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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3 Responses to “Pedestrian Malls are they dead? Op-Ed piece – World Landscape Architect”

  • Tim
    October 19, 2009,CST at 12:35 pm

    If you ever go to Burlington Vt you will see that it never died and continues to do amazing.

  • Jeff
    June 6, 2009,CST at 1:51 am

    I believe that they are actually on the rise. Look at 3rd Street Promenade in Santa Monica as a perfect example of the enjoyment of a pedestrian mall. Consider others in New York and the fact that Mayor Bloomberg wants to make pedestrian plazas near Time Square. They are not dead, but rising in numbers.

  • Topics about Home Decoration » Pedestrian Malls are they dead? Op-Ed piece - World Landscape b…/b
    March 3, 2009,CST at 9:53 am

    [...] admin placed an observative post today on Pedestrian Malls are they dead? Op-Ed piece – World Landscape b…/bHere’s a quick excerptNumerous cities implemented the pedestrian mall to often see them bbecome/b 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 b…/b Posted on 03.03.09 to Landscape bArchitecture/b, Urban Planning. Subscribe to follow comments on this post. No comments yet. Add your thoughts or trackback from your own site. b…/b [...]

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