out of cars.

Rod King MBE, founder of 20’s Plenty for Us commented:-

“If we are serious about making our community spaces more liveable then a 20mph limit is a necessary foundation. Traffic speeds of 30mph or 50kmh are not conducive in any way to sharing spaces safely and equitably where motors co-exist with unprotected people. Its why sensible authorities around the world are setting 20mph/30kmh as the default where people are. And making all their places better places to be”







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