Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Private Public Space

The trouble with trying to imagine interior public space as circulation space without a street is that it is impossible for it to be successful.

If the interior of the block is not well used for circulation, these walkways become empty and dangerous places. It’s a model that was tried by the New York City Housing Authority in the 1960's, which now fences in the walkways (Above: Wyckoff Gardens).

On the other hand, if the project is “successful”, and the interior of the block is well used for circulation, these areas actively draw people off the surrounding streets, weakening the activity on them. This is the Metrotech model. For a retailing street, this demeans the viability of the surrounding retail establishments. For a residential street, it detracts from our connections to the wider communities, and diminishes our sense of security.

This anti-urban pattern is at odds with the vision we have of Brooklyn. We envision great pedestrian streets here, which tie together different communities and provide for the full range of circulation modes. While this vision can accommodate a range of scales of built form, the continuity of the street grid is an absolute necessity.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

great post. ratner, gehry and olin need to hear and understand this.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The threatened demolition of the Underberg Building may create the opportunity to better visualize the concept proposed by Project for Public Spaces (PPS) to create a grand public place at this major crossroad as a "gateway to Brooklyn".

Perhaps eminent domain can be used as it was meant to be, to take that land back from Ratner for the public benefit.

11:20 PM  

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