Empty big boxes not easy to fill | CharlotteObserver.com

Jen Aronoff of CharlotteObserver.com reports

Recent bankruptcies in the USA has opened 900,000 sq. ft. of retail space.

“The International Council of Shopping Centers says an estimated 148,000 stores closed across the country in 2008, the most since 2001, with 73,000 more projected to shut by July”

[SOURCE: CharlotteObserver.com – Empty big boxes not easy to fill]

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How to build a better city: It’s child’s play – TheStar.com

TheStar.com reports

” “A Call to Action,” released recently by the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI), argues that to design a city that works for the young is to design a city that works for everyone.

This may not be an original idea – it goes back most recently to Enrique Peñalosa, the celebrated former mayor of Bogotá – but it is a beautiful one, powerful and radical, even revolutionary.”

[SOURCE: TheStar.com | Insight | How to build a better city: It’s child’s play]

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Tulsa updates master plan for Parks and Recreation | KJRH.com

KJRH.com reports

“It has been 30 years since Tulsa updated its master plan for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department. But that will soon change. After decades without clear direction, the department is working to put together a road map for the next five to ten years.”

KJRH.com – Tulsa updates master plan for Parks and Recreation

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Downtown Alliance Wants To Bring Life to Water Street – Tribeca Trib

The Tribeca Trib reports that the Downtown Alliance in Lower Manhattan (NY) is looking into animating Water Street as more companies move out and the street lacks activity at night and on weekends.

The Downtown Alliance has hired Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners and FxFowle Architects, to examine conduct a study on the street and then produce ideas and concepts on how the Alliance can reinvigorate the street.

SOURCE: Tribeca Trib – Downtown Alliance Wants To Bring Life to Water Street

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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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