Submitted Successfully!
Thank you for your contribution! You can also upload a video entry or images related to this topic.
Ver. Summary Created by Modification Content Size Created at Operation
1 -- 2375 2023-09-25 02:47:01 |
2 Reference format revised. Meta information modification 2375 2023-09-27 02:43:28 |

Video Upload Options

Do you have a full video?


Are you sure to Delete?
If you have any further questions, please contact Encyclopedia Editorial Office.
Liu, C.; Liu, J. Living Street and Resilience in Cities. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 02 December 2023).
Liu C, Liu J. Living Street and Resilience in Cities. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed December 02, 2023.
Liu, Chen, Jia Liu. "Living Street and Resilience in Cities" Encyclopedia, (accessed December 02, 2023).
Liu, C., & Liu, J.(2023, September 25). Living Street and Resilience in Cities. In Encyclopedia.
Liu, Chen and Jia Liu. "Living Street and Resilience in Cities." Encyclopedia. Web. 25 September, 2023.
Living Street and Resilience in Cities

With the rapid growth of urban populations, people’s living spaces have become more constrained, drawing attention to issues related to human habitats. Redesigning streets can not only improve the urban environmental quality and enrich residents’ activities on the streets but also drive the benign development of surrounding areas. Among them, “living streets” represent the largest proportion of urban streets and therefore hold significant importance regarding their potential for transformation, making them a subject of significant research. Building upon the overall approach found in worldwide street design guidelines, which often classify streets based on adjacent land uses or functional characteristics. Enhancing the resilience of living streets enables flexible adaptation to residents’ multifaceted needs at the micro-level resident activity spaces. It also contributes to resilience realization at the macro-level of the urban system. 

sustainable city resilience concept living streets

1. Introduction

In recent years, cities have been experiencing rapid development and construction. Numerous social issues have become prominent with the emergence of new industrial structures, consumption patterns, and lifestyles. Urban renewal, as an important strategy for achieving sustainable urban development, has been widely adopted by countries worldwide [1]. In 2021, the implementation of urban renewal was included for the first time in China’s five-year plan, emphasizing the importance of transforming spaces related to people’s daily lives, such as old neighborhoods and streets. In the context of transforming urban renewal towards refining existing spaces in China [2], streets, as vital spaces that connect cities, public activities, and people’s pursuit of a better life, hold immense value for revitalization.
As early as 1960, Lynch explored the relationship between street elements and urban imagery in his book, The Image of the City [3]. Jacobs regarded streets as the most vibrant organs of the city, emphasizing their importance to urban areas and their inhabitants [4]. With the rapid growth of urban populations, people’s living spaces have become more constrained, drawing attention to issues related to human habitats. Redesigning streets can not only improve the urban environmental quality and enrich residents’ activities on the streets but also drive the benign development of surrounding areas.
Among them, “living streets” represent the largest proportion of urban streets and therefore hold significant importance regarding their potential for transformation, making them a subject of significant research. Building upon the overall approach found in worldwide street design guidelines, which often classify streets based on adjacent land uses or functional characteristics [5], the paper defines living streets as follows: They primarily traverse residential areas and are accompanied by life-service-oriented businesses, small-scale retail, dining establishments, and public service facilities that cater to the residents [6][7]. These streets exhibit a rich living atmosphere. The wide distribution, diverse functions, and spontaneous activities inherent in living streets indicate that the research on living streets should not only focus on the three-dimensional physical space but also consider the holistic elements embedded within this space, including material components, living scenes, local cultural information, operation management, and other aspects [8].
Due to the early formation of living streets, they are prone to problems such as delayed construction and reconstruction, uneven space utilization, and the inability to meet new needs [9]. With the increasing complexity of people’s needs and the advent of an information society, mobility has become a prominent feature of contemporary society [10]. The fixed spatial scale can no longer meet the future development needs of the street. Furthermore, increasing uncertainty in world development highlights the importance of exploring ways to enhance the resilience of living streets to address current and future development challenges.
Enhancing the resilience of living streets enables flexible adaptation to residents’ multifaceted needs at the micro-level resident activity spaces. It also contributes to resilience realization at the macro-level of the urban system. Resilience has emerged as a significant strategic concept in solving complex urban issues, with extensive research emphasizing the crucial role of infrastructure resilience in ensuring cities’ ability to withstand climate crises, pandemics, and other emergencies while recovering from them [11]. Infrastructures, such as roads, bridges, lifelines, and utilities, play a fundamental role in bolstering a city’s resilience. They provide the essential backbone for transportation and the efficient functioning of complex urban systems [12]. For instance, a well-connected road network with multiple alternative routes can mitigate the impact of disruptions in one area by rerouting traffic to other paths, enabling the smooth flow of goods, services, and people even during emergencies or disasters. As a crucial component of the overall urban road system, living streets can enhance the resilience of the city’s transportation system when facing impacts by promoting multimodal transportation, adopting flexible spatial design, and adhering to sustainable development principles. This elevates the overall resilience within the city and even at the regional level.

