Monthly Archives: August 2012

Charleston’s Small Streets, Part I

Recently, my partner and I took a trip down to the Carolinas. Naturally, we had to visit Historic Charleston while in the area.

There’s an idea out there that Southerners won’t walk around, especially in the 100 degree heat of summer. A day in Charleston proves that plainly false. In most places in the South, the problem is clearly a lack of appealing places to walk and destinations that can be reached by foot. That’s clearly not an issue in Downtown Charleston.

Walking around, we discovered a number of beautiful small streets. The first I’d like to share is Tradd Street, a residential street around 28 feet wide.

The best lesson this street has to teach is that it’s not necessary to put a yard in front of every house in order to have a green street.

Tradd Street

Check out that tree canopy! Nearly stretching the whole width of the street, these trees form the “ceiling” of this outdoor room. Their shade provides much-needed relief to people walking on hot summer days. And yet all the space they consume on the ground is around six square feet.

Tradd Street

You need not live in a tiny house to live on a small street. This house, three bays wide and two stories tall, is approximately 2500 square feet, which is larger than the size of an average house built today in the United States. Its window boxes and balcony soften the edge of the street, making for a more pleasant walk.

Tradd Street

More balconies and planters, and a different view of the tree canopy. The parked cars make for a tight squeeze on one sidewalk, but otherwise they don’t detract significantly from the ambiance of the street.

Tradd Street

It’s clear that the residents of this street care for the place they live. In neighborhoods like this one, there’s a universal ethic that every household should make a contribution to the public realm.

Tradd Street

What a treasure! Again, you don’t need yards and grass to enjoy a green street. And your experience of this natural beauty isn’t limited to looking at it. These are flowers and plants you can touch and smell. Apparently I’m not the only one who admires this house, either. Even the Google Street View camera caught this woman red-handed!


View Larger Map

Historic houses and historic streets like these deserve our love. With a few gestures of our affection, a bright color of paint here and some flowers there, the architecture and urban design reciprocates by continuing to offer us beautiful places to enjoy for generations.

Tradd Street