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Jan Gehl

Streetfilms Recut: Jan Gehl’s 2005 Times Square Interview With 2018 Plaza Footage

10:19 AM EDT on April 17, 2018

I still get tense, agitated, and claustrophobic any time I look back at old footage of Times Square. Before DOT turned several blocks of Broadway into pedestrian plazas in 2009, it was flat-out horrible for people.

But last week I happened to pass by Times Square and its car-free spaces, and you'd never now how awful it used to be.

I realized I was standing in the same spot where Streetsblog and Streetfilms publisher Mark Gorton interviewed public space maestro Jan Gehl about the state of Times Square 12 years ago, before the redesign. I thought it might be interesting to recut the Streetfilm of that interview, using new footage to go with Gehl's future-looking language.

The result is pretty awesome.

We often forget how streets used to feel and function. In New York, we still have a long way to go, but many amazing improvements have been made. When you look at Times Square and how much negative press the plazas received when they were implemented, then revisit it now and see how well it works, you realize anything is possible. We just need the will to do this everywhere we can.

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