streets as valuable public spaces

"treat streets as valuable public places,
rather than utilitarian corridors"

So says Janette Sadik-Khan, Commissioner of New York City's Department of Transportation, as she introduced Gotham's new "Sustainable Streets" strategic plan. The plan "lays out a vision for New York City of improved mobility, safer streets and reduced impact on global climate, all resulting in a world class quality of life."

Although the plan has it's failings and critics, it does clearly exhibit how city governments, and their transportation departments in particular, have turned 360-degrees in their paradigms. from roads to streets, and understanding the impact that improving the streetscape -making sure it caters to people first, rather than just vehicles - has on the quality of life in our cities.

It only makes sense, given that road infrastructure takes up at least 30% of a city's total land area. Turning roads into complete streets will do wonders not only for mobility, but also for livability. (c.f. -how children who live in areas with tree-lined streets are less likely to get asthma.)

It's a rethink that we also dearly need for Metro Manila and all Philippine cities.


the donG said...

Turning roads into complete streets will do wonders not only for mobility, but also for livability.>>> i definitely agree to this.

and not just the streets in the Philippines... look at weird electrical wires.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with this picture?


Vanessa said...

On the subject of public spaces, have you heard of The New York City Waterfalls?

Four man-made waterfalls will be installed along waterfronts and will remain there from June to October this year as part of a "large scale public art" project. http://nycwaterfalls.com/

“In developing The New York City Waterfalls, I have tried to work with today’s complex notion of public spaces,” said (artist Olafur) Eliasson. “The Waterfalls appear in the midst of the dense social, environmental, and political tissue that makes up the heart of New York City. They will give people the possibility to reconsider their relationships to these spectacular surroundings, and I hope
they will evoke experiences that are both individual and enhance a sense of collectivity.”

tutubi philippines said...

that is the big dream for pinas too...streets here are dangerous :(

Urbano dela Cruz said...

the dong,

treating our streets as valuable public space should automatically make us consider all the elements of the urban space -including the intrusive wires.

btw, you might want to check out my comments on Sidney Snoeck's series on those cables and wires.

I basically think those wires will eventually go away because:

these tangles will be temporary (maybe another 10 years) for three reasons:

digital tv over air (it will be coming soon)

continuing switch of the phone system to cell/wireless tech (the end of landlines)

rising price of copper - which means those cables will be a very good source of income for someone soon.


Urbano dela Cruz said...


are you referring to the "no biking on this road" sign? sad, eh?


There is a pocket park on eastside of midtown manhattan (in the 40s) - nestled between buildings, where the far side of the park is a huge waterfall. it was, simply amazing.

not to mention it did wonders for the microclimate.

We really should have more fountains and water features - apart from being decorative, they also lower the temperature at ground level.


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