As part of our Leaders Say Transit Oriented Developments series, we spoke to our leaders about the makings of a successful transit oriented development. In Part 2, Senior Associate Director Kenji Wong shares his thinking on transforming transit hubs to destinations.
Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) are a hot topic in contemporary urban planning. Having emerged over the last two decades in cities with hyper density, particularly in Asia, where there are highly developed networks of public transport, TODs usually appear alongside rapid urban regeneration.
What makes a successful TOD? One key element is the presence of a transit hub where you can find a convergence of multiple transport modes. All these “point to point” modes of public transport are a major catalyst, and a necessity for the creation of a TOD.
Taking Xujiahui Centre ITC, a Lead8 project in Shanghai, as an example. A 1 million square metre mixed-use development connected to an underground station with 3 MRT lines and including retail, office, hotel and cultural facilities, the development serves as a transportation hub in two ways.
Firstly, it provides a Public Transport Interchange (PTI) which allows people to interchange amongst transport modes; MRT, buses and taxis. This paradigm in having public transport modes situated around commercial uses creates a very convenient environment and serves as an “attractor” drawing people to the development from the city and other transportation hubs.
Secondly, footbridges at the upper levels connect to adjacent developments in the district and are introduced to create a separation of pedestrian and road traffic. This localised pedestrian network fully integrates with the urban grain of the district, also allowing pedestrians from the surrounding neighbourhood to visit for both transit and shopping purposes.
Being a transit hub, a TOD no longer just depends on the local population. There is a much bigger threshold of population that can visit the development as a destination – a place where people can live, work and play. However it is important not to neglect other key factors, such as the seamless interface with transportation and various other components of the mixed-use development.
It is not surprising to see that the frequency of these developments is in direct correlation with the size of the MRT and railway network in Asia. Can these models be transplanted to other cities with a mature mass transit network like London? We believe so, since urban regeneration and sprawl are inevitable in developed cities.
As these cities continue to grow in density there is an opportunity for us as architects and designers to apply our expertise in designing TODs in Asia to cities where the model is in it’s infancy, or not yet realised. Promoting a more economical physical footprint, greater integration with public transit systems and retail facilities, and also a greatly reduced environmental footprint.
By: Kenji Wong (Lead8 Senior Associate Director)