Streets — Link and Place

The street is the largest stage in the city, and the most used (Gehl, 1989).

“As a Link, a street is for movement and designed for users to pass through as quickly and conveniently as possible, in order to minimise travel time; while as a Place, the street is a destination in its own right, where people are encouraged to spend time taking part in activities.” (Jones)

As we have learnt from our previous articles streets roles could primarily support two alternative functions, movement corridor and a public space. It largely depends upon the primary objective bestowed upon that street. Narrowing it down, Professor Peter Jones at University college of London coined the concept of ‘Link and Place’. He also proposed a detailed matrix on which we can place any street based on various factors while retrofitting street features to change its location in the matrix. Link-plae matrix is a valuable technique to study and modify streets while fostering them as places.


Link is an entity/passage that connects two points.

Types of Link (Allan, 2016)

  • Road (Rd.): Can be anything that connects two points. The most basic of the naming conventions.
  • Way: A small side street off a road.
  • Street (St.): A public way that has buildings on both sides of it. They run perpendicular to avenues.
  • Avenue (Ave.): Also a public way that has buildings or trees on either side of it. They run perpendicular to streets.
  • Boulevard (Blvd.): A very wide city street that has trees and vegetation on both sides of it. There’s also usually a median in the middle of boulevards.
  • Lane (Ln.): A narrow road often found in a rural area. Basically, the opposite of a boulevard.
  • Drive (Dr.): A long, winding road that has its route shaped by its environment, like a nearby lake or mountain.
  • Terrace (Ter.): A Street that follows the top of a slope.
  • Court (Ct.): A road or street that ends in a circle or loop.


Place is an area that is marked by the presence of activities, physical environment and social characteristics.

Place levels are based on:

  • Catchment area of premises alongside
  • Cultural importance of adjoining buildings
  • Cultural importance of street itself (Jones)


Link-place matrix (Figure 2) is introduced by (Marshall, Peter Jones Natalya Boujenko Stephen, 2007) in their famous book, “Link and Place: A Guide to Street Planning and Design”. Being link and place is a dual function of any Street. Every street can be placed at a certain position in the matrix. Certain change in the link factor of the street, will lead to change in place component of the street; and vice versa. Existing streets can be retrofitted to change their position in the matrix.

The following table compares and contrasts the unique characteristics of Link and Place based on certain important parameters.



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