We’re Hungry for Good Urban Public Space

Seattle’s Alki waterfront…a welcome dose of sunshine…near 80 degree temperatures. These elements converged last Saturday and people came out in celebration. Lots of people. The West Seattle Blog wrote about it here.

Alki is a wonderful public place. It has a sandy beach, waterfront trail, restaurants and cafes, views of the Olympics and Seattle, and offers some of the best people watching. Alki has something for almost everyone and is well used public space.  And it’s the kind of environment that encourages physical activity–walking, biking, skating, dancing, volleyball, swimming, and more.

Wouldn’t it be great if we had more public spaces as inviting as Alki? Some communities are trying to reclaim public space for greater use by people—even if it’s only temporary. Ciclovias temporarily close streets and reclaim them for use by people to gather, walk and bicycle. Some Washington communities are holding ciclovia events and you can read a blog post about it.

Some forward thinking folks view Ciclovias as a tool for urban planning. These events invite citizens into their own streets and gives them a different view of their city and the concept of public space. Ciclovias demonstrate the importance of incorporating physical activity opportunities into our public spaces and built environments. And, in comparison to major infrastructure projects, ciclovias are cheap. You can read a post from the Project for Public Spaces blog about this movement.

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