What makes a street pedestrian friendly?

Vox had a great photo essay on how people used streets at the turn of the last century. It was an interesting follow up to their article on the history of jaywalking and further illustrated how the public street is now seen as primarily a thoroughfare for car traffic. Before cars were so ubiquitous, “city streets […]

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Play Streets

On a recent post about restoring the downtown street grid, Matt Boehner, planner for our city’s Parks and Recreation Department, had a great comment about reclaiming streets. Without a doubt, the default use of streets has become cars and any other use is considered an exception to that rule. (In fact, Vox recently had a […]

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Thinking Ahead

When the University of Missouri installed new street signs emblazoned with the school mascot, my first thought was how long it would be until these signs were decorating dorm rooms. Sure enough, signs began disappearing almost immediately. In Columbia alone, $35,000 of signs are stolen every year, largely due to poorly chosen names street names such […]

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Arts Districts and the Power of Swerve

We walk through cities everyday but rarely do we ask how this messy mix of buildings, people and infrastructure came to be. Who planned this? Planning used to be fairly straight forward. It came from a man with a vision. A planner would look at a public space, decide the best use for it, and […]

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How Public Spaces Succeed

Last week, I talked about the ways a public space can fail. The obvious question, then, is, “what can bring this space back to life?” Here are a couple of suggestions, many of which are already being acted upon in regards to the public square here in my home town: Keep up with maintenance and […]

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How Public Spaces Fail

About 15 or so years ago, a massive community effort was launched in our city to close a section of a street running by the historic County Courthouse. The goal? A traditional public square. The idea was to have a gathering place in the downtown area, one that could be used for festivals, concerts and other community […]

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