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Street names and addresses serve as everyday wayfinding devices in our surroundings, often unnoticed, while casually contributing to ambience and the symbolic meaning of a place. At first glance, the naming of streets and numbering of addresses may seem like a simple and mundane task. On the contrary, assigning street nomenclature and addresses is a defining part of a community's identity.
Street naming and addressing systems can reveal our organized way of life and power structures. On a fundamental level, these systems reflect and embody our core civic and democratic values. On a more practical level, these systems are critical for navigating and understanding a place, city, or region. And, in terms of information management, the concept of assigning addresses and street names is becoming more complex and sophisticated.
This issue of Zoning Practice explores the core components of a comprehensive street naming and property numbering system. It begins with a brief examination of the varied roles these systems play in urban and regional management and a short history of the evolution of street naming and property numbering in the U.S. Then it offers considerations for contemporary systems, in light of evolving values within the planning field.
About the Author
justin wallace, AICP