Wednesday, June 19, 2024

When temporary becomes permanent. How big cities drove cars from the centers

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Alan Binder
Alan Binder
"Alcohol scholar. Twitter lover. Zombieaholic. Hipster-friendly coffee fanatic."

In the past three years, more cities have decided to turn busy roads into playgrounds or pedestrian areas after the pandemic. Some authorities have taken advantage of the coronavirus boom in cycling and cut off cars from public places in favor of environmental transportation.

“When it comes to transforming America’s streets, there are some interesting examples that have persisted post-pandemic,” says Nate Storeng, deputy executive director of the nonprofit Public Spaces Project.

Better mental health and better connection with nature are just two of the main reasons advocates of new public spaces invoked when they wanted to promote them as permanent. “A lot of the places in the US that have held together since the pandemic are the ones that are now well-maintained either by the city or the locals themselves,” Storring adds. According to him, they provide not only an empty space, but also a number of recreational activities.

Urban projects in the field of public space around the world focus on the movement of people, especially by bicycle or other form of micro-mobility. “This is particularly true in Latin America, where there is a strong urban cycling culture,” says Fabrizio Prati of the nonprofit organization Global Cities Design Initiative.

According to him, this can be built relatively quickly and even with very low funds, the infrastructure can work well when transporting a large number of people. Pratie offers an example: “Imagine lines created with colours, separate prisms, or other types of barriers.”

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However, some of these projects around the world have also become the target of criticism, especially from drivers. “Every change is met with resistance,” Prati explains. “The most important thing to take away from this kind of urban transformation is that people are already on the street and using it,” he adds.

an agency bloomberg He offers a list of seven of the most interesting projects that prove that urban space is not just about cars. Some began to exist as a direct response to the pandemic, others predate COVID-19, but only spread in the past three years.

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