A further cross connection such as this one increases flow through layers of Balmoral, instead of depending on vehicle trodden routes which move around blocks. Good examples of these small but effective connections are Fearon Hay's Imperial Lane and the path inside of RTA Studio's Ironbank Building on Karangahape Road.
In Imperial Lane, the space between the historic Queen Street buildings are converted into a commercial/eatery/office spaces with contemporary materials working in the same language as the industrial past of the original shell. Connecting Queen Street (importantly the downtown area) and Imperial Lane which, before the streetscape renovation, was a dumpy back alley with unpleasant smells (still has some today I suppose), Imperial Lane's connection breaks up the large block into more pedestrian friendly paths to Fort Lane, Customs Street and Fort Street - a new network beneficial for the area that breaks away from the straight street edge typology typical of Queen Street and Balmoral Shops.
|At the Ironbank, the path access from K Road to Cross Street bends around approviding approaches to the internal courtyard (activated by beanbags and the umbrellas) creating a multi-axial and inhabitable semi-public space.|
A common trait between these examples is that there is a bend in the connecting street and through route is activated with different uses - beanbags, tables and chairs, game machines. The space between Dominion Road and the Warehouse carpark has a bend also, which provides micro-climate protection (i.e. against wind tunnels) and possibilities for an interesting activated space.
I had a bit of a conversation on Twitter about these urban connections with @citysituated, an urban planner, just within the fleeting dialogue we had recalled a bunch of great examples where small scale connectivity in the city helps create vibrant pedestrian networks. Airbridges at PWC, Takutai Square, Cross Street, connecting arcades in Queens Arcade, Midcity... all to varying degrees of success.
@bobbshen how interesting! You could also look at aerial spaces such as sky walks between buildings eg. Downtown and PWC building
— Melanie Taylor (@citysituated) April 22, 2013