Liveable Streets in the Context of East and West¹: A New Perspective

By Manish Mandhar and Kathleen Watt.

Published by The Design Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

“Liveability” is commonly treated as a universal concept and cities around the world are being judged
in accordance with universal criteria. The aim of this paper is to provide a critique of Western notions of liveability, especially those underpinning international city benchmarking exercises. Despite being represented as universal, performance indicators in these rankings are actually socially-constructed, rely heavily on Western values and standards of living and are inherently biased in favour of Western cities. A city’s liveability is largely judged by quantitative measures that are statistically driven with little scope for comprehending the quality of cities or streets in other ways. This view of liveability pays little attention to the qualitative aspects of the street, particularly the relationship between the street and its users. The paper argues that there is a close relationship between a liveable city and the vitality of its streets, since a city will be liveable only if its streets are liveable. Eastern streets are inclusive, multicultural, socially cohesive, economically-vibrant and full of life. In our view these are qualities that make them more worthy of the term “liveable” than Western streets. Included in the paper is a comparative analysis of Eastern and Western streets to show that the activities and street life that many Western authors aspire to already exists in the East. We believe a new perspective is needed that acknowledges liveability as a relative, even subjective, concept that can only be evaluated using qualitative forms of assessment.

Keywords: Liveability, Liveable Street, Liveable City, East, West

Design Principles and Practices: An International Journal, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.553-566. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.089MB).

Manish Mandhar

Lecturer, School of Architecture, Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK

I am a registered Architect with the Council of Architecture (COA), India and Lecturer at Lincoln School of Architecture contributing to humanities and design teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. I am also a member of the Liveable Cities Research and Consultancy Group at the University of Lincoln which deals with issues related to urban design, development and regeneration, urban conservation, architectural education and participatory design. After five years in Academic administration at COA, New Delhi and having dealt with the assessment and maintenance of minimum standards of architectural education imparted at Schools of Architecture throughout India, I completed my M.Arch from the UK in 2006 and since then have worked on a number of community based participatory design projects in Lincoln, Ely and other parts of the country as part of the Liveable Cities’ team. I am also currently pursuing Master of Research course. My skills include architecture, urban and participatory design and proficiency in visualising these schemes portrayed through virtual media.

Dr. Kathleen Watt

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design, Lincoln School of Architecture, University of Lincoln, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, UK


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