2. Living Street and Resilience in Cities

2.1. Resilience in Cities

The concept of resilience is a crucial strategy for urban spatial development in the face of present and future challenges. Resilience can be defined as the complex social-ecological systems (SES) continually changing and adapting yet remaining within critical thresholds [13]. In the context of increasingly vulnerable urban systems, numerous studies have highlighted the significance of city resilience in ensuring a city’s ability to withstand and recover from natural disasters, pandemics, and other disruptive events. Meerow et al. [14] reviewed relevant academic literature on urban resilience. They proposed a novel definition of urban resilience: the ability of an urban system and all its constituent socio-ecological and socio-technical networks across temporal and spatial scales to maintain or rapidly return to desired functions in the face of a disturbance, to adapt to change, and to transform systems that limit current or future adaptive capacity quickly. The concept of resilience applies to communities, particularly in urgent situations such as natural disasters, ensuring critical services do not significantly degrade. If performance declines or fails, the services can recover to similar or better levels within a reasonable timeframe. Miles et al. [15] presented a simulation model called ResilUS. It quantifies the damage and recovery of critical services and community capital over time. The framework operationalizes community resilience across multiple hierarchical scales by incorporating a range of policy and decision variables associated with each scale.
The foundation for achieving resilient cities is ensuring the resilience of urban infrastructure. Infrastructure failures can lead to severe consequences, hindering emergency response efforts, disrupting critical services, and significantly impacting people’s well-being and health. Therefore, incorporating resilience in designing, maintaining, and managing infrastructures is vital for enhancing a city’s overall resilience. Resilience can be utilized throughout various stages of infrastructure development and recovery, including predicting potential risks, analyzing the impacts of disasters on functionality, and evaluating resilience under different disaster scenarios. Andrić et al. [16] employ fuzzy set theory to propose new earthquake recovery functions and seismic assessment indicators. Their research proposed that enhancing the disaster preparedness of communities where bridges are located would improve the bridges’ resilience and serve as a reference for assessing the recovery capabilities of similar infrastructure components. Forcellini et al. [17] introduce a resilience-based methodology to assess the soil–structure interaction on a benchmark bridge during earthquakes. The study highlights the significance of resilience as a critical parameter in evaluating emergency response and recovery strategies for bridge functionality. The calculated resilience findings offer valuable insights for bridge owners, transportation authorities, and public administrators to optimize recovery techniques and solutions. The introduction of infrastructure resilience assessment methods can provide the correct direction for disaster prevention decisions and actions in the communities where they exist, ultimately contributing to the construction of disaster-resistant cities. In addition, institutional, social, and economic factors also influence the multidimensional resilience of cities [11].
Another vital topic closely connected to urban resilience is climate change. The impact of climate change—including more frequent extreme weather events, rising temperatures, and rising sea levels—poses significant challenges to urban environments and the well-being of its residents. Cities worldwide are experiencing the effects of climate change, and it is crucial to integrate climate resilience into urban planning and design [18]. Introducing urban climate shelters is a promising approach to enhancing urban resilience in the context of climate change. Urban climate shelters are designated spaces in the city that provide refuge and protection during extreme weather events, such as heat waves, heavy rainfall, or storms. These shelters can be designed to offer shade, cooling, and protection from adverse weather conditions [19]. They serve as safe havens for vulnerable populations—such as the elderly, children, and homeless individuals—at higher risk during extreme weather events [20]. Barcelona serves as an excellent example in this regard. It provides a municipal network of “climate shelters” to provide thermal comfort to people who are especially vulnerable to extreme temperatures due to their socioeconomic situation, age, or health status. Amorim et al. [19] indicate that highly accessible climate shelters provide more significant value, effectively overcoming the vulnerability of most cities in addressing extreme climate challenges faced by marginalized populations. In recent years, extreme weather events such as heatwaves and floods have been occurring more frequently, making it particularly crucial to provide equal access to public urban spaces that protect all residents from the impacts of these extreme weather conditions.
In summary, some scholars have extensively explored the application of resilience in the field of urban studies, examining the definition of resilience in urban planning and construction [21], assessment of resilient cities [22], and theory development of the resilient design paradigm of landscape design [23]. However, only a few studies have mentioned the resilience of streets. Safri et al. [24] focused on the elasticity of road networks as part of transportation systems, highlighting the role of a street’s physical form in urban resilience. Living streets are vital spaces for public activities, playing a crucial role in people’s social lives and the smooth functioning of cities. However, they received limited attention regarding their resilience in the existing literature. Consequently, a systematic understanding of resilience in living streets needs to be improved. The resilience of living streets enables cities to recover swiftly from disasters or crises and ensures long-term prosperity and improved well-being of residents.

