From Concrete Jungle To Urban Oasis: Ingenious Urban Planning Efforts That Redefine City Life

By Saptargha D

Most of the world’s population today lives in a concrete world built like a maze. Cities, teeming with opportunities and vitality, face numerous environmental and societal challenges that impact our physical and mental well-being.

Although we put a lot of effort into changing this reality, only a few urban planning projects blend our functionality with the beauty of nature. Sadly, we often fail to acknowledge these engineering and architectural masterpieces, where they exist in the tiniest details.

Thus, various online communities dedicated to showcasing outstanding architectural designs and calling out incredible urban planning choices have emerged. Today, we have brought forth 40 fantastic urban planning ideas from different parts of the world. They’ll make you wish you lived in these stunning cities!

New Green Oasis

It’s incredible how fast this sustainable reconstruction took place. In most countries, such projects don’t even get approvals within the time Alemanha’s highway got recreated. The 2019 photo clearly shows how the highway’s absence paved the way for a beautiful, lush garden to thrive with a road tunnel beneath.

Image by Thereaper29 on Reddit

This remarkable transformation of Alemanha from a concrete jungle to a green oasis is nothing if not impressive. It looks like a magical spell was cast on the area, erasing the highway and replacing it with a serene garden and walkway where people could enjoy mother nature.

Delhi’s Green Roads

Delhi finally says goodbye to its car-centric roads! This image of wide concrete roads redesigned into lush green pathways is a sight to behold. With no sidewalls constricting it, the space has been transformed into a paradise, comprising towering trees, a separate walkway, and a congestion-free cycle lane.

Image by Hiif4 on Reddit

This was an excellent and timely step by the government of Delhi. Adding cycling pathways will encourage more people to adopt a healthier and eco-friendly mode of transportation. Thus, with this transformation, the once drab and dreary road now looks like something straight out of a postcard.

Car Parking No More!

If you ever find yourself in the 9th Arrondissement of Paris, check out these green lanes that had been serving as car parking spaces for years. However, the city’s urban planning recovered the entire area and turned it into a beautiful walkway.

Image by silveryspoons on Reddit

So now, instead of the exhaust fumes of cars, the air is filled with the sweet aroma of fruit and flowering trees. Finally, this street’s residents can breathe fresh air and lead a peaceful life devoid of loud car squeals and honks at odd hours.

Golf Course Revamp

With proper rezoning and the implication of a land value tax, this 160-acre golf course could be transformed into a stunning, tree-encompassed, walkable space and become a home to 40,000 people. What’s more, it would have not one but two future light rail stops!

Image by Not-A-Seagull on Reddit

This picture proves that infrastructure can co-exist with nature. The juxtaposition of man-made structures and the vibrant hues of nature transforms concrete such spaces into urban heavens. Not only do these designs make beautiful surroundings, but they also benefit residents in terms of healthy living.

Pandemic Goodside!

Who would’ve thought a pandemic could bring such a beautiful and sustainable change? Once clogged with parked vehicles, this street is now adorned with cozy outdoor restaurant seating. It looks like the road had a facelift! Undoubtedly, the new and transformed Fuller Street in Miami is a sight to behold!

Image by ForteLaidirSterkPono on Reddit

During the pandemic, many streets and lanes underwent similar transformations. It worked so well that some cities decided to keep them. So now, people can easily stroll through these areas, enjoy lip-smacking delicacies in the outdoor seats, and shop for their favorite things from the adjacent stores.

Map in Foots

Have you ever wandered in a new city, desperately searching for a map or a friendly local to guide you? Fear no more because the urban planners of this district have got you covered! They designed these unique tiles to provide you with personal tour guides right under your feet!

Image by Kemro59 on Reddit

These urban planners took the concept of “street art” to a new level by creating a tile on the walkway that doubles as a map of the entire area. So, not only do you get to enjoy the aesthetic appeal of the pavement tile, but you also get the bonus of never getting lost!

Gas Tank Remodeling

The Vienna Gasometers are an impressive sight. These gas storage tanks, first constructed in 1896, have undergone a massive transformation over the last few decades. Between 1995 and 2001, the country’s government remodeled this enormous structure into a multipurpose development.

