London ups the pedestrian-only movement with ‘Great Spaces’

While New York City’s NYC Plaza Program will be funding the transformation of eight car-oriented streets into pedestrian-only plazas, and San Francisco is looking into such a program, did you know about London’s 100 Public Spaces Programme launched in 2002? Probably not, since it apparently yielded only a fraction of its 100 spaces goal.

Streetfilms provides a video update on the program, established by mayor Ken Livingstone and recently revisioned by current mayor Boris Johnson as the Great Spaces initiative. This may be a bit difficult to follow, but according to the program details, “successful projects will be adopted and accredited as a Mayor’s ‘Great Space’ and benefit from top quality, specialist advice from the London Development Agency’s (the city economic development agency) Design for London, which advises the Mayor on ensuring design excellence in all projects that are commissioned or funded by the Greater London Authority, which advises on transportation, economic development and environmental strategy.

The lesson learned here is that there is an office for design of public spaces under the city’s economic development agency, assisting the private sector in implementation. That’s a serious amount of priority on good public space design. The video provides just a hint of the results.

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