2.2. Living Street

Regarding the specific research on living streets, the current academic focus primarily revolves around spatial form, humanization, localization, and street vitality [25]. The origin of living streets can be traced back to the Dutch term “Woonerf”, which refers to public spaces designed for pedestrians, cyclists, and low-speed vehicles and primarily serves as a social and recreational space for residents [26]. Therefore, research on living streets mainly revolved around prioritizing slow travelers’ rights, spatial tranquility, and diverse sharing [27]. Many studies emphasize the humanization of living streets. For instance, Fang et al. [28] suggested that actively involving soft material elements and encouraging bottom-up public participation can enhance the sense of place and belonging in the living streets. Aman et al. [9] discovered problems related to inadequate street traffic management and the failure to meet pedestrian needs. They pointed out that the lack of humanized street facilities would hinder community engagement within the research area. Wang et al. [29] highlighted the importance of inclusive aspects such as the diversification of commercial and service formats and accessibility of open spaces to enhance the vitality of living streets from the perspective of integrating and sharing among different age groups [17]. Christodoulou et al. [30] reviewed Greece’s progress in promoting gender mainstreaming in public policies, highlighting the importance of incorporating gender perspectives into urban planning. The study emphasized that practical actions taken to consider men’s and women’s interests from a gender equality perspective in urban design can achieve a more inclusive and resilient city. Anciaes et al. [31] suggested multiple spatial combinations and policy interventions for sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and bus stops, providing comprehensive and balanced design options to improve pedestrian spaces while enhancing the relationships of other types of street spaces, promoting sustainable street development. Some studies have also considered how streets can adapt to future development. Mackie et al. [32] explained the role of street infrastructure improvements in promoting active modes of transportation and the benefits of community participation in improving community well-being in their study of “future streets” projects. They proposed that public participation in the design process can create better street public spaces and enhance livability. Nassar et al. [33] discussed the role of intelligent street furniture in addressing various future needs and challenges within the context of smart cities.
In conclusion, the academic community has agreed on the importance of revitalizing living streets to improve residents’ public life, promote community engagement, enhance urban vitality, and support sustainable urban development. Although some studies have begun to focus on how streets can adapt flexibly to future development [34][35], they mainly emphasize singular spatial aspects. There is a lack of comprehensive research on how streets can exhibit flexibility in multiple dimensions, such as time, operations, and policies to adapt to increasingly complex and dynamic social contexts, and how they can enhance their proactive resilience to promote sustainable operation at the mesoscale block level, further enhancing urban resilience. With the continuous increase in China’s urbanization rate, exploring how limited urban space can flexibly meet the diverse needs of various population groups and how to enhance the resilience of living streets to meet people’s pursuit of high-quality and desirable living has significant research significance in the post-pandemic era. Resilience theory and its design methods, as an important approach to balance change and stability [13], have inherent advantages in solving various problems of Chinese living streets. Therefore, based on the concept of resilience, the study takes the living streets in Yixing, Jiangsu Province, as an example to systematically construct the conceptual framework of resilience for living streets in small and medium-sized towns in the Jiangnan region of China. It aims to provide possible solutions for similar problems.
A study [36] represents the first systematic exploration of the resilience of living streets. While the concept of resilience has gained significant attention in urban construction discussions, combining the resilience of micro-level spaces in living streets with its contribution to urban infrastructure for overall urban resilience is a novel and valuable attempt. To address the issues above, scholars examine the explicit spatial elements and other implicit factors that influence the resilience of living streets in small and medium-sized Chinese towns. By summarizing the mechanisms behind the formation of resilience in living streets, the study aims to provide guidance and inspiration for the development of humanistic, localized, and forward-thinking resilient living streets in the context of the new era.


