Urban Avengers: MAPS-Mini

In the opinion of the Urban Avengers, the MAPS-Mini Survey had many weaknesses and only partially fulfilled its purpose. One of the most important shortcomings was that the survey did not ask about traffic pattern — which has a huge effect on the way a street should be utilized. DSC00444The survey also did not ask about what kind of commercial and residential uses the segment included. The use of the street can influence what should be in place there, and if it serves a purpose. The difference between the two should have an effect on how they are scored. The walkability to things such as parks and/or transit stops should be incorporated into the survey. While the need for a transit stop or park on every segment of street is not necessarily needed, the distance from one to the next should be considered. While the survey asked many questions, for several of the questions, a concise answer could not be given. DSC00447Throughout the segment the streetscape changes and the answers aren’t always clear-cut yes or no answers, but frequently could be both.

Throughout the walk the group wanted to report of the quality of buildings. The question of “Are the buildings well maintained?” does not address quality. The group also wanted to include the presence (or lack of) gardens into consideration. The environmental backdrop of the street is also important; a street in a college town should look different than a downtown street. Another item the group wanted to report, but the survey did not ask, was whether the road had parking, and whether it was a one-way or two-way traffic pattern.

We found that the public and private realms mattered about the same. If either of the realms are in poor condition it brings down the other.DSC00448

The realms should be created equal because they coexist in the same area. If you have a beautiful park next to a rundown home, it makes the park look worse and brings down the appeal of the environment. But the public realm means more physically to the pedestrian, when the private means more to the psyche.

The idea of planners having a different mindset than the community members should not be the case. The purpose of this survey is to help the street for the community, to think like a community member. But we feel that graffiti is highly important to community members, graffiti gives a bad image for the community. Also the lighting of the streets shows importance on safety, which is of major importance in a community. Lastly, we feel that community members are likely to be more focused on safety and image of the streetscape, rather than things like buffers or tree coverage.

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