WIT Press

Exploring affordances of the street


Free (open access)


Volume 12 (2017), Issue 3



Page Range

606 - 614

Paper DOI



WIT Press




The streets and roads that form the majority of the  circulation system in the urban network of the contemporary city have been undergoing some interesting changes that will be explored in this paper. Ever since signalized intersections and the idea of parking lots became a part of the city, many of the discussions regarding street use focused on the efficiencies of traffic circulation and parking vehicles. Recently, challenges to regulatory bodies by sharing companies such as Uber, MaaS, Airbnb and others, have brought to everyone’s attention that the very idea of a parking spot, and even the need for car ownership is fast changing in the street and urban realm. This is only one of the many challenges to how public space is being rethought of by the sharing economy. Artists, activists and designers have been considering how the street has many affordances that can be employed to create new relation- ships of use through technology and by engaging the public to participate in the use and design of the street. Don Norman (1988) speaks of how an agent can interact with something, and this is seen as an affordance – Norman also asks us to look at the unintended accidental and anti-affordances things and spaces possess. What are the new relationships and opportunities to the shifting changes underway to the traditional public realm? Are actors/spectators playing an active role and no longer a passive one in the city streets? If streets are ‘the arenas where the boundaries of conventional and aberrant behaviour are frequently redrawn’ (Anderson 1978) then the potentialities of new affordances of the street will result in a reinvigorated public space.


accidental affordance, active transportation, affordances, anti-affordance, bike lanes, circulation, network, public realm, public space design, roads, sharing economy, streets, technological adaptations.