The woonerf (plural woonerven) is a type of Dutch residential street that was developed in the 1970s, designed to be safe, and quiet, with no through-traffic except walking. The name literally means 'living courtyard'. The principles of woonerven have been refined and are now applied more broadly in the Netherlands as erven (translated as 'recreational areas') - where walking, cycling, street play and recreational uses of streets are prioritised over motor traffic.

Woonerven have low design speeds, with tight corners and narrow street widths. Drivers are expected to travel at walking speed, with pedestrians having equal priority. Cars can only be parked in designated parking bays in woonerven, typically, in separate car parks away from the woonerf itself.

Assen Woonerf

The original, cul-de-sac type form of residential street arrangement of the first woonerven has fallen out of favour in the Netherlands, in part because of the lack of through routes explicitly designed for cycling - making trips by bike needlessly circuitous, or involving cycling on narrow paths with pedestrians. Many wooverven have now been adapted to make it easier to cycle through (and out of) them in different directions, and new Dutch housing development tends to be more 'open', while still preventing through motor traffic on residential streets, and with parking still in car parks at the periphery of the development.

 Nevertheless the principles of the woonerf still greatly inform the layout and design of access roads in the Netherlands - in particular, the visual language of narrower roads and rough surfaces that immediately communciate to users the need for lower speeds and to cede priority to human users of the street. As well as the more general erf the Netherlands now has winkelerven (applied to shopping areas) and stationserven (applied to the areas around train stations).

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