410 S. MICHIGAN AVENUE, SUITE 1034
CHICAGO, IL T 312.487.3030
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ASSETS TO OUR
Public spaces have a great deal of social value. They play a vital role in the social and economic life of a community. They include programs such as parks, community centers, playgrounds, and plazas. These public spaces allow for many things to take place that our homes do not -- the chance encounter with a friendly stranger, places where people can display their art, opportunities to learn about other people's culture, and a space to feel refreshed and benefit one's mental health.
a multifaceted approach to the planning, design, and management of public spaces. It can be executed in both top-down and bottom-up approaches.
A street is a public thoroughfare in a built environment. It is public land that allows for people, vehicles, and goods to get from place to place, weaving the urban fabric together. The term "roads" is generally used to designate streets that are just for transportation. "Streets", on the otherhand, designates a space for public interaction.
When COVID-19 hit the US this year, we panicked. Although we were not certain of exactly how the virus acts, we did know that congregating close together without facial masks was dangerous. Chicago rushed to close public spaces where congregation happens - parks, beaches, restaurants, bars, fitness facilities, the outdoor running trails, and more.
At the same time, scientists were adamant that outdoor spaces were much safer than indoor spaces. Particles could disperse more outdoors and people were able to spread out (if allowed the opportunity to).
While closing public parks and outdoor areas where people congregate appeared to be a safety precaution, we believe that the city should have been doing the opposite. We should have been providing MORE public space for people rather than taking it away.
We devised a plan to change the use of streets from
vehicular-focused to pedestrian-focused.
With many people now working from home, vehicular usage was down. People no longer had to commute to and from work, meaning that the streets were freed up of space. That space is exactly what we needed in a pandemic-filled world.