1st Edition

Street-Level Architecture The Past, Present and Future of Interactive Frontages

By Conrad Kickert, Hans Karssenberg Copyright 2022
    220 Pages 136 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    220 Pages 136 Color Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book provides the tools to maintain and rebuild the interaction between architecture and public space. Despite the best intentions of designers and planners, interactive frontages have dwindled over the past century in Europe and North America. This book demonstrates why even our best intentions for interactive frontages are currently unable to turn a swelling tide of economic and technological evolution, land consolidation, introversion, stratification, and contagious decline. It uses these lessons to offer concrete locational, programming, design, and management strategies to maximize street-level interaction and trust between street-level architecture, its inhabitants, and the city.

    This book demonstrates that designers, developers, planners, and managers ultimately have to create the right preconditions for inhabitants and passersby to bring frontages to life. These preconditions connect architecture to its urban, social, economical, and technological context. Only the right frontage in the right context, with the right design, the right inhabitation, and the right attitude to the city will become part of the ecosystem of trust and interaction that supports public life. This book empowers the many participants in this ecosystem to build, inhabit, and enjoy truly urbane architecture.

    Preface by Hans Karssenberg


    1. Introduction
    2. Detroit – Eye level death and resurrection
    3. Birmingham – The concrete collar unleashed
    4. The Hague – The layered city at eye level
    5. Vancouver – The frontage formula
    6. The frontage ecosystem
    7. Commercial life – Eye level transactions in the city
    8. Life beyond transactions - New destinations in the city
    9. Living at eye level - Prospect and refuge
    10. Conclusion - Living it up



    Conrad Kickert, PhD, is an assistant professor at the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning. Conrad has a background in urbanism and architecture from the TU Delft (the Netherlands) and holds a PhD in architecture from the University of Michigan. He has worked as an urban researcher and designer for various design offices, property developers and nonprofit organizations in the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. His research focuses on the evolving relationship between urban form, urban life and the urban economy. Dr. Kickert has authored peer-reviewed articles, edited books on bottom-up urbanism and urban retail, and recently authored the award-winning Dream City – Creation, Destruction and Reinvention in Downtown Detroit. His research and studio work has been supported by numerous corporations, foundations, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Hans Karssenberg is a partner at STIPO, a team for urban development, with offices in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, and Athens and projects throughout Europe. Hans has extensive experience developing, programming, and managing interactive frontages. In partnership with nearly 100 practitioners, scholars, and regulators, STIPO has compiled successful strategies for frontage reactivation in the open-source online and print book series The City at Eye Level. The practical applicability and extensive reach of The City at Eye Level has not just generated readership across the globe but also fueled professional projects on frontages across Europe. STIPO is at the heart of the growing European placemaking network, and has partnered with UN Habitat, Project for Public Spaces, and various universities and foundations.