Streets as places…

I love this video produced by Project for Public Spaces, which asks: What are our streets for? It then responds: Streets are for… 

  • … walking to school
  • … playing stickball (and other sports)
  • … chilling out
  • … starting a business
  • … learning to tango (and for dancing  dance)
  • … expressing yourself
  • … taking gold (in a competition)
  • … a night out
  • … growing up
  • … celebrating
  • … fighting injustice
  • … getting away
  • … coming home
  • … trick-or-treating
  • … double-dutching
  • … dinner shopping
  • … making memories
  • … people

So much more, than just giant cavities leading into a dark abyss… (See Karl Jilg depiction). Using images from streets from cities around the world (including surprisingly, a friend’s wedding in Vilnius, Lithuania) Project for Public Spaces (or PPS) demonstrates that streets have many uses, more so than merely for driving our cars.

In cities across the globe, streets remain one of the most fundamental (often contested) public spaces, largely due to the dominance of car culture.  Indeed, streets are needed for transportation. But equally, and perhaps more importantly, if streets are first designed to focus on people, they can play a fundamental role: in fostering community and connection to a certain place, in creating experience, and in ensuring the quality of public life.

Just one remaining question: What else are streets used for? Perhaps Sunday markets? Art Expos? Festivals? Sidewalk cafes (e.g. parklets and streateries) or formal dinners? The possibilities are endless…

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