  1. Liu, G.; Yi, Z.; Zhang, X.; Shrestha, A.; Martek, I.; Wei, L. An Evaluation of Urban Renewal Policies of Shenzhen, China. Sustainability 2017, 9, 1001.
  2. Zhou, Y.; Chang, J. Imitation, Reference, and Exploration-Development Path to Urban Renewal in China (1985–2017). J. Urban Hist. 2020, 46, 728–746.
  3. Lynch, K. The Image of the Environment. Image City 1960, 11, 1–13.
  4. Jacobs, J. The Death and Life of Great American Cities; Vintage: New York, NY, USA, 2016.
  5. Marshall, S. Building on Buchanan: Evolving Road Hierarchy for Today’s Streets-Oriented Design Agenda. In Proceedings of the European Transport Conference 2004, Strasbourg, France, 4–6 October 2004.
  6. Bosselmann, P.; Macdonald, E.; Kronemeyer, T. Livable Streets Revisited. J. Am. Plan. Assoc. 1999, 65, 168–180.
  7. Ge, Y.; Tang, W. Exploration of Urban Street Design Guidelines: A Case Study of “Shanghai Street Design Guidelines”. Shanghai Urban Plan. 2017, 1, 9–16.
  8. Fang, R.; Liu, B. Morphological Patterns and Driving Factors of Living Streets: A Case Study of Nanjing. Urban Dev. Res. 2022, 29, 129–136.
  9. Aman, M.; Waheed, A.; Naeem, M.A.; Shah, S.A.A. Implementing the living streets concept by transforming streets in the central business district of Peshawar, Pakistan. Urbani Izziv 2019, 1, 75–86.
  10. Sheller, M. From spatial turn to mobilities turn. Curr. Sociol. 2017, 65, 623–639.
  11. Jha, A.K.; Miner, T.W.; Stanton-Geddes, Z. Building Urban Resilience: Principles, Tools, and Practice; World Bank Publications: Washington, DC, USA, 2013.
  12. Liu, W.; Song, Z. Review of studies on the resilience of urban critical infrastructure networks. Reliab. Eng. Syst. Saf. 2020, 193, 106617.
  13. Folke, C.; Carpenter, S.R.; Walker, B.; Scheffer, M.; Chapin, T.; Rockström, J. Resilience Thinking: Integrating Resilience, Adaptability and Transformability. Ecol. Soc. 2010, 15, 1–9.
  14. Meerow, S.; Newell, J.P.; Stults, M. Defining Urban Resilience: A Review. Landsc. Urban Plan. 2016, 147, 38–49.
  15. Miles, S.B.; Chang, S.E. ResilUS: A Community Based Disaster Resilience Model. Cartogr. Geogr. Inf. Sci. 2011, 38, 36–51.
  16. Andrić, J.M.; Lu, D.-G. Fuzzy Methods for Prediction of Seismic Resilience of Bridges. Int. J. Disaster Risk Reduct. 2017, 22, 458–468.
  17. Forcellini, D. A Resilience-Based Methodology to Assess Soil Structure Interaction on a Benchmark Bridge. Infrastructures 2020, 5, 90.
  18. Leichenko, R. Climate Change and Urban Resilience. Curr. Opin. Environ. Sustain. 2011, 3, 164–168.
  19. Amorim-Maia, A.T.; Anguelovski, I.; Connolly, J.; Chu, E. Seeking refuge? The potential of urban climate shelters to address intersecting vulnerabilities. Landsc. Urban Plan. 2023, 238, 104836.
  20. Yazdani, M.; Haghani, M. A dynamic emergency planning system for relocating vulnerable people to safe shelters in response to heat waves. Expert Syst. Appl. 2023, 228, 120224.
