Exclusivity in the street railway era

Neighborhood entry gateways in streetcar suburbs

Entry way to University Park neighborhood.

Gateway to the University Park neighborhood in Buffalo, NY. Photo source: Iacobucci and Hess, 2019.

Professor of urban planning Daniel B. Hess and Evan Iacobucci examine the role of historic entry gateways to American streetcar suburbs as markers of exclusivity. 

In early twentieth-century streetcar neighborhoods, entryway markers or gateways were used as distinct neighborhood design features. These markers typically took the form of a set of stone or brick towers, placed at the entrance to a residential street from an arterial roadway. We explore the nature, form and placement of these markers, and the role they play in neighborhood identity. Using literature, field data and spatial analysis, we find that, in concert with other neighborhood components, these structures serve to isolate neighborhoods from undesirable urban influences, insulate and ensure privacy, and maintain the integrity of the neighbourhood’s intended design.


Daniel B. Hess
Department of Urban and Regional Planning, UB

Evan Iacobucci


Town Planning Review

Date Published