Image by ForteLaidirSterkPono on Reddit

It’s hard to believe that these once-abandoned tanks now house apartments, offices, shops, and even a concert hall. Although vintage, the shape and design make it seem like a modern multi-use building. No wonder the architects of that era are said to have had a prudent vision!

Parkview for Everyone

This apartment complex in Berlin with a park in the middle is an excellent example of brilliant urban planning. Commonly known as the Horseshoe Estate, it’s a marvel how the architects managed to cram in so many apartments while still giving each resident a beautiful view of the surrounding greenery.

Image by archineering on Reddit

This way, even the most curmudgeonly neighbor won’t be able to complain about their view! Who’d need a backyard when they have an entire park in front of their eyes? This is more proof that a slight touch of nature can effectively transform concrete buildings into urban heavens.

Productive Use of Space

These pictures show the importance of urban planning and utilizing every inch of space to the fullest. The area shown in both images is the same, but the number of vehicles parked differs. Without a clear distinction between the sidewalk and the road, the space was used by individuals as they liked.

Image by gfaster on Reddit

But with a separation between the road and the pavement, now the space is used optimally. We all know that we have limited space to live in thanks to the growing population every year. Thus, it’s better to utilize what we have mindfully and make our living places more sustainable.

Tactile Paving

Have you ever come across a bumpy plate on the road and thought it was a cool design? Well, these plates are not only a trendy decoration, but they also serve a practical purpose. They are installed everywhere in France to help blind people navigate the streets safely.

Image by Kemro59 on Reddit

These blistered plates act as a ‘warning’ surface for visually impaired individuals, defining the border between the sidewalk and the road. Simply, they serve as tactile zebra crossings, which ensure the safety of blind pedestrians using public sidewalks and crossing intersections.

Reversible Benches

Choosing between people-watching and boat-gazing can be a real conundrum. But do not worry anymore, indecisive friends! These reversible public benches have got you covered! With just a flick of the wrist, you can now go from ogling passersby to admiring the serene waterscape.

Image by BitchyOlive on Reddit

These benches are a stroke of genius in the world of urban planning. Not only do they offer a practical solution for limited space, but they also add a touch of whimsy to the city landscape. It’s a perfect blend of form and functionality, and frankly, we need more of them!

Cyclists, No more Excuses!

This was a godsend for all litterbugs who would not make the minimal effort to find a proper trash bin. Besides, it is also such an incredible sight to witness the streets of Denmark stay clean with less mismanaged garbage.

Image by ekernan on Reddit

These bins in Denmark showcase Scandinavian ingenuity at its best. They are so well-designed that they make it effortlessly accessible for riders to dispose of trash without halting their bicycles. We truly need more of such inventions to make our surroundings cleaner!

Green Streets

This street boasts lush green grass on both sides, perfectly complemented by gorgeous vines and shrubbery. It would make even the most famous allies blush with envy. Not only does the street look stunning, but it is also quite child-friendly.

Image by VincZ on Reddit

It is a true testament to what can be achieved when a community comes together to turn their dreams into reality. Who knew all it would take to make this street look like a fairyland was a little bit of elbow grease and lots of greenery?

Narrow Tree-Lined Lanes

Quince Street in Philadelphia is an absolute delight for the senses. The narrow, winding street lined with charming brick row houses is quite picturesque. Additionally, the arched leafy trees further accentuate the quaint and cozy atmosphere, forming a natural canopy that provides shade and shelter.

Image by Urbinaut on Reddit

It’s the kind of street that makes you want to slow down, take a deep breath, and savor the moment. Constructing such narrow roads is a fantastic decision, as it preserves the beauty and character of the city while allowing for efficient transportation. It’s indeed a win-win situation!

New Luxurious Restaurant

It’s unbelievable how this old, uninviting apartment was completely metamorphosed into a stunning, opulent restaurant. It truly highlights the intricate craftsmanship of urban planners. They not only created a visually striking structure but also offered a cozy place to sit and enjoy food.

Image by TheLewishPeople on Reddit

The building looks classier than ever with a modern design and subtle color pallet. The planners even revamped the road in front of the restaurant, making it match the surroundings. Now the residents have a gorgeous restaurant and an equally stunning neighborhood.

