After decades of car-centred urban planning in the centre of Tallinn, the city plans to give the centre back to its people and enliven urban culture by creating a 21st century Main Street: a shared urban space that is safe for pedestrians and cyclists, with more public transport and fewer cars.
The design competition, organized by the Estonian Centre of Architecture, took inspiration from sustainable city planning solutions in other European capitals, such as Berlin, London, Stockholm and Helsinki. The project is meant to be completed in 2018, to coincide with Estonia’s centenary as well as the country’s presidency of the EU.
The goal is to transform the heart of Tallinn from a transport corridor to a people-friendly space with its own identity and street culture – a space for meeting and spending time, not just a busy thoroughfare for cars that citizens and tourists alike try to avoid.
The soon-to-be-redesigned street stretches 1.5 km from Freedom Square along the current Pärnu road, Viru Square and Narva road. One of the objectives of the Main Street project is also to link the Old City Harbour with the city centre, extending the city to the waterfront and thus making the now fragmented centre into a cohesive unit.
The Main Street project also aims to raise environmental standards and improve the quality of life in Tallinn’s city centre by decreasing noise and improving air quality. This is to be achieved through people-centred city planning and by encouraging motorists to choose alternative modes of transport.
Source: Sustainable Cities, US