What We See authors are making headlines daily for putting Jane Jacobs' people-first urbanist principles into practice in cities across the world.
This month Sierra Club Magazine features What We See author and prominent Danish architect, Jan Gehl, describing how the human dimension in city planning has inspired his improvements to the bicycle infrastructure of New York City.
Gehl includes environmentally-friendly bicyclists to his vision of "life lived in public spaces" noting
“When you are on a bicycle, you are using your senses and see the other people and see what's going on. And people on the sidewalks can easily see bicyclists as individuals, as people. So you cannot say that the [public] life is only on the sidewalks; I also think it's in the bike lanes.”
Gehl also made reference to the work of another What We See contributing author, Janette Sadik-Khan, New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner, who has been transforming Times Square into a people-first public space that would make Jane Jacobs smile.
Says Gehl:“...what happened in Times Square in New York the moment they provided much better [public] space to enjoy the place.... I think they provided 11 times more space for human activities, and ever since they were closed to traffic, people took over.”
Specifically, the plan calls for sectioning off Times Square from 47th to 42nd streets and Herald Square from 35th to 33rd streets, creating pedestrian plazas with hundreds of tables, chairs, benches and planters.
Commissioner Sadik-Khan cited reductions in injuries to pedestrians and motorists and reports from thrilled business owners and shoppers, alike, as evidence of the project's immediate success.