Ingenious Scheme

Stockholm’s speed camera lottery is one of the most ingenious ways to make reckless drivers abide by the speed limit. If the speedometer detects a vehicle’s speed below the limit, the respective driver automatically enters a lottery and stands a chance to win a prize.

Image by neroina on Reddit

The best part is that this prize money comes from the fines speeders pay when they drive beyond the legal limit. So, this approach not only helps one avoid penalties but also gives them an opportunity to win some extra cash. This, in turn, prevents frequent accidents and improves road safety.

Secret Entrance

Creating a parking entrance on a roundabout is a good idea, as they only consume a little space. Thus, by doing so, people can easily keep their cars inside the city rather than looking for parking spaces outside. But this famous roundabout has some drawbacks.

Image by Kemro59 on Reddit

Sometimes it might be hard to spot, which makes it more like a trap. With one wrong turn, you can unintentionally fall in the parking lot! One minute you’re going round and round, admiring the architecture, and the next, you’re deep underground!

Street-Side Locks

Here comes a modern rack for skaters and bike riders to lock up their skateboards, scooters, and bicycles. While the idea is helpful for those concerned about theft or damage to their equipment and vehicles, it’s unlikely that many would be willing to use such a contraption.

Image by unroja on Reddit

First, people don’t like to leave their belongings unguarded by the roadside. Second, most bike riders nowadays carry their own locks; hence, these racks won’t be of any use to them. However, the ingenuity behind this concept deserves recognition. It’s encouraging to see urban planners think outside the box.

Beautiful Parklets

Lately, these small outdoor seating areas have replaced many street parking spots. Complemented by benches and flowering shrubs, these parklets not only add to the beauty of the urban landscape but also provide much-needed respite for pedestrians. Such a lovely spot to take a rest and chill with a friend.

Image by MajorChances on Reddit

These spaces sometimes look more like mini gardens installed in the middle of the hustle and bustle of the city. So, if you want to unwind after a hectic day, visit these charming little parklets and enjoy the sight and sounds of your city.

Personal Torch

This next innovative idea is a game-changer in urban planning, making nighttime crossings safer and easier for both pedestrians and drivers. With high-tech sensors, these in-road warning lights turn on automatically as a person walks through the intersection, alerting drivers to slow down and giving pedestrians an extra sense of security.

Image by Kemro59 on Reddit

It’s almost like having a personal flashlight whenever you cross the street! This luminous pedestrian crossing is not only practical but also stylish, adding a futuristic touch to the cityscape. Who needs those old street lamps for illumination when you have an automated glowing crosswalk?

Best from Waste

If you want a unique outdoor eating experience in Gurugram, India, look no further than these concrete sewer pipes. Yes, you read it right! These massive, bulky concrete pipes have been remodeled into comfortable seating spaces perfect for lounging or hanging out with friends!

Image by Unknown User on Reddit

They look more like cafe cabins than sewerage pipes, bringing the best out of the worst. It’s truly amazing how creativity and talent can repurpose something that was once seen as an eyesore. This image proves that even the most unconventional materials can be transformed into beautiful, functional elements.

Indoor Waterfall

The world’s tallest indoor waterfall is the jewel in the crown of Changi Airport, Singapore, and it’s not hard to see why. As soon as you enter the airport, you’ll be greeted by this magnificent water feature cascading down from the ceiling.

Image by labitx on Reddit

It’s a true engineering marvel! Standing in front of it will make you forget you are in an airport. The burbling sound of the water, the surrounding mist as well as the airport’s stunning gardens will transport you to a tropical rainforest.

Eyes at Back!

The addition of a mirror on this traffic light allows drivers to see beyond their blind spots and ensure the safety of those around them. It’s like having eyes in the back of your head. Knowing your surroundings is essential while driving as it can save many lives.

Image by Kemro59 on Reddit

It is a great solution for those who have trouble with spatial awareness. So now, you do not have to worry about accidentally running into someone during the morning hour rush or being surprised by a cyclist on a narrow road.

Green Oasis

As you drive through this roundabout, you’ll be mesmerized by the greenery in the center. The well-placed landscape not only adds a touch of natural beauty but also serves as a calming reprieve from the chaos of the urban jungle.

