Public Space


You may remember that a few days after Jon wrote his epic sneckdown post that got 40,000 facebook likes and renewed a buzz for snow as a tool for placemaking, that I wrote a post about Philly's pedestrian plaza initiative. To briefly summarize my post, proposed legislation formalizing the city's pedestrian plaza program originally created by MOTU would mean a street could be converted to a pedestrian plaza if they apply through the Streets Department. This legislation has not yet passed but a 100% rule was originally put in place during the first round of pedestrian plaza applications spearheaded by MOTU. It was put there for a variety of reasons (i.e. legal, political), but has effectively prevented some great projects like the Grays Ferry Triangle at 23rd & South and the 5th, South & Passyunk Plaza from ever making it past the drawing board. Getting 100% of anyone to agree on anything in the NIMBY world of planning is nearly impossible.


In a time before smartphones and Google maps, when you couldn't communicate with people en route to meeting up with them, landmarks played a more important role. Whereas today you can say "meet me at Macy's at 11" and then call your friend upon arrival to locate one another, you used to have to coordinate an exact location to meet within the store.


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