The Key to Safe Streets: Five Cities Humanizing Street Design
Case Studies 

Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

*Nominee 

Hampstead Heath

London

United kingdom

Contributed by 
Kate Weingarten
Project for Public Spaces
 on 
August 22, 2002
December 14, 2017

Urban park between Highgate and Hamstead, the Heath contains the highest point in London, Parliament Hill.

What makes it Great?

Why it doesn't work?

Eight hundred acres of lawns, woodlands, paths, and ponds reserved for ladies, for gents, and for water fowl, plus tennis courts, swimming pools, a running track, many, many benches, and one of London's fine small museums, Kenwood House, in private hands til 1927, with Robert Adams interiors, good furniture and art, even a cafe.

Access & Linkages

There are many ways into the Heath from the surrounding neighborhoods of Highgate and Hampstead. It has bus and train transport near at hand.

Comfort & Image

It is always full of people, walking, playing, sitting, and feels safe even when you follow your whim down a little used dirt path.

Uses & Activities

Everyone seems to use the park to walk dogs, to fly kites, to participate in more organized sports (see above).

Sociability

I walked on the Heath every morning for six months, and I cannot say that I noticed that the space softened English reserve. Still, it is a wonderful place and well used. The public toilets are immaculate.

How Light?

How Quick?

How Cheap?

History & Background

The Heath has a long history spanning several hundred years. When the Great Fire of 1666 destroyed 436 acres of the old city of London, many of the more prosperous were able to escape into the countryside, while most of the common class were forced to head to government set-up shelters on Hampstead Heath. Then, when its springs were discovered in 1698, Hampstead Heath became a spa, and one of the more fashionable areas of London. The Heath was fought over in series of long, drawn-out disputes between local inhabitants and Sir Thomas Maryon Wilson, the Lord of the Manor who tried to build over it. The legal quarrel lasted from 1831 when it was finally decided that the Heath should belong to the public. It is still a popular place, and up to 100,000 visitors have been recorded on Bank Holidays.

Related Links & Sources

Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath
Picnic on the Heath
Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath
Hampstead Heath

*Please note that these Hall of Shame nominations were written in a moment in time (most over a decade ago) and likely have since changed or even been transformed. If the above entry is now great, or still not so great, go ahead and comment below on how it has evolved or nominate it as a great place.

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The Key to Safe Streets: Five Cities Humanizing Street Design