Image by Kemro59 on Reddit

Commuters can’t help but gaze at the green grass and towering trees sprouting up through the concrete structure. It looks as if mother nature herself snuck into the city’s heart and created a secret garden oasis for everyone to enjoy!

Green Walls

The greenery draped over these walls creates a stunning visual contrast against the dullness of the metropolis. However, apart from looking great, it renders some added advantages to the apartment. The thick layers of grass protect the brickwork from external hazards and maintain a cool temperature inside.

Image by throatfuckthursday on Reddit

That said, this greenery can impact the structure’s integrity over time if not properly taken care of. For instance, if the grass on the walls is not regularly trimmed, their roots can penetrate the existing cracks, drainage systems, and windows, making it difficult and even dangerous for the residents.

Nature Can Co-Exist With The Concrete Jungle

You cannot help but feel a wave of appreciation for the ingenuity of this city planner. Who knew that swathing city elements around nature could create such a captivating sight? Well, this image proves that nature can co-exist with man-made constructions.

Image by Herrkarlson on Reddit

When it comes to urban planning, it’s easy to get bogged down in the technicalities and forget the beauty that can sprout from a well-executed, sustainable project. However, as a society, we must appreciate and advocate for nature-friendly urban planning practices to improve our lives.

Bicycles Over Cars

Why drive when you can ride a bicycle? On one side of the image, we can see a road with a long line of cars, bumper to bumper, inching their way forward. But on the other side, there’s a road bustling with bicycle riders, yet they’re all smoothly flowing through their designated lanes.

Image by TrueNorth2881 on Reddit

So, bike riders have many advantages here – they’re not stuck in traffic, they’re not polluting the air, and they’re getting exercise while traveling. It’s a win-win for both the individuals and the environment. Maybe we should start prioritizing infrastructure for bicycles and pedestrians over four-wheelers!

Safe Streets of The Netherlands

Amsterdam, Netherlands, is a perfect example of urban planning at its finest. The Dutch have always been known for their efficient and practical approach to everything, and this controlled access area system is no exception. The red and white stripes on the barriers caution against the entry of four-wheelers!

Image by Kemro59 on Reddit

The system is specifically designed to regulate traffic, reduce congestion, and keep the streets safe for pedestrians and cyclists. It’s no wonder that Amsterdam is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. With such a high level of efficiency, you can ride your bicycle safely.

Bicycle Stand

These metal contraptions in Spain allow cyclists to wait for the green light without getting off their saddle. They act as little podiums to rest your feet when your bike is in traffic. It is one of those things you never knew you’d need while cycling until you tried it out!

Image by Kemro59 on Reddit

However, if you look at the picture carefully, you will notice that the podiums are strategically placed to serve another important purpose, road safety. They separate the bike lane from the rest of the road, reducing the chances of congestion or accidents.

Easy-to-Communicate Urban Blocks

Are you wondering why this land is designed this way? Perhaps the intention was to foster a greater sense of community and harmony between neighbors. With its circular arrangement and ample greenery, this design creates a welcoming environment that encourages social interaction.

Image by MopCoveredInBleach on Reddit

From a bird’s eye view, this urban planning strategy is simply stunning. The circular placement of homes is pleasing to the eye, and the abundance of greenery adds natural beauty to the space. The design was clearly not only created for functionality but also for an enhanced living experience.

Fume and Honk-Free Streets

All the cars seem to have gone on strike, leaving the city to its people. Pedestrians are now relieved from the noise, pollution, and stress that come with automobiles. They can freely stroll the streets, chat with their friends by the roadside, and spend quality time in restaurants or cafes with their lovers.

Image by silveryspoons on Reddit

Thus, this image is a stark reminder that sometimes, the simplest things in life are the most valuable. A city designed for people and their well-being will always be more inviting and engaging than one prioritizing cars and traffic flow. Oh, how we wish we lived here!

Green City Center

If your home’s side streets bother you, look at this image. It is an absolute delight to the eyes. It’s like a piece of the countryside was dropped in the middle of the city! The trees seem to have taken over the streets, forming a vibrant green canopy.

