Sunday, September 30, 2007

field observation

The commons is an interesting space, as much of it is already set up for pedestrian use. Currently the commons is focused around a central area with trees and other items such as a playground and a seating area. The stores face the inside. The main issue is the lack of interaction between the inner walking courtyard area and the outside area that is surrounded by large wide streets. Currently it is almost as if the outside streets compensate (in the negative direction) for the increased area of walking area on the inside. This could be used as an asset. Rob talked about creating public transportation and turning streets into walkable/ bikeable areas. Because the roads are currently so wide, it would be easier to take the first step to creating these new forms of transportation. Because there is more space people are more likely to give up a little of it presently to obtain public transportation, while they most likely would not be if they were told to give up all the streets currently. The space provides both positive and negative aspects for creating mixed use areas. The inner walkable area is separated from the outer part. There is a distinct difference of denser area verses more suburban. This could possibly make it harder to draw people into living above the many stores, but this is also a fixable problem. If the system applied in the commons (which appears to be much more busy and bustling than those areas surrounding it) were to be extended, living above the stores would be more appealing as it would feel more like being part of a community. Mixed income housing could therefore work above different buildings on the outside of what is now the central commons area. One interesting thing to notice about the commons is how many of the spaces created for communal use are not used (like the playground). Again this could have to do with the lack of draw of living in the area. The commons could be turned into a living community, with public transit and bike paths added to the outside, and with delineated areas for bikes within the walking area of the commons as well. Right now the commons serves as a spaces walled in by roads, adding public transportation and better paths with different types of space would help to decrease this feeling. Much of the inner area is bare which would allow for change into greener areas, making it a more appealing area for both living and shopping. After reading chapter 7 in ecocities I think the idea of having people live and use places and public transportation is important. Register discusses how although there are often many creative ideas they often get lost in beurocracy in city officials not voting for different sustainable practices for various reasons. Register talks about how we need to realize people are in different groups, and how working in the commons this way is important, as it is already a developed space that many would say is sustainable due to the high level of walking area.

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