Poynton video: A tribute to Hamilton-Baillie
Ben Hamilton-Baillie, a British architect and “shared space” advocate, died of cancer last month at the age of 63. He was a plenary speaker at CNU 22 in Buffalo in 2014, where he urged the audience of a thousand people to “take out all of the traffic signals in every city in the US — it would be a very simple thing to do.” He was also an opponent of trying to design all risk out of daily life, instead eliminating joy (and sometimes, with traffic engineering, inadvertently creating more risk). In Buffalo, he showed a picture of a playground with swing apparatus, each surrounded by absurd-looking metal fencing, with the swings themselves removed. “The swings are packed away at night because kids might climb the fence and use them unsupervised and hurt themselves,” he said.
Hamilton-Baillie was well-known for the shared spaces he designed, where vehicles mix at slow speeds with pedestrians without traffic regulation, including what he called a “double roundel” intersection in the English town of Poynton. The intersection handles about 26,000 vehicles a day, plus pedestrians and bicyclists, without any signalization. In honor of Hamilton-Baillie, I am posting a You Tube video that has received more than 260,000 views of the Poynton project—which also included a shared space high street.