Reclaimed public space

This compilation came across my Twitter stream. It captures the impact of creating great public spaces. Too often these sorts of projects—bike lanes, little parks or parklets, bike racks, etc.—are presented in terms of the resulting loss of roadway or parking. Yet intuitively we know these tend to be great efforts, and ones that help strengthen the community because they provide new spaces for social interaction.

They also work to create space that isn’t entirely commercial in nature. We need more spaces for thoughtfulness, contemplation, and hopefully even beauty. Lady Bird Johnson helped ensure the U.S. Interstate Highway system would be free from billboards because she realized that the shrillness of advertising seriously harms our ability to enjoy our shared spaces.

Frequent metrics for judging communities include things like total square feet of new commercial space, residential space, etc. It would be innovative to see total square feet of “reclaimed public space” (or whatever) to convey how much new public space a community is creating for itself.