Abstract: Urban streets are an integral part of the public realm. Streets are commonly planned following normative design principles focused on the connectivity of road networks and urban morphology. Beyond their function as mobility infrastructure, streetscapes’ aesthetic, social, and cultural qualities also have an important impact on the experience of the overall urban environment and human well-being. This study explores how urban design and planning can facilitate the design, management, and use of streetscapes that consider their role as social infrastructure. A paradigmatic case study of Hornsbergs Strand in the City of Stockholm is performed, incorporating spatial and temporal aspects. The case study area is chosen because it is both an attractive and “overcrowded” public space frequently discussed in the Swedish media. Data sources for the study include reviews of public documents such as Stockholm’s city planning strategies, local media reports, a report from a resident workgroup, as well as walk-through observations and semi-structured expert interviews. The results highlight the potential of urban design strategies to develop streetscapes as social infrastructure through both permanent design measures and temporary design interventions. The tendency of the change in people’s perception and attitude toward the place over time illustrates that design interventions are a continual process. The implications for public policy, urban development and investment in social infrastructure employing place strategies and design interventions are discussed.
Keywords: physical activities; place value; public space; social interaction; streetscape; Sweden; temporal design intervention; well-being