Creating Great Public Spaces in New York City
Project for Public Spaces just published a great piece of work that is very much worth a download. The paper is called "Nine Ways to Transform New York into a City of Great Places." From the introduction:
In New York, the term "public space" is still synonymous with "parks" in most officials' minds--and without a doubt, the city's major parks are top-notch. But any city, let alone one as vast as New York, needs more than a few flagship parks to sustain a thriving public environment. It also needs great plazas, squares, streets, neighborhood parks and community institutions to all function as active, welcoming public spaces.
Although the city is still vibrant in many spots, New Yorkers inhabit a public realm that is a shell of what it could become. Many neighborhood streets and most major avenues are hostile settings for pedestrians; plazas outside major buildings are lifeless and cold; smaller parks, plazas, and squares are poorly maintained; and local institutions such as schools and libraries seldom enjoy the strong public presence they deserve.
These problems are often intertwined. A neighborhood library can't hold an outdoor book fair, for instance, on a narrow sidewalk next to an unsafe street. Both problems are symptomatic of a broader pattern, in which the shortcomings of one public place undermine the qualities of others in a downward spiral. The only way to get out of this hole is to implement solutions that build off each other. In that spirit, PPS proposes nine steps to transform New York into a city of great places...