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Psychic Space

Mark Gorton, founder of The Open Planning Project, points out how parked cars and street use makes a difference in two streets just blocks apart in SoHo are felt by pedestrians.

<br> <p><font size="3" face="Times New Roman"><i>Mark Gorton:</i> [00:00] Well let’s get a shot of this when there isn’t much traffic. But you sort of see how like there’s parking, like people… cars are parked on the street. It’s not like a totally car-free spot. But there’s not very much traffic at certain points in time, and you can cross from one space to another. If you look down this street, you sort of see it feels kind of like one space. Now you’ll see if… if we get to some other streets, I’m going to point out where they park up all along the roads on both sides. It doesn’t feel like one space, it feels like, you know, two really narrow spaces. Right now my sense of space is probably like 20 or 30 feet wide. You know a lot of times there’s only two or three people ride. Psychically it makes it a huge difference in how people experience this space. And also just the ability, and again you have to have pretty low levels of traffic for this and very little parking on the street, to sort of psychically and seamlessly cross the street backwards and forwards. I mean that used to be the essence of New York. Your neighbour across the street was no further than your neighbour next door from you. Right now on most streets, the neighbour across the street might as well live two miles away cos it’s a life threatening experience to like go over and say hi there. And so here’s Thompson Street, this is just a couple of blocks over from where we were before. And let’s just notice how different it looks. You look down the street, this is what you see, there’s a very narrow corridor here. Now there are a fair number of people, you can’t even see all the way down the street cos people are so squished there. Try and get to that side of the street, it’s hard. I know, you know, and who are these people? These people… it’s just car storage. Well, you know what? Public space is really precious. Free car storage is like the lowest use of public space, yet it’s probably the most predominant. </font> <br></p> <a href="http://transcriptdivas.ca/transcription-canada/">Transcript Divas Transcription Canada </a>
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  • http://www.stevevance.net Steven Vance

    The closing statement is the clincher.

    "Public space is really precious. Free car storage is the lowest use of public space, but it's probably the most predominant."

  • antonio

    i was a kid growing up in brooklyn during the 80s and 90s. we played in the street all the time, calling out 'car!' on the occasion that one would need to pass. i wouldn't let my kid play on the sidewalk these days.

    great short film. the visual representation of your meaning is on point.

  • Lisa

    I enjoyed seeing this, would like to see more of this type of on-street explanation.

  • Clarissa

    In agreement with other commenters, it was very helpful to have visualization of how effective "taking back the street" could look like. This video is very convincing (not that I needed much, of course!).

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