  21. Wu, C.W.; Cenci, J.; Wang, W.; Zhang, J.Z. Resilient City: Characterization, Challenges and Outlooks. Buildings 2022, 12, 516.
  22. Desouza, K.C.; Flanery, T.H. Designing, planning, and managing resilient cities: A conceptual framework. Cities 2013, 35, 89–99.
  23. Luan, B.; Ding, X.; Wang, R.; Zhu, M.J. Exploration of Resilient Design Paradigm of Urban Green Infrastructure. Landsc. Archit. Front. 2020, 8, 94–105.
  24. Sharifi, A. Resilient urban forms: A review of literature on streets and street networks. Build. Environ. 2019, 147, 171–187.
  25. Lü, C. Research Hotspots and Progress of Living Streets in the Field of Urban Design: A Bibliometric Analysis Based on CiteSpace. Resid. Area 2022, 6, 84–91.
  26. Ben-Joseph, E. Changing the Residential Street Scene: Adapting the shared street (Woonerf) Concept to the Suburban Environment. J. Am. Plan. Assoc. 1995, 61, 504–515.
  27. Bain, L.; Gray, B.; Rodgers, D. Living Streets: Strategies for Crafting Public Space; John Wiley & Sons: Hoboken, NJ, USA, 2012.
  28. Fang, R. Spatial Characteristics and Planning and Design Methods of Living Streets. Urban Issues 2015, 12, 46–51.
  29. Wang, Y.; Jia, M. Research on Strategies for Enhancing the Quality of Urban Living Street Spaces. Urban Archit. 2020, 17, 27–29.
  30. Christodoulou, C. Gender Mainstreaming Urban Planning and Design Processes in Greece. In Engendering Cities; Routledge: Oxfordshire, UK, 2020; pp. 229–242.
  31. Anciaes, P.; Jones, P. Pedestrian Priority in Street Design-How Can It Improve Sustainable Mobility? Transp. Res. Procedia 2022, 60, 220–227.
  32. Mackie, H.; Macmillan, A.; Witten, K.; Baas, P.; Field, A.; Smith, M.; Hosking, J.; King, K.; Sosene, L.; Woodward, A. Te Ara Mua—Future Streets suburban street retrofit: A researcher-community-government co-design process and intervention outcomes. J. Transp. Health 2018, 11, 209–220.
  33. Nassar, M.A.; Luxford, L.; Cole, P.; Oatley, G.; Koutsakis, P. The Current and Future Role of Smart Street Furniture in Smart Cities. IEEE Commun. Mag. 2019, 57, 68–73.
  34. Hu, M. Application of Elastic Space Design Method in Living Street Renewal Design: A Case Study of Fanyu Road No. 222 in Shanghai. Master’s Thesis, Donghua University, Shanghai, China, 2019.
  35. Chen, H.; Hu, Y.; Cui, J.; Chen, Y.; Cai, Y. Towards “Age-Friendly”: Experience and Planning Strategies of Shenzhen’s Elderly-Friendly Urban Development. Planners 2023, 39, 35–41.
  36. Liu, C.; Liu, J. Resilience of Living Streets in Small and Medium-Sized Towns: A Grounded Theory Study of Yixing, China. Sustainability 2023, 15, 12084.
Contributors MDPI registered users' name will be linked to their SciProfiles pages. To register with us, please refer to : ,
View Times: 56
Revisions: 2 times (View History)
Update Date: 27 Sep 2023