Reconnecting America People * Places * Possibility

Resource Center

Model Design Manual for Living Streets


A growing number of communities are discovering the value of their streets as important public spaces for many aspects of daily life. People want streets that are safe to cross or walk along, offer places to meet people, link healthy neighborhoods, and have a vibrant mix of retail. More people are enjoying the value of farmers’ markets, street festivals, and gathering places. And more people want to be able to walk and ride bicycles in their neighborhoods.

People from a wide variety of backgrounds are forming partnerships with schools, health agencies, neighborhood associations, environmental organizations, and other groups in asking their city councils to create streets and neighborhoods that fit this vision.

As a result, an increasing number of cities are looking to modify the way they design their streets. They are often stifled by standards and guidelines that prevent them from making the changes they seek. Some want to modify their standards and manuals, but don’t know how, or don’t have the resources. This manual presents an opportunity to these communities to design their streets for health, safety, livability, sustainability, and more. It also provides a template that can be adopted to replace existing manuals. The sponsors of this manual make it freely available to any community that wants to use all or any part of it. This manual may be modified, customized, or expanded upon at the pleasure of the end user. We hope that by making it widely available, many more communities will fulfill their dreams in making and remaking their streets valuable public space that serves many needs.

The manual is available at as a Word document and an InDesign package in order to facilitate creation of new versions of the manual.

Download the manual at