In 2005, the now defunct Rebar placed coins in a San Francisco parking meter not to park a car but to erect a small public park. Every third Friday in September since then, activists worldwide who wish to foster a conversation about the lack of public space have been transforming parking spaces...
Public Space Protection Orders, or PSPOs, came into existence last year under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014. Similar to the much-derided anti-social behaviour orders (asbos), PSPOs allow for broad powers to criminalise behaviour that is not normally criminal. But where asbos were directed at individuals, PSPOs are geographically defined, making predefined activities within a mapped area prosecutable. — theguardian.com
For a primer to this piece, check out:Taking a stand against privately-owned public spacesAnd for more on contested public spaces:Christopher Hawthorne on the recovery of public space in Los AngelesLocals welcome The 606, a.k.a. Chicago's "High Line", but anxiety for its future remainsNot all...
A Brazilian urban planning collective called Urb-i...scoured Google Street View images to find the most stunning public space transformations from around the world. The results give us hope that our cities are becoming more beautiful places to live. — Business Insider
Cheer up: not everything is getting worse, at least not if you check out these comparison shots of real places from around the globe captured on Google Street View. Compiled by Urb-i, these 41 intersections and urban streets are studies in pedestrian-friendliness; as the years melt by, many of the...
It’s hard to grasp his calculus. One of Mr. de Blasio’s big initiatives, Vision Zero, aims to improve pedestrian safety. Ripping up the pedestrian plazas in Times Square, restoring cars and forcing millions of people to dodge traffic again, runs headlong into his own policy.
As an exasperated Tim Tompkins, the president of the Times Square Alliance, put it on Thursday: “Sure, let’s tear up Broadway — we can’t govern, manage or police our public spaces.” — nytimes.com
More about Times Square on Archinect:Times Square throughout the agesTimes Square and the routine of chaosJam to your heart's desire with Stereotank's "Heartbeat" installation in Times SquareMidtown Manhattan Wouldn't Be the Same
With a $35,000 grant from the Knight Prototype Fund, [MITs Elizabeth Christoforetti] and her team are working on a project called Placelet, which will track how pedestrians move through a particular space. They’re developing a network of sensors that will track the scale and speed of pedestrians [and vehicles] over long periods of time. The sensors, [currently being tested in downtown Boston], will also track the 'sensory experience' by recording the noise level and air quality of that space. — CityLab
More on Archinect:The Life of a New Architect: Elizabeth Christoforetti (Featured interview)MIT's MindRider helmet draws mental maps as you bikeMIT's Newest Invention Fits All the Furniture You Need in One Closet-Sized BoxMIT develops self-assembling modular robots
the place where cities get “remade” is in the public rather than private sphere. Part of the problem, then, with privately owned public spaces (“Pops”) ... is that the rights of the citizens using them are severely hemmed in. [...]
[Pops] feel too monitored, too controlled, to allow this communal activity to simply unfold. London, and many other cities, are failing miserably to enable diversity in people’s engagement with such spaces. — theguardian.com
More news from the public space:Urban design influences how public protests can take rootChristopher Hawthorne on the recovery of public space in Los AngelesLocals welcome The 606, a.k.a. Chicago's "High Line", but anxiety for its future remainsNot all sidewalks are created equal in D.C.
The first public parklet in downtown Portland, the installation is intended to help revitalize this stretch of SW Fourth Avenue in the heart of the SoMa EcoDistrict (for “South of Market Street”), giving students, faculty, and workers from surrounding offices a place to sit and enjoy their food-cart lunches in the sunshine, rather than racing back to their desks to eat. — pdx.edu
Downtown Portland is no stranger to green public spaces, but the recently opened Fourth Avenue Parklet has that ideal recipe for a do-good-feel-good collaborative project. Twenty-six architecture students from Portland State University spent 18 months to design and construct the parklet, which...
If the project is scaled up, it could have a substantial impact on the urban fabric: Los Angeles has a total of almost 900 miles of alleys, roughly the length of the coast of California. Proponents believe that on a citywide scale, green alleys could act as significant rainwater sponges, mitigate the heat island effect, and reduce vehicle use, as well as bring social and health benefits to nearby residents. — nextcity.org
Tori Kjer, a program director of the Trust for Public Land, and her colleagues won support from local South L.A. communities for their proposed Avalon Green Alley Network Plan, which will transform the city's alleyways into more community-friendly spaces for playing and for bike and walking...
Chicago's highly anticipated elevated trail and park system known as The 606, otherwise referred to as the Bloomingdale Trail or the "Chicago High Line", finally celebrated its grand opening this past Saturday on the appropriate date of June 6 (6/06). The centerpiece of the $95 million...
Instead, he lives on Buena Vista Terrace SE, a grim stretch of low-rise apartments pushed up against the Maryland border. And on Buena Vista Terrace, just standing outside can get you in trouble. [...]
The law is meant to fight disorderly conduct, but some lawyers and the people arrested for the “crime” say it’s routinely used to harass people seen as undesirable: protesters, the homeless, and black men. — washingtoncitypaper.com
Since terrorism has become one of the guiding forces in urban design, the incorporation of immense fortifications into everyday streets has spawned an entire industry of defensive architecture [...]
The latest developments in this rising tide of urban paranoia are on display this week at the Counter Terror Expo in west London’s Olympia, a sprawling trade show that proudly claims to showcase “the key terror threat areas under one roof”. It is an enormous supermarket of neuroses [...]. — theguardian.com
This morning, Southwest Airlines announced that non-profit organizations in six U.S. cities will receive Placemaking grants to help them reimagine and reactivate important but underutilized public spaces in their city. [...]
Albuquerque, New Mexico: Civic Plaza
Ft. Myers, Florida: Lee County Regional Library
Jacksonville, Florida: Hemming Park
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: 4th & Wisconsin Area
Portland, Maine: Congress Square Park
St. Louis, Missouri: Strauss Park — pps.org
Just three proposals left in the second attempt of the St. Petersburg Pier design competition in St. Petersburg, Florida. Back in 2012, "The Lens" by Michael Maltzan Architecture and Tom Leader Studio won the original competition, but that design was kicked to the curb after local group Concerned...
Alastair Graham hopes Violence Prevention Through Urban Upgrading, an initiative of the government of Cape Town, South Africa, will end better. He calls the effort, which has been revamping areas around train stations since 2006, part of “a package of potential solutions … either improving safety, or improving socioeconomic situation, or improving quality of life.” The project is aimed at curbing violence by augmenting the public spaces in which violent crime frequently occurs [...]. — nextcity.org
"The public sector stopped making public space a long time ago," Los Angeles architect Jon Jerde told Wired magazine rather matter-of-factly in 1999. [...]
A little more than two decades later, there is something quaintly fatalistic about Jerde's attitude toward the frail state of public space. In Los Angeles, at least, it has returned pretty dramatically to health. — latimes.com
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