Saturday, March 13, 2010

Follow Up: Times Square and the Cheonggyecheon River

Last July I profiled efforts by city officials to deconstruct automobile-centric urban design and reclaim these spaces for pedestrian use. Two of these projects, the conversion of Times Square to the world's most famous patio (complete with lawn furniture) and the daylighting of the Cheonggyecheon River in Seoul, South Korea, are supreme representations of the power of place.

The first video below describes pedestrian reactions to the transformation of Times Square, as well as the motivations on the part of NYC transportation officials and Mayor Bloomberg to make the drastic change. It also includes striking before and after shots of the automobile-dominated streets in 2005 and the pedestrian-only block it became last summer:

In this second video, urban designers comment on what the daylighting of Cheonggyecheon means for the people of Seoul, and how the creation of public space reshuffles the urban transportation hierarchy and forms the "glue that keeps the city together":

1 comment:

  1. I have walked through Times Square several times recently on my way to the International Center of Photography. Watching the video reminds me of what I feel when I am walking there. I feel like we humans are being allowed to reclaim a little piece of the earth that was formerly ruled by speeding cars and taxis, leaving pedestrians cautious and vulnerable. Now we can approach Times Square as our own playground, walking or sitting, making eye contact and perhaps conversing, an iconic New York venue now restored to approachable, human scale. I am so inspired that New York City made this bold move. Anything is possible!