I just read this article in The New York Times by Jeff Byles called “Taking Back the Streets.”
“For decades, the Department of Transportation’s job has been to move vehicles as quickly as possible,” said Janette Sadik-Khan, the agency’s commissioner. “We’re taking a look at it a little bit differently now. There is a tremendous hunger for what we can do to make it easier for people to get around, to improve the quality of our streets and plazas, to make it easier for people to linger.”
These street reformers — planners, architects and urban officials from around the globe — are questioning the conventional street-curb-sidewalk motif, challenging the dominance of cars, and devising ways to use street furniture, plants and even radical new vehicles to transform the experience of the street.
While they do not necessarily agree on the particulars, the advocates often share an excitement, a feeling of being present at the creation.
“Let’s go to the next level,” said Ethan Kent, vice president of the Project for Public Spaces, a nonprofit group based in Manhattan, “to create great streets that really draw out the life of the communities they’re meant to serve.”
Here are 10 ideas, some modest and some ambitious, some already in place and others just a gleam in the eye, that the new crop of urban dreamers are proposing.
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Know of some others I can add here? Let me know. Have you already visited some of these places...or planning on it? Let me know and I will feature your story and your photos here!
I am starting a new kind of architecture school. Unlike most architecture schools, you wouldn't have to submit GRE scores or good grades or letters of recommendation. You wouldn't have to put the rest of your life on hold for 3 to 5 years. You wouldn't have to accrue tens of thousands of dollars in debt. At my architecture school, anyone could come for a few weeks and learn how to build a house with their own two hands. My teachers would take skills and concepts from some of these other workshops I've listed above... except classes would be held year-round to make it easy to fit into your schedule. I would have a number of different campuses around the country that would teach building designs appropriate to the local climate. And I need your help. Can you donate land for a campus? Can you dotate books for a library? Can you teach a workshop? Can you provide start-up capital? Let me know.
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