Image by Unknown User on Reddit

This photo will make any nature lover want to pack their bags and move to Tucuman right away! Just by looking at it, you can feel a serene and calming sensation. It’s sad that it’s rare to find such a scene in an urban setting.

Sustainable Bench

With such a seamless and smooth design, it’s hard to tell this is actually a bench. It’s so sleek and minimalistic that it looks like a decor element placed alongside the tree, but it’s more than that. Made of concrete, this is one of the most durable, low-maintenance, and unique-looking benches ever.

Image by alons33 on Reddit

Since concrete doesn’t chip or snap like wood, these benches can withstand extreme seasonal hazards and serve people for a long time. Thus, incorporating more of these bench designs in the city will not only cut down on the government’s expenses but also add beauty to the urbanscape.

Green Belt Along the Road

This green belt of trees and shrubs alongside the street is not only aesthetically pleasing but also has a calming effect on our nerves. It is refreshing to see that even in the metropolis, someone thought about the importance of having lush greenery.

Image by Kemro59 on Reddit

Creating beautiful infrastructure while preserving greenery within a space is quite brilliant and visionary. As a resident, you can’t help but feel grateful for this little slice of nature amidst the hustle and bustle of city life. Kudos to whoever made this possible!

Trees are Important

Have you ever seen a tree so important that it has its own lane? Well, in Buenos Aires, that’s what happened! A big, beautiful tree was smack dab in the middle of a bike lane. But instead of cutting it down, city planners decided to work around it, and this was the result!

Image by MarioDiBian on Reddit

Although it’s hilarious to see a lone tree growing through the center of a bike lane, it’s inspiring, too. Thus, this image proves we can make feasible constructions around nature if we have the will. Destruction of existing trees to build new infrastructure is not the only way.

Dragon Lamps

If you ever find yourself strolling or traveling through the charming city of Bethune in France, keep an eye out for these dragon-shaped street lights! These whimsical and unique light fixtures add a touch of magic to the already beautiful streets.

Image by Kemro59 on Reddit

Who wants boring old lamp posts when you can have dragons guarding the streets? The government’s decision to incorporate these creative elements into its urban planning showcases its willingness to make Bethune stand out. Imagine the city’s beauty when all these little dragons light up at night!

God’s Valley

It looks like the god of civilization designed these urban blocks. The way the zigzags and circles are intricately placed is not only stunning but also functional. Moreover, this unique arrangement gives plenty of room for greenery to flourish, adding to the beauty and charm of the city.

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However, driving four-wheelers through these star streets is expensive. With fewer direct routes, you’ll have to travel more distance, spending more fuel and time. Thus, since they’re not suitable for cars, these urban designs encourage the usage of bicycles for a more sustainable environment.

Classic Traffic Light

Have you ever encountered a traffic light that resembles a fancy street lamp? Well, you can find one in Paris! This peculiar traffic light is not only functional and efficient, but it is also designed to complement the street’s landscape perfectly. The French are really outdoing themselves in urban planning!

Image by Kemro59 on Reddit

Thus, you need not worry about the traffic light ruining the view of the City of Love while waiting for it to turn green. In fact, it looks so cool that it might make you want to stop, stare at it for some time and maybe snap a quick selfie.

Minneapolis Urbanscape

Minneapolis is your ideal destination if you want to witness some urban wonders. The city’s picturesque skyline, bustling streets, and lush greenery are a testament to the great minds behind its sustainable design. The image below shows how well-planned the cityscape is.

Image by mobsterman on Reddit

It seems the urban planners considered various minute aspects while planning the city. As a result, they not only brought forth the magnificence of concrete structures but also the serenity of mother nature to provide residents with a healthy and happy environment.

Open Green Spaces

Looks like nature and urban planners have collaborated to create this picturesque landscape. The houses and parks blend seamlessly with the natural surroundings, making it an ideal place for anyone seeking respite from the chaos of city life. We have no doubt that it was a dream come true for most people.

Image by indiaartndesign on Reddit

If more urban planners took inspiration from this image, we would have fewer concrete jungles and more beautiful public spaces in the metropolis. People would enjoy spending their free time outside, breathing in the fresh air and basking in the warm sunlight. Honestly, we’d all be so much happier.