Blog » new york
- June 25, 2009BY MARY
Times Square has under gone a transformation lately, with lounge chairs replacing traffic and conversations replacing honking taxis. This coned-off chunk off Broadway is one of a number of experiments with public space happening around the city. New York City's Department of Transportation is trying out various spots to see where roads currently set aside for traffic could be turned over to pedestrian and bikes without serious disruption. Like the project in Times Square, the first step is to stage the area with inexpensive, easily removable objects: large potted plants, beach umbrellas, tables and chairs. If it "works," if people use the space, it can made permanent. SPUR has recently teamed up with the Bicycle Coalition to work for the Great Streets Campaign, which wants to create similar urban spaces in San Francisco. The mayor of Bogata, Colombia, a leader in this movement, will be speaking at the San Francisco Public Library July 7th about successful strategies to make public urban space. Join in!
- June 23, 2009BY MARY
Earlier this month, after ten years of advocacy from neighbors, activists and artists alike, the first of three sections of New York's High Line park opened for visitors. The 1.45 mile-long park is situated on a defunct 19th century elevated train track that used to carry cattle into the Meatpacking District, but had been left standing since 1980, when nature adopted it, and turned it wild with grasses and wildflowers--a magical place for those who knew about it. James Corner, the landscape architect endeavored with transitioning the old rail into public space, created a design that maintains some tenor of abandonment and "retain[s] that quality of wildness and melancholy." At three stories high, the park runs from the Hudson, between buildings and crosses avenues and streets, giving the visitor a new prospect of the city and a fantastic place to be a voyeur.