Wernigerode, Klisstgasse

This is a lovely example of a narrow street in a mixed-use area that almost certainly includes many residences. The street appears to be a peaceful one despite the evident presence of several small businesses.

Several small points help to make this an unusually attractive street. In the first place, its width is not constant - it clearly tapers down in the middle distance. Second, it also curves gently. Third, the view is closed by the façade of a very attractive building. Finally, the signs placed by business do not intrude unreasonably into the scene. When people move on foot, small signs are entirely sufficient to their needs; it is only the advent of the automobile that has given us gigantic signs, often with irritating internal illumination, to attract motorist whizzing by.

There is one minus: the flight of steps that obtrudes into the sidewalk. Notice that the building beyond has its lowest floor just one step above the street (which keeps any minor flooding out of the house), and the building is tightly connected to the street, with its windows at the eye level of passersby. By contrast, the building in the foreground has its first floor about a meter above the street, which necessitates the encumbering stairs and isolates the ground floor from the street. While many will prefer this arrangement because of the increased privacy it affords, it is to be avoided. It is for this reason that it makes sense to use the ground floors of buildings as commercial space of one sort or another - these uses are by their nature more public and, in fact, benefit from their prominence in the street.

Notice how each story is corbelled out over the story below. In rainy places like Germany, this helps keep water off the faces of the buildings and their windows, which considerably reduces water damage and maintenance costs.

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