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Grid Innovations to Improve City Walkability

Authors InformeDesign University of Minnesota


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This paper investigated the historical context of the Hippodamian grid (i.e., a street plan introduced in 5th century BC Greece to accommodate the movement of carts and chariots by organizing streets in hierarchical, perpendicular layouts) and discussed changes that can be made to modern cities to improve their walkability.


  • Although the Hippodamian grid has been used to organize new settlements for the last 24 centuries, alternative city layouts (e.g., Le Corbusier’s rational transportation grid, Perry’s neighborhood unit plans) are currently used more prominently to accommodate 20th century transportation technologies (e.g., personal automobiles, trains, mass transit).
  • Previous literature suggesting that modern city plans favor the needs of vehicular traffic and overlook pedestrian travel have noted the increase of pedestrian and motorist fatalities (Ernst, 2004) and the degraded social environment of the street (Appleyard, 1981) as possible repercussions.
  • Today’s fast and autonomous transit devices and the sprawling city layouts designed to accommodate them may not support walking as a viable transit option. Infusing elements of the Hippodamian grid into modern city layouts may better accommodate pedestrian traffic and improve city walkability.


Authors: Fanis Grammenos, Barry Craig, Douglas Pollard, and Carla Guerrera, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Research Division, Ottawa, Canada

Article Title: Hippodamus Rides to Radburn: A New Model for the 21st Century 

Journal of Urban Design Publication Volume: 13 Issue: 2 Pages: 163-176

Date of Publication: 2008

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