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A Simple Idea to Transform the Life of Our Cities

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marmar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jun-28-11 08:06 PM
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A Simple Idea to Transform the Life of Our Cities
from YES! Magazine:



Stephens Ave. pedestrian district, Calgary, Alberta


A Simple Idea to Transform the Life of Our Cities
Even a short stretch of car-free pavement empowers pedestrians to realize the road belongs to them, too.

by Jay Walljasper
posted Jun 27, 2011


I am perplexed by the almost complete lack of pedestrian districts in North America. Why is it that car-free streetsdesigned for pleasurable strolling, shopping, and hanging out, and which have become as common as stoplights or McDonalds in European city centersare almost non-existent here?

Ive only seen a fewa couple of blocks in downtown Boston, Rue Prince Arthur in Montreal, Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica and short stretches of downtown streets in college towns like Boulder, Ithaca, Iowa City, Charlottesville and Burlington. (A glance at Wikipedia turns up a few more, although I notice many on the list, like the Nicollet Mall here in Minneapolis, are not truly car-free.)

Look what were missing. The heart of many, if not most, German, Italian, Dutch, Scandinavian and, increasingly, South American big cities are bustling pedestrian zones that have become favorite spots for young people to gather, lovers to linger, kids to romp, and everybody to feel part of the wider community.

Our one widespread experiment in reclaiming the streetsthe downtown transit malls of the 60s and 70sfailed in most cases. Thats because they were usually desperate measures to cure sickly downtown shopping districts overwhelmed by competition from shopping malls proliferating across the suburban landscape. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.yesmagazine.org/happiness/a-simple-idea-to-t...



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