The Street Design Standard is a manual with rules and recommendations that help to create a consistent, comfortable and safe urban environment. This document explains how to arrange retail signage, advertisements, stands, outdoor furniture and lighting.
Most of the Russian cities suffer from visual noise including flashing signs in incoherent styles or chaotic advertisements that fence off facades and historically significant buildings. In abundance of visual noise street retail cannot attract customers who prefer tranquil environment. Particularly, citizens prefer to move faster along the streets with excessive advertisements. Such streets turn into a transit path from A to B, depriving cafés and restaurants of their clients. Hence, city officials lose opportunity to improve urban environment and also lose citizens who move to more attractive cities and countries. In fact, visual noise negatively influences the whole urban environment.
How The Standard changes the city
The Street Design Standard is aimed at reducing visual noise, bring back the city’s visual clarity and attract more pedestrians to the streets. It will help street retail keep customers and withstand competition, while also improve urban environment, avoid huge banners and signs that brighten the windows. The Standard will help preserve architectural value of the historical buildings that used to be covered with chaotic advertisement banners.
Will there be no more advertisement and street signage?
The Standard is not meant to eradicate diversity. It describes the choice of materials, parameters and position of street signs and advertisements. All the materials and positions are chosen with regard for the context of the street. There is a special Standard for each city, which highlights its identity.
Street Design Standard worldwide
Nowadays many cities across the world, or even each district or house has developed their own standards considering street signage. The New York Street Design Manual was implemented over 100 years ago and since then there have been regulations for the sizes of ledges, windows, roofs and surface materials. For example, it sets the rules for street retail and cafés in the busiest streets. Russia has also entered upon this way. Street Design Standards were already implemented in Moscow, Saint-Petersburg, Saratov, Kazan Voronezh and Tchaikovsky.
Street Design Standard in Kaliningrad
Kaliningrad is the next in line. Municipal authorities held a round table on February 2, 2018, where they discussed the Standard for the central part of Kaliningrad. Garri Goldman, Deputy Prime-Minister of the Regional Government, Artur Krupin, Chairman of the Committee for Architecture and Building, Andrey Shumilin, Vice Chairman of City Council, heads and specialists from the municipal administration participated in a meeting with entrepreneurs who run business in Kaliningrad.
KB Strelka experts presented a design proposal ‘Street signage and non-stationary retail facilities layout’ stating that they had learned useful information in local specialists’ studies and focused on the most challenging ideas and proposals. Some of them reflect the current situation — the abundance of signs that cover building facades. It fosters visual noise hampering passers-by to perceive information. Huge protruding signs and building extensions fencing off balconies and eaves impede a decent perception of the city buildings.
After the presentation KB Strelka experts gave general and individual recommendations on street facades and signage. It was followed by a discussion involving all stakeholders who concluded that one should keep within the limits of quantity and style. Otherwise the streets will resemble a patchwork quilt. Street signage should highlight architectural aspect of a street and unique beauty of Kaliningrad. Since this meeting Andrey Anisimov, Chief Architect of Kaliningrad, has been consulting the local entrepreneurs on the implementation of the Street Design Standard.