Pedestrian Malls are they dead? Op-Ed piece – World Landscape Architect

Is the pedestrian mall dead, do cars really add vitality to places or is it a mere lack of government and planners not creating exciting places to live, shop and relax? Numerous cities around the world have implemented pedestrian malls and most often deemed failures as they get old and tired with a lack of investment and also a lack of ownership from citizens and shop owners.

In the 1970’s pedestrian malls were seen as a new way of revitalising areas and bringing life to an area by stopping traffic noise and pollution entering. Numerous cities implemented the pedestrian mall to often see them become desolate places and then decide after 10-20 years to reopen the street to traffic. Was this failure due to the poor planning and site selection or was it due to the lack of activity such as vehicle movement making the area seem unsafe?

Often pedestrian malls fail because the selection of street to close is poor, such as a large street or a purely shopping street with only retail stores. The best pedestrain malls that survive today are those in areas with a varied mix of uses – shopping, restaurants, bars, and often have commercial and high-density residential within 5 minutes walking distance.

Currently Boston’s area known as Downtown Crossing is being labelled as a failure by the community and stating that it should be reopened to traffic as reported in The Boston Globe report Should Downtown Crossing be reopened to traffic? However, are these claims that it’s a failure more a sign of a detoriating downtown lacking energy? are people just coming to downtown to work? does downtown crossing need redevelopment? Many downtowns and central business districts are suffering as they have become merely places to work and not places to live.
The best solution for Downtown Crossing is proactive decisions from the City to get developers, retailers, restauteurs to recreate the area.

During an economic crisis countries and cities need visions to energise their cities. The economic crisis is the best time to get people together to get opinions and ideas on how areas can be improved as many people in the community now have the time available. A city community consultation and subsequent ideas can generate interest in an area and thus investment from developers as they see opporunities that may have gone unnoticed before. Generating of an ideas and possible change also gives everyone in the city a better outlook and hope in the current economic circumstances.

Editor – World Landscape Architect

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Estidama chooses X-Architects’ work as reference project – Zawya

Zawya reports

“Dubai-based X-Architects masterplanning for the Al Naseem project in Al Ain will be used as a reference project by Abu Dhabi-based Estidama, according to the local practice.

“Estidama is the new authority in Abu Dhabi and they are recognising projects based on sustainability in this part of the world,” said Farid Esmaeil, founding partner at X-Architects.”

[SOURCE: Zawya – Estidama chooses X-Architects’ work as reference project]

UAE is well-positioned to survive the economic crisis – AMEinfo.com

HH Sheikh Nahayan stated at the ‘The Gulf Region in the Global Economic Crisis: Force for Stability’ Forum that,

‘Our national leaders, our Government agencies, our businesses and our universities are examining the questions related to the nature and size of this economic downturn. They are continually monitoring its effect on the sectors most affecting the UAE – finance, real estate and tourism and they want to know how long it will last, and what measures are needed to deal with its ramifications.’

[SOURCE: AMEinfo.com – UAE is well-positioned to survive the economic crisis | Dubai Chamber]

ADB to invest over Rs 13 bn on urban development schemes-The Economic Times

The Economic Times reports

“The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will invest Rs 13.71 billion for developing urban amenities and solid waste management in the capitals of five under-developed states, officials on Sunday said.

The ADB-assisted North Eastern Region Urban Development Programme will be implemented over six years and will cover Agartala (Tripura), Shillong (Meghalaya), Aizawl in Mizoram, Kohima (Nagaland) and Gangtok (Sikkim). “The central government has approved the ADB-assisted programme,” said Tripura Urban Development Minister Manik Dey.”

[SOURCE: ADB to invest over Rs 13 bn on urban development schemes- Finance-Economy-News-The Economic Times]

City will revamp Place d’Armes, downtown squares – The Gazette

The Gazette reports

“The city has earmarked $20 million for the redesign of Place d’Armes in Old Montreal and the restoration of Dorchester Square and Place du Canada this year.

Cardinal Hardy/Teknika-HBA – the urban landscape architects responsible for the recent reconfiguration of Norman Bethune Square near Concordia University and the design of Place d’Youville in Old Montreal – have begun work on plans to revamp the two public spaces.”

SOURCE: The Gazette – City will revamp Place d’Armes, downtown squares

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