Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Seasons Greetings

Flickr image from the Eyes on the Street image pool sponsored by Plan Philly.


At 12:07 PM, Anonymous charlie said...

You've probably written about this before, but I am always amazed by the lack of Christmas markets / outdoor glub gardens in the US compared to the US. We're getting some of the market, none of the alcohol!

Also, the very elaborate Christmas displays on the streets. I can understand Budget/first amendment/religion offense etc. but I susect it also the density of the retail areas. See the Graben in Vienna, for instance, which is amazing.

That being said, Europeans always seem fascinated with our ability to do something like Times Square.

At 11:46 AM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

Yep, I have written about this. (Been offline for the week...) It really comes down to pedestrian-walking community orientation and population density.

Was just in SF and it has been 20+ years since I'd last been there. At the time I was there I was mostly inside exhibiting at a convention so I didn't get out much anyway.

But I was absolutely blown away by the number of pedestrians downtown, especially on and in the vicinity of Market Street and Union Square.

I don't know enough about SF (hopefully xtopher will chime in) to fully understand SF and why it is the way it is.

It really shocked me, like NYC in terms of the pedestrianism, at least downtown, the success of shopping in that area, etc.

2. So probably only in places like SF and NYC definitely, and maybe in some places in DC, Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago can you sustain a holiday market for at least a little while. Without lots and lots and lots of people they don't work.

Otherwise a time-limited weekend special event is the best way to balance spectacle and business success.

3. wrt holiday decorations, it is one area where I am inconsistent intellectually. Obviously, I don't believe in creche display, crosses on public land, etc.

I meant to add a couple other images to this listing, but where we went the wi-fi was down and I didn't have a chance to get out to another place. There are some amazing displays even in my neighborhood. SF rowhouses had some nice stuff too...

And at "best" I am agnostic religiously. But I like religious architecture, stained glass windows, etc.

And I am ok with "Christmas" lights, lighted menorahs, etc. And even stuff across streets.

But that could be just because I like architectural lighting, neon, well-lighted signs, etc.

At 5:19 PM, Anonymous H Street LL said...

Yes, SF is great. Weather is quite pleasant, and I don't think DC has something like Union Square for shopping/events/hotels. DC downtown is too quiet.

Part of it may be the Mall here killing urban vitality. Although that doesn't explain why we don't have great shopping downtown.

At 6:33 PM, Blogger Richard Layman said...

H St. LL -- for a long time, I've thought the most active place pedestrian wise in the city is the intersection of K St. and Connecticut Ave.

It we could move the retail over there, we could develop our Union Square equivalent.

Interestingly, all the retail isn't contained at Union Square, a bunch leaks out over to Market Street, although going east Market Street peters out in terms of "quality" pretty fast, but definitely going west to the Ferry Building it's pretty great.

AND YES, UNION SQUARE is part of what I am thinking about. It, NYC of course, maybe the "Miracle Mile" in Chicago, and the old Mid-Wilshire district in LA, plus the old department store blocks in Philadelphia, among others, were truly wonderful.


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