Sometimes, PPS gets a bit tiresome with its Cosmo-style “Ten Ways to…” ledes, but hey, they seem to draw attention.
Nine Ways to Transform New York into a City of Great Places is different: it’s a genuinely gutsy set of recommendations, starting with:
bq. The highest and best use of New York’s street space is to support pedestrian activity and access.
The article very justly attacks:
* starchitects’ Corbusian indifference to the city beneath their floating glass palaces (compared with the Empire State Building, “so human-scaled at the sidewalk level that people standing in front… stop to ask where it is”);
* the city bureaucracy — schools, small business, culture, health — for sitting in silos, blind to the value that great public spaces could bring to their departments (see the Richard Jackson piece below);
* the reactive, antagonistic, opaque Community Board process, which is effective at neither gathering broad input nor regulating change, and for which blame lies on both the CBs and the developer-city-designer combine for being too afraid of forward planning;
* BIDs for not thinking beyond just picking up trash:
bq. BIDs have proven effective at the basics of maintenance, security, and beautification, but they have yet to explore a broader public role. Small Business Services, the agency that manages their funds, should lead BIDs to form more community partnerships, program their public spaces, and implement streetscape improvements. BIDs themselves would relish the new role. Some are already raring to work with surrounding communities on bold visions for what their public spaces could become–they just need the go-ahead.