Streetfilms: London’s Campaign for People-First Public Spaces

In 2002, then-mayor of London Ken Livingstone launched the 100 Public Spaces Programme, a campaign to better realize the potential of the city’s public realm. With guidance from Jan Gehl, the initiative emphasized reclaiming space for pedestrians and enhancing street life.

Soon after Boris Johnson defeated Livingstone in last year’s election, the new mayor shook up the city’s public space plans, drawing fire from his predecessor. Some projects, like the pedestrianization of Parliament Square, got the ax, while others moved ahead. Last month, Johnson announced a re-vamped public space campaign, which he’s calling "Great Spaces."

In her Streetfilms debut, Alice Shay speaks to Paul Harper, a head urban designer at Design for London who managed the 100 Public Spaces Programme. Here he discusses the origins of the program and guides us through projects currently underway in East London’s Aldgate neighborhood, including a one-way to two-way conversion and the creation of a new public park.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

STREETFILMS

London’s First Open Streets

|
Five years ago, David Love experienced Summer Streets in NYC and was so captured by the warmth and excitement he decided to bring open streets to London. The starter event was held in the borough of Southwark, on Great Suffolk Street, and featured music, dancing, food, art and, most important, activities for children and families […]

The 10th Most Influential Streetfilm of All Time

|
With the 10-year benefit for Streetsblog and Streetfilms coming up on November 14 (get your tickets here!), we are counting down the 12 most influential Streetfilms of all time, as determined by the impresario himself, Clarence Eckerson Jr. If you’re just tuning in, catch up on #12 (Lakewood, Ohio: The Suburb Where Everyone Can Walk […]

Streetfilms: Fixing the Great Mistake of Planning for Cars

|
"Fixing the Great Mistake" is a new Streetfilms series that examines what went wrong in the early part of the 20th century, when our cities began catering to the automobile, and how those decisions continue to affect our lives today. In this episode, Transportation Alternatives director Paul Steely White shows how planning for cars drastically […]

Times Square Then and Now: A Streetfilms Retrospective

|
Mayor Bloomberg is expected to announce his verdict on Times Square’s new pedestrian spaces very soon. Will the changes be permanent? This morning Bloomberg told radio host John Gambling that we’ll find out sometime next week. In the meantime, it seems like the media has decided to fixate on rumors that Midtown traffic speeds may […]